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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • The Weekly Genealogist
    Vol. 14, No. 35
    Whole #546
    August 31, 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.

    * NEHGS Holiday Closure
    * The Closing of the National Archives in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
    * Life in the Past Lane Conference
    * A Member’s Perspective on Writing Articles
    * Name Origins
    * This Week’s Survey
    * Spotlight: Nebraska Resources
    * Stories of Interest
    * Pre-order The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume VII, T-Y
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    NEHGS Holiday Closure

    The Research Library will be closed Saturday, September 3, 2011, in observance of Labor Day. The Society's administrative offices will be closed Monday, September 5, 2011.  Both will be open regular hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Tuesday, September 6.

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    The Closing of the National Archives in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

    The National Archives at Pittsfield is closing; the last day the facility will be open to the public is September 16, 2011. (The facility will also be closed on September 6.)

    The remaining National Archives branches within the Northeast Region are the National Archives at Boston, located in Waltham, Massachusetts, and the National Archives at New York City.

    NARA-Pittsfield is in the process of transferring its microfilm room collection to the Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s public library. The collection includes 71,000 rolls of film that contain census records, passenger logs, and other items of interest to those researching their family histories. After the material has been relocated and processed, the collection will be available to researchers via delivery to the Athenaeum’s first floor, where state of the art digitizing microfilm readers/scanners are available.

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    Life in the Past Lane Conference

    September 17, Williamstown, Mass.

    The Friends of the National Archives — Pittsfield, MA, will present their final annual full-day genealogy conference, Life in the Past Lane 8, on Saturday, September 17, 2011, at the Williams Inn in Williamstown, Mass. The day will include lectures by Meldon Wolfgang, III, Jean Nudd Elliott, Paul Bunnell, Michelle LeClair, Lisa Dougherty and Peter Sisario. The registration fee includes morning and afternoon refreshments, lunch, and a roundtable question and answer period hosted by a panel of experts. Vendors will be on hand to provide products of interest to genealogists. Michelle (French Canadian), Lisa (Irish), and Peter (Italian) will also provide one-on-one consultations on a first come, first serve basis. We will also have our popular free prize raffle. Visit their website for complete program details and a printable registration form. Call 413-236-3604 or email for further information or to receive a registration form by mail.

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    A Member’s Perspective on Writing Articles
    by Carol A. Purinton

    The last two “Note from the Editor” columns focused on writing articles. This week we will close out the topic — for now — with a letter I received from member Carol A. Purinton of Clinton, Massachusetts. Carol wrote in response to my first column, and her experiences reinforce how valuable the writing process can be. — Lynn Betlock, Managing Editor

    In the latest Weekly Genealogist, your column about writing articles stated, “When writing, you are forced to be rigorous, to recheck sources, and make sure your claims can be verified.”

    I totally agree. This was a great benefit that I got out of submitting an article to a writing contest held last year by the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists (MSOG). When I wrote the article last summer, I did not consider myself a writer, but I wanted to explore the process of writing, dealing with a deadline, and (hopefully) receiving feedback. Imagine my surprise when I won the contest! After all, I had been hooked on genealogy for only a year before the contest so, at best, I was a newbie genealogist and newbie genealogical writer.

    Sara Costa, a member of MSOG, had volunteered to form a writing group, which was part mechanics and part support group. This kind of structure and encouragement was invaluable — I’m not sure I would have completed the article in a vacuum. And working with Helen Ullmann, a wonderful editor, was an enriching experience, too.

    When writing for the contest, I drew upon my experience of submitting an application to DAR, when I had to ask myself, “Now how do I know this?” for every fact. Having good source citations makes the writing so much easier.

    My winning article was about how I got hooked on genealogy, coupled with a genealogical sketch going back to my DAR patriot. I wrote about that “Aha!” moment when feeling connected to family history really clicks in. And I discussed people from five generations of my family who are buried in Sleepy Hollow, in Concord, Mass. — whose stones I had walked past many times on the way to visiting my parents’ graves, oblivious to their impact upon my life and DNA.

    I mention these things because you also write that a successful article “Tells a good story that engages readers.” One of the greatest compliments that I received was that people felt like they were actually there in Sleepy Hollow. One person even went to the cemetery because she was so intrigued!

    I would add one other benefit of writing to those you list in your article: the joy of seeing one’s name in print! Winning the writing contest was such a thrill and confidence booster that I subsequently wrote another article for a completely different genre and that was published a few months ago, in June. I doubt I ever would have had the confidence to submit anything for publication had it not been for the writing contest.

    Having an article published is a lot of work — much more than I had ever thought — but the benefits are incredible! I would highly recommend the process.

    Carol A. Purinton’s prize-winning essay, “Moment of Awareness: Discovering Grindall Reynolds’ Descendants Are My Ancestors,” can be read here. The article was originally published in the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists’ MASSOG magazine, 34, no. 3 (winter 2010):87–97. For more information about the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, please visit

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    JOSEPH WARREN (m): Many patriotic American parents named sons for Gen. Dr. Joseph Warren (1741–1775), a Patriot leader who was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Paul Revere named a son Joseph Warren Revere (1777–1868), and father and son founded the Revere Copper Company in 1801 in Canton, Massachusetts. The company, now known as Revere Copper Products, produces Revere Ware. A search of the 1850 census for men with the first and middle names of Joseph Warren produced Joseph Warren Homer (born in New Hampshire in 1776), Joseph Warren Day (born in Maine in 1817), and Joseph Warren Royer (born in Pennsylvania in 1821), among others. If your Canadian ancestor was named “Joseph Warren” Smith, chances are his family had not been north of the border long.

