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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 15, No. 52
    Whole #615
    December 26, 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
    * NEHGS Library Closed on January 1
    * A Note from the Editor: A Wintersnight Tale and A Christmas Eve Family Story
    * Name Origins
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight: Cemetery of Bethlehem Steltz Reformed Church, Pennsylvania
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Education Programs


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

    Connecticut Vital Records Update (The Barbour Collection)

    Newly added to Connecticut Vital Records to 1870 (The Barbour Collection): Litchfield (1719–1854), Stafford (1719–1850), Tolland (1715–1850), and Voluntown (1708–1850).

    Compiled from an original Lucius Barnes Barbour typescript in the NEHGS special collections, this database currently contains records for the towns of Branford, Canterbury, Colchester, Danbury, Derby, Durham, Fairfield, Farmington, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Groton, Guilford, Haddam, Hartford, Hebron, Killingly, Killingworth, Lebanon, Litchfield, Lyme, Middletown, Milford, New London, Norwalk, Norwich, Plainfield, Preston, Ridgefield, Saybrook, Simsbury, Stafford, Stamford, Stonington, Stratford, Suffield, Tolland, Voluntown, Wallingford, Waterbury, Wethersfield, Windham, Windsor, Woodbury, and Woodstock

    The complete Barbour Collection contains records of marriages, births, and deaths in 137 Connecticut towns from the 1640s to about 1850 (some towns include records up to 1870). These records were collected, transcribed, and abstracted by Lucius Barnes Barbour (Connecticut Examiner of Public Records, 1911–1934) and his team of researchers between 1918 and 1928. Mr. Barbour was an NEHGS member from 1907 until his death in 1934. This set of typescripts was donated to NEHGS by Mr. Barbour's wife and children in 1938. Remaining towns will be added to the database over the next year.

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    NEHGS Library Closed on January 1

    NEHGS will be closed on Tuesday, January 1, in observance of the New Year's holiday. Please plan your visits accordingly.

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    A Note from the Editor: A Wintersnight Tale and A Christmas Eve Family Story
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    Last week I wrote about John S. Goodwin’s two pamphlets, Christmas Questions and Christmas Answers, which were published in 1892 and 1893. I admired Goodwin’s creative appeal for genealogical information, and thought his questions and methods contained good advice for today’s researchers.

    This week I’m focusing on two slim volumes in the NEHGS Library that may serve as models, even today, for how family history can be shared during the holiday season, and then preserved. Both books were written and privately published by Charles Henry Dalton (1826–1908), a native of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, who lived most of his life in Boston. According to the BOSarchitecture website, “Dalton was a merchant and businessman. During his career, he served in a variety of positions, including as president of several railroads, president of the Consolidated Coal Company, treasurer of the Manchester Print Works, and treasurer of the Merrimack Manufacturing Company. He also was the first treasurer of MIT, serving from 1865 to 1867, and was president of Massachusetts General Hospital for many years.”

    The first book, A Wintersnight Tale, published in 1904, opens with the words “Told on Christmas Evening, 1903” and follows with a list of the names of seventeen people — including ten Daltons — who had spent the holiday together. Charles Dalton and his wife, Mary (McGregor), had no children so the Daltons listed were probably the children and grandchildren of his brothers. What follows is twenty-two pages of history, genealogy, and especially reminiscences about the family of his mother, Julia (Spaulding) Dalton, whose roots in Chelmsford dated to at least the mid-1600s. Dalton wrote about the Chelmsford homestead where he was born and which had been in the family for 160 years. After his family moved from Chelmsford when he was a child, he returned to spend summers there, and in his story confided, “It seemed to me the pleasantest of all possible places. I liked it better than going to school.” He described the rhythms of life on the farm, and changes that had taken place during his lifetime, especially in transportation.

    He closed with the following words: “You young folks will doubtless live to see even greater changes, such as, for example, flying machines, to which I do not doubt you will contribute your full share. [The flight at Kitty Hawk had just occurred on December 17, 1903.] And I trust you will take your revenge on somebody by telling your stories, as a recompense for what you have so politely endured listening to mine.”

    Charles Dalton must have been pleased at the reception of his reminiscences, because the following year he published another volume, titled, A Christmas Eve Family Story. Sixteen people were in attendance for Christmas Eve 1904. That year’s reminiscences were about Dalton’s paternal ancestors, back to his great-grandfather, “Captain James Dalton, mariner and merchant of Boston,” who was born in 1718.

