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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • The Weekly Genealogist
    Vol. 14, No. 33
    Whole #544
    August 17, 2011
    Edited by Lynn Betlock, Jean Powers, and Valerie Beaudrault


    Greetings from the New England Historic Genealogical Society! This newsletter has been sent to people who asked to receive it. If you would like to unsubscribe or change your email address, please click on the link at the bottom of the email and follow the instructions provided.

    NEHGS collects, preserves, and interprets materials to document and make accessible the histories of families in America.

    * Online Registration for FGS Conference Closes August 20
    * Probate Indexes for the Massachusetts Counties of Berkshire and Franklin Now Online
    * A Note from the Editor: Writing Articles
    * Name Origins
    * This Week's Survey
    * Spotlight: Cemetery and Obituary Databases for Georgia and South Dakota
    * Stories of Interest
    * Save 15% on Three Titles by NEHGS President and CEO D. Brenton Simons!
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    Online Registration for FGS Conference Closes August 20

    The last day to register online for the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference, which will take place from September 7 to 10 to in Springfield, Illinois, is Saturday, August 20.

    NEHGS will have a booth in the exhibit hall, and director of research services Rhonda McClure will present “Avoiding Pitfalls in New England Research” and the NEHGS luncheon talk, “From the 19th Century to Today and Beyond: Genealogy of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.”

    For additional information about the conference, which will include more than 160 educational lectures and events, please visit

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    Probate Indexes for the Massachusetts Counties of Berkshire and Franklin Now Online

    The Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants has recently made the probate indexes for Berkshire and Franklin counties available on their website.

    The Berkshire Guide and Index covers the years from 1761 to 1900.

    The Franklin Guide and Index covers the years from 1812 to 1925.

    More probate indexes for Massachusetts counties will be available in the future, with priority given to counties without book or online indexes.

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    A Note from the Editor: Writing Articles
    by Lynn Betlock

    Since becoming the editor of New England Ancestors (now American Ancestors) magazine in 2003, I’ve read many article submissions and thought a great deal about what makes a good story. In this column, I want to encourage you to write down some of your family history in article form, whether or not you are interested in publication. 

    Genealogical research is fun. Genealogical writing can seem like more of a chore, but I urge you to capture some of the stories you’ve uncovered for yourself, your family, and perhaps for a wider audience. Contemplating a publication that would cover all your ancestors can seem overwhelming and intimidating, but I think that writing up article-length summaries and case studies is more manageable — and it can be beneficial.  

    Some of the rewards of writing down the results of your research are obvious — having a clear summary that can be consulted and shared. But there can be some additional benefits. Assigning yourself a fairly limited topic motivates you to make sure you’ve done all the research you can do. Writing an article almost always increases your knowledge of the family in question. When writing, you are forced to be rigorous, to recheck sources, and make sure your claims can be verified. If your article is selected for publication, you also get input from editors and proofreaders who may question your assumptions or ask questions and draw conclusions that hadn’t occurred to you. 

    For American Ancestors, a successful article:

    • Tells a good story that engages readers
    • Is focused on a particular topic — and doesn’t attempt to include all known information on an individual or family
    • Often includes an unexpected twist, the solution to a mystery, or some sort of “eureka moment”
    • Provides reliable documentation.

    If you are writing only for yourself or family members, you may be producing summaries of ancestral lives — useful and necessary material that would not be of sufficient interest for a genealogical publication. But that doesn’t mean you can’t write up particular ancestors or episodes as if you were writing for a broader audience — family members may well be receptive to a more lively presentation and you can practice a wider range of writing styles.  

    Sometimes I receive article submissions that simply provide a biographical sketch of an ancestor. The documentation may be exemplary but the story isn’t likely to catch the interest of a general audience. I often suggest that these writers go through their family lines and select a few people and incidents that have captured their imaginations. When the story is exciting to you, you can make the story exciting for others. 