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    This Week's Survey

    Last week’s survey asked what genealogy television series you’ve watched. 89% of respondents have watched Who Do You Think You Are? 7% watched The Generations Project. Complete results are:

    • 89%, Who Do You Think You Are? on NBC (2010-)
    • 75%, Roots (1977)
    • 40%, Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates Jr. on PBS (2010-)
    • 19%, Ancestors, produced by KBYU for PBS (1997 and 2000)
    • 10%, African American Lives and African American Lives 2 on PBS (2006 and 2008)
    • 7%, The Generations Project on BYU Television (2010-)

    This week's survey asks if you’ve participated in DNA testing for genealogy. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Nebraska Resources
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Nebraska State Genealogical Society Tombstone Photo Project

    The mission of the Nebraska State Genealogical Society Tombstone Photo Project is to “capture digital images of all the tombstones in the state of Nebraska.” Since over time many grave markers have become difficult to read, this project intends to help document and save these records for posterity. Currently there are more than 71,000 tombstone photo records from throughout the state in the database.

    You can run a Quick Search for a surname from the main webpage and limit the search by county. If you click on the Search Tombstones link it will open a new page from which you can search by surname or first name and limit your search by county.

    You can also browse the tombstone images by cemetery. Click on the Tombstones by Cemetery link to begin your search. Select a county to open a new page with links to that county’s cemeteries with photographs in the database. Then click on the name link to open a page containing a photograph of the tombstone and, in some cases, a transcription of the information on the stone. While most photographs are very clear and readable, others are not and the information on some of those has not been transcribed.

    If you click on the Surnames link in the banner above the search boxes and then select a county, you can create lists of surnames which include every individual buried in the county represented in the collection.

    The data fields in the database include the full name of the deceased, cemetery name, county, and the date on which the file was updated. When you click on the surname it opens the page with the photograph of the tombstone. If there is more than one person with the same surname buried in the cemetery or plot, a list of links to the photographs of those individuals will be listed under the heading Similar County Records.

    The Nebraska State Genealogical Society Tombstone Photo Project is currently seeking volunteers to help photograph and upload tombstone images to the database.

    Cemetery Database, Lincoln, Nebraska

    The city of Lincoln is the capital of the state of Nebraska and the county seat of Lancaster County. It is located in the southeastern part of the state.

    Wyuka and Fairview Cemeteries
    Wyuka Cemetery was established in 1869, to provide a “Lincoln State Cemetery” for the new state’s capital city. Over the years the cemetery has grown to 140 acres. The Fairview Cemetery was established in 1894 by the city of Havelock. Havelock was annexed to the city of Lincoln in 1930. In 1996, Wyuka Cemetery assumed ownership of Fairview, which is a small fifteen acre cemetery. The website contains maps in PDF format of both cemeteries, including overview maps and section maps with lot locations marked. You will need free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them.

    To search the database, enter the last name or the last name and first name of the person whose burial record you are seeking, and click on the Submit Query button. The data fields include full name of the deceased, lot, section and space, birth date (if known), death date and cemetery name.

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    Stories of Interest

    Temblors in region are rare, but shook Boston centuries ago
    The earthquake that shook the East Coast — including the NEHGS building — on August 23rd reminds us that earthquakes can happen in Massachusetts. This Boston Globe article reviews some of the area’s earthquake history and tries to assess current risks.

    Happy ending for search for ancestor’s uniform
    After searching far and wide for her maternal grandfather’s long lost World War I uniform, Mary Wheeler found it at the New Brunswick Military History Museum, just twenty miles from her home.

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    Pre-order The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume VII, T-Y

    The Bookstore at NEHGS is accepting pre-orders for the final volume in The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635 series. You can order your copy of Volume VII, T-Y today for the pre-publication price of $54.95.

    You may also purchase the entire seven-volume set at the reduced price of $375 (a $50 savings).

    To order by phone, please call toll free 1-888-296-3447.

    Please note that Volume VII will ship in mid-September. Orders for the seven-volume set will be held until the seventh volume is available to be shipped. Prices do not include shipping. Prices are good through October 31, 2011. As these specials offer already discounted prices, there will be no additional NEHGS member discounts offered on these items through October 31, 2011.

    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:

      • Collins Family Record of Descendants of William Collins and Esther Morris from 1760 to 1897 (Item P4-S06339, $26.50)
      • Genealogy of the Splawn and Collins Family 1600–1960 (Item P4-S24222, $17.00)
      • Kings Mountain and Its Heroes: History of the Battle of Kings Mountain [North Carolina], October 7th, 1780, and the Events Which Led to It. (Item P5-NC1500H, $57.50)
      • Family History in the Line of Lt. Benjamin Ogden of New York (1735–1780) and His Wife Rachel Westervelt (Item P4-H20421, $30.00)
      • List of Persons Whose Names Have Been Changed in Massachusetts 1780–1892 (Item P5-MA0148H, $49.50)

    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

    View a full listing of upcoming programs.


    American Uprising: The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt
    September 14, 6 p.m., NEHGS

    Don’t miss New York Times bestselling author Daniel Rasmussen speak on his new book, American Uprising: The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt, which the New York Times called “A chilling and suspenseful account . . .  of a signal episode in the history of American race relations.” The book tells the riveting and long neglected story of the 1811 German Coast Uprising, which began near LaPlace, Louisiana, thirty miles west of New Orleans. Based on groundbreaking original research, the work makes a significant contribution to African American history and the struggle for civil rights in this country.

    The talk at NEHGS (99-101 Newbury St., Boston), is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

    Seminars and Tours

    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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