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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 16, No. 07
    Whole #622
    February 13, 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 Library Holiday Closing
    * Coming Soon in the Winter 2013 Issue of American Ancestors
    * NEHGS Database News
    * Mapping the Boston Poor: A Talk Sponsored by the Colonial Society of Massachusetts
    * A Note from the Editor: Valentines Online
    * Name Origins
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight: Fair Oaks Cemetery, California
    * Stories of Interest
    * New Release: Family Photo Detective by Maureen Taylor
    * Upcoming Education Programs

    NEHGS Library Holiday Closing

    The NEHGS library will be closed on Saturday, February 16, in observance of the Presidents’ Day holiday.

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    Coming Soon in the Winter 2013 Issue of American Ancestors

    Researching the Lives of Nineteenth-Century New England Mill Workers, by Judith A. Ranta
    A Boardinghouse Keeper’s Letters: Ellis (Meloon) Gilman of New Hampshire, by Judith A. Ranta
    The Missing Mill Girl: A Tale of Life and Death in Antebellum New England, by Christopher R. Benedetto
    Ellen Flynn, Speeder-Tender, by Michael F. Dwyer
    The Fate of My Irish Ancestors, by Paula Casey Wood
    The Will to Endure: The Life of June (Pennell) MacDonald, by Barry MacDonald
    Rhode Island Roots on, by Cherry Fletcher Bamberg
    Reclaiming My Finnish Heritage: A Journey to My Ancestral Village, by Penny Stratton
    Reminiscences of NEHGS: 1976–2012, by Marie Daly and David Curtis Dearborn

    Also in this issue . . .

    • Manuscripts at NEHGS: A Sampling of New Manuscript Collections
    • Focus on New York: Colonial New York: A Mixture of Nations

    And, as always, news of NEHGS and the world of genealogy, upcoming NEHGS programs and tours, new publications, the NEHGS cartoon, notices of family association events, genealogies in progress, and DNA studies in progress.

    Subscription to American Ancestors is a benefit of NEHGS membership. If you are not a member, you may join online at or by calling, toll-free, 1-888-296-3447.

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

    Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, Volumes 31–35  

    Volumes 31 to 35 (publication years 1979 to 1988) of the Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine are newly added to, offering an additional 31,079 records. Volumes 1 to 35 are now available to search. Additional volumes will be added throughout the year.

    The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, published by the Philadelphia-based Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania since 1895, features family histories, original records, book reviews, and scholarly essays.

    Early volumes (1895–1947), under the name Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, focus on southeastern Pennsylvania and neighboring areas of New Jersey and Delaware, and reproduce original records and documents for the use of genealogical researchers. These documents include public records, election returns, births, deaths, marriages, court records, census reports, and immigration/emigration records.

    From 1948 to 1964, the journal focused on biographies and family histories. In 1965, the journal expanded the focus of its scholarship to facilitate genealogical research beyond southeastern Pennsylvania, and has maintained a more or less consistent balance between publishing compiled genealogies and original source materials. Since 2001 the journal has also published “genealogical summaries” to accompany all its compiled genealogies and has further expanded its geographical scope to emphasize research on the European backgrounds of immigrants to Pennsylvania.

    The NEHGS library also offers this resource in both print and CD-ROM.

    If you have any questions about this database or any other database on, please email

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    Mapping the Boston Poor: A Talk Sponsored by the Colonial Society of Massachusetts

    For those seeking a daily dose of history, a number of organizations offer daily emails, webpage content, and tweets on a variety of topics. Here is a sampling:

    87 Mt. Vernon Street, Boston 
    Thursday, February 21, 3 p.m.

    The Colonial Society of Massachusetts is sponsoring “Mapping the Boston Poor: Inmates of the Boston Almshouse, 1795–1815,” a talk by Ruth Wallis Herndon, Associate Professor of History, and Amílcar E. Challú, Assistant Professor of History, both at Bowling Green State University. The talk, followed by discussion, will be held at the Society’s house, 87 Mt. Vernon Street, Boston. There is no charge, and light refreshments will be served.

    For more information about the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, visit

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    A Note from the Editor: Valentines Online
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow, we present links to several valentine collections held by historical societies.

    The Wisconsin Historical Society presents a Valentine’s Day card gallery featuring 99 valentines from 1840 to 1980. An accompanying brief history of Valentine’s Day greeting cards highlights the role of Worcester, Massachusetts, native Esther Howland in popularizing the exchange of valentines.

    WBUR, Boston’s public radio station, told the story of Esther Howland for a Valentine’s Day segment last year. You can listen to an audio clip and view a slideshow of valentines created by Esther Howland that are now part of the collections of the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester.

    The American Antiquarian Society also features an online exhibit, Making Valentines: A Tradition in America, which includes five sections: origins, early valentines, Esther Howland, George Whitney, and Victorian valentines.

    The Maine Historical Society’s Maine Memory Network showcases valentines from its collections in an online slideshow.

