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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • The Weekly Genealogist
    Vol. 14, No. 49
    Whole #560
    December 7, 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 Library Closing Early on December 15
    * NEHGS Database News
    * Announcing Stamford Town Records: Volume 1, 1641–1723
    * Simons on Sabbatical in 2012
    * A Note from the Editor: Preparing for the Opening of the 1940 Census
    * Name Origins
    * This Week’s Survey
    * Spotlight: Brooklyn, New York Cemeteries
    * Stories of Interest
    * NEHGS Book Store Holiday Bundles
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    NEHGS Library Closing Early on December 15

    The NEHGS Library will close at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. Please plan your visit accordingly.

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    NEHGS Database News
    by Sam Sturgis, Digital Collections Administrator, and Ryan Woods, Director of Internet Technology

    The Van Deursen Family

    This genealogy was compiled by Captain Albert Harrison Van Deursen in 1912. It traces the descendants of Abraham Pietersen (Van Deursen), who was born in Haarlem, Holland, where he was baptized November 11, 1607, in the Dutch Reformed Church.

    "It is probable that Abraham Pietersen and his wife left Haarlem for America very soon after their marriage, as no baptismal records of any of their children are found at that place between 1630 and 1635, and he is known to have been in New Amsterdam, now New York, in 1636, when he was recorded as 'of Haarlem.'"

    This database contains 29,300 name records from the two-volume, 725 page book.

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    Announcing Stamford Town Records: Volume 1, 1641–1723
    Transcribed and Annotated by Paul R. Finch

    All genealogical research depends on authentic vital and historical records. Researchers of Stamford, Connecticut, an important New England town founded in 1641, have long depended on flawed transcriptions and abstracts of early town records. This new book, an extensively annotated version of the Town of Stamford’s 1882 transcription, rectifies that situation. Paul R. Finch has consulted the original records (which are fragile and partly illegible) and other primary sources, and incorporated research by Donald Lines Jacobus and others. Finch’s extensive annotations fill gaps, correct errors, and offer helpful explanations — as well as refer the reader to reliable sources. The end result is a more complete and consistent view of Stamford’s past: a significant contribution to genealogical knowledge as well as to the historical record.

    “Finch’s meticulous transcription and annotation of the earliest Stamford Town Records will be invaluable to all researchers of early Connecticut history and will lead to improved insights into the history of this town and its first settlers.”
    —Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, Director of the Great Migration Study Project

    Stamford Town Records: Volume 1, 1641–1723 (2011) is published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Hardcover, 7 x 10, 256 pp. $34.95.

    Order your copy today!

    For more information, call 1-888-296-3447 or email

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    Simons on Sabbatical in 2012

    The Society’s board of trustees recently approved a 90-day sabbatical leave in 2012 for President and CEO Brenton Simons, who will be working on two special projects and traveling during the absence. “Tom Wilcox, our Vice President and COO, will assume my duties as Acting President,” said Simons. “He is an extraordinary steward of our society and will very capably lead NEHGS for three months.” Simons, who has been on the staff since 1993 and President and CEO since 2005, looks forward to immersing himself in a significant genealogical project and meeting with other nonprofit leaders while he is away. “It is a truly exciting opportunity for me to renew my genealogical research skills and gain new management perspectives to bring back to NEHGS.” Simons, who will be working out of the office during January, February, and May 2012, will continue as the Society’s President and CEO, and plans to attend the Family History Day in Tarrytown, New York, on March 17, 2012, shortly after his return to 99-101 Newbury Street.

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    A Note from the Editor: Preparing for the Opening of the 1940 Census
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    The online debut of the 1940 census is now only four months away. At 9 a.m. on Monday, April 2, 2012, the National Archives will make the census available for research.

    The 1940 census will provide some challenges for researchers used to typing a name in a search box and immediately locating an ancestor’s place of residence. There is no index to the 1940 census. The National Archives FAQ page on the 1940 census reports that in lieu of an index, “You can locate people by identifying the enumeration district in which they lived in 1940 and then browsing the Census population schedules for that enumeration district.”

    If you don’t know where an ancestor lived in 1940, you can follow the suggestions on the Start Your 1940 Census Research Page:

    1. Make a list of all the people you want to look for in the 1940 census

    2. Determine their addresses using sources such as city directories, 1930 census information, and World War II draft records.

