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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 16, No. 26
    Whole #641
    June 26, 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.

    * Getting Started in Genealogy
    * Irish Genealogy Study Group Meets on June 29
    * A Note from the Editor: More on Mehetabel
    * Name Origins
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight: Oxford County Library, Ontario, Canada
    * Stories of Interest
    * Free Shipping on “Portable Genealogists”

    Getting Started in Genealogy

    Three Wednesdays: July 17, 24, 31, 6–8 p.m.
    99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.

    How do you get started in genealogy? There are plenty of websites, libraries, and printed sources out there, but access to all that information can leave a beginner feeling overwhelmed. Let an NEHGS expert help you navigate the first steps in tracing your family history. Genealogist Rhonda R. McClure will share her knowledge and helpful strategies for beginning your family history journey in this three-part course.

    Tuition: $30 for full course (three sessions).

    Registration: Call 617-226-1226 or register online.

    If you'd like to get started but aren't in the Boston area, watch Rhonda's online seminar.

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    Irish Genealogy Study Group Meets on June 29

    The Irish Genealogy Study Group will meet on Saturday, June 29, between 1 and 4 p.m. on the second floor (Education Center) at NEHGS. This is an informal group gathered to talk about research problems and share solutions. Everyone is welcome to come and join in.

    Contact Mary Ellen Grogan for more information.

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    A Note from the Editor: More on Mehetabel
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    In the May 29 edition of The Weekly Genealogist, we featured an article by Michelle Marchetti Coughlin in the online journal Common-place about her research on Mehetabel Chandler Coit. Ms. Coughlin's 2012 book, One Colonial Woman's World: The Life and Writings of Mehetabel Chandler Coit, “reconstructs the life of Mehetabel Chandler Coit (1673-1758), the author of what may be the earliest surviving diary by an American woman.” Born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, Coit moved to Woodstock, Connecticut, at the age of fourteen and permanently settled in New London, Connecticut, when she was twenty-one. (More information about Mehetabel Coit is available at Coughlin's article described how she learned about Mehetabel's diary in an 1895 book and began a tenacious search for its whereabouts. I thought that Weekly Genealogist readers would appreciate this tale of successfully pursuing a centuries-old primary source.

    A few days after The Weekly Genealogist was sent, I received an email from Ms. Coughlin, who is an NEHGS member and enews subscriber. She reported that she received several nice emails from enews readers — as well as a rather astonishing one from a Coit descendant who owns a letter-book purportedly kept by Mehetabel's mother, Elizabeth (Douglas) Chandler (1641–1705).

    The Coit descendant is Eleanor Hoague of Seattle, Mehetabel's great-great-great-great-great granddaughter. Eleanor and her husband have preserved hundreds of letters and other manuscripts that were passed down lovingly from Coit to Coit. (Many of these letters have provided fodder for other genealogical works: Digging for Gold Without a Shovel: The Letters of Daniel Wadsworth Coit from Mexico City to San Francisco 1848-1851 and An Artist in El Dorado: The Drawings and Letters of Daniel Wadsworth Coit.)

    Eleanor was thrilled to read the article about Mehetabel on the Common-place website, and she contacted Ms. Coughlin to let her know about the letter-book. Eleanor kindly sent Ms. Coughlin photographs of the eighteen pages of the letter-book, which dates to the late seventeenth century. Ms. Coughlin is now transcribing the letters. She will need to try to identify some of the senders and/or recipients, who are named only by initials, and who in some cases don't seem to have anything to do with Elizabeth Chandler.

    Michelle Coughlin has pronounced this new find, “quirky but also fascinating.” I'm very pleased she has agreed to write an article that will present her findings for a future issue of American Ancestors magazine.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Staff Genealogist

    CLARENCE (m): This first name, often but not exclusively bestowed on male protagonists, has a fine aristocratic ring which echoes the name of George, Duke of Clarence (1449–1476), middle brother of Kings Edward IV and Richard III; Clarence's mysterious death has inspired literature, both greater (Shakespeare's Richard III) and lesser (The Last of the Barons [1843], by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton). Beginning in the mid- and late eighteenth century, the name became popular for men actual and imaginary. Clarence Hervey, hero of Belinda (1811) by Maria Edgeworth (1768–1849), bears for good measure the family name of the earls and marquesses of Bristol. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, when the name was popular, the contemporary Duke of Clarence was George III's third son Prince William Henry (1765–1837), subsequently King William IV (1830–1837).

    Here at NEHGS we see the name frequently in connection with the compiler of the massive bibliographic index, “New England Marriages Prior to 1700,” Clarence Almon Torrey (1869–1962). Torrey, born in Manchester, Iowa, was a descendant of an old New England family that had moved west. Another Clarence, Clarence M. Averill, the son of Moses (b. Olney, Maine) and Mary J. (b. New Sharon, Maine), was born July 28, 1840, in Newton Upper Falls, Massachusetts (Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850, on

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked whether you thought you were enumerated in the 1950 U.S. Federal census. 4,823 people responded to this survey. The results are:

    • 68%, Yes
    • 32%, No

    This week’s survey asks about the brick walls in your family history research. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Oxford County Library, Ontario, Canada
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Oxford County Library, Ontario, Canada

    Oxford County is located in southwestern Ontario, Canada. Its regional seat is in Woodstock.

