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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 14, No. 8
    Whole #519
    February 23, 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.

    * Registration Opens for NGS 2011
    * FGS Announces Sandra H. Luebking Memorial
    * Research Recommendations: The Thorn
    * Name Origins
    * This Week's Survey
    * Spotlight: Oberlin Heritage Center, Ohio
    * Stories of Interest
    * Classic Reprints
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    Registration Opens for NGS 2011

    Registration opened this week for the 2011 National Genealogical Society Family History Conference, which will be held May 11–14 in Charleston, South Carolina. The conference will be held at the North Charleston Convention Center, located near the Charleston International Airport. NEHGS will once again be participating in the conference. President and CEO D. Brenton Simons will be presenting, as will staff members Henry B. Hoff, David Allen Lambert, Michael J. Leclerc, and D. Joshua Taylor. We will also be in the exhibit hall with the latest books from the Society, website demonstrations, and answers to your genealogical questions.

    For more information about the conference, visit

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    FGS Announces Sandra H. Luebking Memorial

    On February 17 the genealogical world suffered a tremendous loss with the passing of Sandra H. Luebking. Sandra was a nationally known researcher, author, editor, instructor and mentor. For more than two decades she served as editor of the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ main publication, FORUM. She was an instructor at Samford University’s Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research as well as the Genealogical Institute of Mid-America. She was co-editor of several books, including two editions of The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy.

    Those who wish to remember Sandra and to help improve access to genealogy research records can now contribute to the Sandra H. Luebking Memorial to help make War of 1812 pension files available to researchers. As an active member of the FGS family and as Editor of FORUM from 1990 to 2010, Sandra was a huge supporter of the Preserve the Pensions project. This project was one of her personal choices as a memorial should anyone choose to honor her after her passing. You can find more about the project, or make a donation, at

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    Research Recommendations: The Thorn
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    One of the most abused of all letters (and former letters) in the English language is the Thorn. In Latin, the letter was written as Þ (capital) or þ (lowercase). In English, however, the thorn looks like the modern letter “y.” The thorn is no longer used in everyday English. The Thorn was pronounced the same way as the digraph “th” in modern English. In proper usage it is NEVER pronounced as the letter “y.”

    One of the most common uses was “ye,” pronounced as “the.” One can often see signs around America that use the modifier “Ye Olde,” which the average person pronounces it as “yee.” As the Oxford English Dictionary states, it was never pronounced in such a fashion.

    Now you know the proper pronunciation, and can use it to show off one of the many benefits of being a genealogical researcher to your less-enlightened friends.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    ANNIS (f) - A medieval (both English and Scottish) form of AGNES much used by some colonial families. Often misread as ‘Annie,’ a diminutive not used as a formal name much before the nineteenth century.

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    This Week's Survey


    Last week’s survey asked about readers’ research interests in the Mid-Atlantic states. Perhaps unsurprisingly, New York scored the highest, with 75% of respondents having interests there. The District of Columbia came in last, with 8% showing interest there. Full results are:

    • New York, 75%
    • Pennsylvania, 57%
    • New Jersey, 45%
    • Virginia, 40%
    • Maryland, 30%
    • West Virginia, 18%
    • Delaware, 12%
    • No Mid-Atlantic interests, 11%
    • District of Columbia, 8%

    This week’s survey asks about the degree of pedigree collapse in your ancestry. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Oberlin Heritage Center, Ohio
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Oberlin is located in Lorain County, in northern Ohio. The Oberlin Heritage Center’s mission is “to preserve and share Oberlin’s unique heritage and to make our community a better place to live, learn, work, and visit.” It has made a number of resources available on its website. Click on the Research and Learn tab to open a new page with links to resource selections.

    City Directories
    The Oberlin city directories database includes directories from 1873 through 1916. According to the website, the 1916 directory is only partially entered. The directories contain listings of residents, businesses, and home addresses. They provide a description of the types of information included in the directories year by year to assist the database user. Click on the Online City Directory Database link to open the log in page. Choose the ‘citydirectory’ link. First click on the “Guest Account” button and then on the “Login” button to access the database; do not log in with a user name and password. There is also a link to Tips for Using the Databases, which you should read before beginning your search. The data fields include year, current address, address before 1894, address after 1894, head of household, head of household’s occupation and workplace, other resident listings, business name, business location and notes.

    Historic Photographs
    The Oberlin Heritage Center has an online database of over 500 images dating from the 1860s to 2001. This represents only part of the collection of more than 1000 records, including daguerreotypes, cartes de visite, tin types, glass slides, original prints, copies and digital images. Their focus is primarily on Oberlin’s people, buildings, businesses, schools, events and celebrations from 1833 to the present. Click on the “Our Common Center” Online Collection link to open the database log in page. First click on the “Guest Account” button and then on the “Login” button to access the database; do not log in with a user name and password. The Tips for Using the Databases are the same for all of the databases. You can browse or search the collection. Click on the question mark for online help with using the collection.

    Westwood Cemetery
    Westwood Cemetery is Oberlin’s only cemetery. It was dedicated on July 16, 1864. The cemetery is owned and operated by the City of Oberlin and contains nearly 9,000 burials. The Oberlin Heritage Center has made the following resources related to Westwood Cemetery available:

    Click on the Westwood Gravestone Inventory Database link and then the “Westwood Test Version” link to access the database, which contains marker images and genealogical information for over 5,000 individuals. The database is a work in progress. It contains records for individuals interred prior to 2005. First click on the “Guest Account” button and then on the “Login” button to access the database. (It Is not necessary to have a user name and password to search the database and view results.) On the database main page you will find help and instructions on how to use the database, quick search, advanced search, and browse options. There are also links to a section map for the cemetery; a one-page cemetery guide, which points out “highlights” of the cemetery, including the markers for twenty-four of Oberlin’s notable historic residents; and a 64-page Guide to Westwood Cemetery.

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    Stories of Interest

    100 Years Later, the Roll of the Dead in a Factory Fire is Complete
    In the Cemetery of the Evergreens on the border of Brooklyn and Queens, there is a haunting stone monument to the garment workers who died in the Triangle Waist Company factory fire of 1911 but were never identified. Thanks to the work of genealogist Michael Hirsch, these six unidentified victims of the tragic New York City fire have been identified.

    Book Lovers Fear Dim Future for Notes in the Margins
    “People will always find a way to annotate electronically,” said G. Thomas Tanselle, a former vice president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and an adjunct professor of English at Columbia University. “But there is the question of how it is going to be preserved. And that is a problem now facing collections libraries.”

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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:

    • Index to the Probate Records of Norfolk County Massachusetts 1793 to 1900 in Two Volumes (Item P26707500, $188.00)
    • Joannes Nevius Schepen, 3rd Secretary of New Amsterdam and His Descendants 1627-1900 (Item P4-H20136, $111.00)
    • Arthur Scovell and His Descendants in America 1660-1900 (Item P4-H23256, $57.50)
    • History of Robert Adams of Newbury Massachusetts and His Descendants 1675-1900 (Item P4-S00192, $72.50)
    • Descendants of Joseph Sheets (1812-1900) (Item P4-S23535, $25.00)

    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.

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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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