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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • The Weekly Genealogist
    Vol. 14, No. 46
    Whole #557
    November 16, 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 Closures
    * NEHGS Database News
    * A Note from the Editor: More on Map Websites and Massachusetts Markers
    * Name Origins
    * This Week’s Survey
    * Spotlight: Wyoming Newspaper Project
    * Stories of Interest
    * Classic Reprints
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    NEHGS Holiday Closures

    The Society's offices and research library will close at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23, and will be closed on Thursday, November 24, for Thanksgiving Day. The research library will be open regular hours on Friday, November 25, and Saturday, November 26. The Society's administrative offices will be open with minimal staff on Friday, November 25.

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    NEHGS Database News
    by Sam Sturgis and Ryan Woods

    Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts Membership Cards, 1733­–1990
    Mason Membership Cards, Surnames Q–T

    NEHGS is pleased to announce the addition of 65,898 new records to the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts Membership Cards, 1733–1990, database. This important collection contains information on Masons taken from original Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Massachusetts membership cards. Membership card data includes date of birth, place of birth, occupation, and residency information.

    The Grand Lodge is the main governing body of Freemasonry within Massachusetts, and once maintained Lodges in other jurisdictions overseas, namely Panama, Chile, the People's Republic of China (meeting in Tokyo, Japan), and Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. The database includes information from all former jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, 1733–1990.

    Founded in 1733, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts is the oldest Masonic lodge in the United States and the third oldest Masonic Grand Lodge in the world (after the United Grand Lodge of England, 1717, and the Grand Lodge of Ireland, 1725). 

    As of November 15, 2011, data is available for Masons with surnames "A" through "T." Additional surnames will be added on a regular basis. Upon completion, the database will contain 348,678 membership cards for those Masons who died, dropped, or demitted before 1990.

    Substantial support for the creation of this database was generously provided through the work of the dedicated NEHGS volunteer corps.

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    A Note from the Editor: More on Map Websites and Massachusetts Markers

    Our October 26 story on the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library prompted some emails on other useful historic map websites. Here are some recommended resources:  

    The Boston Atlas

    The Harvard Map Collection

    The Yale Map Collection

    Historic USGS maps of New England and New York on the University of New Hampshire Library website

    New York Public Library Digital Gallery maps

    David Rumsey Map Collection

    Library of Congress Map Collections

    Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas

    Historic Atlas of Canada Online Learning Project

    Historic Cities

    * * *

    Two weeks ago I wrote about the Massachusetts Bay Colony-Tercentenary Commission markers. Soon afterwards, two Massachusetts historical marker experts contacted me. One was Robert Briere of Fiskdale, Massachusetts, who was quoted in the Boston Globe article. Mr. Briere had noticed when the Tantiusques marker in Sturbridge disappeared in the late 1980s and, with his wife, traveled throughout the state to take an inventory of how many markers remained and which ones were damaged.

    Mr. Briere wrote: “Thank you for the information sent to your readers about these historic markers that abound in Massachusetts. It took a number of years to find all the locations, particularly with so many missing and the fact that some have been moved. I believe the markers impart information about the state's history that tourists, and in many cases, even local folks do not know about. When asked why I put all this effort forth, I answer that it is like a treasure hunt. One can learn a lot not only from the markers themselves, but by passing through the communities in which they are erected. Hopefully, my descendants will enjoy visiting these sites also someday.”

    And I heard from Russell Bixby of Bernardston, Massachusetts, who was also mentioned in the article. Mr. Bixby recently completed a statewide inventory of the markers, and is sharing with Weekly Genealogist readers two documents: a fourteen-page overview of the history and condition of the markers and an eighty-six page marker inventory. Mr. Bixby notes that the Boston Globe headline, “History, Preserved in Sturdy Aluminum” is erroneous; the markers are cast iron. Readers interested in Mr. Bixby’s research materials, photographs, or other background on the 2011 inventory, may contact him at

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    LUCIEN/LUCIEN B. (m): Lucien Bonaparte (1775–1840), Prince of Canino, brother of Napoléon I, Emperor of the French, was en route to America in 1809 when he was captured by the British, and spent the next few years in the English countryside writing poetry. His son, the ornithologist Charles Lucien Jules Laurent Bonaparte (1803–1857), visited America between 1822 and 1826.

    A great many of the 65 men with given names “Lucien B.” in the 1850 U.S. census (and the 72 Civil War soldiers named “Lucien B.” found in’s U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861–1865, database) were likely named for Napoleon’s brother.

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    This Week's Survey

    Last week’s survey asked how many genealogical blogs you follow. The results are:

    • 60%, I follow no blogs.
    • 24%, I follow 1–2 blogs.
    • 10%, I follow 3–5 blogs.
    • 2%, I follow 6–10 blogs.
    • 3%, I follow over ten blogs.

