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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 15, No. 14
    Whole #577
    April 4, 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 Database News
    * A Note from the Editor: Library Technical Services at NEHGS
    * Name Origins
    * This Week’s Survey
    * Spotlight: Ohio and Massachusetts Resources
    * Stories of Interest
    * Classic Reprints
    * Upcoming NEHGS Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


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

    New York, NY: Parents and Witnesses at Baptisms in the Reformed Dutch Church, 1731–1800

    This database continues the baptism records from the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of the City of New York, for the period 1731 to 1800. The church was officially founded in 1628. More information on the church and its history is available at Wikipedia.

    This database contains 35,100 names of mothers, fathers and witnesses at baptisms.

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    A Note from the Editor: Library Technical Services at NEHGS
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    This week we introduce a new occasional feature — articles designed to familiarize readers with the many departments at NEHGS. We begin with a profile of Technical Services, written by department director Lynne Burke.

    The Library Technical Services has been called “the heart of the library.” Three reasons for that assessment might be: acquisitions, access, and conservation.

    Acquisition of printed library materials, microforms, and electronic resources is handled by Technical Services staff, with recommendations eagerly sought from all NEHGS staff and members. Donations of library materials arrive in Technical Services on a daily basis; email for instructions on how to donate. Single items or cartons of books from our generous members are acknowledged and checked against our collections. Duplicate items are offered for sale in the used book section of the Society’s book shop or online, with the permission of the donors.

    Once acquired, an item is cataloged in the online library catalog, where it is described and searchable terms are added to its record to make it easy to find. It is then given a call number label and a book plate naming the donor or the fund that was used for the purchase, and added to the shelves of the research library.

    The library is also happy to accept donations of electronic versions of books (preferably in PDF format), which we can add to our Digital Library for members to access online from home. Titles which may be placed in the Digital Library include those that are out of copyright and those for which the author is the donor and gives us permission. Electronic files may be donated either on CD/DVD or by email to

    The research library has more than 800 serial titles in its collection. Ordering, tracking, and binding issues into volumes are all handled by Technical Services. We also locate back issues and keep up-to-date on changing titles, periodicals that are no longer published, and new titles that would be of interest to our patrons.

    Technical Services is also responsible for acquiring subscriptions to online databases for our members to use here at the library or, in the case of some databases, via our website

    The NEHGS research collection has been in constant use since 1845, with many books published in the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries. Conservation of this collection is a very important part of Technical Services work. Paper repair is a painstaking process. Fortunately, a variety of conservation treatments are available today. In addition, we can scan fragile materials to make high-quality print copies that can be used by library patrons. Conservation of manuscripts, samplers, and other works of art is performed in house by our Conservation Technician. Library Technical Services has four full-time staff, as well as several volunteers and interns, all striving to provide easy access to materials in the research library. Our biggest challenge is to find enough space in which to fit our ever-growing collections, but we see this as a happy dilemma.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Staff Genealogist

    ELECTA (f): “Chosen” in Latin (past participle, feminine). Electa (Weller) Coatsworth (1832– after 1909) of Buffalo, N.Y., was paternal grandmother of the poet Elizabeth Coatsworth (1892–1986), wife of the naturalist Henry Beston (1888–1968). Electa Colver, b. prob. Columbia Co., N.Y. 1775, was the daughter of Nathaniel [Jr.] and Esther (Dean) Colver (TAG 65 [1990]: 208.

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    This Week's Survey

    Last week’s survey asked about your research plans regarding the 1940 census. The results are:

    53%, I will do some searching in the National Archives images immediately, but do most of my research after the name indexes are released.
    24%, I will wait to do my research until after the name indexes for the 1940 census are available online.
    18%, I will immediately use the images provided by the National Archives - without an index - and will do most or all of my research soon after the release.
    5%, I do not plan on using the 1940 census.

    This week's survey asks about whether you’ve used the 1940 census since it was released on Monday. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Ohio and Massachusetts Resources
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Cincinnati Birth and Death Records, Ohio

    I discovered this collection by chance. I was looking for information on an individual with a rather unique name by using the Google search engine. The first entry in the search results was his death record in the Cincinnati Birth and Death Records database — an online collection unfamiliar to me.

    The University of Cincinnati, through its Digital Resource Commons, has made available to the public a database of Cincinnati birth and death records. The database covers the period from 1865 through 1912, with some pre-1865 records included. The source for the records is a set of index cards created by the Cincinnati Health Department. These records are considered the “official and legal records of births and deaths” for 1865–1912. The online collection, which is still under development, contains more than 500,000 records.

