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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 16, No. 44
    Whole #659
    October 30, 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 Database News
    * New Online Subject Guide: Using
    * Artifacts from NEHGS Collection Exhibited at Ellis Boston Antiques Show
    * The Irish Immigration Experiences Mass. Memories Road Show
    * Ask a Genealogist
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight: Additional Madison County, Alabama, Resources
    * Stories of Interest
    * NEHGS Bookstore Sale on Native American Titles
    * Upcoming Education Programs


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

    Essex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1638–1840

    This database was created from digital images and an index contributed to NEHGS by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives. The collection contains the records of 30,807 Essex County probate cases filed between 1638 and 1840. The probate cases include wills, guardianships, administrations, and various other types of probate records. The cases range in length from one to more than 1,200 pages, with a total of more than 400,000 individual file papers.

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    New Online Subject Guide: Using

    The two-part webinar series we announced last week, “Maximize Your Search Results,” is already full! If you were unable to sign up, you will be able to watch a recording of both presentations later this year at our Online Learning Center. We’ll also be holding these two webinars several times next year.

    Whether or not you are attending the webinars mentioned above, you can start improving your searches today! Consult our new Using online subject guide for helpful step-by-step solutions to your frequently asked questions, how-to videos, and more.

    Our Online Learning Center is growing! Stay tuned in the coming weeks and months for more resources, including subject guides on a variety of genealogical topics, how-to videos, webinars, online courses, and more. If you have questions or feedback, please contact Online Education Coordinator Ginevra Morse at

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    Artifacts from NEHGS Collection Exhibition at Ellis Boston Antiques Show

    Last weekend NEHGS presented a special exhibition in conjunction with the 2013 Ellis Boston Antiques Show. Thousands of visitors from Boston and beyond viewed “Family Treasures from Early Massachusetts,” the first exhibition in twenty years of some of our rare fine art and furniture.

    The artifacts included a genealogical chart illustrating Benjamin Franklin’s Folger ancestry, John Hancock’s armchair from his Beacon Hill home, and a sword belonging to former Massachusetts governor Marcus Morton. Among the other notable items were a portrait of Captain John Bonner, creator of Boston’s first engraved map; a bullet taken from the body of Dr. Joseph Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill; and a cane owned by Peregrine White (c. 1620–1704), the first English child born to a Pilgrim in colonial America. In addition, an oil-on-canvas portrait of Captain Paul Cuffe (1759–1817), a Quaker mariner and merchant at Westport, Massachusetts, and one of the most influential African and Native American people of his time, was displayed.

    Visitors to the NEHGS library (open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, Wednesdays until 9 p.m.) can view a sampling of some of our historic paintings and artifacts on display throughout the building. To view some of the pieces exhibited at the show, visit our Daily Genealogist blog.

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    The Irish Immigration Experience Mass. Memories Road Show

    The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA), the Irish Cultural Centre of New England, the Eire Society of Boston, and the Consulate General of Ireland Boston will host the Irish Immigrant Experience Mass. Memories Road Show at the Irish Cultural Centre, 200 New Boston Drive, Canton, Mass., on Saturday, November 16, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    The Mass. Memories Road Show is a history project that digitizes family photos and memories shared by the people of Massachusetts. The project is based in the University Archives & Special Collections Department at the Joseph P. Healey Library, UMass Boston. Mass. Memories Road Shows invite participants to share photographs that reflect their family history and/or life in a community. The sponsors of this show invite everyone with a connection to Irish immigration to share stories at this free public event.

    Attendees may choose from one to three original photographs to be scanned and included in the UMass Boston’s online archival collection. Contributors can also share “the story behind the photos” on video, have their own “keepsake photo” taken, and receive advice from professional archivists and historians on dating and caring for their family photos.

    Email with questions or to RSVP. Visit for more information and click here to view photos from past Mass. Memories Road shows.

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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 encountered the following entries in the Ipswich [Massachusetts] Antiquarian Papers (1882): “John Whipple sonn of John Whipple tersha borne 30 of March 1660” and “Elizabeth d John Whipple tersha borne 12 (10) 1661.” What does “tersha borne” mean?

    Answer by Senior Genealogist David C. Dearborn: “Tersha” is a corrupted form of the Latin word “tertia” (more properly for a male, tertius), meaning “the third.” Thus, your first citation can be read as: “John Whipple, son of John Whipple the Third, [was] born 30th of March 1660.”

    Question: I have traced three family lines back to three Fullers: Matthew Fuller (son of Edward), Robert Fuller (ca. 1615–ca.1706, son of Thomas), and Joshua Fuller (1654–1752, son of John and Elizabeth). Can you suggest a reliable source for determining the relationships of the three Fullers?

    Answer by David C. Dearborn: There is no known source that links these families together, probably because there is no evidence of any connection among them, other than sharing a common surname. It has been demonstrated that Edward Fuller of Plymouth is connected to the Fuller family of Redenhall. Norfolk (see the Register, 55:410–16), but there is nothing definitive in print that shows the origins of Robert Fuller of Salem and Rehoboth or of John Fuller of Cambridge. The fact that each family lived miles apart from one another is one indication of the lack of a connection. The Fuller surname derives from an occupation and thus is fairly common, though because it is connected to the manufacture of cloth, it is not surprisingly concentrated almost exclusively in southeast England.

