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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 16, No. 17
    Whole #632
    April 24, 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.

    * A Further NEHGS Update
    * NEHGS Database News
    * New from Newbury Street Press
    * NEHGS Authors To Be Interviewed on Fieldstone Common Radio
    * Irish Genealogy Study Group
    * Name Origins
    * Ask A Genealogist
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight: Canadian Cemeter Databases: Saskatchewan and Manitoba
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Education Programs

    A Further NEHGS Update

    NEHGS is profoundly grateful for the outpouring of support from our members near and far as we persevered through the historic week of bombings and manhunts in Boston. In the middle of it all, we hosted our Annual Meeting Weekend, for which hundreds of members traveled to Boston. Despite having to cancel our Friday night Annual Dinner due to a mandatory citywide lockdown, our Keynote Speaker and Honoree David Gergen and his wife Anne graciously changed their travel arrangements to be with us at our Annual Meeting, held on Saturday morning after the streets of Boston were declared safe again. It is clear that twenty-first century NEHGS members and staff are as adaptable as they are resilient.

    — Edward G. MacMahon, Vice President for Development and Member Services

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

    Newly added to Connecticut Vital Records to 1870 (The Barbour Collection): Cornwall (1740–1854), Kent (1739–1852), Sharon (1739–1865), and Torrington (1740–1850) birth, marriage, and death records. These towns add more than 15,400 records to this database collection, which is compiled from an original Lucius Barnes Barbour typescript in the NEHGS special collections.

    The complete Barbour Collection contains records of births, marriages, 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. The NEHGS library also offers the complete Barbour collection onsite.

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    New from Newbury Street Press

    The Descendants of Dr. Nathaniel Saltonstall of Haverhill, Massachusetts
    By Scott C. Steward

    The first full account of the Saltonstall family in more than a century, this new genealogy from award-winning author Scott C. Steward treats the descendants of Dr. Nathaniel Saltonstall (1747–1815) to the present day. The book includes biographical treatments of many family members, including Senator Leverett Saltonstall (1892–1979), and features new material on earlier generations of the Saltonstall family, both in England and America.

    Order today!

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    NEHGS Authors To Be Interviewed on Fieldstone Common Radio

    This Thursday, April 25, at 1 p.m., Marian Pierre-Louis will interview Christopher C. Child and Scott C. Steward, authors of the award-winning Newbury Street Press book, Descendants of Judge John Lowell of Newburyport, Massachusetts, on Fieldstone Common Radio.

    For more information or to listen to the program, visit Fieldstone Common Radio or

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    Irish Genealogy Study Group

    The Irish Genealogy Study Group will meet on Saturday, April 27, 2013, between 9:30 and 12 noon in the second floor Education Center at NEHGS. This is an informal group gathered to talk about research problems and share solutions, from the seventeenth century to the twentieth century, in every part of Ireland. No pre-registration is required. Everyone is welcome to come and join in.

    Contact Mary Ellen Grogan at for more information.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Genealogist

    CEPHAS (m.) - Cephas is another name for Simon Peter [St. Peter] - fisherman, disciple, apostle and first bishop of Rome. CEPHAS is the Syriac or Aramaic word for ’rock.’ PETER (PETROS) is thus the same idea in Greek.

    A quick look at the Bellingham, Mass., VRs reveals a branch of the Rockwood family that used this name: Cephas Rockwood, b. 25 May 1766, son of Joseph and Alice (Thompson) Rockwood; he was lost at sea 10 Dec. 1786 off Lovell’s Island (which the Bellingham town clerk, a notoriously bad speller, styled ’louvels eilon’) (Bellingham VRs, pp. 55, 207); and his nephew Cephas Rockwood, b. 12 March 1786, son of John and Eunice (____) (Smith) Rockwood (Bellingham VRs, p. 55); later known as Cephas Leland Rockwood (the middle name apparently honors his stepfather Aaron Leland), he lived many years at Chester, Vermont, later at Canton, N.Y., and died at Pewaukee, Wisconsin, 3 May 1844 (Vivian VaLera Rockwood, Four Centuries of American Descendants of Richard Rockwood of Dorchester 1633, Braintree 1636, Massachusetts, 2 vols. [Johnson City, Tenn.: The Overmountain Press, 2000], 1:176, 262, 367). The 1850 census lists 692 men with the name Cephas.

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    Ask A Genealogist

    Question: James and Ann Maxwell are named as parents of Eleanor Maxwell on her Quaker marriage certificate dated 11 October 1798 in Uwchlan, Chester County, Pennsylvania. A James Maxwell is listed on tax records in Uwchlan in 1768. An Ann Maxwell is on the tax records for Pikeland, Chester County, in 1783 and, according to local deeds, she purchased land there in 1792 and sold it in 1799. Later, the family moved out of state. Much of the information on James and Ann Maxwell, and the story of Ann’s arrival from Ireland, comes from their great-granddaughter. However, her account is very difficult to document. Given the common name and an overall lack of information on the lives of James and Ann Maxwell, how do I find further documentation?

