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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • The Weekly Genealogist
    Vol. 14, No. 45
    Whole #556
    November 9, 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.

    * Subscribe Now to the 2012 Great Migration Newsletter
    * NEHGS Database News
    * A Case Study from a Weekly Genealogist
    * Name Origins
    * This Week’s Survey
    * Spotlight: LOUISiana Digital Library
    * Stories of Interest
    * NEHGS Holiday Cards
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    Subscribe Now to the 2012 Great Migration Newsletter

    The Great Migration Newsletter (GMN) offers feature articles on a variety of topics, including the settlement of early New England towns, migration patterns, seventeenth-century passenger lists, church and land records, and much more. The eight-page GMN complements the individual sketches in the Great Migration books, and addresses broad issues key to understanding the lives and times of New England’s first immigrants.

    Print subscribers to volume 21 (2012) receive a new issue of the GMN through the mail each quarter ($20 for a one-year subscription or $36 for a two-year subscription).

    Online subscribers access issues through, where the GMN is posted each quarter. They can also access past issues from volumes 11 through 20, as well as selected biographical sketches ($10 for a one-year subscription or $18 for a two-year subscription).

    To subscribe, please visit or call Member Services at 1-888-296-3447.

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    NEHGS Database News
    by Sam Sturgis and Ryan Woods

    Connecticut Vital Records to 1870 Update

    This week’s update to Connecticut Vital Records (The Barbour Collection) includes records from the towns of Norwalk (1651–1850), Norwich (1847–1851), Stamford (1652–1852) and Stratford (1639 –1840). This update contains the records of 16,771 births, 10,366 marriages, and 2,938 deaths. Please note that additional records for Norwich (1659–1848) are already available on our website.

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    A Case Study from a Weekly Genealogist

    Here we present a reader case study, an occasional feature which allows us to showcase some of the discoveries made by NEHGS members and subscribers.

    Picturing Uncle Tommy
    by Gerard E. Sullivan, University Place, Washington

    Until two years ago my Great Uncle Tommy was just a name to me. Thomas Francis Mulrey was born in 1876 and died in 1946, two years before I was born. He never married, so as I researched my family tree he was not of great interest to me — he was a branch in the tree, with no twigs.

    As a small child I knew his sisters, Molly and Nellie, and his brothers, Johnny and Jimmy. His older brother Joe was my grandfather, but he, too, died before I was born. I do not recall hearing much about Tommy. I only knew a few things about him: that he lived his entire life on Canterbury Street in Roslindale, in the house where he grew up and that he was a Boston Police Department captain.

    Author Dennis Lehane got me interested in knowing more about Tommy. His 2008 book The Given Day brought 1919 Boston and service on its police force to life for me. It left me wanting to know more about Tommy’s experience. I reasoned that if he became a captain in that era, he had to have been an outstanding cop or else very well connected. Not suspecting any notable family connections, I thought superior performance must have been the reason for his success, and that my best resource would be to see if I could obtain information regarding any promotions and citations from his personnel file at the Boston Police Department.

    After some online searching I contacted Margaret R. Sullivan, Records Manager and Archivist for the Boston Police Department. I explained my interest in former BPD Captain Thomas Mulrey, and was pleased to discover that his files still existed. I faxed her a formal request for copies, and within a week I had a hefty envelope containing the details of Captain Mulrey's career. Although I found no obvious reasons for his rise to captain, I had gained a good deal of information.

    Ms. Sullivan had asked whether I’d requested information from the Boston Public Library, and specifically mentioned the Leslie Jones Collection — almost 40,000 photos documenting the history of Boston in the twentieth century. She suggested that I contact the Boston Public Library to see if they could do a name search. I did, and learned that there were several pictures of Inspector Thomas Mulrey, one of which was quite remarkable. Within a few days I received the images by email.

    The remarkable photo, taken in 1927, pictured three people: Inspector Mulrey on the left, Inspector John Mitchell on the right, and, between them, Carlo (a.k.a. Charles) Ponzi. Yes, that Charles Ponzi. The caption for a similar photo reads: "Charles Ponzi after his arrest in Texas after trying to jump to Italy. He is being escorted back to Boston for stay in state prison." I believe Inspectors Mulrey and Mitchell were not involved in Ponzi’s arrest, just his transport.

    Who'd have thought an episode as intriguing as this would not have survived as a family legend? Fortunately, the resources of the Boston Police Department and the Boston Public Library have made the story into a new family legend.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    PHEDIME/DIME/DIAMAH (f): This name, used from the early middle eighteenth century in a cluster of Newtown, Conn., families, appears to derive (probably through the filter of The Arabian Nights’ Entertainments or other fiction) from FATIMA, famous as the favorite daughter of the Prophet Mohammed and herself ancestress of the Fatimid dynasty of Baghdad.

    Phedyma/Phedime Nichols (1736/7–1773), daughter of Nathaniel and Ann (Booth) Nichols, m. Newtown 23 Nov. 1758 Benjamin Curtiss, Jr. Dime Lake was b. 16 Oct. 1755, daughter of John & Rhoda (Warner) Lake; as Phedime Lake, she m. Newtown 23 Nov. 1773 John Sharp. Phedimah Nichols, b. 1 Dec. 1755, daughter of Peter and Rebecca (Camp) Nichols, d. Newtown 6 Jan. 1822; m. Simeon Beers. Phedime Prindle (Newtown 1757–prob. West Stockbridge, Mass. 1805), daughter of Joseph [Jr.] and Huldah (Glover) Prindle, m. Newtown 2 April 1775 Clark Baldwin. Among the Baldwins’ children born at Newtown were Zada Baldwin, b. 3 July 1777, and Phedime Baldwin, b. 15 July 1784; “Zada” is an attempt at “Scheherezade,” so we can assume the parents enjoyed exotic reading material!