    This week's survey asks if you write a genealogy blog. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Wyoming Newspaper Project
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Wyoming Newspaper Project

    The Wyoming Newspaper Project collection comprises all of the newspapers that were printed in Wyoming between 1849 and 1922. The project is a work in progress and, as of May 1, 2011, more than 794,500 full page newspaper images have been uploaded to the website. The complete collection contains more than 900,000 newspaper pages.

    You can search the full text of news articles, obituaries, and other items of interest. Searches can be performed on the entire collection or individual newspapers. There are two search options in addition to the keyword search. One type is a concept search, which will find keywords and phrases as well as related concepts. The example given in the website’s help section explains that if you search for the word “cow,” the search function will also look for related terms such as “cattle.” The other type of search is a pattern search, which returns both exact search terms and terms with similar spellings. Such a search is useful when there are alternate spellings of words, and when you are searching for keywords that are commonly misspelled.

    Enter a term in the search box and click the Search Newspapers button. This will open a page with a list of all newspapers in which the search term appears. The data fields in the results include a page image thumbnail, the newspaper title with issue number, date and page number, city, year, month, day, page number, and “all.” Click on the page icon to open a file containing the full newspaper page. You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the images. Since the newer versions of Adobe Acrobat Reader do not highlight the search term on the page, you may have to use the Find function to locate it. Click on the Help with Adobe Acrobat Reader link to troubleshoot any issues you have viewing the images. The “All” link is an icon. Click on it to view details about the newspaper page. By using the icons on the right side of the top bar you can email, print, and save search results for future use.

    You can browse the collection by city, county, year, or newspaper title. To browse the collection, first click on the link that corresponds to the type of browsing you would like to do. If you want to browse by city, click on that link on the homepage. Next click on the folder for the city you have chosen. Continue to click on folders until you reach a page containing the individual page files. Choose a page and click on the icon to the left of the newspaper title information to view the page. Browsing by date will bring up a list of all of the issues of the newspapers in the collection that were published on a particular day. For example, on January 2, 1874, there is an issue from three different newspapers: the Laramie Daily Sentinel, the Daily Independent, and the Cheyenne Daily Leader. Knowing about multiple newspapers published on the same day could be useful if you are seeking information about an event and want to gather as much detail and as many perspectives as possible. By using the icons on the right side of the top bar you can email, print, and save results for future use.

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    Stories of Interest

    Why Do We Care About Our Ancestors? excerpts a selection from Ancestors and Relatives, a new Oxford University Press book by Eviatar Zerubavel which presents a “sociological understanding of ancestry and descent.”

    Genealogy in America
    Drew Moore muses on what he has learned from his genealogical quest.

    Man Unearths Historic Cemetery in French Quarter Back Yard
    Workers digging a New Orleans back yard for a pool found thirteen stacked burial caskets.

    Official Issued Proclamation Against Penobscot Indians in 1755
    Roxanne Moore Saucier, the “Family Ties” columnist for the Bangor Daily News, reflects on what she learned during a recent visit to the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine.

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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:

    • 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)

    Search the entire Classic Reprints catalog. 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

    RootsTech 2012
    February 2–4, Salt Lake City, Utah

    NEHGS is one of the sponsors of RootsTech 2012, a family history and technology conference. The conference will bring together major technology creators and family history technology users. Participants will:

    • Discover emerging technologies and devices to improve research
    • Learn from hands-on workshops and interactive presentations
    • Collaborate with technology creators to advance family history through technology
    • Educate technology providers about the needs of genealogists

    Sessions are designed to interest novice, intermediate, and advanced technology users. Sessions will include:

    • Hands-on workshops
    • Interactive presentations
    • Sneak peek demonstrations of upcoming new products and services
    • Panel discussions
    • Common interest gatherings
    • “Unconferencing discussions” (last minute sessions requested by attendees)

    An early bird registration rate of $129 is in effect until November 30; after that date, the price will be $189.

    For more information, visit


    APG Professional Management Conference (prior to RootsTech)
    February 1, Salt Lake City, Utah

    The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) is also a RootsTech sponsor. If you're thinking about going to RootsTech, consider arriving a day early to attend the APG Professional Management Conference (PMC). The one-day conference will be held February 1, 2011 at the Radisson Hotel, Salt Lake City.

    The conference, themed “Techniques, Tools, and Technology,” will feature lectures from top genealogists, including J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA; Paula Stuart-Warren, CG; Thomas MacEntee;Teresa Koch-Bostic; Melissa A. Johnson; Laura G. Prescott; Kory L. Meyerink, AG; and Diane L. Giannini, CG. Lectures will provide strategic and practical advice for genealogists, from research planning to earning a living.

    The PMC is open to professionals, aspiring professionals, and anyone interested in networking with professional genealogists. Lecture topics and registration details at

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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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