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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 16, No. 16
    Whole #631
    April 17, 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 Update
    * NEHGS Database News
    * San Francisco and the Wine Country: An Exclusive Tour with NEHGS
    * The Riobard O’Dwyer Papers
    * Name Origins
    * Ask a Genealogist
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight: Omaha Public Library
    * Stories of Interest
    * New at the NEHGS Bookstore: Annals of Witchcraft in New England

    NEHGS Update

    Thank you to our all members and friends who expressed their concern because of the tragic events in Boston on Monday. Due to the Patriots’ Day holiday in Massachusetts, NEHGS was closed; staff and patrons were fortunately not at our headquarters Monday.

    NEHGS remained closed on Tuesday to allow the authorities to conduct the necessary investigation in and around the Copley Square area. We resumed our normal hours on Wednesday.

    We are deeply saddened by the events in our city. We keep all those affected by the Boston Marathon tragedy in our thoughts.

    — Brenton Simons, President and CEO.

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

    Massachusetts and Maine 1798 Direct Tax — Re-indexed and reissued

    In 2003, NEHGS released the first edition of this searchable database on In 2010, the same database content was moved to the new NEHGS website, In the past year, our volunteer team has worked diligently to re-index the collection, which contains 187,000 name records and 16,600 page images. In addition, many page images which were formerly unavailable on the website have been rescanned and added to the collection. Information about the Massachusetts and Maine 1798 Direct Tax is detailed in an article by Michael J. Leclerc in the Spring 2003 issue of New England Ancestors magazine. Additionally, in 1979 NEHGS published an Index and Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Massachusetts and Maine 1798 Tax. Excerpts from that guide explain the collection’s content and the towns it covers.

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    San Francisco and the Wine Country: An Exclusive Tour with NEHGS
    October 4–11, 2013

    The rich history of California, the legendary allure of San Francisco, and the enchantment of northern California’s wine country all beckon us for this exclusive, insiders’ tour — one that promises a host of special experiences and private visits rarely, if ever, available to the general public. Highlights include private, guided walking tours of the City by the Bay, docent-led tours of museums, a visit to a rarely seen part of Alcatraz, an excursion to the charming coastal town of Monterey, cocktails at a private penthouse residence atop San Francisco’s Russian Hill, wine tastings at several of Napa’s finest vineyards, and a private luncheon at the beautiful hillside Piña Napa Valley vineyards. Accommodations will be provided at some of Napa and San Francisco’s finest hotels, with dinners and wine parings at some of the best restaurants. Our guide is historian Donald Friary.

    Space is extremely limited and only a few openings remain, so please register early to ensure a place. Further information is available on our website or by contacting Steven L. Solomon at or 617-226-1238.

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    The Riobard O’Dwyer Papers

    n 2012, NEHGS acquired the Riobard O’Dwyer Papers, which document the families of the Beara Peninsula in southwest Ireland. Common surnames include Blake, (O’)Brien, Connolly, O’Connor, Cronin, Crowley, O’Driscoll, Goggin, Harrington, (O’)Leary, Lynch, McCarthy, (O’)Sullivan, (O’)Shea, and Twomey. The processing of the Riobard O’Dwyer Papers (Mss 1097) was completed in March 2013 and the collection is now open for use by NEHGS members. A more detailed description of this collection will be published in the spring 2013 issue of American Ancestors magazine. Questions about the O’Dwyer Papers or other manuscript collections held by NEHGS can be directed to Tim Salls at

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Genealogist

    ANANIAS (m): In the Bible, this name is found only in the Book of Acts, where it is borne by at least three people of notably differing character:

    (1) Ananias, husband of Sapphira. This covetous couple, members of an early Christian church in Jerusalem, sold land and kept back the proceeds, and when rebuked by St. Peter, were struck dead (5:1-5).
    (2) Acts 23:2 and 24:1 mention Ananias the High Priest, who in 23:2 ordered that Paul be struck on the mouth, and in 24:2, "descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul."