    Here are some examples of article themes featured in American Ancestors:

    • Discovering the truth behind a long-standing family tradition
    • Solving a brick wall, especially by using an interesting method or source.
    • Using DNA to prove (or disprove) family stories
    • Examining the life of an ancestor through a diary or letters
    • Documenting a family migration
    • Sharing information about an unusual record or set of records
    • Relating unusual or unexpected information about ancestors; for instance, a previously unknown criminal background or a hidden marriage
    • Telling the story of an ancestor who participated in a significant historical event, like the California gold rush or the Civil War. 

    Next week I will discuss the specifics of writing for American Ancestors with some tips for would-be article writers.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    ZEITLOSE (f): German zeit ‘time’ + -los(e) ‘–less’, ‘timeless’, ‘eternal’. Zeitlose (von Eschwege) von Scholley (m. 1569, d. 1572), “daughter of Herting von Eschwege of Reichensachsen [Hessen-Kassel] and his wife Anna von Brenken,” was the first wife of [Col.] Georg von Scholley (d. 1583). The couple was ancestral to the distinguished genealogist Milton Rubincam (TAG 46 [1970]: 4), as I found while indexing TAG.

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    This Week's Survey

    Last week’s survey asked how many genealogy and family history books you purchased in the last year. 57% of respondents purchased between one and five books in the last year and 3% purchased more than twenty books. Complete results are:

    • 57%, 1 to 5 books
    • 23%, none
    • 13%, 6 to 10 books
    • 4%, 11 to 20 books
    • 3%, more than 20 books

    This week's survey asks who, if anyone, introduced you to genealogy. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Cemetery and Obituary Databases for Georgia and South Dakota
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Rome, Georgia, Cemetery Databases

    Rome is a city in Floyd County, Georgia, which is located in the northwestern part of the state. The city of Rome has made two burial databases available on its website. The first database is an index to burials in Eastview and Oakland cemeteries. The second indexes burials in Myrtle Hill Cemetery, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Click on the cemetery link to open the search page. The indexes can be searched by last name, first name, date interred, section and lot. There is also an “AKA search”, which focuses on the name and AKA fields only. The data fields in the search results include title, first name, middle, last name, AKA (also known as), Jr/Sr, date of birth, date of death, date interred, grave location (section, block, lot, grave), funeral home and place of death. In addition to the burial listings you will find the Myrtle Hill Education Handbook, which I found to be quite interesting. The handbook was developed as part of a grant-funded project aimed at 2nd through 5th graders to, in part, help them “gain an understanding of their community’s history through the study of the cemetery.”

    Sioux Valley Genealogical Society Databases

    Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota. It is located in the southeastern corner of the state and is the county seat of Minnehaha County. The Sioux Valley Genealogical Society has made obituary and cemetery databases available on its website.

    Click on the Obituaries link to open a new page. This alphabetical database contains more than 100,000 records for individuals whose obituaries or death notices are in the collections of the Sioux Valley Genealogical Society Library.  These obituaries have been collected from a variety of sources, which include the Hills of Rest Cemetery and other cemetery records, funeral home records, pioneer certificate application files, correspondence files and other miscellaneous files found in the Society’s library. The index also includes information from obituaries extracted from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader and those sent to the society to be included in its files. Because the Sioux Falls Argus Leader is a regional newspaper, obituaries of individuals in southwest Minnesota, northwest Iowa and a large region of South Dakota may be found in the database. Click on the first letter of the surname in the index. The data fields in the index include surname, first name, middle name, maiden name, date of birth, and date of death. This is a work in progress with names being added as they are indexed. Copies of obituaries can be obtained from the library for a fee.

    Click on the Cemeteries link to open a page with links to three databases. One database contains a list of Minnehaha County cemeteries. A second contains a list of Lincoln County cemeteries. The third link is to the South Dakota Gravestones website with a database that comprises more than 124,000 gravestone photographs from across the state. You can search the database by last name and first name and you can limit your searches by county or search all counties at one time. Click on the Surnames link to browse lists of surnames by county. Click on the Cemeteries link to access links to the cemeteries in each county. Click on the cemetery name to view a list of the people buried there whose photographs are in the database.

