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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 14, No. 7
    Whole #518
    February 16, 2011
    Edited by Michael J. Leclerc 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.

    * View from the Family Tree
    * Follow NEHGS on Twitter
    * Research Recommendations: British Record Society and
    * Name Origins
    * This Week's Survey
    * Spotlight: Library Databases: Ohio and Minnesota
    * Stories of Interest
    * Three New Titles From NEHGS
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    View from the Family Tree

    NEHGS President and CEO D. Brenton Simons has a new blog available on Drawing on more than two decades of experience and leadership in the genealogical field, Simons shares his thoughts on interesting pieces of history and genealogy. Recent posts include one on discovering family portraits, and another that discusses Benjamin Franklin and the Hist-Gen. Posts are made regularly to View from the Family Tree, which is free for anyone to read.

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    Follow NEHGS on Twitter

    Increasing its presence in social networking media, NEHGS has now joined Twitter. You can get short, timely message from NEHGS staff about the organization, our members, books, programs, and more. Find out more at

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    Research Recommendations: British Record Society and
    by Michael J. Leclerc, an extremely helpful resource for U.K.I. research, has just made a major addition to the resources for British Origins. Probate records published by the British Records Society are now being added to the site.

    The British Record Society was founded in 1889 to take over the Index Library. The Index Library started in 1888 as a private venture to publish indexes to British records. In 1892 an official series of lists and indexes to materials in the Public Record Office began publication, and the BRS turned to records in other repositories.

    Slightly more than half of the first fifty volumes were indexes to wills and administrations. From the 1930s to the 1990s the BRS focused almost exclusively on probate materials. Now that almost all pre-1700 probate record indexes have been published, the focus has turned to a two-prong approach. Post-1700 probate records will be indexed. In addition, the BRS is collaborating with the University of Roehampton to produce a series of transcriptions of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Hearth Tax returns. has obtained the exclusive rights to publish these indexes online. Records in nineteen counties, as well as the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC), are currently available. While the PCC wills are available online through The National Archives, the administrations are not currently accessible. This makes the BRS indexes for PCC records very valuable.

    Those researching their early British ancestors will find a great deal of information on The addition of these indexes makes the site even more indispensible.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    ALETHEIA (f): from Greek ‘truth.’
    ALTHAEA (f): the mother of Meleager in Greek mythology.

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    This Week's Survey


    Last week’s survey asked about researching adoptive ancestors. 56% of respondents research both birth and adoptive lines. 2.6% research only the adoptive line. Complete results are:

    • 57%, I research both birth and adoptive lines.
    • 33%, I research only the birth lines.
    • 7%, I research neither, but stop at the adoptee.
    • 3%, I research only the adoptive lines.

    This week’s survey asks about which Mid-Atlantic states, if any, hold genealogical interest for you. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Library Databases: Ohio and Minnesota
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    City Directories are a great resource for the family history researcher. They can help us track our ancestors during the intervals between census takers’ visits. In some cases you might learn the location to which an individual moved or even an individual’s date of death in the directory published in the following year. You might find that your ancestor owned a business or provided a service and advertised in the directory, as I did. My great-great-grandfather was the French-speaking agent for New York Life Insurance Compay in Fall River, Massachusetts. He had a half-page ad in the city directory in the mid-1890s.

    Pikes Peak Genealogical Society, Colorado

    The Pikes Peak Genealogical Society has made city directories for Colorado Springs for the period from 1879 through 1922 available on its website. The city directories digitization project is a collaborative effort involving the Pikes Peak Genealogical Society and the Pikes Peak Library District. Click on the City Directory cover page image to access the database. The first city directory for Colorado Springs was published in 1879. Until 1900 the directories were published about every other year. After 1900 directories for Colorado Springs were published annually and also included a cross-reference index for street addresses. The digitized Colorado Springs city directories are in PDF format. You may browse page by page or search for a particular name or keyword, as the documents arefull-text searchable.

    Vancouver Public Library, British Columbia

    The library's collection of digitized British Columbia city directories covers the period from 1860 through 1915. Click on the How to Search the Directories link to open a page of instructions for locating the individual or information for which you are looking in the directories. Start by clicking on the year in the list on the left side of the page. You can select a section from the alphabetical list on the side panel and navigate to a particular page from there. To move from page to page, click on the <-previous page | next page-> links located at the top and bottom of each scanned image. Printing and viewing tips have been provided, too.

