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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 16, No. 41
    Whole #656
    October 9, 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 Salt Lake City Member Reception
    * NEHGS Staff Featured on Fieldstone Common
    * Walter Muir Whitehill Prize in Early American History Announced
    * NEHGS Database News
    * Ask a Genealogist
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight: Holmes Public Library, Massachusetts
    * Stories of Interest
    * NEHGS Book and Gift Catalog — Start Stopping Today!
    * Upcoming Education Programs


    NEHGS Salt Lake City Member Reception

    NEHGS members are invited to join us for a special reception with refreshments, hors d’oeuvre, and a presentation by NEHGS experts to celebrate 35 years of NEHGS educational program research successes in Salt Lake City! Enjoy reminiscences of past trips and share your research stories with genealogists Chris Child, David Lambert, Judy Lucey, Rhonda McClure, and Suzanne Stewart.

    The reception will be held Saturday, November 9, 2013, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel in Salt Lake City. Space is limited. Please register by October 31 at

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    NEHGS Staff Featured on Fieldstone Common

    Last week Marian Pierre-Louis of Fieldstone Common interviewed NEHGS President and CEO D. Brenton Simons about his book, Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in Boston, 1630-1775 (Commonwealth Editions, 2006). Listen to the interview at Fieldstone Common Radio.

    In September, Helen Ullmann FASG, CG, was also interviewed on Fieldstone Common. Helen Ullmann is associate editor and book review coordinator for the Register, editor of the Western Massachusetts Families in 1790 project, and the author of many books and articles. Her interview on New England genealogical research is available here.

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    Walter Muir Whitehill Prize in Early American History

    This prize of $2,500, established in memory of Walter Muir Whitehill, for many years Editor of Publications for the Colonial Society and the moving force behind the organization, will be awarded for a distinguished essay on early American history (up to 1825), not previously published, with preference given to New England subjects. By arrangement with the editors of the New England Quarterly, the winning essay will be published in an issue of the journal.

    A committee of Colonial Society members will review the essays. The following historians will serve as judges: Fred Anderson, Professor of History, University of Colorado, Boulder; David D. Hall, Bartlett Research Professor of New England Church History, Harvard Divinity School; Mary Beth Norton, Mary Donlon Alger Professor of American History, Cornell University.

    Essays are now being accepted for consideration. All manuscripts submitted for the 2013 prize must be postmarked no later than 31 December 2013. Further guidelines are at

    Entries should be addressed to: Whitehill Prize Committee, c/o The New England Quarterly, Meserve Hall, 2nd Floor, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115.

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

    Irish Immigrant Advertisements, 1831–1920 (Search for Missing Friends)

    This database, published originally on CD-ROM and later as a database on, has been completely re-indexed and now includes images of the original book pages. The database includes 86,000 names and 4,900 pages from the original eight volumes.

    Beginning in 1831 and over the course of the next eighty-five years, the nationally distributed Boston Pilot newspaper printed some 45,000 “Missing Friends” advertisements placed by friends and relatives. No one knows how many of these families found each other as a result of the ads, but these nineteenth-century notices continue to help families today find their ancestors. These advertisements typically referred to the exact place of origin of the seeker and/or the sought. Many of the ads also describe the process and route of immigration, and even the name of the passenger ship. Many advertisements refer to women, for whom determining exact origin is even more difficult, due to the lack of naturalization records. So the Missing Friends advertisements help fill a great gap in nineteenth-century records for a mobile, impoverished, immigrant population.

    This valuable database comes to you through the generosity of NEHGS Councilor Thomas R. Crowley.

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    Ask a Genealogist

    We occasionally feature “Ask a Genealogist” questions posed to our staff genealogists and their answers. For more about Ask a Genealogist, click here. -Editor.

    Question: I need to search records in Brooklyn and Queens, New York. Many of my relatives lived there in the nineteenth century. Where should I look?

    Answer by Senior Genealogist David C. Dearborn: There are many online resources for tracing family members in Brooklyn and Queens. First check the U.S. census schedules from 1790 to 1940, fully indexed and available on You can access indexes for all five boroughs of New York City for free at Once you have identified a year and certificate number from the online index, visit and click Search, then click the Catalog link to order the microfilm roll number for this record. For a small fee, microfilm rolls can be sent to any local LDS Family History Center for viewing.