    3. Identify the enumeration district for each address. Follow the steps provided online to search 1940 census maps for enumeration district numbers and descriptions. You can also try the search utilities, which allow you to convert 1930 EDs to 1940 ones and search for 1940 EDs by using addresses or locations.

    You can view a clock that is counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the census opening — and a wealth of information on the 1940 census on the National Archives website.

    Steve Morse's 1940 census information page contains numerous strategies for locating ancestors using his free One-Step tools and a source checklist that might yield 1940 addresses. Mr. Morse also provides useful background on the 1940 census. For instance, “There were several new and interesting questions in 1940. Some examples are name of informant (so you can see if the information was provided by someone knowledgeable), highest school grade completed (to see if education level affected whether or not a person had a job in this recessionary period), country of birth as of 1937 borders (because the borders of Europe were changing fast and furiously in 1940), place of residence in 1935 (to see how migratory the population was due to the recession and great dust bowl of the 1930s), and income.”

    On his website, Mr. Morse speculates that a complete name index to the 1940 census will be available about six months after the census is released. So if some of your ancestors prove elusive, other search options will become available over time.

    I am looking forward to finding my family members, most specifically my grandparents, in the 1940 census. Both sets of my grandparents were married in August 1940, so at the time the census was taken, on April 1, all four of them were single, and my grandmothers were still living with their parents in Little Falls, Minnesota. I also particularly want to locate my immigrant ancestors and find out whether the information provided tallies with what I think I know now. I’m not expecting great revelations in this census but I am looking forward to a new genealogical resource — one that connects me a bit more to my grandparents and older generations of my family that I knew and now remember.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Staff Genealogist

    NOTWITHSTANDING (f): This famous example of bizarre New England Puritan names comes from Genealogy as Pastime and Profession (1930) by Donald Lines Jacobus, and is cited by him as an example of “the old custom of opening the Bible with eyes shut and giving the child the name which happened to be nearest the pointing finger.” Given the short life of at least one bearer, use of this name more likely reflects (justified) parental fear that their infant was not long for this world, but also faith that despite grim earthly prospects, its baptism assured eternal bliss hereafter.

    Notwithstanding Griswold, b. Durham, Conn. 4 March 1759, daughter of Jeremiah and Sarah Griswold, died the next day, and was succeeded by a younger namesake, Notwithstanding “Standa” Griswold, born Durham 16 April 1764 and baptized the following 29 April. As “Standa” Griswold, this younger child was married to Daniel Graves of Guilford at the Second Congregational Church, North Guilford, Conn., on 2 April 1786; they apparently removed to Broome County, New York. She had many children and grandchildren, but none that I can see bore either version of her given name.

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    This Week's Survey

    Last week’s survey asked how Weekly Genealogist readers manage their genealogy data. The results are:

    • 67%, I use a combination of systems
    • 25 %, I use software on my computer
    • 6%, I use a paper system
    • 2%, I use a web-based genealogy program

    Paula Hinkel of Sherman Oaks, California, wrote “In this week's survey, there was one option missing. I was looking for ‘random stacks of paper strewn haphazardly around the office.’ Then again, maybe I'm the only one.”

    We feel we can safely say that Paula is not the only one, and we think that Paula’s answer might well have been the most popular, had it been a choice!  

    This week's survey looks at readers’ geographical mobility. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Brooklyn, New York Cemeteries
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Visitor Services Representative

    Green-Wood Cemetery

    The Green-Wood Cemetery was founded in 1838 as one of the country’s earliest rural cemeteries. The 478-acre cemetery with “hills, valleys, glacial ponds and paths,” contains 560,000 graves. As noted on its website, an 1866 New York Times article stated, “It is the ambition of the New Yorker to live upon Fifth Avenue, to take his airings in the [Central] Park, and to sleep with his fathers in Green-Wood.” Click on the Historic Green-Wood link to view a dropdown list of options from which to select. Select About/History to read details of the cemetery’s history.

    Many notable individuals are buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, including Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Charles Ebbets, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Horace Greeley, as well as Civil War generals, baseball legends, politicians, artists, entertainers and inventors. On the cemetery website you will find profiles of a few of these famous ‘residents.’ Select on the Famous Residents link from the dropdown list to access the biographies.

    Select Map from the dropdown list under the Historic Green-Wood tab to view and download a PDF version of a comprehensive map of Green-Wood Cemetery. The map also contains the names and photographs of some of the more well-known cemetery residents. Their graves are noted on the map. You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the map.

