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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • The Weekly Genealogist
    Vol. 14, No. 38
    Whole #549
    September 21, 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 Database News
    * Online Exhibits from the Maine Historical Society
    * Old Dartmouth Roots: A Genealogy & Local History Symposium
    * Notes on Preserving Your Family Collections
    * Name Origins
    * This Week’s Survey
    * Spotlight: Obituary and Cemetery Databases
    * Stories of Interest
    * Save 15% on NEHGS Tote Bags and Note Cards
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    NEHGS Database News
    by Sam Sturgis and Ryan Woods

    Providence, RI: Index of Births and Deaths, 1931–1940
    Published by the city of Providence, Rhode Island, between 1879 and 1945, this series, in total, contains thirty-one volumes of alphabetical name indexes for Providence vital records. (NEHGS previously added the first 22 volumes as a transcription database: Providence, RI: Alphabetical Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1636–1930.)

    The Providence, RI: Index of Births and Death, 1931–1940 database currently contains Vol. 23, Births 1931–1935; Vol. 26, Births 1936–1940; Vol. 24, Deaths 1931–1935; and Vol. 27, Deaths 1936–1940. These records include child and parent names, dates of birth, dates of death, and citations to the volume and page numbers of the original Providence city records.

    We will continue to periodically add volumes to the database on until the full series is online.

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    Online Exhibits from the Maine Historical Society

    The Maine Historical Society has recently posted an interesting exhibit of photographs on their website. "Twenty Nationalities, But All Americans" shows images of "Americanization" classes for adult and school-aged immigrants offered by the Portland public schools, from approximately 1924 to 1945.

    A number of other slideshow exhibits are available from the Maine Historical Society. Topics include “The 20th Maine,” “Eternal Images: Photographing Childhood,” and “In Time and Eternity: Shakers in the Industrial Age.”

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    Old Dartmouth Roots: A Genealogy & Local History Symposium

    September 22–24, 2011
    New Bedford, Mass.

    The Old Dartmouth Historical Society / New Bedford Whaling Museum will present the region's first genealogy symposium from September 22–24, 2011. The three day event will include presentations on local genealogical resources and collections, a primer on how to do a genealogy search, a guide to regional cemeteries, walking tours, and more.

    Featured speakers include NEHGS archivist Judy Lucey, photo detective Maureen Taylor, and Pulitzer Prize nominee author Lamont D. Thomas.

    Visit these links for more information and to register.

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    Notes on Preserving Your Family Collections

    As a wrap-up to our look at protecting and preserving family collections, we present a list of archival supply vendors, comments from readers, and a link to an article by a genealogist whose house was damaged by fire.

    Vendors of Archival Supplies

    Archival Products. 134 East Grand Ave, P.O. Box 1413, Des Moines, IA 50317. (800) 526-5640.

    Archivart. 7 Caesar Place, P.O. Box 428, Moonachie, NJ 07074. (201) 804-8986.

    Conservation Resources International, Inc. 8000 H. Forbes Place, Springfield, VA 22151. (800) 634-6932.

    Gaylord: Archival storage materials and supplies. P.O. Box 4901, Syracuse, NY 13221-4901. (800) 448-6160.

    Hollinger Metal Edge. 9401 Northwest Drive, P.O. Box 8360, Fredericksburg, VA 22404. (800) 634-0491 and 6340 Bandini Blvd., Commerce, CA 90040. (800) 862-2228.

    Paige Company. Parker Plaza, 400 Kelby St., Fort Lee, NJ 07024. (800) 223-1901.

    University Products. 517 Main Street, P.O. Box 101, Holyoke, MA 01041-0101. (800) 628-1912.

