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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 15, No. 13
    Whole #576
    March 28, 2012
    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 Featured in Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
    * NEHGS Database News
    * The NEHGS Annual Dinner
    * Colonial New England’s Colorful History, with Historian Roger Thompson
    * Irish Genealogy Study Group at NEHGS
    * A Note from the Editor: New England Textile Mill Worker Ancestors
    * Name Origins
    * This Week’s Survey
    * Spotlight: Southwestern Pennsylvania Resources
    * Stories of Interest
    * Classic Reprints
    * Upcoming NEHGS Education Programs
    * Upcoming Conferences
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    NEHGS Featured in Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

    This coming Sunday, April 1, Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., will feature Barbara Walters and Geoffrey Canada. NEHGS Senior Researcher Rhonda McClure worked extensively on both family histories and will appear in this episode, portions of which were filmed at the NEHGS library at 99-101 Newbury Street. A short trailer is available at the Finding Your Roots website. Please check your local PBS station for show times.

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

    The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vols. 11–15

    The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record is the premier genealogical journal devoted to scholarship on families residing in New York State and surrounding areas. Published quarterly since 1870 by the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society, the Record features articles with a wide variety of sources, such as Bible records, census records, church registers, newspaper extracts, muster rolls, wills and deeds, and proceedings of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society.

    This week, we have added volumes 11–15, containing 40,000 additional name records. The database now contains volumes 1 through 15, publication years 1870 to 1884. Future volumes will be added periodically.

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    The NEHGS Annual Dinner
    Friday, April 20, 2012
    Four Seasons Hotel, 200 Boylston St., Boston

    Keynote Speaker and NEHGS Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient — Professor Bryan Sykes
    This event will be the international book launch of Professor Sykes’s groundbreaking DNA USA: A Genetic Portrait of America, a publication prominently featuring NEHGS, and its friends and family.

    Guest of Honor — Governor Michael S. Dukakis
    In recognition of distinguished service to the Commonwealth and the nation, NEHGS will present a detailed family history to Michael and Kitty Dukakis this evening.

    The New England Historic Genealogical Society requests the pleasure of your company at the 2012 Annual Dinner. The evening will begin with a Champagne Reception at 5 p.m. with special guest John W. Sears, 1982 Republican nominee for Governor of Massachusetts, to be followed by a Reception at 6, Remarks at 6:30, and Dinner at 7 with Governor Michael S. Dukakis and Professor Bryan Sykes.

    For more details, or to purchase tickets, please visit Contact the Development Office at 617-226-1215 with any further questions. The evening’s proceeds will benefit Connecting Families. Advancing History. A National Campaign for the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

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    Colonial New England’s Colorful History, with Historian Roger Thompson
    Back Bay Events Center, 200 Berkeley Street, Boston
    Sunday, April 22, 2012, 9:30 a.m.– 4:45 p.m.

    The first generations of New England colonists left behind surprisingly colorful records. Colonial historian and scholar Roger Thompson will share his many years of research into the daily lives of early New Englanders, including in-depth studies of town settlement, religion, court records, crime and violence, the role of women, and the region’s relationship with England. In his books Sex in Middlesex: Popular Mores in a Massachusetts County, 1649-1699; Divided We Stand: Watertown, Massachusetts, 1630-1680; Cambridge Cameos: Stories of Life in Seventeenth-Century New England; and his most recent work, published by NEHGS, From Deference to Defiance: Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1629-1692, Mr. Thompson uses rigorous scholarship to bring this vibrant world to life. The day will conclude with a retrospective on Mr. Thompson’s illustrious career, spent exploring this fascinating period in our nation’s history.  

    Roger Thompson is emeritus professor at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, where he taught American Colonial History for thirty years. He has also taught at many other distinguished institutions, including Eton College and several major American universities. Mr. Thompson is the author of ten books on English and early modern American history. Cost: $85 (includes continental breakfast). Please register by April 6, 2012. Register online.