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    Stories of Interest

    US in Living Color: Rare Look Into Great Depression
    The Boston Channel reports: A slideshow of eighty-four rare color images from the Library of Congress offers a unique view of life in the United States in the 1930s.

    After Years Of Research, Confederate Daughter Arises
    NPR reports: Mattie Clyburn Rice spent years trying to prove that her father, an African-American, had served in the Confederacy. Now having uncovered his pension application, Rice is recognized as one of twenty-three “Real Daughters” in the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

    Montiel Roode McAuley recalls her father Stephen Roode, a Civil War veteran
    Masslife reports: Ninety-five-year-old Montiel Roode McAuley recalls memories of her father, who served in the 9th Vermont Infantry. McCauley and her older brother number among the two dozen or less living “Real Sons and Daughters” of Civil War Union soldiers.

    New York Woman Buys Fallen WWII Soldier's Medal at Antique Shop, Returns It to Family
    The Huffington Post reports: A Vermont Army National Guard officer returned a Purple Heart to the family of the recipient, who had been killed in France during World War II.

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    Save 15% on Three Titles by NEHGS President and CEO D. Brenton Simons!

    The Art of Family: Genealogical Artifacts in New England (regularly $75.00, now $63.75)

    Boston Beheld: Antique Town and Country Views
    (regularly $35.00, now $29.75)

    Witches, Rakes & Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in Boston, 1630-1775

    Hardcover (regularly $24.95, now $21.21:
    Softcover (regularly $14.95, now $12.71)

    Did you know that the NEHGS Book Store offers library-quality copies of over 10,000 rare and out-of-print books? Some titles ordered by recent customers include:

      • 1855 Census Records of Delaware County, New York (Item P5-NY0440H, $47.50)
      • Nathaniel Crocker 1758–1855, His Descendants and Ancestors in the Names of Allen, Blood, Bragg, Brewster, Bursley, Chase, Davis . . . (Item P4-H07140, $27.00)
      • Andrew Warde and His Descendants 1597–1910 (Item P35840000, $95.00)
      • Descendants of Christian and Elizabeth (Oliver) Bosbyshell 1782–1910 (Item P4-H03357, $24.00)
      • Genealogy of Johannes Baer 1749–1910 (Item P4-H01332, $56.00)

      You can search the entire Classic Reprints catalog online. If you would like a list of FAQs and search tips for the Classic Reprints catalog, simply send an email with "Classic Reprints" in the subject line to    

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    Each year the Society presents a number of dynamic lectures, seminars, and tours for genealogists and the general public. Programs are held at 99–101 Newbury Street unless otherwise indicated. For more information, please contact call 617-226-1226 or

    You can view a full listing of upcoming programs at

    Seminars and Tours

    Boston University Certificate in Genealogical Research
    September 10 – December 17, 2011 — Charles River Campus
    Boston University’s Certificate in Genealogical Research helps participants reach their goals of professionalism. Designed to accommodate a range of backgrounds — serious amateurs, budding professionals, or experts with CGs®, this rigorous 14-week weekend program will help advance genealogical work to the next level. NEHGS members get a 10% tuition discount.
    Get more details

    London Research Tour
    September 25 – October 2, 2011
    Discover the wealth of information available in London's repositories as NEHGS returns to London in 2011. Participants will take part in two group dinners, consultations, and guided research through the Society of Genealogists (SOG) and the National Archives (UK). Daily educational activities include lectures and tours by the experts at the National Archives (UK), SOG, and NEHGS. Featured NEHGS experts include David C. Dearborn and Christopher C. Child.

    Salt Lake City Research Tour
    October 30 – November 6, 2011
    You won't want to miss our thirty-third annual research tour to the world-renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Following a continuing tradition of excellence, NEHGS staff will guide you through a week of research, consultations, lectures, group meals, and other activities as you explore the collections of the largest genealogical library in the world.

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    NEHGS Contact Information

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    Copyright 2011, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

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New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

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