    Probably the Long Island families (especially the Conklins) who favored this name were thinking of

    (3) “a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias” who, acting on a vision from God, laid hands on the blinded Saul/St. Paul and restored his sight, after the latter’s conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:10-17), or (4) “one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there” (Acts 22:12) [perhaps the same as (3)].

    Ananias Conklin of Kings Swynford, Staffordshire; Nottingham; Salem, Mass.; and Southold, L.I. (TAG 21 [1944-45]: 48-58 had grandsons Ananias Conklin “Jr.” (East Hampton, L.I. ca. 1674-by 22 Oct. 1730) (Jeremiah and Mary [Gardiner] Conklin (TAG 21:58, 142-43); Ananias Conklin “Sr.” (Benjamin and Hannah [Mulford] Conklin (East Hampton, L.I. ca. 1672/3-by 26 Aug. 1740) (21:135), father (by wife Hannah Ludlam) of Ananias Conklin [Jr.], bp. East Hampton 21 Aug. 1708.

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    Ask a Genealogist

    With this issue we begin to occasionally feature “Ask a Genealogist” questions posed to our staff genealogists and their answers. For more about Ask a Genealogist, click here. — Editor.  

    Question from Patti Prime of Grand Terrace, California: I am trying to determine when my ancestor, John Prime (b. 1785), and his brother, Nathaniel (b. 1792), left Rowley, Massachusetts, and moved west. According to a local history, John was the first county recorder in Scott County, Indiana, and Nathaniel was a justice of the peace in 1820. What are your suggestions?

    Answer by Genealogist Rhonda R. McClure: The latter 1700s and the early 1800s see major migrations from New England to the newly opened Midwest. In many genealogies, many families are listed as simply “going west.” At least you have found some information about John and Nathaniel that can be assigned to dates and places.

    Scott County, Indiana, was created in 1820 out of pieces of Clark, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, and Washington Counties. Understanding the county origins can be important in identifying additional places to search to find out whether an ancestor arrived in the area at an earlier date. You can find county formation dates online, in sources such as Wikipedia, for example, or in books like Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources (Ancestry, 2004). It appears that John and Nathaniel Prime were already in the area by 1820, since Nathaniel was a justice of the peace in 1820, the year that Scott County was split off. So you should examine the records of the five parent counties to see if you can find any earlier mentions of the brothers.

    You should search the county land records. Many Midwestern settlers were looking for cheap land. Some had received bounty land (earned during service in the American Revolution or the War of 1812) — although the person claiming the land might have been a child or grandchild of the original recipient. Bounty land case files can provide a wealth of genealogical information since proof of rightful descent was required. Some bounty land case files contain Bible records and other genealogically relevant documents. You should also search the land records database of the Bureau of Land Management to see if any individuals with the name Prime purchased land directly from the government. (Once land was purchased from the government, any subsequent land transactions would be kept in county land records.)

    To determine when the brothers last appeared in Rowley sources, look at the town records and treasurer’s accounts. Town records can prove useful as you can often find your ancestor serving in some capacity. If he suddenly disappears from the records, you can use that date as a potential exit year. These records are not available online, but they have been microfilmed by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. You can borrow the microfilms at your local FamilySearch Center. For more information about the process and to see what records they have online for Rowley, visit Land records for Essex County, Massachusetts, should also be searched to see if either John or Nathaniel sold land. The date of the sale of land could also serve as an exit year.

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked what century is the greatest interest to you in your genealogical research. 3,686 people responded to this survey. The results are:

    • 3%, The sixteenth century or earlier (prior to 1600).
    • 15%, The seventeenth century.
    • 22%, The eighteenth century.
    • 26%, The nineteenth century.
    • 2%, The twentieth century.
    • 33%, I don’t have a preferred century for my research efforts.

    This week’s survey asks what region or country is of the greatest interest to you in your genealogical research. Take the survey now!  

