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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 16, No. 40
    Whole #655
    October 2, 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 to Be Featured at The Ellis Boston Antiques Show
    * New Publications from NEHGS
    * NEHGS Database News
    * Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture: A Collaboration
    * Readers Respond: Visiting Childhood Homes
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight: Petersburg Public Library, Alaska
    * Stories of Interest
    * Classic Reprints from the NEHGS Bookstore
    * Upcoming Education Programs


    NEHGS to Be Featured at the Ellis Boston Antiques Show

    For the first time in nearly twenty years, NEHGS will present an outside exhibit that highlights our unique art and decorative art holdings. Our special loan exhibition will be open for viewing from October 24 to 27, 2013, at the Ellis Boston Antiques Show at the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts. Our display will include a selection of paintings, furniture, and historical artifacts that tell unique stories about notable Massachusetts families in the colonial and post-Revolutionary eras. More than forty antiques dealers from the U.S. and Europe will also be in attendance.

    For more information on the Ellis Boston Antiques Show, please visit or

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    New Publications from NEHGS

    A Roll of Arms: Registered by the Committee on Heraldry of the New England Historic Genealogical Society
    Edited by Henry L.P. Beckwith, Jr.

    NEHGS’s Committee on Heraldry authenticates, preserves, and records coats of arms borne in the United States and by U.S. citizens living abroad. This book collects in one place installments of the roll that were published between 1928 and 1992, as well as previously unpublished entries. It covers many seventeenth-century immigrants to the New World.

    6 × 9 hardcover, 308 pages, illus., $34.95; member price $31.46

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

    This volume, originally published in 1881, collects articles written by Edwin R. Purple on the first three or four generations of some of the ancient families of New York. The articles feature the surnames Van Schaick, Siecken, Tymens, Brevoort, Varleth, Gouverneur, and others. The volume also includes Purple’s instructive list of Dutch aliases and variant surname spellings. As Richard H. Benson notes in the foreword, “The work of genealogists [such as Purple] is still valuable for their insights and well-considered theories, and frequently their work has not been superseded.”

    6 × 9 paperback, 154 pages, $17.95; member price $16.16

    Visit the NEHGS Bookstore to purchase these and other NEHGS publications.

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

    Connecticut Vital Records to 1870 (The Barbour Collection)

    Newly added to Connecticut Vital Records to 1870 (The Barbour Collection): Berlin (1785–1850), Cheshire (1780–1840), Southington (1779–1857), and Washington (1779–1854). Together, these towns add more than 12,000 records to this database. Compiled from an original Lucius Barnes Barbour typescript in the NEHGS special collections, this database currently contains records for 72 towns in Connecticut.

    The complete Barbour Collection contains records of marriages, births, 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.

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    Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture: A Collaboration

    A statewide collaboration, Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture launched in September. A first-time partnership among eleven founding institutions and numerous other organizations, Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture highlights Massachusetts furniture-making, from the 1600s to the present day, through a series of museum exhibitions, symposia, public programs, and a dedicated website. The institutions are the Colonial Society of Massachusetts; Concord Museum; Fuller Craft Museum; Historic Deerfield; Historic New England; Massachusetts Historical Society; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; North Bennet Street School; Old Sturbridge Village; Peabody Essex Museum; and Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library.

    “In the field of American furniture history, arguably no state has left a more remarkable legacy than Massachusetts,” said Brock Jobe, Professor of American Decorative Arts at the Winterthur Museum and one of the Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture founders. “During the past four hundred years, people working in wood have fashioned millions of pieces of furniture in the state, yet the account of this output has only been told in bits and pieces. No one has looked critically at the big picture. The combined efforts of these eleven institutions are sure to yield a richer and more meaningful record of Massachusetts furniture,” said Jobe.

    Tying together the featured exhibitions and programs is a project website, Its core components include a calendar of activities and links to furniture databases. A visual timeline, offering an interactive guide to Massachusetts furniture, is one of several unique educational tools.

    For more information on any aspect of Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture, visit

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    Readers Respond: Visiting Childhood Homes

    We had a number of comments in response to last week’s “Note from the Editor” and survey on visiting childhood homes.

    Karen Glass of Oak Park, Illinois: This week’s question was about childhood homes and there were three possible answers — none of which fit my situation, and probably the situations of many others, too. I checked that I visited my childhood home, but the house I grew up in is no longer there. I just took a picture of the empty lot and stood in silence for a while remembering the childhood I had in the house my grandfather built for my grandmother as a wedding present.

