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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 17, No. 01
    Whole #668
    January 1, 2014
    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.

    * Happy New Year from NEHGS
    * Achieving Your Genealogical Resolutions with NEHGS
    * Subscribe to the Great Migration Newsletter
    * NEHGS Database News
    * New at the Online Learning Center
    * A Note from the Editor: Genealogical New Year’s Resolutions
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight Reflections
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Education Programs at NEHGS


    Happy New Year from NEHGS

    The staff of the New England Historic Genealogical Society extends to all of you heartfelt wishes for a happy New Year.

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    Acheiving Your Genealogical Resolutions with NEHGS

    All year long, our experts at NEHGS work to bring you the most accurate genealogical information in the most accessible manner. Our goal for this and every year is to help you discover, organize, and share your family history. To that end, our departmental teams offer some suggestions to help you achieve your genealogical goals by using NEHGS resources in 2014:

    1. Visit our Boston research library in 2014! Our eight-story facility houses 200,000 published genealogies, biographies, family and local histories, as well as many other helpful books, maps, atlases, and other printed materials. Our experts can assist your search. See for details or contact with questions.
    2. Receive in-depth help with your research from one of our genealogists, either in person or over the phone. See "Expert Consultations" on for details and a link to the online request form, or email with questions.
    3. Whether you’re new to genealogy or have been researching your family for years, our Online Learning Center can give you valuable tips and tools to help improve your research. Make 2014 your year to explore NEHGS’s resources from the comfort of your own home!
    4. Do you have an ancestor who fought in the American Revolution or the War of 1812? Do you have a Mayflower connection? Let our Research Services team help you apply to a lineage society. Our expert researchers can trace your qualifying ancestors and organize your application materials. Contact Suzanne Stewart for details at 617-226-1233.
    5. Make a resolution to begin writing your family history! Sign up for our Writing and Publishing seminar on May 15–16, purchase one of our related publications, or attend the free webinar, Ten Steps for Writing & Publishing Your Family History. Check our Online Learning Center for other resources.
    6. NEHGS Education Programs and Tours can help you learn new research skills and add to your genealogical knowledge in 2014! Come visit us in Boston at our Weekend Research Getaway or Come Home to New England programs at NEHGS, or travel with us to research in the places where your ancestors lived with one of our popular Research Tours.

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    Subscribe to the Great Migration Newsletter

    The Great Migration Newsletter (GMN) offers feature articles on a variety of topics, including the settlement of early New England towns, migration patterns, seventeenth-century passenger lists, church and land records, and much more. The eight-page GMN complements the individual sketches in the Great Migration books, and addresses broad issues key to understanding the lives and times of New England’s first immigrants, 1620–1640. The first issue of 2014 will be mailed out in the first quarter of the year.

    Print subscribers to volume 23 (2014) receive a new issue of the GMN through the mail each quarter ($20 for a one-year subscription or $36 for a two-year subscription).

    Online subscribers access issues through, where the GMN is posted each quarter and past issues from volumes 11 through 22 are available for viewing ($10 for a one-year subscription or $18 for a two-year subscription).

    To subscribe, please visit or call NEHGS Member Services at 1-888-296-3447.

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

    Vermont Vital Records: Births, 1871–1908

    This database now contains the records of births filed with the state of Vermont between 1871 and 1908. These records are currently held by the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration. Names of parents have also been indexed, when available.

    The records held in this collection refer to the statewide index of vital records maintained by the Vermont State Archives. Town clerks were required to send copies of vital records to the state beginning in 1857. The state government began creating a statewide index to these records in 1919. The original vital records are still held at the town level. It may be possible to obtain a copy of the original record by contacting the corresponding town clerk’s office.

    Earlier Vermont vital records, ranging from the year 1720 to 1870, are not available online at this time but they will be added to our digital collections in the future.

    Databases in Progress
    We are scheduled to add death records from 1902 to 1937 to our New Hampshire vital records database at the end of the month.

    Help Us in 2014!
    The New England Historic Genealogical Society prides itself on the accuracy of its genealogical information. We have a team of volunteers who dedicate themselves to correcting typos, image errors, and other mistakes that make their way into our digital collections. This year, we ask you to support this ongoing effort by reporting corrections to databases you use to further improve the accuracy of our data. Corrections should be emailed to

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    New at the Online Learning Center

    Even if you don’t live in the Boston area, you can access the expertise and resources at NEHGS from home. Learn about our online educational opportunities, digital collections and resources, services, and support at our forthcoming webinar:

    Get the Most from NEHGS…from home!
    Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 3 p.m. EST (2:00 CST; 1:00 MST; 12:00 PST)
    Presented by: Jean Maguire, Library Director; Level: All levels; Audience: NEHGS members and guest users

    Our webinars fill up quickly—sign up today!

