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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 15, No. 5
    Whole #568
    February 1, 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.

    * New York Family History Day
    * NEHGS Database News
    * A Note from the Editor: Genealogical “Clan” Characteristics
    * Name Origins
    * This Week’s Survey
    * Spotlight: L. E. Phillips Memorial Library, Eau Claire, Wisconsin
    * Stories of Interest
    * The Book Store at NEHGS
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New York Family History Day
    Saturday, March 17
    Tarrytown, New York

    Join the New England Historic Genealogical Society and for New York Family History Day on March 17 at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, N.Y. This is the third Family History Day, and it should prove to be our best yet. Twelve classes will be offered to help you get started with your family history research or to hone your research skills. Family History Day will have something for everyone. The classes include:

    • Using
    • Online resources for Irish research
    • Uncovering your New York ancestors
    • Jumpstarting your family history
    • And much more

    We invite you to join us for a special day of discovery and exploration. Full day registration is just $44, and includes free parking. You will also have an opportunity to register for a private one-on-one consultation with an expert NEHGS staff member. Space is limited. To learn more or to register, visit

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

    The Essex Genealogist, Volumes 11–15

    The leading publication for genealogical research in Essex County, Massachusetts, this quarterly journal has been published since 1981 by The Essex Society of Genealogists (founded in 1975).

    Within the pages of this journal are selections of cemetery transcriptions, Bible records, and vital and church records relating to Essex County families. Over the years, The Essex Genealogist also published numerous member ahnentafels (ancestor tables), as well as verbatim transcriptions of lectures.

    Currently, volumes 1 to 15 (publications years 1981–1995) are available. Additional volumes will be added through the year.

    The database is searchable by first and last name; volume and page; article title; and subject. There are now 116,890 records in this database. Search The Essex Genealogist

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    A Note from the Editor: Genealogical “Clan” Characteristics
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    An article on the website of the British newspaper The Mirror recently reported that British World War I soldiers with the names White, Walker, and Thomas were most likely to have won medals for gallantry. The data comes from, which compiled a list of soldiers awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. The article went on to report: “Despite research revealing only 4% of people know about their ancestors from the Napoleonic war era, 41% believe they have got at least one hero in their family tree and two million think there is a bravery gene that runs in families.”

    Claims of a bravery gene reminded me of the introduction to The Grant Family: A Genealogical History of the Descendants of Matthew Grant of Windsor, Conn., 1601–1898 by Arthur Hastings Grant. (Published in 1898, the book is available on I’ve never seen such sweeping claims for common family characteristics across hundreds of years and thousands of miles as in this book. Arthur Grant grouped the Grant family into a clan system — “each clan consists of the descendants of one of the great-grandsons of Matthew Grant in the male line” — and enumerated general family and specific clan characteristics in the introduction.

    Certain other traits are found generally throughout the Family, among which may be noted absolute honesty in word and deed, unflinching tenacity of purpose, and a tendency to reticence and unobtrusiveness. . . . The Family has been characterized by a devoted loyalty to American institutions, not a royalist being found among them, and many who did not fight in the Revolution rendered services of equal value at home . . . There have of course been black sheep among us, although the compiler has not felt it necessary to uncloset the few skeletons that we have; but Dr. Patterson, whose opinion was based upon a wide knowledge of the history of New England families, said that ours was the cleanest he knew, and a corroboration of this is found in the fact that only seven illegitimate births have come to the knowledge of the compiler.

    There is, however, a marked difference in the characteristics of the various clans . . . This is especially noticeable in the matter of general education, one clan in particular being on the verge of illiteracy, while another (Z) is noted for its long continued interest in educational matters. Three clans suffered to an unusual degree from consumption and one from intemperance, but both these tendencies appear to have been largely overcome. Considered geographically, clans A, C, and Z are the most widely dispersed, while L and Q are the most concentrated, the former in southern New York and the later in two small districts in Connecticut and Ohio; it is quite probable that these two clans would be benefited by migration, as too close a nesting of families tends ultimately to impair vitality and check development. Clan B resides in the South; it has been noted throughout its history for its military achievements, and was at one time the wealthiest clan, but suffered severely through the Civil War. K is today unquestionably the wealthiest of the larger clans. A, K, L, and Q are noted for raising large families, while D and E have narrowly escaped extinction, and within a few years the name will have disappeared in clan H.

    I have used the Grant genealogy myself (my husband and children being members of Clan B) and found it to be quite reliable. Arthur Grant was clearly a devoted and meticulous genealogist, but his opinions about family characteristics seem quaint and rather misguided from a modern perspective. Other nineteenth- and early twentieth-century genealogies also reveal quirky or outdated philosophies that I personally find fascinating, as part of the ongoing evolution of the field of genealogy.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Staff Genealogist

    NAPHTALI/NAPHTHALI (m): One of the twelve sons of Jacob; his mother was Bilhah (maid of Jacob’s favorite wife Rachel). (Genesis 30:8).

