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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 16, No. 10
    Whole #625
    March 6, 2013
    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
    * New Online Format for American Ancestors Magazine
    * What I Learned Working in the Leather Mills
    * Name Origins
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight: Wisconsin Databases
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Education Programs

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

    Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634–1635, Volume VII, T–Y

    This volume, covering surnames beginning with the letters T through Y, is the final volume of seven in a series documenting the watershed immigration years of 1634 and 1635. Each alphabetical entry for a family or individual includes: place of origin; year of arrival and the ship on which they arrived in New England; earliest known record of the individual or family; first residence and subsequent residences; return trips to their country of origin, whether temporary or permanent; bibliographical information such as birth, death, marriage(s), children, and other important family relationships, church memberships, and civil and military offices held.

    This database provides an index to 203 sketches and the 6,863 name references contained within those sketches. The images of the original book pages are available from the search results pages.

    Western Massachusetts Families in 1790 — Five new sketches

    Added this week: sketches of Mehitable Barret, Eleazer Barrett, Jr., Eleazer Barrett III, and Amariah Park—all of Alford—and Elkaniah Parris of Williamstown.

    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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    New Online Format for American Ancestors Magazine

    The entire run of American Ancestors magazine is now available as a FlippingBook. FlippingBook, which was introduced with the Register in October, offers bookmarking, the ability to share articles, and a high-definition display that works as well on mobile devices as it does on desktop computers. American Ancestors will also continue to be available as a PDF. NEHGS members can read the most recent issue or browse our archive of every American Ancestors issue from 2010 to present.

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    What I Learned Working in the Leather Mills
    by William A. Warner, guest author

    The mill worker theme in the most recent issue of American Ancestors magazine sparked quite a bit of interest. NEHGS member William Warner of Thompson, Connecticut, submitted the following reflection on his work in two leather mills in Peabody, Massachusetts.Editor.

    I graduated from Lynn [Mass.] Vocational Technical High School in 1973, just as the recession hit. Finding a job in my field of electronics was very difficult. Many of my relatives worked for General Electric in Lynn or the leather mills in Peabody. When I couldn’t find a job, I looked to the employers of my relatives. After filling out more job applications than I care to remember, I finally got a call from A.C. Lawrence Leathers, where my grandmother worked. They had an opening at their Pulaski Street plant where they manufactured patent leather.

    My job at the mill was to fill in wherever a body was needed. The workers that stretched the leather hides onto the frames worked in teams of two or four, and it was difficult work. If there was an odd number of workers, then I would be called, otherwise I would supply the required hides to the stretchers. Once enough hides were stretched, they would start up the “Daub” machine, which added the colored finish. A team of two workers loaded the frames onto the conveyor while I wiped the leather down with tacky cheesecloth on the end of a pole to remove any dirt on the leather before it was coated.

    The extraordinary amount of teamwork in a physically challenging environment is especially amazing when you consider that most of my coworkers were first generation immigrants. They were from Italy, Greece, Turkey, Portugal, the Dominican Republic, and many other countries. They were here for a better future, and all they wanted was a chance to work hard and earn enough to support their families. Quite a few of them could not speak English and a lot of communication was done via sign language.

    One of my coworkers, Kari, was from Turkey. He immigrated with his mother, wife, and two daughters. I would visit his house after work and help his mother study for the citizenship test. It was her dream to become an American citizen. Her granddaughters and I would also help her practice her English. One of the first American traditions they embraced was Thanksgiving. I still remember having Thanksgiving at their home, with turkey and all the fixings, and their gratitude at being in America.

    After about a year, A.C. Lawrence Leathers closed their patent leather business. I was fortunate to be transferred to their Webster Street plant where various kinds of leather were manufactured. It also gave me a chance to work with my grandmother, who had been there for over twenty-five years. Even though I was 6” 2”, I became “Fran’s little grandson.” At this facility, most of my coworkers were again first and second generation immigrants, with the notable exception of my grandmother, an eighth generation immigrant — a direct descendant of Pilgrim Henry Sampson.

    My job at this mill was also to fill in where I was needed. One week I would be on first shift, the next week on third shift. I also worked in almost every department, from finishing coat leather to embossing leather so it resembled alligator hide. In most assignments I was part of a team, and as with the Pulaski Street plant, there was considerable teamwork. I even had the opportunity to operate the same machinery as my grandmother; she steam-pressed the leather, not an easy job. But then, most jobs at the mill were not easy; it was hard work in difficult conditions and no one complained.