    Below are a few of the responses we received on the preservation theme:

    “I was fortunate enough to inherit a huge collection of family letters, photos, diaries, bibles, and so on, from several uncles and aunts. I also did about forty years of research on the family. No one really knew what was in the 'accumulation' so I made it my duty to identify each item as to author, receiver and date of writing. Papers go back to about 1800, with many daguerreotypes. I grew worried about fire, flood, and fungus and so donated all this stuff to the University of Utah, Special Collections, where it now occupies about 72 feet of shelf space and is gradually being scanned for the Internet. Now it not only is being well-guarded, but is being made available to all who seek it. When it was in my basement it was 'mine.' But was it really mine? Decidedly no — it belonged to the family and the future. Please, all you packrats, get your stuff to a place where it is available to all. It really doesn't belong just to you.” — Charles Walker, Sandy, Utah

    “It is important to let others know of one's interest in family history. My husband's aunt held valuable family history back to a Revolutionary War participant, but after I married into the family and she knew of my own interest in genealogy, she began sending me copies of her notes. When a flood buried all her genealogy material stored in the basement, she spent many days wiping the mud from the items, some of them being originals of copies she had sent me. Several years later, there was another flood and she decided not to go through the rescue process again and told her husband to take it all out to the curb for trash pickup. Thankfully, I did have many copies of her originals.

    By contrast, my grandparents had an attic with more square footage than I have seen in some houses. It was dry and insect-free and housed items from the 1700s. Most of it is in my care and I dread the scenario suggested by Ms. Betlock — that she has procrastinated processing all the information that could be shared with family members. Don't wait, folks”. — Margaret (Benedict) MacNeill, Indialantic, Florida

    Readers also wrote about how to care for quilts and other fabrics:

    “I quilt and have found that storing your quilt in a cotton sheet or pillowcase, then either on a shelf or in an archival box, depending on the condition or age of the quilt, works very well.” — Peggy Hall, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    “Don't ever store any fabric of any kind in any kind of plastic bag, or box. Only use acid free cardboard boxes — or a pillow slip works great. The reason for not using plastic is that if moisture sneaks in, it never gets out again and you can end up with some really nasty mold or musty odors. Before storing the quilt, air it well in a shady place outside. Then bring it in and let it air some more. Grandmother always aired her quilts by laying them on the grass or a bush. The chlorophyll is supposed to help kill odors. A nice warm day in the shade after a heavy rain was her favorite time to do this as the bushes were washed clean of dust.” — Janice Healy, Aloha, Oregon

    Finally, we offer a link to “A Genealogist’s Nightmare: Disaster in the Family Home,” written by William “Rod” Fleck of Forks, Washington. The article, which first ran in the Seattle Genealogical Society’s newsletter in 2000, outlines the steps to take before and after a disaster.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    ZADA (f): Probably an abbreviation of SCHEHEREZADE [SHAHRAZAD], the beautiful and resourceful storyteller of The Arabian Nights; or, just possibly, of her sister DINARZADE [DUNYAZAD]. Use of the name might also have been influenced by Zayde, a two-volume “Hispano-Moorish” romance (1669–1671) by Marie Madeleine Pioche de la Vergne (1634–1693), Comtesse de La Fayette [whose husband was a distant cousin of Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette (1757–1834)]. Zada Baldwin, b. Newtown, Conn., 3 July 1777, daughter of Clark and Phedime (Prindle) Baldwin, was an ancestor of politician Patrick Joseph “Pat” Buchanan. The parents of Shinzada or Sherezada (Roosevelt) Van Alstyne (1803–1898) came up with a new spelling for a name not easily managed.

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    This Week's Survey

    Last week’s survey asked about e-book reader usage. Complete results are:

    • 67% do not own or use an e-book reader
    • 33% own or use an e-book reader

    This week's survey asks what devices you use if you read books electronically. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight:Obituary and Cemetery Databases
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Obituary Index, Chemung County Library District, New York

    Chemung County is centrally located on the southern border between New York and Pennsylvania. Its county seat is Elmira. The Chemung County Library District has made an obituary index available on its website.

    Volunteers of the library district have copied and indexed items from local area newspapers. The library is now uploading the obituary indexes to its website. At present there are two indexes that cover the period from 1900 through 1920. The data fields in the index include last name, first name, middle initial, date of death, and the date of the obituary. Instructions for searching the database have been provided, as well as a video demonstration of the search process. You can submit a research request to the library for a fee.