    You will find many relevant databases available for free on (click Search, scroll down to Browse All Published Collections, and click on United States). Available databases include New York state censuses for 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, and 1925; U.S. District Court Eastern District (covering all of Long Island) naturalization petitions, 1865–1957; Kings County (Brooklyn) estate files, 1866–1923; Queens County probate records, 1785–1950; and Kings County land conveyances, 1679–1886 (vols. 1–1,643), with indexes.

    The Brooklyn Daily Eagle can be searched online for 1841 through 1902 at Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery has made its index to more than 600,000 interment records available at Nineteenth- and twentieth-century passenger arrival lists can be searched for free at and at

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked what kind of online educational content you would be most likely to use to improve your research skills. More than one answer could be selected. 3,808 people answered this survey. The results are:

    • 72% Written articles/wikis
    • 59% Digital books
    • 54% Free webinars
    • 17% Paid online courses
    • 44% Informational videos
    • 20% Streaming video of live events
    • 51% Downloadable forms/templates
    • 58% Interactive maps and timelines
    • 30% Discussion forums
    • 5% I would not use online education content to improve my research skills.

    This week’s survey asks about World War I ancestors.Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Holmes Public Library, Massachusetts
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Holmes Public Library, Massachusetts

    The Holmes Public Library is located in the town of Halifax, which is in Plymouth County, Massachusetts. The library has provided access to a number of resources in the Halifax Digital History section on its website. Click on the Reference tab in the menu bar and select Halifax History from the dropdown list.

    Digital Books on Halifax History
    The Holmes Public Library links to several books on various aspects of the history of Halifax. Most of the volumes are available through Internet Archive.

    The Torch: Silver Lake Regional High School Yearbooks
    The library also has digitized yearbooks from Silver Lake Regional High School from 1959 through 2011, available through Internet Archive. The regional high school serves the towns of Halifax, Kingston, and Plympton.

    SAILS Digital History Collection
    The SAILS Digital History Collection has drawn its resources from the historical collections of libraries in the SAILS library network covering forty communities in southeastern Massachusetts. Items in the SAILS digital library include cemetery records from Carver, historical postcards from West Bridgewater, Middleborough Public Library’s cranberry collection, and Rochester’s Historic and Architectural Survey, as well as resources from other network members in East Bridgewater, Fall River, Halifax, Hanson, Plainville, and Wrentham. The SAILS Digital History Collection is a work in progress, which will grow as member libraries add their collections.

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    Stories of Interest

    Historian Reveals Ben Franklin’s Not-So-Famous Sister
    “Benjamin Franklin is arguably the most famous American ever. His youngest sister Jane is mostly lost to history. But Harvard historian Jill Lepore found her in the letters she and her brother exchanged over their long lives.’ For a Washington Times review of Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin, click here.

    Keeping Faith in Bid to Identify WWI Servicemen
    A box of 136 slides and photographs was found in an Alexandria Presbyterian Church in north Belfast. The images were all of church members or their relatives who served in World War I. A project has been launched to identify all of them.

    Quest to Honor a Veteran Spans Years and Continents
    While researching his genealogy online at his home in Sweden, Johan Kinberg came across an article about a Capt. George Kinberg, who died in 1922. Johan Kinberg’s “relentless quest for answers would span two years and two continents, unearth long-forgotten records and memories, and at last bring recognition to an American war veteran who had been buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx for 91 years without even a marker to remember him by.”

    Rare 3D Camera Found Containing Photos from WWI
    “While visiting an estate in Ontario’s Niagara Falls two years ago, a film enthusiast stumbled upon a rare World War I Richard Verascope stereo camera previously owned by the French Army.”

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    NEHGS Book and Gift Catalog — Start Shopping Today!

    The new NEHGS Book & Gift Catalog is now available online! This easy method of shopping will allow you to click through to the product page and then directly to the shopping cart. 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-published books 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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    Upcoming Research Programs

    “He Devoted Several Years to Service at a Government Facility”: Researching Criminal Ancestors
    99–101 Newbury St, Boston, MA
    Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 6–7 p.m.

    As part of The Partnership of the Historic Bostons’ Boston Charter Day program focusing on crime and punishment in early Massachusetts, NEHGS Genealogist Rhonda R. McClure will present a look at records and resources that can explain when, where, why, and how your ancestor may have spent time in a criminal facility. The Partnership of the Historic Bostons, a non-political, non-profit organization, was established in 1999 to recognize and celebrate the unique historical connection between Boston, Massachusetts, founded in 1630, and Boston, Lincolnshire, England, founded in 1086. For information on more of this year’s events, visit The program is free and open to the public.

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    Copyright 2013, New England Historic Genealogical Society
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