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    Spotlight: Omaha Public Library
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Omaha Public Library, Nebraska

    The city of Omaha is located in the eastern part of the state about midway along the Nebraska-Iowa border. It is the seat of Douglas County. On the genealogy page of the Omaha Public Library’s website are a number of unique online resources. Most of the following are projects of the Greater Omaha Genealogical Society. These include:

    Omaha Births
    This database comprises a list of births in Omaha extracted from area newspapers. In some cases, children were born in Omaha to families who lived in areas outside of Douglas County, including Iowa. Nebraska did not mandate the registration of births until 1910, making this information particularly valuable. The data fields in the database include name of parents, date, newspaper abbreviation, page number, and child’s name or sex, in cases where there is no given name for the child.

    Omaha Obits
    This index contains more than 120,000 obituaries and death notices extracted from pre-1977 Omaha newspapers. The database includes records that appeared in Omaha newspapers for individuals who lived within an hour to an hour and a half from the city. Civil War veterans from a further distance have also been included. The information has been drawn from obituaries, funeral stories, personal coverage, and death notices. The data provided includes name, age, date of publication, newspaper abbreviation, edition, page, and burial location, which is preceded by an @ symbol. There is a link to information on obtaining copies of the obituaries.

    Marriage License Indexes for Douglas County, Nebraska
    This link takes researchers to the Douglas County Clerk/Comptroller’s Office website, where you can search the county’s database of marriage license applications. Enter the name of the bride or groom into the search box. You must enter the full last name and at least the first letter of the first name. While the webpage states that only marriage licenses since 1988 are online, I found records with earlier dates listed in the Marriage License Archives section of the search results. The data fields include name, spouse name, marriage date, application date/year, and license number.

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    Stories of Interest

    Bought & Sold: Forgotten Documents Local Slave History
    “Thanks to a partnership between the register of deeds office and UNCA [the University of North Carolina at Asheville], Buncombe [County] has apparently become the first county in the country to digitize its original slave records, local officials and researchers say.”

    How Welsh Are You? A Look Back at Your Welsh Family Tree Might Hold Some Surprises
    “Welsh genealogy expert Susan Rainey says that she has never had a client who has had a purely Welsh bloodline. In fact, going back more than four generations of having entirely Welsh family is rare.”

    Merseyside Family Set to Bury Their World War I Hero Ancestor…96 Years After His Death
    The remains of John Harold Pritchard of London were recently identified in a French field, and will be buried in France in a military ceremony with 34 relatives in attendance. Family members became aware of the discovery through an online search launched by the Ministry of Defence and the War Graves Commission.

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    New at the NEHGS Bookstore: Annals of Witchcraft in New England

    The Bookstore at NEHGS announces the availability of a genealogical classic, now in paperback: Annals of Witchcraft in New England by Samuel G. Drake, Foreword by D. Brenton Simons.

    First published in 1869, Samuel Gardner Drake’s Annals of Witchcraft in New England outlines the “alleged operations of witches” in New England and elsewhere in the United States from 1636 through 1728. It’s particularly fitting that NEHGS reprint this classic work as Samuel Gardner Drake (1798–1875) was one of our founders, served as president in 1858-1859, and was intermittently editor, between 1848 and 1861, of the Register.

    Save 15% on this title and all the genealogical classics listed below (through April 27, 2013):

    Annals of Witchcraft in New England: Normally $17.95, Now $15.26

    The Original Lists of Person of Quality, 1600–1700: Normally $27.95, Now $23.76

    The Founders of New England: Normally $14.95, Now $12.71

    Genealogical Notes, First Settlers of Connecticut and Massachusetts: Normally $24.95, Now $21.21

    Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire: Normally $27.95, Now $23.76

    The Expansion of New England: The Spread of New England Settlement and Institutions to the Mississippi River, 1620–1865: Normally $17.95, Now $15.26

    The History and Antiquities of Boston from Its Settlement in 1630, to the Year 1770: Normally $29.95, Now $25.46

    Dictionary of American-Indian Place and Proper Names in New England: Normally, $24.95, Now $21.21

    New England Captives Carried to Canada between 1677 and 1760: Normally $2995, Now $25.46

    To receive your 15% discount on any of these titles, please enter the coupon code SPRING413 into the coupon field in your online shopping basket, or call toll free at 1-888-296-3447. Prices good through 4/27/13, while supplies last. Cannot be combined with any other coupon or discount, including the NEHGS member discount. Prices do not include shipping.

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