    You will find on this page a link to an online history of Vancouver street names, Street Names of Vancouver by Elizabeth Walker, a great resource to help you to figure out exactly where your ancestors lived. Ms. Walker begins her introduction to the book with the following: “My interest in the 773 current Vancouver street names and the 400 that have fallen into disuse was piqued by the many questions people asked me about them when I was working in the North West History collection at the Vancouver Public Library. Though not always successful, I would do my best to locate streets with unknown names or differentiate between the various "Boundary" streets or "Victoria" streets. Little did I know what byways my research would lead me into or how much I'd learn about surveys and other technical aspects of street naming. Because surveys are the basis of street patterns, one needs to know a bit of history about them.” Click on the link to download a PDF file of the book. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download and view the file.

    Historical Photographs of BC and the Yukon and the Historical Photographs Database
    The library holdings include a collection of more than 250,000 black and white negatives and prints. Approximately 25,000 of these images form the online Historical Photographs Database, which is a work in progress with more images being added to the website on a regular basis. Click on the link on the City Directories main page to access the Historical Photographs webpage. This database may be searched by keyword(s) and limit by collection.

    The following are descriptions of a few of the collections with images included in the Historical Photographs Database. They are the Canadian Pacific Railway collection, which contains photographs taken by a number of photographers between the 1880s and 1950s; The Province Newspaper collection, which comprises photographs of British Columbia scenes taken by newspaper photographers during the late 1940s through the mid-1960s; and The Dominion Photograph Company collection. The Dominion Photograph Company, which was founded in 1914, specialized in commercial/industrial photography and portraiture. The photographs from this collection, a portion of which are online, were taken during the early 1910s to the 1960s and document the growth of the city of Vancouver during this period.

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    Stories of Interest

    Woman Traces Family History Back to Civil War Era
    Central Michigan’s Morning Sun tells the story of Grace Rollins and her search for her African American ancestors.

    After 60 Years, Revolutionary War Letter is Returned to State Archives
    The Boston Globe reports on a two-page letter written by Joseph Warren discussing the Americans’ victory at Fort Ticonderoga. The letter was stolen from the Massachusetts Archives decades ago.

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    Three New Titles from NEHGS

    The Bookstore at NEHGS is happy to announce the arrival of three long anticipated titles:

    Manuscripts at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, First Comprehensive Edition
    edited by Timothy G.X. Salls and Judith Lucey

    New York Probate Records: A Genealogist's Guide to Testate and Intestate Records, Second Edition
    by Gordon Remington

    The Classic Reprints Catalog

    For a full description or to purchase any of these titles, simply click on the above links or call toll free at 1-888-296-3447.

    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, $87.00)
    • 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, $22.00)
    • Probate Records of Lincoln County, Maine, 1760-1800 (Item P5-ME0256H, $47.00)
    • Old Houses of the Ancient Town of Norwich, Connecticut, 1660-1800. with Maps (item P5-CT0105H, $67.00)

    You can search the entire Classic Reprints catalog online at 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 D. Joshua Taylor at 617-226-1226 or

    You can view a full listing of upcoming programs at .


    Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America
    February 23, 2011, 6:00 p.m.
    Benjamin L. Carp, Associate Professor of History at Tufts University, will discuss his recent book, Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America. Professor Carp did some of his research at NEHGS. He is looking forward to discussing, in particular, the vexing problem of verifying the identities of the men who destroyed the tea in Boston harbor.

    Seminars and Tours

    Washington D.C. Research Tour
    March 6–13, 2011
    Research in the repositories of the nation’s capital with NEHGS as we return to Washington, D.C. Researchers will visit the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Library, Library of Congress (LOC), and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) during this intensive week of guided research, individual consultations, lectures, and group meal events. Featured consultants include Henry B. Hoff, David A. Lambert, and Rhonda R. McClure.

    NEHGS/TIARA Irish Seminar
    March 19, 2011
    Join NEHGS and The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) for a day-long seminar relating to Irish genealogy and family history. Speakers include Marie Daly, Janis Duffy, Judy Lucey, Eileen O’Duill, and Sean O’Duill who will each address topics relating to Irish records, methodologies, and strategies.
    Pre-Registration Required, $18.

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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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