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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 15, No. 51
    Whole #614
    December 19, 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.

    * Happy Holidays from NEHGS
    * NEHGS Library Closings
    * Ancestry Day with NEHGS
    * NEHGS Database News
    * A Note from the Editor: “Christmas Questions” and “Christmas Answers”
    * Name Origins
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight: Doniphan County Public Library, Kansas
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Education Programs


    Happy Holidays from NEHGS

    The staff of the New England Historic Genealogical Society extends to all of you heartfelt wishes for a happy holiday season.

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    NEHGS Library Closings

    NEHGS will be closed on Tuesday, December 25, and Tuesday, January 1, in observance of the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Please plan your visits accordingly.

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    Ancestry Day with NEHGS

    Plan to join NEHGS on March 2, 2013, for “Ancestry Day with NEHGS.” NEHGS is again partnering with for a special day-long genealogy event, which will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Sheraton Boston hotel in the Back Bay.

    The program will offer you a chance to discover and celebrate your family history. Classes and sessions throughout the day will help you get the most out of your research using and NEHGS resources. Full day admission to this special event is only $30.

    As an added offer, on Friday, March 1, 2013, one-on-one consultations with members of our expert staff will be available. Space is limited! While here, you can also learn more about using the NEHGS website

    Register for Ancestry Day with NEHGS.

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    NEHGS Database News
    by Sam Sturgis, Digital Collections Administrator, and Christopher Carter, Digital Collections Coordinator

    The Essex Genealogist, Volumes 26 and 27

    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 27 (publication years 1981–2007) are available. Volume 28 (2008) will be added in 2013. The database is searchable by first and last name; volume and page; article title; and subject. There are now 191,649 records in this database.

    Western Massachusetts Families in 1790 — Five new sketches

    Added this week: sketches of Luther Pomeroy of Chester; Nathaniel Porter of Great Barrington; Christopher Bowen of Partridgefield (Peru); James Cody Apthrop of Partridgefield (Peru); and Jonathan Remington of Adams.

    This database contains genealogical sketches of families enumerated in the 1790 census for Berkshire and Hampshire Counties (in what now also includes Franklin and Hampden Counties). Each sketch begins with the head of household and includes genealogical and biographical details as well as information about children and children’s spouses. Many families migrated into western Massachusetts only to migrate further west, often through New York. These sketches were submitted by NEHGS members and staff and edited by Helen Schatvet Ullmann, CG, FASG.

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    A Note from the Editor: “Christmas Questions” and “Christmas Answers”
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    In the NEHGS online library catalog, I came across a pamphlet with a title that piqued my curiosity: Christmas Questions for the Goodwins of Virginia; Christmas Answers for the Goodwins of Virginia. After locating the pamphlet in the library’s vertical file, I found that it consists of two four-page sections published in 1892 and 1893 by John S. Goodwin (b. 1858).

    One hundred and twenty years ago, Goodwin attempted to use the holiday season to make progress on his stalled Goodwin research. The first part, Christmas Questions, opens with these words, “'We cannot help having ancestors,’ and there is no better time to talk about them and their lives than when we are gathered together in family groups during the festivities.” Goodwin then tries to establish the importance of the Goodwins of Virginia — a group “proud of probably the longest line of American ancestry of which any family can boast — and dismisses the Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut Goodwins as late arrivals. (He notes that Goodwins were already in Virginia “when the timbers of the famous Mayflower were still growing in their native forests.”)

    Then, Goodwin made his appeal: “As a Christmas greeting this suggestion is sent to you. The writer is a busy Chicago Lawyer not at all imaginative enough to create a line of descent or to manufacture facts. You are in the old homes, have the old Bibles, church and churchyard records and the records of your county seats and as you meet and talk the old traditions come to mind, together with ‘many a quaint and curious legend of forgotten lore.’ Write down these traditions; send me your own family data; send copies of your Bible records; look through the county seat records and send everything pertaining to the early Goodwins and the writer will so arrange and collate the matter sent as to put our lineage beyond danger of loss. Many have already responded but all can do more.” Next, Goodwin detailed what he knew of Bartholomew Goodwin, the immigrant to Virginia, who he thought probably arrived between 1600 and 1625, and presented his research questions.

    In 1893, in Christmas Answers, Goodwin reported a good deal of success. “Just one year ago the ‘Christmas Questions’ were sent out and so prompt and full have been the replies that their mission is virtually accomplished, only three groups still being unconnected with the immigrant ancestor.” (Sadly, though, he admitted that “[my] own branch is still unidentified and I will gratefully appreciate any assistance which can be rendered me on that question.”) Goodwin then described the research breakthroughs and included a two-page table of descent. The fourth and final page of the pamphlet advertised that the author’s book, The Goodwin Families in America, was in preparation and posed a few more questions.

    I enjoyed Christmas Questions and Christmas Answers. I appreciated John S. Goodwin’s goals, his willingness to cast a wide net to find answers to his genealogical problems, and his creative plea to his fellow Goodwins. Although 120 years have passed, I think his appeal continues to have a lot of resonance. Goodwin’s requests to his readers — to search home and local sources, ask questions of relatives, write down what you know, and share and preserve your data — still provide a good blueprint for genealogists.       