    There is a photo gallery under the Photos link. Click on the Videos link to view a number of videos of the cemetery. You will also find a list of films and television shows shot on location at Green-Wood Cemetery.

    The link to the burial database search page may also be found on the dropdown list under the Historic Green-Wood tab. It should be noted that the database is not complete. Some burials may be missing from the list, particularly some of the earliest ones. (The records at the cemetery are complete.) Select the Burial Search link to open the search page. The database can be searched by first name and last name. Searches can be limited by year of burial. You should note that the date of interment listed in the database might not be the date of an individuals' first burial at Green-Wood Cemetery. If an individual was moved from one grave to another, the date of interment listed in the database will be the re-interment date. The data fields in the search returns are last name, first name, burial date, and lot and section. Individual burial transcripts and a listing of names and dates of interment of all individuals buried in a plot may be ordered from the cemetery for a fee.

    The Evergreens Cemetery

    The Evergreens Cemetery was organized in 1849. It covers 225 acres and is located in Brooklyn on the Brooklyn-Queens border. More than 526,000 people are buried in Evergreens Cemetery. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Click on the Records tab to begin a search the interment records of The Evergreens Cemetery. Currently the records of over 300,000 of the more than 500,000 individuals buried at the Evergreens have been included in the searchable database. The list is nearly complete for the period from 1849 to 1877, and the period from 1942 to the present. The database is a work in progress with new records being added on a regular basis. You can search by first name and last name. The data fields in the search results are first name, middle name, last name, burial date, and burial number. Researchers may contact the cemetery directly for additional information.

    Click on the Stories tab to find biographical information about some of the notable individuals buried in the cemetery and articles about historical events, including disasters, as they relate to the cemetery. The stories are organized under the following headers: The Revolutionary War, The Civil War, Famous Musicians, Entertainers and Artists, Quirky Characters, and Historical Disasters. On the right side of the Stories main page you will find links to the individual narratives.

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    Stories of Interest

    A Convert to Family History
    An unexpected source provided the answers author Lisa Jardine was seeking about her grandparents’ migration to England.

    Why Inbreeding Really Isn’t as Bad as You Think It Is
    An in-depth analysis that draws some surprising conclusions about “what the consequences of inbreeding really are.”

    Holocaust Database Helps Families Complete Stories
    Since May, the World Memory Project, sponsored by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and, has indexed more than 700,000 records, and made data on more than 30,000 people available online.

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    NEHGS Book Store Holiday Bundles

    The NEHGS Book Store is once again offering Holiday Bundles. Save up to 30% on many of our most popular titles, which are bundled together for easy gift shopping. Supplies are limited, so don’t wait! View a full listing.

    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:

    • 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 of Descendants: Alexander Harroun of Colrain Massachusetts, 1691–1784 (Item P4-H13503, $41.00)
    • Winders of America: John of New York, 1674–5; 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 and New York, and His Descendants (2Volumes) (Item P4-H17640, $171.00)
    • Descendants of the Earle and Morris Families of New York and New Jersey (Item P4-H09201, $25.50)

    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

    NEHGS Research Trip to Belfast

    NEHGS’s inaugural research trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland, in May 2012 has just been announced, and spots on the trip are already going quickly. We will delve into the resources at the new facility of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), the Linen Hall Library, Belfast Central Library, and the Presbyterian Historical Society. In addition to individual consultations, the week in Belfast will also feature group activities and educational opportunities with local experts. Participants can enjoy exploring the revitalized city of Belfast and the new Titanic Quarter.

    Space is extremely limited; registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Note that family history research in Ireland is location-based, so knowing the geographic origins of your ancestors is essential to conducting effective research. More information and registration forms are available on

    Winter Weekend Research Getaway: Beyond Names and Dates
    99-101 Newbury St., Boston
    February 9, 2012–February 11, 2012

    NEHGS Weekend Research Getaways combine personal, guided research at the NEHGS Research Library with themed educational lectures to create a unique experience for every participant. Personal consultations with NEHGS genealogists throughout the program allow participants to explore their own genealogical projects, while guided by the nation’s leading family history experts. This year's Winter Weekend Research Getaway, “Beyond Names and Dates,” offers lectures focused on using information beyond vital records to expand your family history. Staff will provide suggestions and advice on using manuscripts and social history to place your family's story in the context of history.

    More information and registration forms are available on

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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
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