    Both of these books were handsomely printed on nice paper with attractive marbled covers. Fifty copies of A Christmas Eve Family Story were ordered, and the same number may well have been purchased of A Wintersnight Tale. The books were likely to have been fairly costly to produce. The easy and inexpensive options for creating and disseminating books that exist today were still about one hundred years in the future.

    Charles Dalton clearly felt it was important to document and preserve his recollections of his early life, his memories of his parents and grandparents, and his knowledge of his family history. He might well have simply regaled the company with his stories on those Christmas Eves and done nothing further. But he went that extra vital step and, by publishing his stories, enabled them to live on, long after those present were no longer living. Over a century later, Charles Dalton provides us with a model for leaving a genealogical legacy.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Genealogist

    ARETHUSA (f): A spring. A nymph. (Century Encyclopaedia of Names, 1905). Arethusa Bigelow (1786–1811), daughter of Andrew and Sarah (Fawcett) Bigelow of Boylston, Mass., m. 21 August 1803 Calvin Dunton of Boylston (Patricia Bigelow, ed., The Bigelow Family Genealogy, Volume I: Six Generations of Descendants of John Biglo (1617–1703) of Watertown, Massachusetts [1986], p. 211). The name was sometimes abbreviated to THUSA.

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked whether you were hoping for any genealogically-related presents this year. The results are:

    • 7%, Membership to a genealogical society
    • 11%, Subscription to a genealogical website
    • 7%, Genealogical education program or conference
    • 10%, Other genealogical trip
    • 23%, Genealogical books
    • 5%, Genealogical research assistance from a professional
    • 11%, DNA testing
    • 14%, Other genealogical present.
    • 51%, I do not have any genealogy-related items on my wish list.

    This week’s survey asks if about the ways in which you have made your family history available. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Cemetery of Bethlehem Steltz Reformed Church, Pennsylvania
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Cemetery of Bethlehem Steltz Reformed Church, Pennsylvania

    The Bethlehem Steltz Reformed Church, which was founded in 1794, is located in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania. Glen Rock is a borough in York County on the state’s southern border with Maryland. Click on the Our Heritage link to learn about the church’s history. The church’s cemetery index available online. It is a Microsoft Excel document, which must be downloaded to your computer to be read. There are nearly 2,400 records in the file. It should be noted that the database is sorted by section/plot number and includes reserved plots and those still for sale. Click on the Cemetery Information link to download the file. The data fields in the database are last name, first name, middle name, date of birth, date of death, section/plot, receipts/deed/perpetual care/transferred, death certificate, and notes. A separate listing of burials in the Old Cemetery follows the listing of burials in the newer cemetery. The earliest dated burial in the Old Cemetery took place in 1801. The last burial was in 1956.

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    Stories of Interest

    Census to Offer Internet Option in Gov’t Surveys
    “The new Internet option is part of a larger census effort toward a digital transformation,” said Frank Vitrano, the Census Bureau’s associate director for the 2020 census. “We see a real possibility of saving money and improving data quality, setting the stage for the 2020 census.”

    First Girl in a Century for Carmarthenshire Family
    “A family in south-west Wales are celebrating the birth of the first baby girl in their family for 103 years.”

    Battlefield Tours: Readers’ Tips and Recommendations
    Readers of the London newspaper, The Telegraph, share their advice on touring First World War battlefields in Europe.

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    Upcoming Education Programs

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

    Discover the family history resources available 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 an intensive week of guided research, individual consultations, lectures, and group events.

    NEHGS experts Henry B. Hoff, David Allen Lambert, and Rhonda R. McClure will accompany the group.

    Hartford, Connecticut, Research Tour
    April 10–April 14, 2013

    Explore the repositories of Hartford, Connecticut, at the Connecticut State Library and Connecticut Historical Society. NEHGS staff and local experts will provide consultations, lectures, and the information you need to get the most out of Hartford’s genealogical offerings. The trip includes individual consultations, expert lectures, a reception, and a group dinner.

    NEHGS expert Christopher Child and consulting genealogists Barbara Mathews and Helen Schatvet Ullmann will accompany the group.

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    Copyright 2012, New England Historic Genealogical Society
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