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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 15, No. 33
    Whole #596
    August 15, 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.

    * Coming Soon in the Summer 2012 Issue of American Ancestors
    * NEHGS Database News
    * A Note from the Editor: The History within Summer Homes
    * Name Origins
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight: Onondaga County Public Library Local History and Genealogy Databases
    * Stories of Interest
    * Classic Reprints
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    Coming Soon in the Summer 2012 Issue of American Ancestors

    Beneath the Lid of the Melting Pot, by Bryan Sykes

    Slavery and Freedom in a Colonial Connecticut Town, by Grant Hayter-Menzies

    Breaking Down the John Pickering Brick Wall, by Bill Griffeth

    Hitting the Genealogy Trail: Researching the Cooke, White, and Robbins Families from Massachusetts to Iowa, by Anne Kaufman

    Magnifying a Life: Researching Captain John F. Appelman, by Katherine Dimancescu

    Introducing Western Massachusetts Families in 1790, by Helen Schatvet Ullmann, CG, FASG

    A Continental Collection: Surprising & Superb, by Gary Boyd Roberts

    Also in this issue . . .

    • Research Case Studies at NEHGS: Obtaining Dual U.S.-Irish Citizenship
    • Genetics & Genealogy: My Journey in Autosomal Testing
    • Manuscripts at NEHGS: Funeral Home Records in the R. Stanton Avery Special Collections
    • Diaries at NEHGS: From the Diary of Hedwiga Regina (Shober) Gray, October 1860
    • Focus on New York: Seen Elsewhere: New York-Related Articles in 2010–2011 Issues of Some Non-New York Journals

    And, as always, news of NEHGS and the world of genealogy, upcoming NEHGS programs and tours, new publications, the NEHGS cartoon, notices of family association events, genealogies in progress, and DNA studies in progress.

    A subscription to American Ancestors 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

    The Town Book of Bow, New Hampshire

    The town of Bow, New Hampshire, was organized in 1727. In 1933, Priscilla Hammond transcribed the records of Bow town meetings from 1767 to 1820, and vital records from 1710 to 1890. This database contains records of 1,287 births, 607 marriages, 92 deaths, and 5,773 other records.

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    A Note from the Editor: The History Within Summer Homes
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    On my recent Minnesota vacation, my family and I spent a day at my aunt and uncle’s cabin on Fish Trap Lake, near Cushing, Morrison County, Minnesota. The cabin was purchased by my aunt’s parents in the mid-1960s, and by now many generations of extended family members have spent time at the house. I remember being there as a child, and now I’ve brought my own children. Revisiting the lake house made me realize how summer homes have the potential to remain more firmly rooted in the past than a permanent residence. While families may move their year-round home many times over the decades — in the process weeding out possessions and clearing out estates after deaths — the family summer home can remain more or less the same. And a summer place is much more likely to be occupied over time by many generations of extended family. Pictures on the wall, books on the shelves, and even spices in the kitchen cabinet might stretch back a number of years into a family’s past. My aunt’s parents died many years ago now, but the road to the cabin is still signposted with her father’s first and last names.

    For more than fifty years, my husband’s family has enjoyed the hospitality of friends who own a lake home — a Quonset hut on Lake Travis, near Lago Vista, Texas. I made my first trip there in 1988, and our annual Labor Day visits are still highlight of our year. The patio features names and hand prints in the cement from 1947, and we can do puzzles and play board games that might be considered antique. Much of our weekend menu is predetermined: Saturday always features barbeque that has smoked all day long and breakfast is always accompanied by Sally’s coffee cake.

    For a New England perspective, The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Homeby George Howe Colt, has been recommended to me. The author contemplates his family’s house, built in 1903 on Cape Cod, and the generations of family that it held during the summer prior to it being sold.

    In examining the history of a family, summer home histories, events, and activities are probably easy to overlook since they are somewhat removed from normal life. But it is precisely because these houses are out of step with ordinary time that summer places can become repositories for valued family artifacts, stories, and traditions. If you are fortunate enough to have a special summer place, think about mining this information for your family history the next time you visit.

    Here are some stories shared by readers:

    Lori Miranda of Fernandina Beach, Florida:
    My great-grandmother bought a house in 1912 on Cape Cod which allowed me to check the “100 years or more” box in last week’s survey. While the world may have changed a good deal in that century, the house still exists at a slower pace; until two years ago, it still had a two-seater outhouse. And we still do the dishes by first boiling water.

    Nancy (Hickman) Eldblom of Ojai, California:
    My Boston great-grandfather, Alden E. Viles, built a summer home in the Phillips Beach section of Swampscott, Mass., about 1905. Alden died ten years later, but his wife Carrie Ella Simonds, daughter Barbara Viles, and her husband, Arthur Payne Crosby, lived in the house from Memorial Day through Labor Day each year until Carrie died in 1944 and the house was sold. Younger members of the family spent varying amounts of vacation time in that grand home over the years.

