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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 15, No. 28
    Whole #591
    July 11, 2012
    Edited by Lynn Betlock, Jean Powers, and Valerie Beaudrault


    Greetings from the New England Historic Genealogical Society! 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: The R. Stanton Avery Special Collections at NEHGS (and more free eBooks)
    * Name Origins
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight: Burlington Public Library, Iowa
    * Stories of Interest
    * NEHGS Book Store Guidebook Sale
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


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

    Blue Hill, Maine: Vital Records, 1766-1809
    The town of Blue Hill, in Hancock County, was established in 1789. These records were transcribed from the town books by Grace Limeburner, of North Brooksville, Maine, in 1941. They include vital records, marriage intentions, and a few gravestone inscriptions.

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    A Note from the Editor: The R. Stanton Avery Special Collections at NEHGS (and more free eBooks)
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    This week we continue an occasional feature designed to familiarize readers with the many departments at NEHGS. This week’s profile of Special Collections is written by department director Timothy Salls.

    The NEHGS Special Collections consists of the Society's manuscript holdings, visual materials, and institutional archives. Named in 2008 for R. Stanton Avery (1907–1997), the department is staffed by Manager of Manuscript Collections Timothy Salls; Archivist Judith Lucey; Archives Assistant Robert Shaw; and Special Collections Assistant Sally Benny; as well as a dedicated team of volunteers and college interns.

    The NEHGS R. Stanton Avery Special Collections complements the print, microform, and electronic holdings of the Society’s Research Library by collecting, organizing, preserving, and providing access to manuscripts and visual material that support the research of American families and local history. A manuscript is an unpublished manually produced document such as a handwritten letter, Bible record, or a diary. The Society's holdings of visual materials include photographs, prints, broadsides, and other graphics.

    Donations to the Special Collections are solicited through articles and announcements in American Ancestors magazine and website, staff discussions with patrons; lectures; and the Preserving New England Records initiative led by Ralph Crandall. Recently some capital raised through the Society’s "Connecting Families, Advancing History" campaign has been used to establish a new fund to acquire manuscripts, visual materials, and other items that enhance the Society holdings.

    Appraisals of potential donations to ensure a fit with the Society’s collection guidelines are usually accomplished by email or telephone. Some appraisals require the staff to travel and review the items in person. Although most donations are either delivered or shipped to NEHGS, special collections staff have traveled to various locations throughout New England to pack and transfer collections to NEHGS. Once the manuscript arrives at NEHGS, an acknowledgement letter and deed of gift (for primary source material) are produced for the donor. A deed of gift transfers intellectual and physical ownership to NEHGS, which is necessary for the long-term stewardship of a collection.

    Discrete manuscript items that fit in a single archival folder are immediately placed in the queue for cataloging. Large collections are sent to an offsite storage facility until retrieved and assigned to an intern or staff member for processing. Processing prepares collections for researcher access while supporting their long-term survival. The collection is arranged in a logical and useful order, if one does not already exist, and a collection guide is produced. A list of finding aids available through the library database catalog (as well as manuscript items with images in the digital archive) is available on our website. Once the finding aid is completed, a catalog record for the collection is produced for the OCLC WorldCat database and NEHGS library database catalog.

    NEHGS members may request manuscripts at the reference desk, Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The reference desk staff member or volunteer calls the Special Collections office for the items to be pulled and brought to the reading room for the patron, assists with use of the collection, supervises the proper handling of documents, and records details concerning the manuscript’s use.

    Access to the R. Stanton Avery Special Collections is a benefit of NEHGS membership. For more information on the Special Collections, please visit our website or email Tim Salls.

    * * *

    eBooks update

    In response to the June 27 article by George McKinney on “Free eBooks for Genealogy Research,” two Weekly Genealogist readers shared their own recommendations for eBook sources.

    Mollie Lynch of Clarkston, Michigan:
    As a retired librarian, I needed a hobby and wanted to assist people doing genealogical research so I started I began locating and providing links to freely available digital books, focusing on American biographies, genealogies, and history books. Today there are over 30,000 links from more than 35 sources (only the top sources are listed on the site). The current focus is on surnames, directories, vital records, and identifying smaller sites with local area-specific books.

    Dee Grimsrud, a retired Wisconsin Historical Society archivist from Madison, Wisconsin:
    The Wisconsin Historical Society has numerous county histories scanned, searchable, and free.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Staff Genealogist

    LEAPHE/LEAFY (f): A nickname formed from Puritan "virtue-name" RELIEF. The 1850 census shows seventy-five women named Leafy, mostly in New England and New York. The oldest was Leafy Waters (b. Massachusetts abt. 1782) of Milford, Otsego County, New York, and the youngest was Leafy Willson (b. Ohio 1850) of Suffield, Portage County, Ohio.

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked if any of your ancestors were living in the thirteen American colonies on July 4, 1776. The results are:

    92%, Yes.
    8%, No.

    This week's survey asks if your research has debunked a family myth. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Burlington Public Library, Iowa
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Burlington Public Library, Iowa

    The city of Burlington is the county seat of Des Moines County, which is located in southeastern Iowa. The Burlington Public Library has made a number of genealogical resources available on its website, including the following:

    Click the first link in this section for an alphabetical list of cemeteries in Des Moines County. The second link is to cemetery databases on the Iowa GenWeb website. There are ninety-one cemeteries in this online collection. Scroll to the bottom of the page to view a list of alternate names of some cemeteries.

