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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 15, No. 48
    Whole #611
    November 21, 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
    * Stirring up the Past: Food and Family in the NEHGS Archives — A New In-house Exhibit at NEHGS
    * A Note from the Editor: Readers’ Thanksgiving Traditions
    * Name Origins
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight: Houston Public Library, Texas
    * Stories of Interest
    * NEHGS Bookstore Holiday Discounts
    * Upcoming Education Programs


    NEHGS Database News

    by Sam Sturgis, Digital Collections Administrator, and Christopher Carter, Digital Collections Coordinator

    The New England Historical and Genealogical Register — Volume 166 (2012)  

    Published quarterly since 1847, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register is the flagship journal of American genealogy and the oldest in the field. A wide variety of genealogies and source materials have been published in the Register, with an emphasis on New England. Authoritative compiled genealogies have always been a primary focus of the Register. Thousands of New England families have been treated in the pages of the journal, and many more are referred to incidentally. Typically, these articles solve a genealogical problem, identify immigrant origins, or present a full-scale treatment of multiple generations. Volume 166 adds 8,300 searchable names to our existing Register database.

    American Ancestors Journal — (2012)

    American Ancestors Journal provides readers genealogical content of national scope, with an emphasis on New York State and out migrations from New England. The editors are Henry B. Hoff and Helen Schatvet Ullmann, who are also, respectively, the editor and associate editor of the Register. The 2012 issue adds 900 searchable names to our existing American Ancestors Journal database.

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    Stirring up the Past: Food and Family in the NEHGS Archives — A New In-house Exhibit at NEHGS

    ’Tis the season when our thoughts and activities turn towards food, family, and those traditions that bring us together year after year. As we gather for holidays, families may prepare Nana’s apple pie or use tableware or other items passed down from a parent or grandparent. These traditions are part of our heritage.

    Here at NEHGS, we preserve these traditions by collecting and caring for family papers. Among these papers can be found personal cookbooks and favorite and treasured recipes, all lovingly cared for by generations of families and now preserved at NEHGS.

    We celebrate these traditions with our new in-house exhibit, Stirring Up the Past: Food and Family in the NEHGS Archives. Inspired by two education programs related to food and family held this past October, the exhibit highlights family cookbooks, recipes, and menus from the seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. Many of the recipes and cookbooks offer a glimpse into past cooking traditions and popular recipes of the day. Items include our oldest recipes from the 1683 notebook of Jose Winthrop (1666–1702), grandson of Gov. John Winthrop; recipes and personal cookbooks of three generations of women of the Palmer and Yates family of Otsego County, New York; and photographs of the women and teachers of the Boston Cooking School, circa 1892.

    In addition, the American Jewish Historical Society is also displaying Kosher recipes and cookbooks from their collection on the 5th floor of our research library. If you are planning on making a visit to NEHGS during the holiday season, please stop by our Education Center and 5th floor to view these exhibits. The NEHGS exhibit will run through the end of January 2013.

    Here is a look at an older online exhibit assembled by the Special Collections staff using some of the items currently on display.

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    A Note from the Editor: Readers’ Thanksgiving Traditions
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    In response to last week’s Thanksgiving-related stories and food survey, many readers wrote to share their own Thanksgiving traditions. Below is a selection:

    Betsey Heath Howes of Plainfield, Massachusetts: This week’s discussion on Thanksgiving made me think of the differences in the Thanksgivings of my youth, held at my grandmother's farm in Huntington, Mass., and the family reunion Thanksgivings I now attend with my husband's family in Whately, Mass. My Grandmother Heath served a turkey every year that was provided by my cousin's husband, a WWII vet and expert marksman who won many turkeys at the turkey shoots that were ubiquitous in our part of Western Mass. in the 1950s and 60s. The turkey — with dressing, cranberry sauce, peas, squash, onions cooked in cream, potatoes and gravy, and various home canned pickles and homemade pies — made up the bulk of the meal. But my grandmother always made a huge chicken pie in her milk pan and everyone got a bit of that. In Whately, the basic foods are the same: turkey, squash, potatoes, onions, and dressing — but turnip and cranberry relish are on this menu. The Howes came from the Cape and there are always one or two cranberry pies — a thing I had never encountered before I married my husband — as well as squash, pumpkin, maple walnut, pecan, apple, blueberry, and real mincemeat pie made with venison. Pies are carefully cut into small slices so people can have a taste of many pies. Thanks for helping me go down memory lane.