    Make the most of your NEHGS membership in 2014! Our growing Online Learning Center offers educational resources for both guest users and NEHGS members:

    Stay tuned for more resources in the coming weeks and months! If you have questions or feedback, please contact Online Education Coordinator Ginevra Morse at

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    A Note from the Editor: Genealogical New Year’s Resolutions
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    As I was thinking about genealogical New Year’s resolutions, I looked back to see what editors of other newsletters wrote about this topic a few decades ago. What I turned up highlighted some changes in genealogical practices, but generally emphasized how much underlying principles have stayed the same. Below are three of those resolutions:

    “Here’s a New Year’s resolution many should make and keep. Locate any old letters, scrapbooks, Bible records, etc. still existing in your family. Make a copy of the data in them and of your own genealogical research records and place it in a different location. Dozens of our readers are painstakingly reconstructing lost or destroyed family facts; this duplication of ‘lost’ data often takes years. We can’t fool ourselves into thinking we’re immune from disaster.” —Rosemary E. Bachelor, The Batchelor Family News-Journal, Machias, Maine, January 1974

    “Maybe a lot of us are remiss in not jotting down items which should be remembered and which our children would enjoy reading about. Maybe a good New Year’s resolution would be to start writing our family history as well as looking up our ancestors.” —Heart O’ Wisconsin Genealogical Society Newsletter, 1978

    “If I could put across one message to you it would be to make a New Year’s resolution to contact that relative whom you think has some records or information you need to complete your Family History. We are inclined to put it off and then it becomes too late. Even if you have tried before, without much success, try again. Maybe try a little different technique, maybe a telephone call, and then a letter requesting one or two items. My experience is that you will get a generous response to your letters if you do not ask for too much at one time.” —Wilfred R. Burrell, Genealogical Forum of Portland, Oregon, January 1981

    In all of the resolutions I read, one phrase, from the Genealogical Forum of Portland excerpt above, stood out for me: Even if you have tried before, without much success, try again. That general directive could be applied to many areas of genealogical research: organizing files, collections, or photographs; breaking through a particular brick wall; writing a narrative; submitting an article; interviewing a relative; or tackling whatever you’ve been putting off or unable to accomplish. In 2014, it might be time to try again.

    Best wishes for successful genealogical pursuits in the New Year!

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked about holiday memorabilia. More than one answer could be selected. 3,421 people answered the survey. The results are:

    • 56%, I save holiday greetings such as cards, notes, and newsletters.
    • 81%, I save photographs.
    • 41%, I save holiday recipes.
    • 17%, I save audio and video recordings.
    • 39%, I save other types of holiday memorabilia.
    • 11%, I do not save holiday memorabilia.

    This week’s survey asks your genealogical resolutions. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight Reflections
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    It’s hard to believe that I began writing weekly articles for the NEHGS enewsletter ten years ago. Over that time there have been many changes. What was then the NEHGS eNews is now The Weekly Genealogist. The articles I wrote in the beginning covered both online and onsite genealogical resources. As more and more resources have become available online, the focus of my articles has turned exclusively to finding freely available online resources.

    When I think about it, the numbers astound me. There are 52 weeks in each year, with an article written nearly every week over the course of ten years, which means that I’ve written more than 500 articles in ten years. And, believe it or not, there are a lot of resources still waiting to be discovered.

    My Spotlight Resolution for 2014 is to continue to seek out and share online genealogical and family history resources with readers of The Weekly Genealogist. I welcome input from readers who know of sites that I’ve not found, and I am encouraged when I hear from readers about successful searches on sites about which I’ve written.

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    Stories of Interest

    On Ice: 100-year-old Negatives Discovered in Antarctic
    “Conservators restoring an Antarctic exploration hut recently made a remarkable discovery: a small box of 22 exposed but unprocessed photographic negatives, frozen in a solid block of ice for nearly one hundred years.” Additional information and images are available at the Antarctic Heritage Trust website.

    Unusual Quilts Help Pekin Woman Discover her Family History
    In 2011, when Jan Frazier showed the quilt she received from her grandmother in the 1960s to a local quilting group, a chain of events started that led to reconnecting family members descended from three sisters who lived in nineteenth-century Pekin, Illinois.

    History Comes Calling as Soldier’s Dogtag Surfaces
    “A New Boston [New Hampshire] man was stunned to learn that a piece of family history would be coming home nearly 70 years after being lost in Italy during World War II.”

    Family Ties: Survey Cites Importance of Personal Keepsakes, Family Stories
    In her Bangor Daily News column, Roxanne Moore Saucier writes about the value of family heirlooms and stories.

    Naples’ Girlolamini: The Looting of a 16th-Century Library
    “Book-lovers around the world have been helping investigators trace thousands of rare volumes looted from one of Italy’s oldest libraries by a gang of thieves including the librarian himself.”

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    Upcoming Education Program at NEHGS

    Perhaps you’ve been meaning to get started on your family history research, to make that trip to where your ancestors once lived, or to finally come to NEHGS in Boston to learn from our experts. NEHGS wants to help you! Make 2014 the year you get started on your genealogy research with instruction from an experienced professional.

    Course: Getting Started in Genealogy
    February 5, 12, 19, 2014

    Online Course: Getting Started in Genealogy March 15, 22, 29, 2014 Registration for this online course is not yet open.

    Registration info

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    Copyright 2014, 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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