American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogical Society - Founded 1845 N.E. Historic Genealogical Society Seal View Your Shopping Cart Join NEHGS
  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 17, No. 10
    Whole #677
    March 5, 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.

    * Coming Soon in the Winter 2014 Issue of American Ancestors
    * Catching Up with Vita Brevis
    * NEHGS Database News
    * New at Online Learning Center
    * A Note from the Editor: A Featured Blog
    * Spotlight: Miller County Museum, Missouri
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Stories of Interest
    * 20% Off Essential New England Titles
    * Upcoming Education Programs


    Coming Soon in the Winter 2014 Issue of American Ancestors

    Hiring a Researcher: Your Key to Success, by Kyle Hurst

    “You Will Find It Intensely Interesting”: The 1940s Genealogical Correspondence of Mary Davies Wingebach, by Violet Snow

    A Tale of Two Sailors, by Ellen St. Sure

    Reading Between the Lines: Interpreting the Writings of Mehetabel (Chandler) Coit and Her Mother, Elizabeth (Douglas) Chandler, by Michelle Marchetti Coughlin

    From Three Branches to Two: How Genealogical Discoveries Became the Basis for a New Book about the Jewish Twentieth Century, by David Laskin

    Insubordinate Spirit: Elizabeth (Fones) (Winthrop) (Feake) Hallett and Her World, by Missy Wolfe

    “These Quaint Creatures”: A Look at Dolls and Doll Play from 1800 to 1930, by Judith A. Ranta

    Also in this issue …

    • Focus on New York: Upstate New York Research: Skaneateles, Onondaga County, as an Example
    • Genetics and Genealogy: Connecting Ashbel Carter of Farmersville, New York, to Great Migration Immigrant Rev. Thomas Carter of Woburn, Mass.

    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.

    A subscription to American Ancestors magazine is a benefit of NEHGS membership. If you are not a member, join online at or call, toll-free, 1-888-296-3447.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Catching Up with Vita Brevis

    The list of Vita Brevis authors—and the subjects they covered—grew in February. David Dearborn reviewed some of the special features of Libby, Davis, and Noyes’ Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire; Tim Salls led readers through an initial search in the R. Stanton Avery Special Collections at NEHGS and other repositories; Ralph Crandall and Helen Ullmann took on the thorny subject of Western Massachusetts research; Chris Child showed the step-by-step process of confirming the identity of a seventeenth-century bride; Anne Meringolo guided readers on using the NEHGS catalogue from home; Jean Maguire told of her maternal grandfather’s youth in Detroit and sought help in identifying a 1929 photograph; and Henry Hoff cautioned genealogists on the pitfalls of plausible sources.

    February also featured Andrew Hanson-Dvoracek’s RootsTech updates, as well as contributions from Bob Anderson, Alicia Crane Williams, Penny Stratton, and Scott Steward. Stay tuned to Vita Brevis in March, when Scott will be interviewing Marilynne K. Roach about her new book, Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials.

    Return to Table of Contents


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

    Vermont Death Records to 1871

    Our Vermont vital records database now contains pre-1871 death records filed at the state level. These records are currently held by the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration. Names of parents and spouses have also been indexed, when available.

    The records 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.

    Databases in Progress

    Pre-1871 birth and marriage records will be added to our Vermont vital records database in the near future. We will also continue to add towns to the Barbour Collection of Connecticut vital records. The next update to this database will include records for the towns of New Canaan, Oxford, Waterford, and Wolcott.

    Return to Table of Contents


    New at the Online Learning Center

    Online Courses—exclusively for NEHGS Members:*

    Last chance to enroll:
    Bridging the Atlantic: From New England Back to England
    Saturday, March 8, 3 P.M. EST
    Instructor: David C. Dearborn, FASG, Senior Genealogist

    You’ve found your New England immigrant. Now what? Trace your English ancestry without having to hop the pond! Learn about key resources and records and how to access them, and about research strategies for when you hit a brick wall. This course includes a 1.5-hour online seminar, exclusive access to a recording of the presentation, virtual handouts, and a Q&A session with the instructor. Cost: $30 Register today!

    Getting Started in Genealogy
    Saturdays, March 15, 22 & 29, 3 P.M. EST
    Instructor: Rhonda McClure, Genealogist

    How do you get started in genealogy? There are plenty of websites, libraries, and printed sources out there, but access to all that information can leave a beginner feeling overwhelmed. Let NEHGS Senior Researcher Rhonda R. McClure help you navigate the first steps in tracing your family history. This course includes three 1.5-hour online seminars, exclusive access to a recording of each presentation, handouts and worksheets, assessment, and in-depth Q&A sessions with the instructor. Cost: $65 Register today!

