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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 15, No. 18
    Whole #581
    May 2, 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.

    * FamilySearch Video about NEHGS Now on YouTube
    * Coming Soon in the April 2012 Issue of the Register
    * NEHGS Database News
    * A Note from the Editor: The “A Hundred Years Ago” Blog
    * Name Origins
    * This Week’s Survey
    * Spotlight: Passaic County Historical Society Genealogy Club, New Jersey
    * Stories of Interest
    * Classic Reprints
    * Upcoming NEHGS Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    FamilySearch Video about NEHGS Now on YouTube

    A new eight-minute video about NEHGS produced by FamilySearch, “The American Melting Pot: A Visit with the New England Historic Genealogical Society,” is now available for viewing on YouTube. The movie highlights the NEHGS collections and focuses on the research stories of two members, John Scherer and Cheryl Stedtler.

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    Coming Soon in the April 2012 Issue of the Register

    Holmes Descendants of Desire (Doty) (Sherman) (Holmes) Standish
    by Susan A. Gillette

    Updating Two Ezekiel Fullers, Father and Son, of Attleborough, Massachusetts, Lebanon and Hebron, Connecticut, and Smithfield, Rhode Island
    by Frederick C. Hart, Jr.

    Joseph and Mary (Whitcomb) Wood of Tolland, Connecticut, and Dalton, Massachusetts
    by Austin W. Spencer

    John Barrows of Plymouth, Massachusetts
    by Martin E. Hollick

    Elizabeth and Sarah Decosta of Boston: Covering Up Reality
    by Glade Ian Nelson

    The Slaves of Gov. Stephen Hopkins (concluded from 166:27)
    by Cherry Fletcher Bamberg and Donald R. Hopkins

    Richard Hixson of Massachusetts and His Descendants (concluded from 166:45)
    by Carol J. Botteron

    Non-Massachusetts Probates Recorded in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, to 1799 (continued from 166:75)
    by David Allen Lambert

    Also in this issue . . . Editorial and Reviews of Books

    A subscription to the Register is a benefit of NEHGS membership. If you are not a member, you may join online at or call toll-free 1-888-296-3447.

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

    New York, N.Y.: Marriages in the Reformed Dutch Church, 1639–1801

    This database contains marriage records from The Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of the City of New York, for the period 1639-1801. The Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of the City of New York was officially founded in 1628, although services conducted by laymen had been held for several years earlier. The church building was rebuilt on several occasions, and the most famous today is probably the Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue at 29th Street in New York City. More information on the church and its history is available at Wikipedia.

    This database contains 14,530 names of brides and grooms.

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    A Note from the Editor: The “A Hundred Years Ago” Blog
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    I’d like to share a blog called “A Hundred Years Ago,” written by Sheryl Lazerus. When Ms. Lazerus’s paternal grandmother, Helena (Muffly) Swartz, died in 1980, her children found a diary the teenage Helena had kept from January 1911 through December 1914. At the time Helena was writing, she was living in Northumberland County in central Pennsylvania, about a mile outside of McEwensville.

    Ms. Lazerus made a copy of the diary and, she writes, it “laid in a paper bag in the bottom of my hutch for more than 20 years until I pulled it out in January 2010 and started reading.” Ms. Lazerus started her blog to showcase the entries from her grandmother’s diary, and she posts each entry exactly 100 years after it was written. The brief entries are followed by Ms. Lazerus’s commentary on the text and an in-depth examination of a related topic.

    I particularly like the rich historical context that Ms. Lazerus added to help readers understand the world her grandmother experienced. Topics include “1912 Dresses That Could Be Made for One Dollar”; Longfellow’s Evangeline, which Helena read; discussion of Helena’s deportment grade; and “Average Height for Males and Females in 1912 and 2012.” The posts are organized into the following categories: the Central Pennsylvania towns of McEwensville, Milton, Turbotville, and Watsontown; crafts and sewing; education; family memories; farming and Grandma; food; friends; genealogy; health; holidays; other; rural life; and statistics.

    Ms. Lazerus writes: “My memories of Grandma Helen were of a feeble, elderly woman — Helena (the name she used in the diary) was a fun-loving, self-absorbed teen. Helena wasn’t an Anne Frank — and most days she only wrote three or four lines. Some days she wrote that ‘nothing of importance’ had occurred. Yet as I tried to decipher the handwriting a fascinating young woman emerged, and I wanted to learn more about her and how she evolved into the grandmother I remember.”

    I think “A Hundred Years Ago” provides a terrific model for making a primary source written by an ancestor relevant today. Ms. Lazerus has greatly enhanced the entries with her research and reflections, and made her grandmother’s diary much more meaningful for both herself and her readers.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Staff Genealogist

    LYSANDER (m): Greek, meaning “liberator.” Name of a Spartan general and naval commander, and a character in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Lysander Hard, b. New Milford, Conn. 25 March 1769, son of Abraham and Charity (Munsee) Hard, died in Medina, Ohio, in 1851. Lysander R. Clark, a boot maker, was b. Bellingham, Mass. in 1822, and died of consumption in Franklin, Mass., on 6 Dec. 1853.