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    Irish Genealogy Study Group at NEHGS

    The Irish Genealogy Study Group will meet on Saturday, March 31, between 1 and 4 p.m. in the Education Center (second floor) at NEHGS. This is an informal group gathered to talk about research problems and share solutions. Everyone is welcome to come and join in. Contact Mary Ellen Grogan for more information.

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    A Note from the Editor: New England Textile Mill Worker Ancestors
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    Last week’s survey question on whether readers had New England textile mill worker ancestors was prompted by an upcoming feature in the summer issue of American Ancestors magazine. I was interested to see that the number of readers with New England textile mill worker ancestors (30%) was so high.

    In 2009, we put out a call in The Weekly Genealogist for short articles or vignettes about ancestors who participated in the Gold Rush, for a Gold Rush-themed magazine issue. Now the staff of American Ancestors magazine would like to hear from those with ancestors who worked (or had any connections) in New England textile mills, from the beginning of the nineteenth century through the twentieth century.

    Please send a paragraph of information on your ancestor(s), outlining the details of their work or role in the mills, and briefly mentioning relevant family stories, documentation, or photographs, to A few submitters with particularly interesting stories or sources will be asked to write accounts for publication in American Ancestors magazine or on Paragraphs should be submitted by April 18, and responses can be expected by the end of April.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Staff Genealogist

    ABEDNEGO (m): At least one set of children was named for the men in the Biblical Fiery Furnace (Daniel, chapters 1–3): Meschach, Shadrack, and Abednego Rust were born at Wolfeboro, N.H., 20 Aug. 1796, sons of William and Hannah (Marble) Rust. Shadrack died young, but Meshach and Abednego survived to marry and leave descendants (Rev. Albert Dexter Rust, Record of the Rust Family, Embracing the Descendants of Henry Rust... [1891], pp. 235-36).

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    This Week's Survey

    Last week’s survey asked whether you have ancestors who were textile mill workers. The results are:

    66%, No, I am not aware of any of my ancestors working in a textile mill.
    30%, Yes, at least one of my ancestors worked in a New England textile mill.
    4%, No, but at least one of my ancestors worked in a textile mill in another region of the United States.

    This week's survey asks about your interest in the April 2 release of the 1940 census. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Southwestern Pennsylvania Resources
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Baltzer Meyer Historical Society, Greensburg, Pennsylvania

    Greensburg is located in Westmoreland County. It is part of the Pittsburgh metro area. The Baltzer Meyer Historical Society is “a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and study of Old Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, with an emphasis on Southwestern Pennsylvania families.”

    The Society has made an obituary index available on its website. The database currently contains nearly 27,000 records. It is a work in progress, with new records being added over time. It is an index to the Society's "storehouse" of obituaries of individuals who resided in or had connections to Westmoreland County. Click on the link to the index in the right-hand column of the text. This will open a new page with links that have been organized alphabetically by the first letter of the surname of the deceased. The data fields in the index are name, date of death, comments, and location code. The comments field lists the relevant materials the historical society has in its obituary holdings, which might include a “photograph, memorial card, news item, funeral notice, etc.” The location code indicates where the obituary can be found in the Society’s collections. You may order copies of obituaries from the Baltzer Meyer Historical Society for a small fee. Be sure to include all location codes associated with the deceased so that you receive all available copies of obituaries related to that individual.

    Allegheny Cemetery, Pennsylvania

    The Allegheny Cemetery is located in Pittsburgh, which is in southwestern Pennsylvania. The cemetery, established in 1844, is said to be one of the largest cemeteries in the country. It comprises 300 acres and has fifteen miles of paved roads. More than 130,000 individuals have been buried there.

    There is a burials database on the cemetery website. Click on the Genealogy link in the menu bar at the top of the home page to begin your search. This will open the cemetery records search page. The database can be searched by first name and last name. The search results returned are full name, if known, date born, date died, burial plot location (section, lot, and grave numbers), and a link to a section map.