    David Ojerholm of Sydney, Australia: My wife, Janet, makes pumpkin cheesecakes for Thanksgiving. People hardly touch or have room for the pumpkin pies! We celebrate Thanksgiving here "down-under" on the Sunday before or after the actual day so other people can join us.

    Roseanne Bloom of Kalispell, Montana: You didn't have a space for my family's traditional Thanksgiving food: sauerkraut! For me, it is not Thanksgiving without it, although now that I live in Montana, no one's ever heard of having it for Thanksgiving. I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and it was always on the table for Thanksgiving. I'm not sure if it's a regional thing, or related to some German heritage we have.  

    Frederick M. Dittmar of Norman, Oklahoma: Greetings and Thanksgiving tidings from Oklahoma by a displaced Plymouthian! I grew up in Plymouth and in 1921 my mother, B. Edwina Canning-Dittmar, was in the first Pilgrim Progress. [The Pilgrim Progress began as part of the tercentenary commemoration of the Pilgrims’ arrival.] If you have one of the first postcards of the Pilgrim Progress taken with the group at the base of Burial Hill, she is the lady in the lightest costume. My mother went on to work with Rose Briggs and Joan Doll in making many of the first costumes for the Progress — for Mayflower passengers, speakers at the Rock, and characters at the first fort and the Pilgrim houses on the waterfront. In my youth, our house was always full of costume production and people trying on costumes for fittings. It’s a sad and happy time of year for me as I do miss Plymouth and all the historical activity.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Staff Genealogist

    AMBROSE (from Late Latin family name AMBROSIUS) (m): The name came into use in the Middle Ages due to the great Church Father St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (339–397). While rather uncommon in Puritan New England (probably because of possible Catholic connotations), AMBROSE does appear in certain families and localities, often as a "marker" name; e.g. at Stratford, Conn., where it usually indicates descent from or associations with descendants of immigrants John and Mirable (Griggs?) Thompson, whose son Ambrose Thompson was born there 1 January 1651 [Barbour Collection].

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked what traditional Thanksgiving dishes were on your table last Thursday. 3,021 people answered this survey. The results are:

    • 3%, Oysters or oyster stew
    • 94%, Turkey
    • 1%, Roast venison
    • 92%, Stuffing
    • 83%, Mashed potatoes
    • 51%, Sweet potato casserole (with or without marshmallows)
    • 41%, Green bean casserole (which may include cream of mushroom soup and fried onions)
    • 7%, Corn pudding
    • 21%, Cranberry orange relish
    • 78%, Cranberry sauce
    • 2%, Indian pudding
    • 77%, Pumpkin pie
    • 46%, Apple pie
    • 23%, Pecan pie
    • 12%, Mincemeat pie (with or without meat)
    • 1%, None of the dishes listed above appear on my Thanksgiving table
    • <1%, I don't celebrate Thanksgiving.

    This week’s survey asks whether family history was part of your Thanksgiving. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Houston Public Library, Texas
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Resources in Specialty Libraries of the Houston Public Library, Texas

    Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research  

    The Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research is located in Houston, Texas, which is the fourth-largest city in the United States, the largest city in Texas, and the seat of Harris County. It comprises the genealogy section of the original Houston Public Library. The collection was moved to the present location in 1968.