    Placer County Newspaper Death Index, California

    Placer County is located in both the Sacramento Valley and Sierra Nevada regions of California. Its eastern boundary is on the Nevada border. Its county seat is Auburn. The Placer County Genealogical Society has made an index to deaths found in the Placer Herald of Auburn available on its website. The alphabetical death notice index covers the period from 1852 through 1885. The data fields include last name, given name, year, and location. Family history researcher can order copies of death notices from the Society for a fee.

    Indian River County Obituary Index, Florida

    Indian River County is located near the center of the east coast of Florida. Its county seat is Vero Beach. The Julian W. Lowenstein Archive Center & Genealogy Department of the Indian River County Library has made an obituary index available on its website.

    The index covers the period from 1912 to March 2011. It is divided into separate indexes as follows: 1912–2008, 2009, 2010, and January through March 2011. The information for the indexes has been drawn from some or all of the following newspapers: Vero Beach Press Journal, Sebastian Sun, Indian River Farmer, Fellsmere Farmer, and Fellsmere Tribune. The data fields include date, microfilm roll number, page, title, last name, first name, middle, suffix, age, maiden name, and nickname. The database files are in PDF format. You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them. You may purchase copies of obituaries from the library for a fee.

    Spanish Fork Cemetery, Utah

    Spanish Fork, a city in Utah County, is located in north central Utah. The searchable Spanish Fork cemetery database is located on the city’s official website. You can view the list alphabetically by surname, search the site by first name and last name, limit it by birth and death dates, or search by deceased parents’ names. The data fields in the search results include last name, first name, and lot location. With the alphabetical list and the search by name of the deceased, the results also, in many cases, include a photograph of the gravestone. Click on the name link to view the detailed results. Interactive and static maps of the cemetery are available on the website, which will help you locate particular plots.

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    Stories of Interest

    The Biographer’s New Best Friend
    A New York Times article examines how historical newspaper databases have changed biographical and historical research.

    Colonial Williamsburg: Actors Bring to Life the Nuanced Tangle of History, Heroism and Daily Living
    Colonial Williamsburg has evolved over the past decades, and actor-interpreters now offer thought-provoking street theatre designed to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions.

    Who’s Your Daddy?
    A Boston attorney who donated sperm while in law school finds he is the father of seventy children.

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    Save 15% on NEHGS Tote Bags and Note Cards

    The Bookstore at NEHGS is offering two of its most popular items at 15% off.

    NEHGS tote bag: This L.L. Bean Boat and Tote bag has been custom-designed for NEHGS with our seal printed in classic blue. Made in Maine using heavy-duty cotton canvas, the tote has a reinforced flat canvas bottom and overlapped seams double-stitched with nylon that won't rot or break. The color is natural, with blue contrast-color 6" handles. The bag measures 12" H x 13" W x 6" D. Normally priced at $35.00, you can now buy it for $29.75.

    NEHGS note cards: Beautiful images of actual heritage family documents from the NEHGS manuscripts collection adorn these full-color note cards. You’ll find yourself reaching for them again and again to write thank you notes, a quick “hi” to cousins, or genealogical inquiries. In sets of eight cards (two each of four different designs) with cream-colored envelopes. 4½" x 5½." Normally priced at $8.50, sets are available now for $7.23!

    Prices do not include shipping. Offer good through September 30, 2011, or while supplies last.

    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:

    • Biographical Sketch of Samuel Rowell and Notices of Some of His Descendants: with a Genealogy for Seven Generations, 1754–1898 (Item P4-H22773, $44.50)
    • History of the Harroun Family in America, Seven Generations: Descendants of Alexander Harroun of Colrain, Massachusetts, 1691–1784 (Item P4-H13503, $41.00)
    • Winders of America: John, of New York, 1674–75; Thomas, of New Jersey, 1703–34; John, of Maryland, 1665–98 (Item P4-S27774, $19.50)
    • Leconte History and Genealogy with Particular Reference to Guillaume Leconte of New Rochelle, New York, and His Descendants (2 volumes) (Item P4-H17640, $171.00)
    • Descendants of the Earle and Morris Families of New York and New Jersey (Item P4-H09201, $25.50)

    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 listing of upcoming programs.

    Seminars and Tours

    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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