    (To search for the geographical distribution for surnames—including Fuller—within Great Britain in 1881 and 1996, visit Great Britain Family Names Profiling and click the blue circle titled “search for a surname.” This website presents the distribution of current and historic surnames in Great Britain, as shown by investigations undertaken by researchers at University College London.)

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked how far removed you are from your most recent immigrant ancestor. 4,741 people answered this survey. The results are:

    • 1%, I am an immigrant.
    • 5%, My most recent immigrant ancestor is a parent.
    • 26%, My most recent immigrant ancestor is a grandparent.
    • 31%, My most recent immigrant ancestor is a great-grandparent.
    • 13%, My most recent immigrant ancestor is a second great-grandparent.
    • 5%, My most recent immigrant ancestor is a third great-grandparent.
    • 3%, My most recent immigrant ancestor is a fourth great-grandparent.
    • 2%, My most recent immigrant ancestor is a fifth great-grandparent.
    • 2%, My most recent immigrant ancestor is a sixth great-grandparent.
    • 2%, My most recent immigrant ancestor is a seventh great-grandparent.
    • 2%, My most recent immigrant ancestor is a eighth great-grandparent.
    • 2%, My most recent immigrant ancestor is a ninth great-grandparent.
    • 2%, My most recent immigrant ancestor is a tenth great-grandparent.
    • 1%, My most recent immigrant ancestor is a eleventh great-grandparent
    • 1%, My most recent immigrant ancestor is a twelfth great-grandparent
    • 1%, My most recent immigrant ancestor is a thirteenth or earlier great-grandparent
    • 1%, I don’t know how far removed I am from an immigrant ancestor.

    This week’s survey asks if you or any of your more recent ancestors spoke a first language other than English.Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Additional Madison County, Alabama, Resources
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Additional Madison County, Alabama, Resources

    Madison County is in northern Alabama along the Tennessee border. The Madison County Records Center (MCRC), established in 2001, is located in the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library and staffed by Probate Court personnel. The Center archives non-current documents (generally dated 1809–2004) delivered to or developed by the Probate Judge’s office. MCRC staff has developed indexes to the records.

    Marriage Records Indices
    Records in the marriage records index cover 1809 through 1973. Some additional records through 2004 have been indexed. The index may be searched by groom’s first and last name and bride’s first and last name and year. Results can be sorted by last name. The search results include volume and page numbers and license date.

    Probate Indices
    The probate indexes may be searched by case number or by last name and first name. The data fields in the search results are name, case number, and description.

    Chancery Indices
    You can search the Chancery Court Records indexes by case number, last name, first name, and year. The data fields in the search results include year and case number plus the following for both parties involved: last name, first name, business name, additional name, and notes. An asterisk in the additional names field indicates that others are mentioned in the record.

    Other Holdings
    These indexes include Confederate Pensions (1898–1907, 1908–1914), Cotton Mill Affidavits for Child Laborers (1908–1915), Delinquent Tax Docket (1890), Naturalization Certificates (1847–1906), Naturalization Records (1818–1846), Unofficial Register of Births (1881–1912), and more.

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    Stories of Interest

    Pages from an Undergrund Railroad Conductor’s Diary Preserve Fugitive Slaves’ Stories
    Philadelphian William Still served as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and his journal, begun in 1852, contains information about each fugitive he encountered. The Still diaries have recently been digitized as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Preserving Freedom project.

    Ellis Island is Reopening with Damaged Museum
    Although much of the substantial damage Ellis Island sustained during Hurricane Sandy remains unrepaired, the National Park Service reopened the site to the public on Monday.

    It Takes a Classroom to Learn the Family Language
    “Heritage language learners,” people studying a language who have some proficiency or a cultural connection to the language, are often seeking to better understand their identities.

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    NEHGS Bookstore sale on Native American Titles

    The NEHGS Bookstore is offering 15% off four Native American titles:

    Dictionary of American Indian Place and Proper Names in New England, Normally $24.95, Sale price $21.21

    Indian Deeds: Land Transactions in Plymouth Colony, 1620-1691, Normally $29.95, Sale price $25.46

    King Philip’s War: The History and Legacy of America’s Forgotten Conflict, Normally $19.95, Sale price $16.96

    New England Captives Carried to Canada between 1677 and 1760 During the French and Indian Wars, Normally $29.95, Sale price $25.46

    To get your discount, please enter the coupon code NA1013 in the coupon field, or mention it when ordering by phone: 1-888-296-3447.

    Sale prices good through November 8, 2013, while supplies last. Prices do not include shipping. MA residents add 6.25% sales tax on the King Philip’s War title. Discount may not be combined with other offers, including the NEHGS member discount.

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    Upcoming Research Programs

    Albany, New York Research Tour
    July 23–27, 2014

    Now is the time to plan your research for next summer. Join NEHGS as we return to Albany, New York, from July 23 through 27, 2014. This extremely popular trip is now in its fourth year, and we expect it to be another sold-out tour. NEHGS experts Chris Child, David Dearborn, Henry Hoff, and David Allen Lambert will help you explore the resources available at the New York State Library and the New York State Archives. The tour includes individual consultations, orientations, a lecture, a reception, and a group dinner.

    More information and registration

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    Copyright 2013, New England Historic Genealogical Society
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Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

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