    Click on the Collections link in the menu bar to view a description of their resources. Next, click on the Houston & Texas Death Records link to access Clayton Library’s collection of records of deaths in Texas and the Houston area. The library’s holdings include original records for two Houston funeral homes: the Fogle-West Funeral Home (or Fogle West Undertaking Company), and the Boulevard Funeral Home (or Boulevard Undertaking Company). The Fogle-West records cover the period from 1921 to 1975, and the Boulevard records are from 1961 to 1967. Clayton Library has created a searchable index to these funeral home records, which is accessible from their website. Click the Clayton’s Death Records Database link to access the index search page.

    The index can be searched by last name and first/middle names. The search can be limited by a range of dates. There are nearly 30,000 records in the database. The data fields in the search results are death date, last name, first/middle name, and source. Click the Death Date link to open a new page with additional information about the types of records in the individual’s file. Files may include a book entry, death certificate, information sheet, ledger sheet, miscellaneous papers, and an obituary.

    The African American Library at the Gregory School  

    The African American Library is housed in the Edgar M. Gregory School, which was the first public school for African Americans in Houston. The library opened its doors in 2009. To learn more about the Gregory School, click the Library link in the menu bar. Click the Collections link in the menu bar to access their online resources. Among the online resources are Oral Histories and Online Photo Archives.

    Through the Library’s oral history project, the personal experiences of men and women who helped shape the African American history of Houston and surrounding areas are being recorded and preserved. To date, nineteen oral histories have been recorded and uploaded to the website. Click the Oral Histories link in the contents list on the left side of the webpage to open the Oral Histories main page. Next, click the name of the individual whose interview you would like to access. This will open a new page. Click the name link on this page to open a new page with a transcription of the interview. The other online resource that can be accessed from the Collections page is the Online Photo Archives.

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    Stories of Interest

    Eighteenth-century Woodworker’s Shop Found in Duxbury Said to Be One of a Kind
    J. Ritchie Garrison, a specialist in material culture at the University of Delaware, described a newly-discovered Duxbury joiner and cabinet maker’s shop as being of “National Historic Landmark status” and said, “While we have lots and lots of historical houses, as a woodworker’s shop it’s probably the oldest in New England" and possibly the country.

    A White Face with A Forgotten African Family
    NPR guest host Jackie Lyden spoke to Joe Mozingo about his new book, The Fiddler on Pantico Run: An African Warrior, His White Descendants, A Search for Family, which chronicles his genealogical journey.

    Casting Call for Norwegian Show is So Minnesota
    A "producer for a reality TV show in Norway is looking for Norwegian-Americans to explore their roots.”

    Many Cemeteries Damaged, But Green-Wood Bore the Brunt of the Storm
    “Hurricane Sandy ran roughly through cemeteries around New York City, but it devastated Green-Wood in Brooklyn.

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    NEHGS Bookstore Holiday Discounts

    The NEHGS Bookstore has brought back the ever-popular Holiday Gift Sets! We have "bundled" together some of our most popular titles and slashed the prices to help make your gift buying easy and affordable. Save up to 30% on books every genealogist wants and needs. Start shopping today!

    Special pricing available through December 31, 2012, or while supplies last. Prices do not include shipping.

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother
    99–101 Newbury St., Boston
    Wednesday, December 12, 6–7 p.m.

    Historian Eve LaPlante returns to NEHGS to present her new books, Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother and My Heart Is Boundless: Writings of Abigail May Alcott, Louisa's Mother.

    In Marmee & Louisa, LaPlante paints a portrait of a woman decades ahead of her time, and the fiercely independent daughter whose life was deeply entwined with her mother's dreams of freedom. Based on newly uncovered papers, this moving portrait of Louisa May Alcott's relationship with her mother seeks to transform our view of one of America's most beloved authors. (An article about the book recently appeared in the Boston Globe.) Both books will be available for sale at the event. A book signing will take place after the lecture. Free and open to the public.

    Washington, D.C., Research Tour
    March 10–17, 2013

    Discover family history resources in the nation's capital with NEHGS. Visit the National Archives and Records Administration, the Daughters of the American Revolution Library, and the Library of Congress during this intensive week of guided research, individual consultations, lectures, and group events.

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    Copyright 2012, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

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