    Newspaper Indexes
    These databases provide indexes to birth, death, and marriage notices found in the Ingersoll Chronicle, 1854–1919 and the Ingersoll Tribune, 1897–1970. Each database can be searched by surname and given name. The data fields in the search results are source newspaper, date, page and column numbers, name, associated name, and note. If the text of the notice is short, it is transcribed in the search results. A third database, the Ingersoll Times, 1969–1970, can be accessed by using an alphabetical list of names which link to digitized images of the newspaper notices.

    Vital Statistics
    There are four vital records databases on the site. Three are Ingersoll vital statistics databases, containing official birth (1896–1909), death (1896–1934), and marriage (1896–1924) records. The fourth is the Oxford County Genealogy Records Database, which includes records from 1793 to 1858 collected from various sources, such as parish registers, local history books, marriage bonds, and wills.

    Cemetery Records
    The Ingersoll and Area Cemetery Index contains information on burials in Ingersoll Rural Cemetery, Harris Street Cemetery, and Sacred Heart Cemetery. The data fields are cemetery name abbreviation, name, section, row, age, stone, death date, and epitaph. The cemetery database homepage provides links to PDF maps of the cemeteries. The Cemeteries in the County of Oxford database is an external website linking to databases for 102 Oxford County cemeteries. Click on the name of the town to access the individual cemetery indexes.

    Census Records
    Census record databases for Ingersoll are available for 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, and 1901. Click on the year and either search or browse by surname. The data fields vary somewhat by year but generally include surname, Christian name, occupation, birthplace, age, sex, marital status, and the original census page number. A census database is also available for North Oxford Township, 1861. The database can be searched by name or browsed by surname. (Note that when you click on a surname it might not appear at the top of the list; the records have been transcribed in the order they appeared on the census page.)

    Land Records
    Land records were transcribed from microfilm in the Archives of Ontario for four Oxford County townships: East Nissouri, West Nissouri, North Oxford, and West Oxford. The data fields in the alphabetical listing are surname, Christian name, concession, lot, township, date of patent, and acres.

    The website also contains local history books and indexes; directories, gazetteers, and voter lists; and resources related to the history of Ingersoll. Some of the links direct users to external sites such as Internet Archive and FamilySearch.

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    Stories of Interest

    Michigan Message in a Bottle Mystery Solved
    A note in a bottle tossed into a Michigan river nearly 100 years ago caught the attention of many people, including one of the note writer's descendants.

    How Ashkenazi Are You? Tapping into Genetic Secrets Online
    “A growing number of non-Jews [have become] fascinated with the discovery of a Jewish ancestor's footprints in their DNA, thanks to testing that has become much more affordable — $99 or $199, depending on the company — than it had been only a few years ago.”

    Treat Living Persons with Discretion
    Newspaper columnist Betty Malesky advises genealogists to be thoughtful and respectful when including living relatives in genealogies.

    Send Me a Postcard, Drop Me a Line
    A New York Times op-ed contributor ruminates on the shift away from postcards and stamps.

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    Free Shipping on “Portable Genealogists”

    The NEHGS Book Store is now offering FREE shipping on all Portable Genealogist titles. This new series consists of quick reference guides that cover a variety of topics including genealogical research, records, and writing. Prepared by the experts at NEHGS, these four-page, laminated guide fit easily into your research binder and are ideal for researchers of all levels!

    Portable Genealogist titles and topics currently include:

    • Immigration to the U.S. by Rhonda R. McClure
    • U.S. Naturalization by Rhonda R. McClure
    • New York State Census by Christopher C. Child
    • Building a Genealogical Sketch by Penny Stratton
    • Genealogical Numbering by Penny Stratton

    Each Portable Genealogist is $6.95 ($6.26 for NEHGS members). Shipping is FREE. Order online or call toll free, 1-888-296-3447.

    Classic Reprints

    Did you know that the NEHGS Book Store offers library-quality copies of over 10,000 rare and out-of-print books? Some titles ordered by recent customers include:

    • Genealogy of the Van Brunt Family of New York, 1653–1867 (Item P4-H26046, $28.50)
    • Early History of Ransom County, North Dakota, Including References to Sargent County, 1835–1885 (Item P5-ND0006S, $15.00)
    • Eaton Family of Nova Scotia, 1760–1929 (Item P4-H09279, $50.00)
    • Family History of Jeremiah Fenton (1764–1841) of Adams Co., Ohio, and His Descendants (Item P4-H10236, $43.50)
    • History of Cherry Valley, New York, from 1740 to 1898 (Item P5-NY0071H, $19.50)

    Search the entire Classic Reprints catalog. If you would like a list of FAQs and search tips for the Classic Reprints catalog, simply send an email with “Classic Reprints” in the subject line to

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    Copyright 2013, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

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Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

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