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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 16, No. 39
    Whole #654
    September 25, 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 Book and Gift Catalog — Start Browsing Today!
    * NEHGS Database News
    * Irish Genealogy Study Group
    * A Note from the Editor: Making Connections with the Past in Syracuse and Visiting Boston
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight: Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery, Montréal, Quebec
    * Stories of Interest
    * NEHGS Bookstore Sale on New York State Titles
    * 2014 Research Tours and Programs Announced
    * Upcoming Education Programs


    NEHGS Book and Gift Catalog — Start Browsing Today!

    Our new NEHGS Book & Gift Catalog will be reaching your mailbox soon, but you can start shopping today! Find essential resources, must-have classics, family genealogies, and exclusive gift items — something for you or for a genealogist in your life. Don't forget: members receive 10% off all NEHGS book and gift purchases! (If you upgrade your membership to Friend level, get 20% off!)*

    Start browsing online today!

    *Some exclusions and restrictions apply; may not be used in combination with other special offers.

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

    Massachusetts Death Index, 1970–2003

    Created from an index maintained by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Health Services in Boston, this database contains death record information pertaining to individuals who died within the state of Massachusetts between the years 1970 and 2003. The index provides the name of the deceased and dates and places of birth and death. The index includes the name of the spouse of the deceased for deaths that occurred in 1999 or later.

    Western Massachusetts Families in 1790 — Five new sketches

    This database contains genealogical sketches of families enumerated in the 1790 census for Berkshire and Hampshire Counties (in which 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.

    Recently added sketches: Abigail Pixley, Great Barrington; Elizabeth Pixley, Great Barrington; Erastus Pixley, Great Barrington; Samuel Pixley, Great Barrington; and Richard Chapel, Sandisfield.

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    Irish Genealogy Study Group

    The Irish Genealogy Study Group will meet on Saturday, September 28, 2013, between 9:30 a.m. and noon in the second floor Education Center at NEHGS. The study group gathers to talk about research problems and share solutions. Everyone is welcome to come and join in, and people can attend part or all of the session. (The NEHGS Library is open for research from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Contact Mary Ellen Grogan at for more information.

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    A Note from the Editor: Making Connections with the Past in Syracuse and Visiting Boston
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    Last Thursday and Friday archivist Judy Lucey and I staffed the NEHGS booth at the very successful New York State Family History conference in Liverpool — just outside Syracuse. One of the reasons that this conference captured my attention was that I had lived in North Syracuse for two years when I was in grade school in the 1970s. After our time there, my family moved to western Kansas and in subsequent years I had never been back to Syracuse. This was my chance. According to Google Maps, my old house was located a mere 4.1 miles away from the conference hotel.

    When I drove over, I found the house and the neighborhood to be both familiar and foreign. I didn't recognize anything until I turned onto our street and then I knew right where the house was and spotted it immediately. But the area had changed a lot and so had I. My parents were the first owners of the house and when I lived there the surrounding area felt raw and new. I was struck by the towering trees and the lush greenery of an older settled neighborhood. Our plain steps up to the front door had been replaced by a front porch, complete with an inviting swing. But some of the changes were due to a difference in my perspective. I had recalled the house having a really long driveway. I remember shoveling a lot — we were there for the very snowy winter of 1978 — but I was surprised to find that the driveway was actually pretty short!

    I took photos to show my parents and sister, but I wished they were with me so we could talk about the memories and the changes. I found that it was harder to puzzle it all out by myself. I've tracked down homes of my ancestors but, for the first time, I felt like I was on the trail of my own past. Although only a few decades had passed, the changes were pretty significant and my own recollections rather dim. I think the experience gives me a greater appreciation for how quickly both the physical environment and personal perceptions can change. My trip down memory lane also suggests that I need to be writing down more of my personal story.

    Visiting Boston

    We spoke with a number of conference attendees who had questions about traveling to the NEHGS library in Boston. For those who would like information about visiting the library, please click here. In the upper left corner you can click links to directions (both driving and public transportation), accommodations, or parking for more information about those topics.

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked how you improve your research skills. More than one answer could be selected. 3,549 people answered this survey. The results are:

    • 38%, Attend in-person educational programs
    • 42%, Attend genealogy conferences (local, regional, or national)
    • 28%, Participate in webinars (online seminars)
    • 25%, Watch how-to videos
    • 64%, Read online articles/wikis
    • 75%, Read genealogy magazines/journals
    • 31%, Follow genealogy blogs
    • 13%, Participate in online discussion forums
    • 49%, Belong to clubs and associations
    • 11%, I am not actively improving my research skills but would like to
    • 2%, I am not interested in improving my research skills

    This week’s survey asks about visiting childhood homes.Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery, Montreal, Quebec
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery, Montreal, Quebec

    Montreal is the largest city in the province of Quebec. It is located on the Island of Montreal in on the St. Lawrence River.

    Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery was established in 1854 and has been owned and operated by the building council of Notre-Dame parish, Montreal, from its establishment. It is the largest cemetery in Canada. The cemetery has made a burial database available on its website.

    To begin your search of the database, first click on the Locate a Deceased Person link in the menu bar. If you choose not to watch the video, you can close the cemetery video screen by clicking on the X. Next click the Locate a Deceased Person panel and then on the Locate a Deceased button. Enter a name in the search box. Click on the individual's name in the results returned to access the detailed record which includes the deceased's name, burial date, location of the grave, and spouse's name, if available. Click on the Show on Map link to view the route from the cemetery entrance to the location of the grave.

    Click on the Famous Figures panel to download Repertory of Famous, Historical, and Notorious Personalities, which provides names, birth and death dates, reason for fame or notoriety, and locations of graves.

    To learn more about the cemetery click on The Cemetery link in the menu bar and select the History and Ceremonial Way link. Click on the News and “Dialogue” link to access 20 issues of the cemetery's Dialogue newsletter. Seven issues detail the history of the cemetery; click “Tale of Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery, Parts 1 – VII,” from 2000 and 2001.

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    Stories of Interest

    Nevada Woman Given Purple Heart Earned by Father She Never Knew
    A Missouri woman discovered a box containing a Purple Heart, letters, and other papers connected to John Eddington, a WWII soldier killed in 1944. After twelve years of searching for a relative, the material was given to Eddington's daughter, who was four months old when he died.

    The Great Hurricane of 1938 — 75th Anniversary
    Meteorologist David Epstein describes the devastation wrought by the Great Hurricane of 1938, which caused hundreds of deaths and produced gusts of 186 mph, recorded at Blue Hill Observatory in Milton, Mass., which are still the strongest hurricane winds ever recorded in the U.S.

    Hurricane of '38 Wrought Unparalleled Destruction, Death on Unprepared R.I.
    A Providence Journal article examines how the storm impacted Rhode Island, the state that was hit the hardest by the Hurricane of 1938.

    Kitchen Time Machine: A Culinary Romp through Soviet History
    St. Louis Public Radio presents an audio interview and article about a new memoir by Russian American writer Anya von Bremzen, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking. “Though it contains recipes, this is not a cookbook but rather, a history of a family and of Soviet Russia.”

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    NEHGS Bookstore Sale on the New York State Titles

    The NEHGS Bookstore is offering 15% off select New York State titles, including the just-released History of the Ancient Families of New Amsterdam and New York.

    History of the Ancient Families of New Amsterdam and New York, by Edwin R. Purple with a new foreword by Richard H. Benson

    Between 1875 and 1879, Edwin Purple contributed several articles to the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record on the first three or four generations of some of the ancient families of New York. Those articles, collected in this volume, feature the surnames Van Schaick, Siecken, Tymens, Brevoort, Varleth, Gouverneur, and those of other ancient and allied families. This volume also includes Purple's instructive list of Dutch aliases and variant surname spellings. Price: $17.95 Sale price: $15.26

    Also on sale for a limited time:

    New York State Probate Records: A Genealogist's Guide to Testate and Intestate Records Price: $24.95 Sale price $21.21

    New York Essays: Resources for the Genealogist in New York State Outside of New York City Price $17.95 Sale price $15.26

    Portable Genealogist: New York State Census Price: $6.95 Sale price: $5.91

    To receive your 15% off, enter the online coupon code NY913. Prices good through 10/4/13, while supplies last. Discount cannot be combined with any other discounts, including the 10% NEHGS member discount. Prices do not include shipping, with the exception of the Portable Genealogist. To order by phone, please call 617-226-1212.

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    2014 Research Tour and Programs Announced

    The schedule of research tours and programs for 2014 is now posted on our website at For the most complete listing, visit our calendar and scroll through each month.

    This year's programs include a reprise of our very popular tour to Hartford, Connecticut, which was offered for the first time in 2013. We also return to Albany, New York, a tour that sold out quickly in its first three offerings. Our annual visit to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City takes place in the fall, and our ever-popular Come Home to New England program will be held in August. The schedule also includes research tours to Nova Scotia and Dublin, Ireland.

    Email or call 617-226-1226 to learn more about any of these programs.

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    Upcoming Research Programs

    Registration deadline is September 30!
    Fall Weekend Research Getaway: Preserving and Using Images
    October 17–19, 2013

    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. This year's Fall Weekend Research Getaway focuses on preserving and using images, both digital and print. Register for all three days, or choose which days to attend.

    Details and registration

    Registration deadline is October 1!
    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.

    Details and registration

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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

© 2010 - 2014 New England Historic Genealogical Society