    Nancy Buell of Brookline, Massachusetts:
    I've vacationed in Georgetown, Maine, every summer since 1955. My grandfather, Sewall Webster, Sr., helped develop Indian Point there as a summer community. My family lived in Seattle and we visited my grandparents in Indian Point in the 1940s for a couple of summers while still living there. Then, in the fall of 1954, we moved back east, and my parents bought their own cottage. Now there are ten cottages belonging to relatives of mine on the Point. We love seeing extended family every summer.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Staff Genealogist

    ARGENTINE (f): Derived from the Latin argentum, “silver,” this name was used by descendants of Benjamin and Argentine/Archintine (Cromwell) Cram (m. Hampton, N.H. 28 Nov. 1662) (VRs 1:556) of Hampton, N.H. (Argentine was the daughter of Giles Cromwell.) Argentine Cram (1693-1771), daughter of John and Mary (Wadleigh) Cram (VRs, p. 87) and granddaughter of Benjamin and Argentine, married Abraham Brown (1689-1769) of Hampton Falls, N.H., at Hampton, 6 Feb. 1717. Benjamin and Argentine’s daughter Hannah Cram m. Hampton 26 Oct. 1693 William Fifield, and some years later had Argentine Fifield (TAG 15:220).

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked whether your family has (or had) a special summertime vacation spot. The results are:

    21%, Yes, my family visited the same vacation destination for 1 to 10 years.
    16%, Yes, my family visited the same vacation destination for 11 to 25 years.
    11%, Yes, my family visited the same vacation destination for 26 to 50 years.
    6%, Yes, my family visited same vacation destination for 51 to 75 years.
    2%, Yes, my family visited the same vacation destination for 76 to 99 years.
    2%, Yes, my family visited the same vacation destination for 100 years or more.
    42%, No, my family does not return to a particular vacation destination.

    This week's survey asks whether you have attended (or will attend) a family reunion in 2012. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Onondaga County Public Library Local History and Genealogy Databases
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Onondaga County Public Library Local History and Genealogy Databases

    Onondaga County is located in the west central part of the state of New York. Its county seat is Syracuse. The Onondaga County Public Library Local History and Genealogy Department has produced and uploaded a number of “one-of-a-kind” searchable databases to its website. Several have been added since I last profiled this website in 2008.

    1855 and 1865 New York State Census for Onondaga County
    The 1855 index includes the city of Syracuse and some or all of the towns of Clay, Cicero, Dewitt, Geddes, Manlius, and Salina. The index contains 5,432 records. The 1865 index, which contains 8,143 records, includes the city of Syracuse and some or all of the towns of Geddes, Lysander, Manlius, Onondaga, Salina, and Van Buren. Both census databases can be searched by: last name, first name, middle name, title, visitation number, and “town-ward-district number.”

    This database serves as an index to deaths of residents of Onondaga County. The list was derived from a number of sources, which include WPA records, “Minnie Kellogg’s deaths from Syracuse newspapers and directories between 1850-1880,” and obituaries found in Syracuse newspapers. Most of the deaths occurred prior to 1900. The database may be searched by last name, first name, maiden/other name, age, death year, month, day, source, citation, notes, cemetery, mother, father, spouse, event date, date, and record number. The data fields in the search results vary depending upon the search terms used.

    Obituary Clippings
    This index to obituary clippings from Syracuse newspapers covers 1862 through 1992. The clippings are from the library’s Local History/Genealogy Department. The collection also includes clippings related to other types of records, such as marriages and probate. You can search the index by last name, first name, and/or record number. The data fields in the search results are last name, first name, call number, volume and page number, note, and record number. You may order a copy of the clipping from the Local History/Genealogy Department.

    Using various sources, the timeline covers major local events from 1654 through 1994. You can search the timeline by record number, event, date, year, notes, and citation. The data fields in the search results include record number, event, date, and year. To view all records for a particular year, search by year only.

    Woodlawn Cemetery
    Woodlawn Cemetery, on the east side of Syracuse, is one of the largest in the county. There are more than 46,000 records in the index. The search fields are last name, first name, year, month, day of death, section, lot, grave number, mausoleum code, row, tier number, block number, and record number. The data fields in the results returned include last name, first name, section and lot number, and year, month, and day of death.

    Onondaga County WPA Files
    Individuals working for the Works Progress Administration during the Depression compiled a card index for items of general and historic value to the region from the newspaper files of the Syracuse Public Library and the Historical Scrap Books of the Onondaga Historical Association. The original index has been digitized and uploaded to the library’s website. It covers 1814 through 1900 and contains nearly 53,000 records. The index can be searched by the following: last name, first name, notes, event date, source, and date of appearance in the source document. The data fields include event (type), last name, first name, notes, event date, source, page citation, date of publication, and record number.

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    Stories of Interest

    R.I. Woman Uncovers Piece of Infamous Marshall House Flag, Alexandria History
    A scrap of material found among her great-grandfather’s Civil War souvenirs led a Rhode Island woman on a journey of discovery.

    Bull Family Celebrates Its History
    Descendants of Sarah Wells and William Bull of Hamptonburgh, Orange County, New York, held their 145th annual picnic and reunion earlier this month and celebrated the 300th anniversary of Sarah Wells’ arrival in town.

    My DNA Family
    New information about an Australian’s paternal ancestry came to light after the genetic testing of recently-discovered remains on World War I battlefields in France.

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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 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

    Writing and Publishing Seminar, Part I
    99–101 Newbury St., Boston, Mass.
    Saturday, September 15, 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
    Join the experts at NEHGS to learn best practices in publishing your genealogical research. 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. Register online.

    NEHGS Comes West
    Seminar in Berkeley, California
    Friday, October 26, 9 a.m.–8:30 p.m.
    Consultations (by appointment) at the California Genealogical Society, Oakland
    Saturday, October 27, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
    NEHGS is coming to the Bay Area! We are pleased to partner with the California Genealogical Society for a full-day seminar and opportunities for one-on-one consultations with Senior Researcher Rhonda R. McClure and Online Genealogist David Allen Lambert.
    Click here
    for more information and to register.

    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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