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    This Week's Survey

    Last week’s survey asked how many genealogical enewsletters you receive. The results are:

    • 40%, I receive 1–2.
    • 46%, I receive 3–5.
    • 11%, I receive 6–10.
    •  2%, I receive over 10.

    This week's survey asks how many genealogical blogs you follow. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight:LOUISiana Digital Library
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    LOUISiana Digital Library (LDL)

    The LOUISiana Digital Library (LDL) is an online library containing photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, and oral histories documenting history and culture. Its purpose is “to make unique historical treasures from the Louisiana institutions’ archives, libraries, museums, and other repositories in the state electronically accessible to Louisiana residents and to students, researchers, and the general public in other states and countries.” Twenty-two libraries, archives, museums, and historical centers contribute digital items from their collections to the online library. Currently LDL contains more than 144,000 items. The participating institutions include: Amistad Research Center, Louisiana State Archives, Louisiana State Museum, Louisiana State University (LSU), Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans City Archives, New Orleans Public Library, State Library of Louisiana, The Historic New Orleans Collection, Tulane University, and University of New Orleans.

    The collections in the LOUISiana Digital Library can be browsed or searched. You can browse by Topic, Institution, Media Format, Geographic Focus, Time Period, and Collection Name. If you want to browse by institution, click on Institution in the collections list on the left side of the page. This will open a new page with links to the participating institutions’ collections. Click on the institution’s name to access its collections.

    To search the collections you can enter keywords in the search box, which is located in the upper-right side of the page, or you can run an advanced search by clicking on the Search All Collections link in the menu bar at the top of the homepage. With Advanced Search you can search across all fields, selected fields, by proximity or by date. You can also search specific collections from this page.
    Louisiana State University contributed forty-six collections, which include photographs, oral histories, newspapers, maps, and letters that could be of interest to family history researchers. They include the following:

    Civil War Photograph Album
    This album contains portraits of military personnel who fought during the American Civil War, 1861–1865. Most of the photographs are cartes-de-visite of Confederate enlisted men and officers.

    George C. Strong Photograph Album
    This album contains two photographs of sites around the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, and forty-two photographic portraits of cadets in the classes of 1857 and 1858.

    Hermann Moyse Sr. World War I Collection
    This collection contains letters written by Hermann Moyse, Sr. (1891–1985), a native of St. Gabriel, Louisiana, when he was a soldier in World War I.

    The Louisiana Newspaper Access Program
    This collection contains digitized images of select regional Louisiana newspapers from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Click on the View All Items in the Collection link to access them. There are seventy-one different newspapers in this collection.

    LSU Libraries Civil War Collection
    This collection “represents the cultural and political aspects of the conflict, and life in antebellum Louisiana.”

    Maps of Louisiana Collection
    This collection consists of important original maps associated with the French colonization of the territory of Louisiana, and the Louisiana Purchase.

    Marshall Dunham Photograph Album, ca. 1861–1865

    This photograph album, which contains photographs taken in Louisiana during the Civil War, was compiled by Sgt. Marshall Dunham of the 159th New York regiment.

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    Stories of Interest

    Baby’s Tombstone Found 1,000 Miles Away 130 Years Later
    A genealogist in Knoxville, Tennessee, purchased a gravestone at a garage sale and researched the case until he could send it back to the correct cemetery in Dannebrog, Nebraska.

    Duffy’s Cut Dig Ends as Amtrak Refuses Mass Grave Excavation
    Historians who located the remains of as many as fifty-seven Irish railroad workers say that their mass grave near Malvern, Pennsylvania, is unreachable. Many of those buried there in 1832 are believed to have been murdered.

    Early Quebec Settlers Give Insight into Human Expansion
    Researchers who analyzed the genealogy of more than a million individuals who trace their ancestry to early colonists in the Charlevoix Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec reported their findings.

    Statue of Liberty Accessorized: Live Web Cams Offer New Harbor Views
    For the statue’s 125th anniversary — and because the statue’s interior is now closed for a year due to a renovation — five webcams were attached to the torch. See the unprecedented views.

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    NEHGS Holiday Cards

    The Bookstore at NEHGS announces free shipping on our holiday cards!

    Spread holiday cheer with this charming scene from the NEHGS archives. Featured as the Society’s official holiday card last year, by popu­lar demand it has been made available to everyone for a limited time.

    The cards are 5”x7” with the words “Happy Holidays” printed inside. 10 cards and envelopes per set. Cards are $14.95 per set for non-NEHGS members or $13.45 per set for members. Free shipping available through November 22, 2011.

    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:

    • Records of the Town of Tisbury, Massachusetts, Beginning June 29 1669 and Ending May 16 1864 (Item P5-MA0500H, $87)
    • Records of the First Church at Dorchester, Massachusetts, in New England 1636–1734. (Item P5-MA0526S, $27.50)
    • Richmond Co., Virginia, Wills. 1699–1800. (Item P5-VA0034S, $22)
    • Probate Records of Lincoln County, Maine, 1760–1800 (Item P5-ME0256H, $47)
    • Old Houses of the Ancient Town of Norwich, Connecticut, 16601800 (Item P5-CT0105H, $67)

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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

    Boston University Certificate in Genealogical Research
    January 21 – April 28, 2012 - 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 receive a 10% tuition discount.

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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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Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

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