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    This Week's Survey

    Last week’s survey asked the location of the ancestor you’d most like to meet if you could travel back in time. The results are:

    40%, New England
    18%, The British Isles
    10%, New York
    10%, Other location in the Eastern United States
    7%, Europe
    6%, Location in the Central United States
    4%, Canada
    2%, Location in the Western United States
    2%, I can’t decide.
    <1%, Other
    <1%, Asia
    <1%, Africa

    This week's survey asks about diaries in your family. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Passaic County Historical Society Genealogy Club, New Jersey
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Passaic County Historical Society Genealogy Club, New Jersey

    Passaic County is located in northern New Jersey. It is part of the New York City Metropolitan Area. Paterson is the county seat. The Passaic County Historical Society Genealogy Club was established in 1985 “for the purpose of advancing genealogical study and discovering, obtaining, preserving and perpetuating whatever may relate to genealogy, biography and family history in Passaic County, New Jersey.” The Genealogy Club has made a number of resources available on its website. Click on the “Resources On Line from the Collection” link to access them. The majority of the databases in this online collection are transcriptions. In some cases photographs and graphics have been provided; Click on the “Resources On Line from the Collection” link at the bottom of the homepage to access them.

    The Passaic County Historical Society Genealogy Club online resources include the following:

    Schools and Associations
    This section includes lists of Passaic and Paterson high school graduates, Association of Exempt Firemen, DAR applicants, Hamilton Club Membership Roster, Paterson normal school graduates, residents of the Old Ladies’ Home of Passaic City, and members of the Paterson Rambling Club and the Riverside Athletic and Singing Club. The years spanned by these lists are 1873 through 1934.

    Bible Records
    This section contains extracted family records for more than twenty-five Passaic County families from Bibles in the historical society’s collection. A cross-referenced index to surnames has been compiled.

    There are seventeen cemetery-related databases in the collection. They include burial listings, narrative descriptions, a guide to Passaic County cemeteries, lists of lot owners, and a cemetery map.

    There are a number of church-related resources, ranging from church histories to lists of church members and pew holders to marriages, baptisms, and cemetery tombstone inscriptions. The denominations include Catholic, Presbyterian, African Methodist, and Reformed Churches.

    Newspaper Extracts
    This section contains extracts from various local newspapers, in addition to information about newspapers in the Passaic County Historical Society’s collections.

    Orphan Research
    This section contains materials related to orphans in the Passaic and Paterson area. There are short histories of the Passaic Home and Orphan Asylum, Mount St. Joseph Home for Boys and Girls, the Paterson Orphan Asylum, and the St. Joseph’s Orphanage for Girls. There is also a list of “inmates” in the Paterson Orphan Asylum as of November 5, 1877. Each child’s full name and age is provided. Photographs of three of the asylums can be viewed by clicking on the link next to the title.

    In addition, the online resources include biographies and industry and business profiles. The heading “Passaic County and Its Environs,” includes the following: Franklin Twp. Births & Deaths 1861–1862; Who’s Who in Passaic County, 1917; Italian-American Who's Who, 1943; Principal Farmers in Passaic County, 1871-1874; Paterson Cholera Epidemic Death List, 1832 and 1849; and Pompton Lakes: Marriages, Births, Deaths, 1896, among others.

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    Stories of Interest

    Permanent Record: Rose Vrana is 95. She Went to Trade School in the 1930s. I Found Her Report Card. Then I Found Her.
    Paul Lukas relates new discoveries that have occurred since his story about finding 1930s student report cards from the Manhattan Trade School for Girls first appeared.

    Lost Diary Key to Unlocking an Idaho Family’s History
    A story of genealogical serendipity: how a diary was returned to a descendant of the original owner after many years.

    For Many, A Letter Still Says It Best
    Seattle Times columnist Nichole Brodeur reports on reader reactions to an earlier column lamenting the declining numbers of letters being written. Says It’s Buying Rival Genealogy Site for $100M

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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:

    • Collateral Ancestry of Stephen Harris, born September 4, 1798, and of Marianne Smith, born April 2, 1805, Item P4-S13419 ($28.00)
    • History of Hartford, Vermont, July 4, 1761–April 4, 1889, Item P5-VT0025H ($52.50)
    • Winders of America: John Winder, of New York, 1674-5; Thomas Winder, of New Jersey, 1703-34; John Winder, of Maryland, 1665-98, Item P4-H27771 ($31.50)
    • History of Hillsdale, Columbia County, New York, Item P2-8252500 ($59.00)
    • Old Gravestones of Ulster County, New York, Item P2-8251000 ($70.00)

    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

    Boston Public Library Computer Class: Using
    Central Library in Copley Square, 700 Boylston Street, Boston
    Thursday, May 3, 2:30 p.m.

    Join NEHGS Online Genealogist David Allen Lambert for a hands-on computer class at the Boston Public Library. Learn how to use the tools available on while following along on a computer provided by the library. The class will be held in the Training Lab. Free.

    **Note: May 9 program has been rescheduled to May 16.
    99-101 Newbury St, Boston
    Wednesday, May 16, 10–11 a.m.

    The NEHGS website is full of great features, tools, resources, and content that highlights NEHGS’ national expertise in genealogy and family history. We now have more than 200 million searchable names covering New England, New York, and other locations. We invite you to attend this free lecture to learn more about this incredible online resource. Free.

    Come Home to New England — Session I
    99-101 Newbury St, Boston
    June 11–16

    One of NEHGS’s most popular programs, Come Home to New England is an intensive week of family history discovery and education at the Society’s headquarters in Boston. NEHGS experts provide individual consultations and useful lectures to guide researchers of all levels in their family history explorations. Participants also enjoy group meals and social events, making every moment of this fun-filled week a chance to learn more about your family history.
    Tuition: $750. Register online.

    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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