    One New England example is Naphtali Webb (1729–1804) of Scotland and Hanover, Conn., a son of Zebulon and Judith (Hayward/Howard) Webb of Windham and Canterbury, Conn.; he married Mary Mudge (Rev. John Adams Vinton, The Giles Memorial [Boston, 1864], pp. 511, 518).

    The name was popular in the Daggett family of Attleborough, Mass., as apparent from that town’s VRs, where as many as seven appear (pp. 90, 659), including: Naphthali Daggett, “slain by a tree,” 6 March 1717/8, no age; Naphthali Daggett, b. 6 Jan. 1724/5, son of Thomas and Sarah (Stanley) Daggett; and two sons of Thomas and Sibble (Stanley) Daggett, b. 18 March 1757 (d. Attleborough 13 July 1769 and 19 Aug. 1771).

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    This Week's Survey

    Last week’s survey asked if you make your genealogical information available online. The results are:

    48%, I do not have my genealogical information online.
    32%, I have my genealogical information online on a commercial genealogical website, available to anyone who can access the site.
    13%, I have my genealogical information online, on a website accessible by invitation only.
    7%, I have my genealogical information online on a personal genealogical website, available to anyone.

    Although this survey only allowed respondents to choose one answer, several readers wrote to let us know that they use more than one of these options. Richard Greenough commented: “I keep trees under all three online options. My three largest GEDCOMs are free on Rootsweb. Several smaller active research trees are on Two or three very small trees on Ancestry are kept private. I also have a personal domain with free PDF reports.”

    Although many people have had positive experiences with posting genealogical information online, one reader shared his negative experience. Ronald Miller wrote: “This week's survey question about putting genealogy information online struck a nerve. I have done a lot of research since the early 1980s, by going to the places where my ancestors lived and exhausting the resources of the local courthouse, library, cemeteries, historians, genealogists, etc. In addition to U.S. destinations, my research has taken me to locations in England, France, Germany, and Switzerland, among them many places with records never microfilmed by the LDS. I did my best to write complete histories — not just family trees with names and dates.

    “To make a long story short, much of my research has been copied online word-for-word by other people without even a mention of who wrote it. One person even had the nerve to copy my footnotes, which included commentary such as ‘I visited the cemetery on 10 June 1984 and found the headstones, but later learned at the library that they had been moved.’ In another case, someone copied one of my histories but substituted an incorrect maiden name, and that erroneous maiden name is now shown on hundreds of Internet family trees. When I discovered it, I tried to correct the error but people responded by claiming "everybody else" says the name is correct. Given that I have spent thousands of hours, dollars, Euros, francs, pounds, etc., putting together histories and now maybe hundreds of people are taking credit for my writing, I doubt if I will ever put anything online. I believe that people should understand what could potentially happen to their information if they do.”

    Mr. Miller’s experience has prompted this week's survey question, which asks you to characterize your experience of sharing genealogical information online. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: L. E. Phillips Memorial Library, Eau Claire, Wisconsin
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    L. E. Phillips Memorial Library, Eau Claire, Wisconsin

    The L. E. Phillips Memorial Library in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, has made some online resources available through its Local Genealogy section. The city of Eau Claire is located in the west-central part of the state and is the seat of Eau Claire County. A portion of the city is in Chippewa County, which lies to the north. Barron County is located north-west of Chippewa County.

    Eau Claire Historical Search
    This tool will search across all of the library’s local history databases at the same time. The databases include the obituary and cemetery indexes maintained by the Genealogical Research Society of Eau Claire (GRSEC); biographical sketches and research notes of Lois Barland, an Eau Claire author and amateur historian; local history sources; marriage records; Wisconsin biographies; and the 1910 atlas .

    To search the databases enter a last name, first name, or maiden name in the search boxes and click submit. The results returned are sorted by database and a green dot will appear on the tabs of the databases in which records have been found. To view the specific results returned in your search, click on the database tab. Descriptions of the obituary, marriage, and 1910 atlas databases follow.

    The obituary index covers the period from 1858 to the present. The records have been extracted from more than twenty newspapers. The data fields include last name, first name, maiden name, birth date, death date, age, images, and newspaper source/date. Click on the Source/Date link to view the list of newspaper abbreviations. Click on the deceased’s surname link to view the detailed record. There are additional data fields in the detailed record. They are nickname, notes, spouse, burial place, burial zip code, and headstone image. There is also a link to a map showing the location of the cemetery. In some cases there are gravestone images as part of the detailed record.

    The marriage records database is an index to marriages that occurred in Eau Claire County between 1854 and 1928. It indexes records found at the Eau Claire County Courthouse. The data fields in the index are groom’s last name, groom’s first name, bride’s last name, bride’s first name, marriage date, volume, and page number.

