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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • The Weekly Genealogist
    Vol. 14, No. 40
    Whole #551
    October 5, 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
    * JSTOR Offers Early Journal Content for Free
    * Ancestry Day in San Francisco
    * A Note from the Editor: New York City Tax Photos
    * Name Origins
    * This Week’s Survey
    * Spotlight: Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio
    * Stories of Interest
    * Classic Reprints
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    NEHGS Database News
    by Sam Sturgis and Ryan Woods

    Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts Updated

    NEHGS, together with the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts (JCAM) and the American Jewish Historical Society of New England (AJHSNE), has made available, for the first time, a comprehensive database of Jewish cemeteries in Massachusetts. Currently, the database contains the records of eighteen cemeteries and more than 15,000 Jewish burials in Massachusetts. More records will be added weekly until all 106 JCAM cemeteries are online. The names in this extensive database cover the years from 1844 to the present, and, when completed later next year, will offer access to more than 100,000 names of Jewish Americans buried in Massachusetts.

    NEHGS President and CEO D. Brenton Simons said, “For genealogists and researchers, this database is a tremendous resource and provides unique access to a set of names vital to Jewish family research. We are pleased to work with AJHSNE and JCAM in this way. The Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts is a marvelous society for those with Jewish ancestry and we know countless people will benefit from having this database available online.”

    “This is one of the first of many benefits that will accrue as a result of our strategic partnership with NEHGS,” said Justin Wyner, chair of the Boston Board of Overseers of the American Jewish Historical Society of New England. “This additional resource is of significant genealogical importance. AJHSNE now makes its home inside the NEHGS research center in downtown Boston.”

    According to JCAM’s Executive Director Stanley Kaplan, “This partnership with NEHGS and AJHSNE provides people with access to where their loved ones are resting, from a source that is known for genealogy,” said Kaplan. “We have broadened . . . our reach within the community.”

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    JSTOR Offers Early Journal Content for Free

    JSTOR, a not-for-profit scholarly digital archive which primarily serves libraries and academic institutions, has announced it will make its “journal content published prior to 1923 in the United States and prior to 1870 elsewhere freely available to anyone, anywhere in the world. This Early Journal Content includes discourse and scholarship in the arts and humanities, economics and politics, and in mathematics and other sciences. It includes nearly 500,000 articles from more than 200 journals . . . Making the Early Journal Content freely available is a first step in a larger effort to provide more access options to the content on JSTOR for these individuals.”

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    Ancestry Day in San Francisco

    Saturday, November 5, 2011, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. and the California Genealogical Society (CGS) are partnering to present Ancestry Day in San Francisco 2011 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco.

    This full-day event will include:

    • Sixteen family history lectures
    • experts on hand to answer questions
    • One-on-one consultations with genealogists
    • Beginner classes

    The “early bird” price (through October 5, 2011) is $42. To learn more about the classes and consultation offerings, visit Ancestry Day in San Francisco 2011.

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    A Note from the Editor: New York City Tax Photos

    Last week, when I was fact-checking an American Ancestors column, I visited the website of the New York City Department of Records and Information Services to learn about ordering New York City vital records. My attention wandered to a subject heading toward the bottom of the left-hand navigation column: tax photos. Wondering what a tax photo was, I clicked on the link and discovered an amazing collection.

    In the 1930s, New York City began to use photography as a tool for appraising real property for taxation purposes. Between 1939 and 1941, the city photographed every house and building in the five boroughs. The result was 720,000 35mm black-and-white pictures. From 1983 to 1988, after the city decided the earlier photos needed to be updated, every property in the city, including vacant lots and tax-exempt buildings, was photographed in color. Over 800,000 additional photographs were taken.   

    The Municipal Archives received grant funding to duplicate and microfilm the 1940s negatives. Researchers can view photographs from the 1940s collection on microfilm in the Municipal Archives reference room. And low-resolution copies of the 1980s tax photographs have been digitized for viewing on computer monitors at the Archives. However, it is not necessary to visit the Municipal Archives to order a copy of the tax photographs of a house or building. You can order a copy online or by mail using the forms provided on the website.