    I worked there until the recession finally claimed A.C. Lawrence Leathers as one of its victims. My grandmother retired, and I went into electronics. My time at A.C. Lawrence Leathers was much more than just a job to pay the bills — I learned the value of hard work and also got to know my grandmother better. Most importantly, I learned to appreciate America, from the perspective of my coworkers who worked hard, without complaint, for the privilege of being here.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Genealogist

    PERCY (m): From the family name of the Earls of Northumberland. While a name in its own right, it can be a shortened form of Percival or Perseus. When PERCY appears as a female name in colonial times, it is usually a garbled form of PERSIS. PERCY reappeared as a male name in the early nineteenth century with the Romantic enthusiasm for anything medieval. Percy Stetson was born to Jacob and Mary (Franklin) Stetson on October 15, 1824, in Amherst, Massachusetts. In the 1790 census, seven men were enumerated with this name (in Connecticut, New York, and Vermont), and in the 1900 census, 28,125 men were named Percy.

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked about your relationship to New York. More than one answer could be selected. 4,256 people answered this survey. The results are:

    • 12%, I was born in New York.
    • 18%, I used to live in New York.
    • 6%, I currently live in New York.
    • 66%, One or more of my ancestors was born in New York.
    • 73%, One or more of my ancestors lived in New York.
    • 15%, I have no New York ancestry.
    • 6%, I don't know if I have any New York ancestry.

    This week’s survey asks whether you have written an autobiographical account of your life. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Wisconsin Databases
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    McHenry County Genealogical Society, Illinois

    Crandon Public Library, Wisconsin

    Crandon is located in Forest County, in northeastern Wisconsin. It is the county seat. The Crandon Public Library has made local history resources available on its website. The links to these collections are located in the Local History Holdings contents list on the right side of the webpage.

    The library created and maintains the online Local History Obituary Database. The obituary data was extracted from the local newspaper, The Forest Republican. The database covers the following years: 1890–1925, 1992–1994, 2001–2003, and 2005– more recent years. Currently, there are 2,286 records in the database.

    Scroll down to find the database search box, and enter a surname. The search results will appear below it. The data fields in the search results include last name, first name, age, newspaper, date of publication, and page and column number. Click on the up or down arrow in the column header to change the sort order. Select the number of records per page from the Show Entries drop down list. You may order photocopies of obituaries from the library by mail for a fee.

    The library also has a digital collection of Crandon High School yearbooks on its website. Click on the Yearbook Collection link to access them. The collection contains yearbooks for the following years: 1938, 1943, 1945–1948, 1950–1951, 1953, 1955, 1958–1961, and 1963–1964. Click on the thumbnail images to view the entire yearbook page by page.

    Door County Library Newspaper Archive

    Door County is located in eastern Wisconsin. Its county seat is Sturgeon Bay. The county lies entirely on the Door Peninsula, which separates the southern part of Green Bay from Lake Michigan. The Door County Library has digitized and uploaded to its website more than sixty years of local newspapers. There are more than 6,300 issues from twelve newspapers published between 1862 and 1923. Select the Click Here to Continue link to access the database.

    You can view the collections by clicking on the newspaper title link under the Browse Collections tab or by selecting a title from the Browse Titles link. Next, click on the thumbnail image of an issue. This will open the image viewer that will allow you to read the newspaper page by page. Click on the Simple Search tab to open the search page. Enter a keyword in the search box and click the search button. You can limit your search to a specific newspaper by selecting a title from the dropdown list. You can increase the number of search boxes to three by clicking on the + sign. Remove them by clicking on the – sign. Again, you need to click on the thumbnail image of the issue to read it.

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    Stories of Interest

    A Tale of Two Veterans
    How a New Jersey local historian helped put the mind of a veteran at ease about the final resting place of a Revolutionary War soldier.

    National Archives: Searching for the Seventies
    “Searching for the Seventies” takes a new look at the 1970s using remarkable color photographs taken for a Federal photography project called Project DOCUMERICA (1971–1977).”

    Past Forward: Heirlooms for the 21st Century
    This article from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune offers ideas for turning “mementos, hand-me-downs and family records” into “contemporary keepsakes for children, grandchildren and other family members.

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    Wednesday, March 20, 10–11 a.m.
    99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.

    The NEHGS website,, is full of great features, tools, resources, and content that highlights NEHGS' national expertise in genealogy and family history. We now have more than 200 million searchable names covering New England, New York, and other areas of family research dating back to 1620. We invite you to attend this free lecture to learn more about this incredible online resource.

    Spring Weekend Research Getaway — Organizing Your Research & Records
    Thursday, April 4 — Saturday, April 6, 2013
    99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.

    Spend a weekend at NEHGS delving into research, meeting with staff genealogists, learning from themed lectures, and enjoying group meals. Explore the rich offerings of the NEHGS Research Library and benefit from the knowledge of expert genealogists. Register for all three days, or choose which days to attend.

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    Copyright 2013, 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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