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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 15, No. 15
    Whole #578
    April 11, 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
    * The NEHGS Annual Dinner
    * A Note from the Editor: A Featured Blog
    * Name Origins
    * This Week’s Survey
    * Spotlight: Bedford County [Pennsylvania] Historical Society
    * 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

    The Mayflower Descendant, vols. 26–30

    Volumes 26 to 30 (publication years 1924–1925 and 1930–1932; the journal wasn’t published between 1926 and 1929) are now available to search. Additional volumes will be added regularly throughout the year.

    The Mayflower Descendant has been published by the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants since 1899. It is an essential source of information on many New England families, and its focus is not limited to those with Mayflower lineage. The journal includes transcriptions and abstracts of deeds, wills, vital records, and other original documents. In addition, it features compiled genealogies and analytical studies of genealogical problems.

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

    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.

    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.

    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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    A Note from the Editor: A Featured Blog
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    In this issue of The Weekly Genealogist Barbara Poole introduces her blog.

    My New England-focused blog, Life From The Roots, began over two years ago. The blog includes over 640 posts, in which I cover 85 different surnames, a lot of research tips, 103 cemetery postings, and 20 entries on the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

    My roots are in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wyoming, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada.

    Like many other genealogists, I got hooked on family history in an instant. I started over 22 years ago, and it hasn’t stopped. The blog was begun as a way to share what I know, and hopefully somebody will benefit. I’m also interested in photography, and often use my photos; I have another blog called, Seeing New England, which you might enjoy. I’m still learning research methods, trying to solve brick walls, and enjoy helping people. I would be pleased if readers would look through my genealogy posts or check the topics on the right side of the webpage to see if there is anything that interests you. 

    If you have any recommendations for blogs that should be featured in a future issue of The Weekly Genealogist, please let us know.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Staff Genealogist

    LUCRETIA (f): Feminine form of a Roman family name. According to Livy and other Roman historians, Lucretia—daughter of Spurius Lucretius, prefect of Rome, and wife of Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, was raped by a guest in her home, Sextus Tarquinius, son of Tarquinius Superbus [the proud], last of the kings of Rome. She made her way to her father’s house, summoned witnesses, and stabbed herself to death to avenge her honor and the insult to her husband. The incident set off the revolt that brought down the early monarchy and established the Roman Republic.

    Her story was dear to the Romans (and to medieval, Renaissance and later readers of Roman literature) as an exemplar of womanly virtue, and has often been treated in art—the theme was popular in Renaissance art because it allowed the depiction of female nudes engaged in imparting a moral “lesson” and enforcing popular concepts of female virtue; as the Wikipedia article on her notes, writers, artists and musicians from St. Augustine to Megadeth have mined the tale.

    LUCRETIA—related to Latin lucrum “profit, wealth” (derived from the Indo-European root *lau- “gain, profit” via “suffixed zero-grade form *lu-tlo”)—is a completely different name from LUCY, which is related to Latin lux “light” and lucēre “to shine” (which derive from the IE root *leuk “light, brightness” (Calvert Watkins, The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, 3rd ed. [Boston/New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011], pp. 48, 51). The name retains much of its patrician tone, but in colonial and later America, sometime appears in the nickname form “Cretia” [CREE-sha] or “Creesy.” One famous American bearer was Lucretia (Coffin) Mott (1793-1880), the American Quaker abolitionist, feminist, and social reformer.

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    This Week's Survey

    Last week’s survey asked whether you had used the 1940 census. The results are:

    42%, No, I have not used the 1940 census records online.
    24%, Yes, I have used the 1940 census records on another website.
    19%, Yes, I have used the 1940 census records on the National Archives website.
    15%, I tried, but was not able to use the 1940 census records online.

    This week's survey asks how far you live from where an immigrant ancestor settled. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Bedford County [Pennsylvania] Historical Society
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Bedford County Historical Society

    Bedford County is located on Pennsylvania’s southern border with Maryland. The Bedford County Historical Society, which was established in 1937, operates the Pioneer Library. According to the historical society’s website, the library contains “the county's most extensive collection of historical and genealogical materials.”

    A number of indexes have been made available on the website. Copies of various records may be ordered from the historical society for a fee. Click on the On-site Research link in the contents list to access the records. Click on the database title link to open a new page containing the index.

    Alms House Records: Scroll down to view the alphabetical index. The data fields for the Alms House Records index are last name, first name, volume, and page number. There are instructions for ordering copies of the records at the top of the page.  

    Civil War Exemptions: These records include both requests for exemptions and lists of soldiers who received exemptions from service in the Civil War. Scroll down to view the alphabetical index. The data fields for the Civil War Exemptions index are full name, volume, and page number. Instructions for ordering copies of the records are at the beginning of the page.

    Divorce Indexes: The divorce index is divided into a number of alphabetical sections. The data fields for the alphabetical by surname index include libellant’s full name, respondent’s full name, and year. Instructions for ordering copies of the records may be found by clicking on the Paid Research link.

    Naturalization Papers: This alphabetical database is an index to individuals naturalized in Bedford County. The only information provided is the full name of the individual. There are instructions for ordering copies of the records at the top of the page.

    Obituaries: This database indexes more than 100,000 obituaries in the historical society’s collection. The index is divided into a number of alphabetical sections. The data fields in the obituary index are last name, first name, book number, page number, birth date, death date, and maiden name–other. Indexing was done by a number of different individuals. Because of this the maiden name might appear in parentheses following the woman’s first name or it might be in the maiden name column. Instructions for ordering copies of obituaries may be found at the bottom of the page.

    Orphans Court Records: This database is an index to Bedford County Orphans Court records from 1790 to 1900. It is divided into a number of alphabetical sections. The data fields are surname, first name, year, number of pages, and township. Instructions for ordering copies of the records may be found by clicking on the Paid Research link.

    Pension Files: This database is an index to soldiers from Bedford County who received pensions due to service in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War (Union and Confederate), and Spanish American War. The data fields are last name, first name, and war in which the individual served. The information in the first name field includes not only the given name of the soldier but may also include whether the file includes a widow’s pension, a parent’s pension, aliases under which a soldier served, and more. The War field also sometimes includes the number of pages in the pension file. Instructions on how to order copies of the files may be found on the website.

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    Stories of Interest

    Why the Huge Interest in the 1940 Cenus?
    An historian on the history staff of the U.S. Census Bureau attempts to answer that question.

    Faces of the Titanic: Jeremiah Burke Lost his Life at 19 — Put a Message in a Bottle before He Died
    A young Irishman immigrating to the Unites States sent a message in a bottle from the Titanic, which washed up a short distance from his home a year later. Many more Titanic-related stories are available at Irish Central’s Titanic Centenary Commemoration section.

    Album Might Have Presidential Tie
    NEHGS genealogist Christopher C. Child comments on a recently-discovered 1870s photograph album containing images of President Obama’s maternal relatives.

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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)
    • 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

    Registration deadline extended!
    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 20, 2012. Register online.

    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.

    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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    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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