    Answer by Senior Genealogist David Dearborn: If Eleanor Maxwell was married in a Quaker ceremony, she must have been a Quaker herself. You should look for records of her parents and other family members in the local Monthly Meeting records. The records of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, that covers the Delaware Valley, are stored at the Friends Historical Library, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Penn., or in the Quaker Collection, Haverford College Library, Haverford, Penn.

    Births, marriages, and deaths were not recorded civilly in Pennsylvania until well after the period when your people lived there. You will have to rely on church records (in your case, for the Quakers), as well as gravestone inscriptions (if any), and court records, tax rolls, and probate and land records. Did James Maxwell, who was deceased in 1798, leave an estate in Chester County? Did he own any land and, if so, what became of it?

    Record-keeping varied from state to state. We assume that you know where this family moved. If you are trying to find proof that people of the same name are the ones originally from Chester County, you will need to find some record, such as an acknowledgement to a deed, a pension, or a power of attorney, that demonstrates that the person in question did indeed move from residence A to residence B.

    You also have to be realistic about the chances of finding full documentation on families that lived in the eighteenth century. It is not always possible in every case.

    For more about Ask a Genealogist, click here.


    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked what location you prefer to focus your genealogical research efforts on. 3,967 people responded to the survey. The results are:

    • 39%, New England
    • 8%, New York
    • 4%, The Mid-Atlantic
    • 3%, The South
    • 5%, The Central United States
    • <1%, The Western United States
    • 3%, Canada
    • 4%, England
    • 5%, Ireland
    • 1%, Scotland
    • <1%, Wales
    • 2%, Germany
    • <1%, Italy
    • 2%, Other European country
    • <1%, Other location not listed above
    • 21%, I don’t have a preferred geographic location for my research

    This week’s survey asks which major U.S. genealogical repositories you’ve visited. Take the survey now!  

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    Spotlight: Canadian Cemetery Databases: Saskatchewan and Manitoba
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    City of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    Regina is the capital of the province of Saskatchewan. It is located in the southern part of the province. The City of Regina owns and maintains two cemeteries - Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery and Regina Cemetery. City officials have uploaded a burial database for these cemeteries to the city’s website. The information in the database has been extracted from the official cemetery records held at the Cemetery Administration Office. The Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery database contains more than 34,000 records and the Regina Cemetery database contains nearly 10,000 records. Click on the Locate a Loved One link to access the cemetery database. Click on the Cemetery Database link to open the search page. You will also find links to cemetery maps in PDF format on the Locate a Loved One page.

    The Online Cemeteries Database can be searched by last name, first name, year of death, age at death, and year interred. The search can be limited to a specific cemetery or you can search both cemeteries at the same time. The data fields in the search results are last name, first name(s), age at death, date of birth, date of death, date of burial, cemetery, and block-plot lot.

    Neepawa, Manitoba, Canada

    Neepawa is a town of about 4,000 residents, located in southern Manitoba. It was incorporated in 1883. The town of Neepawa has made the database for Riverside Cemetery available on its website. The earliest burial I found in the database occurred in 1877, and the most recent was in February 2013. According to the website, Riverside Cemetery is the furthest west location where a victim of the Titanic disaster was buried. Click on the search link. You may enter first names, last names, or a burial year in the search box. The data fields in the search results are last name, first/middle name, lot/block/range, and the interment date. If the deceased was an infant, it is noted on the name line. The search results are sorted by date.

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    Stories of Interest

    The Past Gets Personal with a Photograph
    For a McCook, Nebraska, genealogist, an online posting led to a very meaningful image from 1969.

    Yiddish Language and Culture Enjoying a Worldwide Resurgence
    Philip Kutner, the organizer of a national Yiddish conference to be held in Pittsburgh next week, credits genealogy as a major reason for a Yiddish revival.

    Don’t be Afraid of Your DNA
    An opinion piece in Popular Science advocates embracing a “lack of genetic privacy.”

    Footloose in Archeaology
    A foot doctor in Gloucestershire, England, describes her research project to compare and contrast ancient foot bones.

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    Wednesday, May 8, 10 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. Or, enjoy an online seminar, Searching

    Salt Lake City Research Tour
    November 3–10, 2013

    Visit the world’s largest library for genealogy and family history as NEHGS returns to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City for our 35th annual research tour. Daily activities include individual consultations with NEHGS genealogists, lectures, and other special events.

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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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