    The 1910 atlas database provides information about property and property holders in Eau Claire County. The data fields in the search results include last name, middle name, first name, suffix, page town range and section.

    Barron County Historical Search
    The Barron County database is an index to birth, death, divorce, and marriage notices found in local newspapers. The newspapers include the Rice Lake Chronotype, the Barron News Shield and the Cumberland Advocate, from approximately 1900 to 1950. In addition, the database also includes some more recent notices from the above newspapers and from the Chetek Alert.

    Obituary Index: The data fields in the obituary index include last name, first name, maiden name, birth date, death date, age, images, and source/date of the newspaper. Click on the deceased’s surname link to view the detailed record. The additional data fields in the detailed record include nickname, notes, spouse, burial place, burial zip code, and headstone image. There is also a link to a map showing the location of the cemetery.

    Birth Index: The data fields in the birth index include last name, first name, notes, source information (newspaper title), and source date (publication date). Information in the Notes field includes date of birth and parents’ names.

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    Stories of Interest

    A Pahticulah Way of Talking
    The article discusses the portion of a new book, Speaking American: A History of English in the United States, that examines Bostonian ways of speaking from 1650 to 1700. (A New York Times article treats the book more generally.)

    With DNA Testing, Suddenly They Are Family
    “Most adoptees are hungry for information that will lead to their birth parents, but some are also expanding their conception of family as they embrace a far-flung constellation of second, third and fourth cousins.”

    Orphan Train Riders, Offspring Seek Answers about Heritage
    From the 1850s to 1929, about 200,000 orphaned or abandoned children from New York and other East Coast cities were sent west to be resettled. A growing number of descendants of the orphan train riders want to know more.

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    The Book Store at NEHGS

    Save 25%-50% on these seven titles from the Book Store at the New England Historic Genealogical Society!

    A Gentleman of Color: The Life of James Forten by Julie Winch (Normally $29.95, now $22.46)
    Ashbel P. Fitch: Champion of Old New York by David F. Remington (Normally $45.00, now $33.75)
    American Uprising: The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt by Daniel Rasmussen (Normally $26.99, now $20.24)
    Making Haste From Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World by Nick Bunker (Normally $30.00, now $22.50)
    The Clamorgans: One Family’s History of Race in America by Julie Winch (Normally $35.00, now $26.25)
    The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster’s Obsession and the Creation of An American Culture by Joshua Kendall (Normally $26.95, now $20.21)
    Champlain’s Dream: The European Founding of North America by David Hackett Fischer (Normally $40.00, now $20.00)

    Quantities are very limited. Prices do not include shipping. Massachusetts residents add 6.25% sales tax.

    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:

    • A Brief History of John Valentine Kratz and a Complete Genealogical Register (Item P4-H17151, $53.50)
    • Descendants of Valentine Hollingsworth Sr. (Item P4-H14766, $44.00)
    • Genealogical History of the Family Semple From 1214 to 1888 (Item P4-H23367, $24.00)
    • Town History of Weare, N.H., from 1888 (Item P5-NH0205H, $37.50)
    • History of Clarendon, N.Y., 1810-1888 (Item P5-NY0149H, $44.00)

    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

    African American History and Genealogy Open House Day
    Wednesday, February 8
    99-101 Newbury St., Boston
    9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

    Join us for a free day of research and learn about African American family history. NEHGS Online Genealogist David Allen Lambert will help you learn how to trace African American ancestors, author and historian Alex R. Goldfeld will present stories of Boston’s earliest African American community, and former Executive Director of the Springfield Museums and author Joseph Carvalho III will share his revised edition of Black Families in Hampden County, Massachusetts 1650-1865, recently published by NEHGS. The lecture will be followed by a book signing and reception. All participants will receive free access to the NEHGS research library for the day, with ample time for research.

    10 –11 a.m.: "Researching African Americans in Pre-Civil War New England," David Allen Lambert
    12–1 p.m.: Brown Bag Lunch Lecture: "In Slavery and Freedom: Boston's Black Community since 1638," Alex R. Goldfeld
    6–7 p.m.: Lecture, book signing, and reception: Black Families in Hampden County, Joseph Carvalho III

    Free; registration required. Please call 617-226-1226 to register.

    Spring Weekend Research Getaway: Discovering New England’s Records
    99-101 Newbury St., Boston
    March 29, 2012–March 31, 2012

    NEHGS Weekend Research Getaways combine personal, guided research at the NEHGS Research Library with themed educational lectures to create a unique experience for every participant. Personal consultations with NEHGS genealogists throughout the program allow participants to explore their own genealogical projects, while guided by the nation’s leading family history experts. This year's Spring Weekend Research Getaway, “Discovering New England’s Records,” offers lectures focused on getting the most out of the many records available in New England. Staff will explore techniques and strategies for using sources in print, online, and on film. Land and probate record research will also be highlighted.

    More information and registration forms can be accessed by visiting the events page on

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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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