    Other local governments used photography for tax purposes during this time frame. If anyone is aware of another collection like this one that has been made available to the public, please let us know.

    Another photo collection available through is the Municipal Archives Photo Gallery, which includes sixteen thematic groupings, including celebrities, crime and criminals, parades, street scenes, and WPA. These images can be purchased online. Text on the website notes that plans are underway to move tens of thousands of digital images currently available only at the Municipal Archives online in the near future.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    UDNEY (m): This name is used in certain Vermont families with ties of friendship to Col. Udney Hay (1739–1806), a neighbor of Ethan Allen. “Born in Scotland in 1739, [Udney Hay] established a good lumber trade in Quebec, but gave it up because his sympathies were with the American colonists. During the Revolution, he was deputy commissary general for the Northern Department of the Continental Army, a member of George Washington’s personal staff, and a confidant of Ethan and Ira Allen. He came to Underhill [Vt.] about 1796 . . . He died in Burlington on 6 Sept. 1806, and was buried in [Underhill]” (Lorraine S. Dwyer, The History of Underhill, Vermont: The Town Under the Mountain [1976], p. 95).

    A search at ScotlandsPeople for the given name Udny or Udney brought up 24 children so christened before 1855. Earliest was the future Col. Hay — christened (at Belhelvie, Aberdeenshire) 7 May 1740, son of James Hay of Shiels, likely a small place within the parish. “Alexr” [Alexander] Udny “of that Ilk” (i.e., of Udny, indicating landed status) was a witness. (OPR Births 174/00 0020 0059 Belhelvie) The parish of Udny, Aberdeenshire, lies about seven and a half miles inland from Belhelvie. There was an Udny family both at Belhelvie and, no surprise, at Udny, also in the Lothians around Edinburgh. The given name Udny is extremely localized, with all but a few occurring on the eastern coast of Scotland, centered on coastal Aberdeenshire, and in the Lothians.

    Namesakes are Udney Hay Penniman (1796–1862), only son of Dr. Jabez and Fanny (“Montresor”? alias Brush) (Buchanan) (Allen) Penniman; Udney Hay Everest (1785-1845) of Shoreham, Vt., who had a son, Udney Erastus Everest (1829-1839); and Udney Hay Blodgett, b. Georgia, Vt., 2 Nov. 1797, probably the son of one “Sardias” Blodgett who had children recorded there in the 1790s.

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    This Week's Survey

    Last week’s survey asked whether you’ve paid for genealogical research. The results are:

    • 44% No, but I would consider it.
    • 39% Yes, between one and five times.
    • 9% No, I would never consider it.
    • 8% Yes, more than five times.

    This week's survey asks whether you’ve used manuscript sources in your research. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight:Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio

    Two different individuals recently mentioned the Spring Grove Cemetery website to me. The site is well worth a visit, particularly if you had family who lived in Cincinnati. Cincinnati is located in southwestern Ohio. It is the county seat of Hamilton County.

    Spring Grove Cemetery, the second-largest cemetery in the United States, was established in 1845. The first interment was on September 1, 1845. The name was officially changed to "Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum" in 1987. The cemetery’s website contains useful resources for genealogists. Click on the Cemeteries link to open a new page with a link to the burial database. Click on the Locate a Loved One link to open the search page.

    The burial database can be searched by name or by location. To search by name, you can enter the deceased’s first name and/or last name. The data fields in the search results include burial ID, deceased name, interment date, garden name, section, lot, space, and lasting legacies. The Lasting Legacies field is a link to a page where, for a fee, members can create a family history with photographs and genealogical information, and upload it to Spring Grove’s registry.

