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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 16, No. 27
    Whole #642
    July 3, 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.

    * Happy 4th of July from NEHGS
    * NEHGS Database News
    * New Online Guides for Boston and Suffolk County, Massachusetts
    * Name Origins
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight: Crawford County, Kansas
    * Stories of Interest
    * Free Shipping on “Portable Genealogists”
    * Upcoming Education Programs

    Happy 4th of July from NEHGS

    NEHGS wishes everyone a happy Independence Day. Please note the NEHGS Library will be closed on Thursday, July 4, but will be open regular hours the rest of the week.

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

    Topsham, Maine: Vital Records to 1892

    The compiled vital records of Topsham, Maine, have been uploaded to our database collection with a primary name index and images of the source material. There are more than 15,000 records of births, marriages, and deaths in this collection.

    From the introduction to the book, Topsham, Maine, Vital Records, published in 1929: “Topsham originally belonged to the Pejepscott Purchase. The town of Topsham first received its name, legally, in the year 1717, when a vote passed in the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts…This tract of land was mainly settled by English emigrants, the greater number of whom was supposed to have come from the town of Topsham, England, and to have named the place in the memory of their former home…The town of Topsham was incorporated, January, 1764.”

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    New Online Guides for Boston and Suffolk County, Massachusetts
    by Scott Andrew Bartley, Wiki Content Specialist for

    Free guides to finding ancestors in Boston and Suffolk County, Massachusetts, are now available online. They are the latest in a series of guides to genealogical research in Massachusetts prepared by Family Search. (Also see Plymouth County.) These guides were compiled with the help of fellow genealogists and archivists and librarians at area repositories.

    The crown jewel is surely the Boston genealogy guide. This comprehensive guide to the city and its records includes histories, vital records, city directories, maps, wards and streets, cemeteries, church records, city records, censuses, newspapers, and research institutions.

    The largest section of the guide covers Boston churches. 108 churches were established in the city by 1846. Entries include name changes, location, notes, records, online resources, publications (with links), and a list of ministers. The minister list allows researchers who have a civil marriage record with a minister’s name to identify the church where the marriage took place.

    The guide also presents an inventory of records for the town (1630–1822) and city (1822–present) in all the major Boston repositories. A List of Residents (1909–1960), which can be used in conjunction with the census and city directories, is useful for tracking ancestors in the city, especially those who frequently moved. This guide also lists in chronological order every newspaper published in the city to 1855. If a digital copy is available — most pre-1830 newspapers are digitized — the guide provides information about where to locate it.

    The Suffolk County guide offers a brief history of the county; a table of county border changes; a list of towns and cities in the county (and those annexed by Boston) with links to their separate pages; a clickable town outline map of the county and surrounding area; notable histories with cataloging and digital online version links; discussion of land, probate, and court records; maps; and links to research libraries in the county.

    Given the size of Boston, the annexed towns have their own detailed guides:

    Guides were also prepared for the other towns in Suffolk County:

    Each of these town guides includes a brief history; information about border changes; histories; vital records; city directories; cemetery, church, and town records; newspapers; and local libraries and historical societies. Many links are provided to digital books, online databases, and free transcriptions, when available. These links are especially helpful for the cemetery and church records.

    If you research Bostonians or even ancestors who lived in the city briefly, you will likely find yourself returning to this guide frequently. Having such a broad array of information at your fingertips should speed your work considerably.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Staff Genealogist

    Independence (usually m): The exciting events of the Revolutionary War and the young Republic inspired many names such as Independence and Liberty, which descend from the "virtue" names (often unisex) bestowed by the Puritans a century earlier. Twin sons, Independence and Liberty Whipple, were born to Jonathan and Mary Whipple on October 31, 1777, in Douglas, Massachusetts (Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850, on Independence Pease, the daughter of Emory and Mary Pease, was born in Somers, Connecticut, on August 27, 1776 (Connecticut Vital Records to 1870 [The Barbour Collection], on

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked how many brick walls you are facing. 4,990 people responded to this survey. The results are:

    • <1%, none
    • 9%, one
    • 18%, two
    • 20%, three
    • 15%, four
    • 7%, five
    • 17%, six to ten
    • 3%, eleven to fifteen
    • 10%, too many to count!

    This week’s survey asks about visiting Revolutionary War sites and battlefields. Take the survey now!

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

    Crawford County, Kansas

    Crawford County is located in the southeastern corner of Kansas on the Missouri border. The city of Girard is the county seat. The Crawford County Clerk’s office has made several resources available on its website.

    Birth and Death Records
    Birth and death records for 1886 through 1911 are available, along with an online index and digitized images of the actual records. Click on the vital statistics database link to open the Birth and Death Records page. The index is divided into three alphabetical-by-surname sections. Click on the instructions link to interpret the abbreviations in the birth and death entries. Once you locate the volume and page information for an individual record, find the volume in the book list, click on the correct page range link, and scroll to the correct page. You may obtain a certified copy of a birth or death record for a pre-paid fee of $3. In addition, you can view two volumes containing the 1883 “Enrollment of Late Soldiers, Their Widows & Orphans in Kansas.”

    Tombstone Transcriptions
    This database, provided by the Crawford County Genealogical Society, is an index of names from gravestone transcriptions from all Crawford County cemeteries, 1860–1976. Click on the tombstone transcription database link to access the index and links. The tombstone transcriptions index is divided into six alphabetical-by-surname sections. Instructions for reading the index are in the first section, A–C. Once you find the name you are seeking, click on the cemetery name to view the transcription. The cemetery volumes may also include the location of the cemetery, general directions, and a cemetery map.

    Crawford County History
    Click on the Crawford County History link to read a brief history of Crawford County and view videos on agriculture, arts and architecture, education, immigration, industry and economics, mining and labor, people, and social reform in Crawford County.

    Crawford County Maps Project
    Click on the Maps Project Images link to open a page with links to the individual maps from 1862 through 1906.

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    Stories of Interest

    A Complicated Family History Places Black Md. Woman in DAR’s Ranks
    Reisha Raney, an African American raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland, joined the DAR after discovering her unexpected heritage.

    Mantled in Fire and Smoke
    “One hundred and fifty years ago, the United States was saved at the Battle of Gettysburg by Maine soldiers.”

    The Civil War Relived
    As part of Minnesota’s efforts to individually recognize each of its Civil War soldiers killed in battle, contact was made with an Iowa man who hadn’t known about his connection to a soldier who died at Gettysburg.

    EU Regulation Could Restrict Genealogical Research
    “Access to records in the National Library could be restricted because of regulation on data protection, the Genealogical Society of Ireland has said.”

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    Free Shipping on “Portable Genealogists”

    The Bookstore at NEHGS is offering free USPS first-class shipping on all Portable Genealogist titles. The new Portable Genealogist 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 sheets fit easily into your research binder and can travel with you!

    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). USPS first-class shipping is free. To order please use this link or call toll free at 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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    Upcoming Education Programs

    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.

    New Brunswick Research Tour
    September 22–October 1, 2013

    Travel to New Brunswick, Canada, to find your family history in Saint John, Moncton, Fredericton, and Saint Andrews. Let NEHGS experts David Allen Lambert and Rhonda McClure and local historians guide you through the Saint John Free Public Library, the Archives of the Diocese of Saint John, Charlotte County Archives, New Brunswick Provincial Archives, the Centre d’etudes acadiennes, and more.

    For more details and to register, click here.

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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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