    Click the cemetery name to view collected information, which may include a description of the cemetery and its history, a list of individuals buried there, photographs, and census images. The burials databases may include surname, first name, birth, death, and notes. The notes field includes spouse and parent names, number of years the individual was married, age of the deceased, place of birth, military service, and description of gravestone. A camera icon in the “notes” field links to a photograph of the gravestone.

    There are three newspaper databases on the website. The second [Burlington] Hawk Eye index, covering the 1830s to 1897, is likely the most useful for family history researchers. This database indexes birth, marriage, and death notices from local newspapers. You can search the database by name. If you would like to limit your search to a particular event type or a specific date of publication, click “more search options.” In addition, you can browse the alphabetical index by clicking the first letter of the surname. The data fields in the index include full name, event (birth, marriage, or death), newspaper title, date of publication, and page number. Copies of newspaper articles may be ordered from the library.

    The Hawk Eye database covering 1985 to the present indexes articles and photographs appearing in the newspaper, but does not contain birth, marriage, or death notices. (I was not able to connect to this index.) The third newspaper link connects researchers to the Hawk Eye Online Archives. Full-text articles may be purchased for a fee.

    The library provides a link to “Daily Life Along the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad,” a searchable collection of more than 700 photographs, including more than sixty of Burlington during the 1940s, on the Newberry Library website. Click the image to view an enlarged photograph or detailed information.

    In addition, you will find on this website a list of the Civil War units raised in Des Moines County.

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    Stories of Interest

    Permanent Record. Entry 8: The Saddest Story in the Report Cards I Found—And How It Came to Have a Happy Ending.
    The latest in Paul Lukas’s “Permanent Record” series, in which he researches the women listed in the Manhattan Trade School for Girls report cards. The first post in the series discusses how he saved these records from destruction, and why they captured his interest.

    The Author of the Civil War
    “Sir Walter Scott not only dominated gift book lists on the eve of the Civil War but also dominated Southern literary taste throughout the conflict.”

    Genealogists Index Norwalk Marriage and Death Records
    “Over the course of several years, Keroack and two other members of the Connecticut Ancestry Society indexed Norwalk marriage and death records for the years 1848 until 1861, moving from old, bound and handwritten books to printed, alphabetized volumes the names of Norwalk's most famous and least famous families, and all those in between.”

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    NEHGS Book Store Guidebook Sale

    Let NEHGS be your guide to summer research! The Book Store at NEHGS is offering sale prices on six of our most popular guidebooks. Save 20% on the following titles:

    Guide to Published Genealogies in the Library of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Sale price: $39.96
    Manuscripts at the New England Historic Genealogical Society R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, Sale price: $31.96
    Guide to Diaries in the R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, Sale price: $7.96
    African American Resources at the New England Historic Genealogical Society: A Selected Bibliography, Sale price: $7.16
    A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries, Sale price: $14.36
    Genealogical Writing in the 21st Century: A Guide to Register Style and More, Sale price: $9.56

    To receive your discount, please use the coupon code SUM49 before July 21, 2012, while supplies last. This offer cannot be combined with any other discounts (including NEHGS member discounts). Prices do not include shipping. To order by phone, please call 617-226-1212.

    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 Worcester, Massachusetts, July 1731 to July 1 1881 (Item P26720000, $239.00)
    • Genealogy of the Descendants of James Breakenridge who Emigrated from Ireland July 1727 (Item P4-H03843, $25.00)
    • Jones Family of Long Island: Descendants of Maj. Thomas Jones (1665-1726) and Allied Families (Item P4-H16254, $80.00)
    • A Random Historical Sketch of Meeker County, Minnesota, from its First Settlement to July 4th 1876 (Item P5-MN0054S, $19.50)
    • History of Old Alexandria, Virginia, from July 13, 1749 to May 24, 1861 (Item P5-VA0083H, $43.00)

    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 Education Programs

    99–101 Newbury St
    Wednesday, July 18, 10–11 a.m.
    The NEHGS website,, is full of great features, tools, resources, and content that highlights NEHGS’s national expertise in genealogy and family history. We now have more than 200 million searchable names covering New England, New York, and beyond. We invite you to attend this free lecture to learn more about this incredible online resource. Free.

    Come Home to New England
    99–101 Newbury Street
    August 6–11
    Join us for one of NEHGS’s most popular programs, Come Home to New England. This is an intensive week of family history discovery and education at the Society’s headquarters in Boston's Back Bay. 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.

    Writing and Publishing Seminar, Part I
    99–101 Newbury Street
    Saturday, September 15, 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
    If you’re ready to turn your family history research into a publication, join the experts at NEHGS to learn best practices in publishing your findings. NEHGS offers guidance on writing and publishing your family history project in this two-part seminar. Workshops in Part 1 include defining your project, writing in genealogical format, working with images, and adding narrative to your genealogy. (Part 2, to be held on February, 23, 2013, delves into the editorial process and book production, and offers a chance to meet with publishers/printers and consult with experts.)
    Tuition: $110. More information.

    For more information on NEHGS programs, please visit 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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