    Jane Coryell of Augusta, Maine: In the house I lived in until about age two, I remember climbing over what seemed like a six-foot fence; I saw it later and was amazed that it was less than three feet. I recently visited my next house, where I lived from about two to four. I had remembered many, many steps up to the door; when I saw it again, it was only three steps. I guess that it’s all relative.

    Anne Jones of Holmes Beach, Florida: I not only returned to see my childhood home in New York, I visited the house in Florida where my mother was born in 1895. I also saw her subsequent homes in Rolling Hills, Baltimore, and Plainfield, New Jersey. I also visited my father’s home in China, and his grandparents’ house in Hinsdale, Massachusetts, and my grandmother’s home in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. As my mother lived until 110 and was very alert, she could tell me about all these places and the people that were neighbors.

    Mary Alice Benedict Grindol of Gaylord, Michigan: I’d like to recommend the website That’s My Old House. The site offers a place for people to share history, photos, and personal stories about their houses. You can search to see if anyone has submitted house information for your town, and you can add your own entry. I submitted an entry on my old house in Sturgis, Michigan.

    Jane Hoxie Maxson of Wakefield, Rhode Island: My husband and I live in the area where we spent our childhoods, so have only a short drive to see our “old” homes. Not only that, but our grandparents’ and my great-grandparents’ houses are passed frequently as we drive around town. I wonder how many who answered this question can say the same.

    Stafford-Ames Morse of Bogart, Georgia: Waialee, Hawaii, my hometown of 150 souls, is now a ghost town. (See I lived in the reformatory, and there was never a place like it. It was great for growing up. I went back this past May, did all the research I could, and my brother and I are now writing a book about the town. We and two others are the only ones now alive.

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked if you have returned to visit a childhood home. More than one answer could be selected. 4,437 people answered this survey. The results are:

    • 89% Yes, I have revisited at least one of my childhood homes
    • 8% No, I have never revisited a childhood home.
    • 5% I am current living in a childhood home.

    This week’s survey asks about online educational content.Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Petersburg Public Library, Alaska
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Petersburg Public Library, Alaska

    Petersburg Borough is located at the northern tip of Mitkoff Island in southeast Alaska. According to the Borough’s website it had a population of 3,278 at the last census.

    The Petersburg Public Library has made a newspaper archive available on its website. The newspaper titles covered include Petersburg Pilot (1974–2012), Petersburg Press (1926–1973, plus a few issues in 1974), Petersburg Weekly Report (1914–1923), New Petersburg Press (1964–1966), The Petersburg Press (1932–1935), The Petersburg Herald (1924–1926), and The Progressive (1913–1914). The digital collection comprises more than 61,500 pages.

    You can search the entire collection by keyword or browse by newspaper title or year and/or month of publication. Click on the page link to open a digital image of the newspaper page.

    Another resource available on the library website is the Petersburg Listening Project, an initiative of the Petersburg Public Library in partnership with KFSK, the local public radio station. The Listening Project collection contains “interviews between two people who know and care about each other.” They are guided through the interview by a trained facilitator. Complete interviews and excerpts, as well as photographs and background and biographical information, can be accessed by month or interviewee name. There are more than 100 interviews of over 90 individuals of all ages.

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    Stories of Interest

    How Slaves Would Have Cooked
    “Culinary historian Michael Twitty, who recently gained national attention for his Paula Deen blog post, explores the roots of Southern food at [a] North Carolina plantation site.”

    Siblings Find Each Other after More than 50 Years Apart
    Two siblings recently searched for — and found — their younger half-sister, who had been lost to them after their mother died.

    Your Facebook Password Belongs in Your Will
    “As we plan for inheriting the house and family keepsakes, we must include our digital lives as well.” Acquires Find a Grave has announced their acquisition of Find A Grave, the online cemetery database.

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    Classic Reprints from the NEHGS Bookstore

    Did you know that the NEHGS Bookstore 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 online or, if you prefer, order a copy of the Classic Reprints Catalog here. The cost of the catalog is $12.95 plus shipping.

    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 Research Programs

    Preserving and Identifying Family Photographs with Maureen Taylor
    99–101 Newbury St, Boston, MA
    Friday, November 15, 2013, 9 a.m.–12 noon

    Join internationally recognized photograph identification and preservation expert Maureen Taylor for a workshop at NEHGS. In this half-day seminar, participants will learn techniques for identifying important historical and genealogical information in family photos, and how to preserve photographs from daguerreotypes to digital images. Personal consultations with Maureen Taylor will be available after the seminar for an additional charge.

    Details and registration

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    Copyright 2013, New England Historic Genealogical Society
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