    The burial ID is a link to detailed information about the deceased. For those who died before 1979, clicking on this link will open a PDF file containing an image of the burial record file card for the deceased. To view the PDF files, you will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. The detailed information on the card may include some or all of the following: full name, record number, place of birth, late residence, age – birth date, date of decease, public vault, interment date, disease (cause of death), parents’ names, lot owner, size and kind of grave, undertaker, ordered by, place of death, marital status, charges, and when removed. Similar information is provided on a webpage for burials from 1979 to the present. To search by location, you will have to first select the Garden in which the individual is buried from the dropdown list and then enter the section and lot numbers.

    Click on the Heritage Foundation link to find information about notable individuals buried in the cemetery. The links to notable burials may be found under the History link on the Heritage Foundation homepage. There is a list of Baseball Notables with about fifty individuals, including Charles Phelps Taft, son of President Taft. In addition to background information, in many cases, there is a link to the player’s ‘Stat Card.’ Click on the player’s name, not the words “View Stat Card,” to access a site with the statistics. In the Notable Burials section you will find lists of Civil War generals, Revolutionary War soldiers, and Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, as well as individuals like Major General Joseph Hooker and Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury under Abraham Lincoln.

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    Stories of Interest

    Family History Seen Through Tenement Rooms: Moving Up and Out of the Lower East Side
    A book reviewer calls The Archaeology of Home: An Epic Set On A Thousand Square Feet of The Lower East Side by Katharine Greider, “a kind of conversation with those who once called the block [East Seventh Street between Avenues C and D] home; it is both a rewarding historical chronicle and a juicy real estate story.”

    Amazing Maps — And Those Who Love Them
    This audio story on WBUR’s On Point celebrates maps and map devotees. Listen to the story, view maps, and access a blog featuring unusual maps.

    Digging Deep Into History: Archeologists, Students Join Forces to Search for Irish Immigrants’ Past
    Students and faculty from the UMass Lowell and Queen’s University in Belfast worked together on archeological digs in Lowell and County Tyrone, to study Irish pre- and post-immigration lifestyles.

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    Classic Reprints

    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:

        • Abstracts of Wills of Greene County, New York, Volume I 1800–60 (Item P5-NY0433-1S, $18.00)
        • A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, Massachusetts, Containing Boston Births from A.D. 1700 to A.D. 1800 (Item P2-6826000, $63.00)
        • Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement of Virginia Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta Co. 17451800. (Augusta Co.) Volume III (Item P5-VA0045-3H, $65.00)
        • The Ancestors of Charity Haley (17551800) Wife of Maj. Nicholas Davis of Limington, Maine (Item P4-H12861, $30.00)
        • Descendants of Deacon Aaron Baldwin of North Branford, Connecticut (17241800) with a Brief Account of His Ancestors (Item P4-H01485, $29.00)

    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

    The Clamorgans: One Family’s History of Race in America by Julie Winch
    October 19, 6 p.m., NEHGS

    In her multigenerational history, Julie Winch traces how one family navigated race in America from the 1780s through the 1950s. The Clamorgan clan traces to the family patriarch Jacques Clamorgan, a French adventurer of questionable ethics who bought up, or at least claimed to have bought up, huge tracts of land around St. Louis. On his death, he bequeathed his holdings to his mixed-race, illegitimate heirs, setting off nearly two centuries of litigation. The result is a window on a remarkable family that by the early twentieth century variously claimed to be black, Creole, French, Spanish, Brazilian, Jewish, and white.

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

    View a listing of upcoming programs.

    Seminars and Tours

    Salt Lake City Research Tour
    October 30 – November 6, 2011

    Friday, October 7, is the last day to register for this tour! You are invited to join fellow researchers and NEHGS members for a week of intensive research aided by expert staff. Lectures relating to organizing your materials, accessing the library catalog, and other research tips and techniques are included along with group dining events and personal consultations. (Please note: Rooms for the tour are no longer available at the Radisson Hotel.)

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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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99 - 101 Newbury Street
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