    A brief podcast from the Minnesota Historical Society entitled “Believe Me True: Victorian Valentines, 1840–1890," highlights valentines from the Society’s collections. An article about valentines in the Minnesota Historical Society collections, published in Minnesota History in 1981, is available online.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Genealogist

    ROWENA (f): In his American Given Names (1979), George R. Stewart writes, “[Rowena] occurs in the twelfth-century writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth. Since those writings are essentially fictional, the name may be considered his coinage . . . Sir Walter Scott used Rowena for the Anglo-Saxon heroine of Ivanhoe [1819]. From that very popular novel it was adopted for real women, and thus it enjoyed some use in the middle nineteenth century. It is a good example of what we may call a ‘Romantic’ name.” According to the Augusta, Maine, Vital Records to 1892, Rowena A. Tobey of Vassalboro and John F. Saben were married on Sept. 5, 1872. In the 1850 census, 689 women and girls named Rowena were listed; in the 1940 census, 7,811 were enumerated with the name.

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked what potential NEHGS tours readers would be the most interested in. 2,527 people answered this survey. The results are:

    • 32%, Albany, New York
    • 28%, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana
    • 19%, Nova Scotia
    • 5%, Newfoundland
    • 14%, Quebec
    • 9%, Ontario
    • 17%, Belfast, Northern Ireland
    • 25%, Dublin, Ireland
    • 25%, Edinburgh, Scotland
    • 35%, London, England

    This week’s survey asks about ancestral valentines and love letters. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Fair Oaks Cemetery, California
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Fair Oaks Cemetery, California  

    The town of Fair Oaks is located in north central California in Sacramento County. The Fair Oaks Cemetery Association was organized to establish a community burial ground in 1902. The association was incorporated in 1903. While there were two burials in the cemetery in 1898, the first burial in the established cemetery took place in 1903.

    To open the search page of the Fair Oaks Cemetery website, first click on the Cemetery Burials tab and then the Database of Burials tab. The search fields in the database are first letter of last name, last name, section, year of death, birthplace, veteran status (yes/no), and grave marker photo (yes/no). The data fields in the initial search results are last name, first name, section-block-row-grave, date of birth, date of death, and veteran status. The Grave location field may include additional information about the deceased. Click on the last name link or the magnifying glass icon at the end of the row to view the detailed search results. The data fields in the detailed search results are name, date of birth, date of death, date of burial, plot information, birthplace, place of death, veteran status, war/rank, and image marker. If there is a photograph of the marker, it is part of the detailed record.

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    Stories of Interest

    Family Recovers Stolen 300-Year-Old Bible
    A stolen Bible containing seven generations of family information was located in Georgia and returned to its owner in Ohio.

    Family Secrets by Deborah Cohen: a Review
    The English newspaper, The Telegraph, offers a review of Family Secrets: Living with Shame from the Victorians to the Present Day by Deborah Cohen.

    The Search for Family Roots: Seeking Out Our Ancestors Is Becoming A Global Phenomenon
    A Whistler, British Columbia, newspaper features the story of how John Barker uncovered his roots in Tantallon, Saskatchewan.

    Duffy’s Cut Murder Victim’s Remains Brought Home to Donegal after 180 Years
    The remains of John Ruddy, one of 57 Irish railroad workers murdered in Pennsylvania in 1832, are being returned to his home in Donegal for burial.

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    New Release: Family Photo Detective by Maureen Taylor

    Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Mysteries by Maureen Taylor is now available. For more information or to order this item, please visit the NEHGS Book Store.

    To celebrate the release of this new book, we are offering 20% off on five other titles by Maureen Taylor:

    Preserving Your Family Photographs ($24.99, on sale for $19.99)

    Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album ($24.99, on sale for $19.99)

    The Last Muster: Images of the Revolutionary War Generation ($45.00, on sale for $36.00)

    Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats, 1840–1900 ($19.95, on sale for $15.96)

    Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles, 1840–1900 ($19.95, on sale for $15.96)

    To receive your 20% discount on these five titles, please enter the code MT213 in the coupon field online or mention it on the phone. Prices are good through February 20, 2013, while supplies last. Prices do not include shipping (or Massachusetts sales tax for Massachusetts residents). No discount is offered on Family Photo Detective. To place a telephone order, call toll free, 1-888-296-3447.

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    Ancestry Day with NEHGS
    Sheraton Boston Hotel, 39 Dalton St., Boston, Mass.
    Saturday, March 2, 8:30 a.m.– 5 p.m.

    NEHGS and are pleased to invite you to attend Ancestry Day with NEHGS on Saturday, March 2, 2013. This day-long program will offer classes and sessions to help you get the most out of your family history research. Whether you are new to genealogy or have been researching for many years, you can learn new techniques, methodologies, and make the most of the resources available at NEHGS and Details and registration

    NEHGS/TIARA Irish History and Genealogy Seminar
    99–101 Newbury St., Boston, Mass.
    Saturday, March 23, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

    Join NEHGS and TIARA (The Irish Ancestral Research Association) for an Irish History and Genealogy Seminar. Local author Paula de Fougerolles will discuss the history and archeology that inspired her to create The Chronicles of Iona, a historical-fiction series set in Ireland and Scotland in the sixth century. Marie Daly, Senior Genealogist at NEHGS, will share tips for researching Irish domestic servants, often hard-to-trace ancestors. She will highlight both online and on-site research venues, bringing to light the sources that can help piece together your family story. Details and registration.

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    NEHGS Contact Information  

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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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