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Staff Genealogist

    Christmas (m and f): Over time, the U.S. census has enumerated a number of people with the first name Christmas, both male and female. Most likely, the majority were born on or near Christmas Day. In 1790, there was one person listed in the census named Christmas: Christmas Hunt of Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts. In 1850, there were 37 people named Christmas; in 1880, 125 people; in 1910, 308 people; and, in 1940, there were 95 people named Christmas.

    A search of the databases on also shows a number of examples, including Christmas Dumore, son of Godfrey and Philomon (___) Dumore, who was born in Grafton, Massachusetts, on December 25, 1869, and Christmas L. Morse, daughter of Frank and Josephine (Gaudard) Morse, born in Adams, Massachusetts, on December 25, 1887.

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked whether you save holiday cards sent by previous generations of your family. 2,956 people answered this survey. The results are:

    • 6%, Yes, I have family holiday cards from the nineteenth century.
    • 22%, Yes, I have family holiday cards from 1900 to 1950.
    • 31%, Yes, I have family holiday cards from 1951 to 1975.
    • 37%, Yes, I have family holiday cards from 1976 to 2000.
    • 38%, Yes, I have family holiday cards from 2001 to the present.
    • 40%, No, I do not save family holiday cards.

    This week’s survey asks whether you are hoping for any genealogically-related presents this year. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Doniphan County Public Library, Kansa
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Doniphan County Public Library, Kansas

    Doniphan County is located in the northeast corner of the state of Kansas. Troy is its county seat. The Doniphan County Public Library has made a number of resources available via its Genealogy page. Click on the Genealogy link in the menu bar to access them.

    Doniphan County Cemeteries
    This section offers an index to burials in fifty-seven Doniphan County cemeteries. Click on the letter grouping for the deceased’s surname to open a page containing an alphabetical listing. The data fields in the database are last name, first name, middle name, date of birth, date of death, cemetery name, location, read, and remarks. The remarks field contains information such as age, spouse’s name, parents’ names, and military service.

    Genealogical and Biographical Record of North-Eastern Kansas
    This volume was published in 1900. The Kansas counties treated here are Nemaha, Brown, Doniphan, and Atchison. The book contains a preface, nearly 500 biographies, and 38 photos. Click on the index link to open a new page with an alphabetical listing of biographical sketches. Click on the name link to access a transcription of the sketch.

    A History of Doniphan County Schools
    This section contains a transcription of history of education in Doniphan County from The Columbian History of Education on Kansas: An account of the public-school system . . . and a brief outline of the work accomplished in private and denominational schools, which was compiled by Kansas educators and published by the Kansas State Historical Society for the Columbian Exposition in 1893.

    William G. Cutler’s History of the State of Kansas
    This volume was published in 1883, and covers the history of the entire state. Through the library’s website you can either access a transcription of the entire book, or you can select the Doniphan County link to access only that section of the book. On the book’s main page you will find links to maps and images found within the volume.

    K. Roger Pyle’s Doniphan County 1882 Plat Book
    The Historical Plat Book of Doniphan County, Kansas, published by J. S. Bird in 1882, has been transcribed and uploaded to K. Roger Pyle’s Doniphan County 1882 Plat Book webpage. Click on the various links to view tables, town maps, plat maps, and lithographs, and access chapters about Doniphan County’s history and residents.

    There are also links to the websites of a number of genealogical societies in Kansas that can be accessed from the library’s Genealogy page.

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    Stories of Interest

    Christmas 1940
    This BBC website examines how Christmas was celebrated in England in 1940. The site includes historic audio and video footage and related links.

    Young Reporters, Old Tricks: How the Phone Book Saved My Story (Really!)
    As blogger Gillian Frew cautions, sometimes the answers can be found in old-fashioned everyday sources.

    Kearney Woman is a Living Link to the Civil War
    That Union veteran Hugh Tudor had “a daughter proudly talking about him in the year 2012 is a remarkable mathematical stretch, but not a stretch of the truth.”

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    London Research Tour
    May 19–26, 2013

    Experience the wealth of information available in London's archives as NEHGS returns to the U.K. Participants will enjoy one-on-one consultations, guided research at the Society of Genealogists and The National Archives, and two group dinners. Daily educational activities include lectures and tours by the experts at The National Archives, the SoG, and NEHGS. NEHGS experts Christopher Child and David Dearborn will accompany the group.

    New! Essex, Norfolk, & Suffolk County Record Offices Research Tour
    May 27–May 31, 2013

    For the first time, NEHGS will lead a tour of English county record offices. Join us for trips to the archives of Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk and take advantage of opportunities to learn from local experts. The trip, which immediately follows our May 19–26 London Research Tour, will be based in Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk, with day trips to the county record offices in Bury St. Edmunds, Norwich, and Chelmsford.

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    Copyright 2012, New England Historic Genealogical Society
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