    There are additional resources on the website. One is a database of notable individuals buried in Allegheny Cemetery. Click on the Notables link in the contents list on the left side of the webpage, which will open a new page where you can search or browse the list. In many cases, photographs of the deceased are included. For most, there is also information on why they are notable. There is also a database of burials of individuals who served in the military. Click on the Pictures link to browse through all photographs of individuals buried in the Allegheny Cemetery. This list contains the photographs and portraits of historical figures as well as individuals who died in the past two years. For those who died in 2011 and 2012, click on the Condolences and More Information link to read their obituaries.

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    Stories of Interest

    Family Tree’s Startling Roots
    Research for this season’s “Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.,” which debuted Sunday on PBS, revealed that comedian and actress Wanda Sykes “has the longest continuously documented family tree of any African-American we have ever researched.”

    Abigail Adams’s Secret Business Ventures: Echoes
    Abigail Adams held strong views about women’s economic rights. She invested money she considered her own and, in her will, “she bequeathed all of her property to her granddaughters, her nieces, her daughters-in-law and her female servants.”

    Man Solves 74-Year-Old Mystery of Lost Father
    A Hemet, California, man and his siblings discovered that their father, who had abandoned them as young children, later had a second family.

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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)

    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 NEHGS Education Programs

    Genealogical Research in Connecticut
    99-101 Newbury Street
    Wednesday, April 11, 10–11 a.m.

    Join Christopher Child, genealogist of the Newbury Street Press, for an exploration of genealogical research in Connecticut. Learn more about the records, resources, and strategies you need to discover information about your Connecticut ancestors. Family history researchers of all levels are encouraged to attend. Free.

    Portuguese and Azorean Immigration: Records and Resources in Massachusetts
    99-101 Newbury Street
    Friday, April 13, 12–1:30 p.m.

    Join us for a lunchtime program about Portuguese and Azorean immigration. We’re highlighting NEHGS’s recent acquisition of microfilmed Azorean records, including Catholic Church and civil records (primarily birth, baptism, marriage, and death records from the 16th through the 19th centuries).

    First, Sonia Pacheco, Librarian/Archivist at UMass Dartmouth, will present "Preserving and Promoting Ethnic Heritage, Identity, and Representation in the U.S., a brief history of Portuguese immigration to the United States," and share the resources available at the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

    Then, Michael J. Hall of FamilySearch will demonstrate how documents can be used to reconstruct the history of a family, and the importance of preserving all documents for the family historian, in "Immigration of Azoreans to the United States: Through the Documents of One Family." Follow the journey of the Brilhante Family from Relva, Sao Miguel, Azores, to Fall River, Massachusetts. The story of Azorean immigration, told through the eyes of Antonio Brilhante, will unfold through photos, newspaper accounts, government and religious records, and personal documents created in the Azores and the United States. Free.

    More information can be accessed by visiting the events page on

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    Upcoming Conferences

    The Ohio Genealogical Society presents History and Genealogy: Finding Clues to Ancestral Lives
    April 12-14 at the InterContinental Hotel on Carnegie Ave. in Cleveland, Ohio 

    The conference will feature nationally known speakers discussing numerous topics, ranging from technology to methodology; a vendor hall open to the public; lineage society inductions, and more. Nearby attractions include the Western Reserve Historical Society. For more information, please visit or call 419-886-1903.

    The Ontario Genealogical Society presents Borders & Bridges: 1812–2012

    June 1-3 at St. Lawrence College, Kingston, Ontario

    Themes include War of 1812 and other military conflicts, Ontario records, across borders from Ontario, bridging the Atlantic, and technology and methodology. Pre-conference workshops, tours, free “ask a pro” sessions, research room with eight free subscription sites, and a large marketplace. Onsite accommodation is available in air-conditioned student residence. See for details. Early-bird registration discount ends March 31st.

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    NEHGS Contact Information

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    Copyright 2012, 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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