    You can search all of the records by entering a keyword in the search box on the main database page. You can also search specific sets of years by clicking on one of the database links to open a search page. For example, you can enter the surname of the deceased, cause of death, occupation, and parents’ names in the search box. Results are returned in alphabetical order. (If a surname is also the name of a street on which someone lived, those records will be included in the results.)

    Westfield Athenaeum, Massachusetts

    According to this website, the Westfield Athenaeum has been documenting life in Westfield and its environs for more than 140 years. The Athenaeum’s collection includes papers, diaries, and photographs relating to Westfield. Through Edwin Online, the Athenaeum has made some of its colonial collections available on its website. Click on the Browse Collections link to view them. Seven collections are represented here.

    To access a specific collection, click on the title link. This will open a new page with a description of the collection and some thumbnail images. Click on the thumbnail image of an item to open a page with a detailed description. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the thumbnail image(s) below the word “Files” to access individual page images.

    Bartlett’s Notebooks
    This collection contains copies of documents made by Joseph D. Bartlett from original records that are no longer in existence. You will find his transcription of early Westfield town records from 1666 to 1735 and the Datio Ensign account book, which contains genealogical information about eighteenth and nineteenth-century Westfield families.

    Military Life
    This section contains military documents in the Athenaeum’s holdings. There is a special emphasis on General William Shepard who fought in the Revolutionary War and stopped Shays’ Rebellion. Letters written by other individuals during the Revolutionary period are included here.

    Home Life
    This collection of forty-two items includes diaries and daybooks, items related to schools and taverns, and information about the first town library company.

    Native Americans
    This collection contains eight items related to the Woronoco Indians who lived in the area before European settlement.

    Ministers’ Diaries and Sermons
    This collection of seventy-eight items includes selections from three ministers’ diaries.

    General William Shepard
    This collection contains thirty-five items relating to General William Shepard, an important figure in Westfield’s history. Shepard served in the French and Indian wars, as a member of the Committee of Correspondence, as a lieutenant colonel for the Minutemen, and in the Revolution under General Glover. After the Revolution he served in the state legislature and U.S. House of Representatives. The online collection contains some of General Shepard's military correspondence, an orderly book, pages from Shepard’s family Bible, and images of his home.

    The twelve items in this collection include both hand drawn and published maps showing the “settlers and settling” of Westfield.

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    Stories of Interest

    Release of 1940 Census Data Provides Snapshot of America
    This article, anticipating the release of the 1940 census, includes quotes from NEHGS senior researcher Rhonda R. McClure and an NEHGS library patron.

    Taking Over Holiday Duties, Daughter Reflects on Family Traditions
    “Despite genealogy gumshoes looking under every rock on the Internet for ancestral clues, the Passover seder is where family history is made, the stories mapped on the parachute of a tablecloth unpacked from storage this one time a year.”

    Uncovered Document Traces Family’s History
    A Riverside, California, man who purchased a framed print online discovered a Bates genealogical record from Cohasset, Massachusetts, hidden within.

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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, $87.00)
    • 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)

    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, Boston
    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

    A Tale of Two Cities: Louisbourg and Halifax in the Contest for Empire

    99-101 Newbury St, Boston
    Thursday, April 12, 12:15 p.m.

    The great French fortress at Louisbourg had its beginnings at the end of Queen Anne's War in 1713, when France's oldest North American settlement, Acadia, had fallen to the British. France knew that entrance to the St. Lawrence must be guarded, and built Louisbourg as a symbol not only to protect its interests, but to frighten English settlers along the seaboard. The British realized that they themselves had to build a city to challenge Louisbourg for control of the fishing grounds and trading lanes off Nova Scotia. Halifax was the result. The two fortified port cities represented the efforts of these two great powers to control North America. Historian Donald Friary will discuss the brief history of Louisbourg and the establishment of Halifax and what they meant to the French and British on both sides of the Atlantic. Free.

    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.

    Nova Scotia Heritage Tour
    July 2 – 11

    From the moment that the first French settlement in North America was established at Port Royal in 1604, Nova Scotia has had a strong relationship to New England, as goods were traded and people migrated back and forth.

    This summer, historian and expert tour guide Donald Friary will lead an exceptional tour of Nova Scotia’s rich history and incomparable natural beauty. Participants will learn more about the Mi’kmaq, who have lived there for thousands of years, the Acadians who flourished along the Bay of Fundy before their expulsion by the English, settlers from Britain, New England, and Europe, Loyalist refugees, and Scottish Highlanders. The tour will explore the tranquility of the Annapolis Valley, the exquisite coastline of the South Shore, and the dramatic scenery along the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island.

    Join us for this exclusive opportunity to explore Nova Scotia’s heritage. Space is limited.

    More information can be accessed by visiting the events page on

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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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