    *More in-depth than our public webinar series, our Online Courses offer NEHGS members a way to enhance their genealogical education through online presentations, handouts, and assessment. Can’t attend the live broadcast? You can still enroll! Course participants have access to all course materials, including a recording of the online seminar, for a month after the online presentation.

    More Resources

    Our growing Online Learning Center contains subject guides on a variety of genealogical topics, informative videos, webinars, online courses, and more. 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

    Return to Table of Contents


    A Note from the Editor: A Featured Blog
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    Our latest blog profile features “Notable Characters: A Collection of Stories that My Mother Would Love” by Deborah Martin-Plugh. Here Deborah introduces her blog:

    I grew up with my mother’s stories about our heritage—told in a caddywampus fashion usually while we were surrounded by boxes of photos and memorabilia—which always ended with the affirming statement that we came from “good pioneer stock.” A few years ago I hauled out the old family Bible that had belonged to my great-grandparents, along with old clippings, tintypes, and cabinet cards that had been tucked away, and began the business of building the family history.

    I trace back my family to Mayflower passengers Edward Fuller and John Billington, and a number of other Great Migration immigrants to New England. I also descend from Huguenot and Dutch families who settled New Amsterdam, and Quakers of Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and beyond.

    After corresponding with many family members and fellow researchers, I promised to establish a blog. In the fall of 2010, I published my first post. Since I knew more about my mother’s family, I began to share the stories of my genealogical journey with her family and then went on to include my father’s ancestry. My posts reflect my field trips and networking experiences, but also my awareness that genealogy is about the lives of human beings and the times in which they lived.

    Because my blog opened me up to a larger network of family members, researchers, associations, museum archivists, and historians, I was prompted to start my FaceBook page, “The Genealogist’s Inkwell.”

    I see my blog as a wonderful two-way street that allows me to share and learn with a broader readership. 2014 plans include a trip to New Bedford, Massachusetts, to pursue more information about the whaling community and my seafaring ancestors and a trip to Somerset County, New Jersey, to research my Van Dorn and Hunt ancestors and the area’s Revolutionary War history.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Spotlight: Miller County Museum, Missouri
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Miller County Museum, Missouri

    Miller County is located in central Missouri. Tuscumbia is the county seat. The Miller County Museum has made a number of resources available on its website.

    The county map on the site’s homepage contains links to brief histories of townships organized in 1837/8. The tabs on the drop-down menu bar link to a number of resources for Miller County.

    The Yesterdays tab provides articles about people, commerce and industry, life during the Civil War, transportation, organizations, and historically significant events. The Cultural Resources tab includes articles about the county’s history, churches, bridges, schools, homesteads, and cemeteries, as well as a variety of different farms, barns, and landmarks. The Communities tab provides articles (and, in some cases, maps and photographs) on sixteen communities within the county. The Publications tab contains many resources, including fourteen transcribed letters, and articles from several sources.

    The Library tab includes the following sections:

    Probate Records: This alphabetical index to Miller County probate records includes last name, first name, middle, probate date, DR number, additional info, and case number.

    Guardianship Records: This alphabetical index to Miller County guardianships beginning in the 1830s includes last name, first name, date filed, and guardian’s name.

    Marriage Records: This section contains alphabetical brides and grooms indexes for Miller, Maries, and Osage Counties. For Miller and Maries Counties, the data fields are bride name, marriage date, groom name, and marriage place. For Osage County, the data fields are bride name, marriage date, groom name, and comments.

    Obituaries Indexes: This section contains an alphabetical index and four volumes of transcribed obituaries. Click the arrow to the left of the database title to access these resources.

    Cemeteries Location Index: This database is an index to the cemeteries of Miller County. Click the cemetery name to access U.S. Geological Survey location and features information.

    Return to Table of Contents


    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked about publishing your family history. 3,849 people answered the survey. More than one answer could be selected. The results are:

    • 48.4%, I have put together an informal notebook or informally bound printout for myself, my family, or others.
    • 16.0%, I have written one or more articles about my family history for a genealogical society or family association newsletter.
    • 4.3%, I have written one or more articles about my family history for a genealogical magazine (American Ancestors, Family Tree, Family Chronicle, etc.)
    • 3.0%, I have written one or more articles about family history for a peer-reviewed journal (Register, TAG, NGSQ, etc.)
    • 5.3%, I have published a book of family photos (or other images) through an online service such as
    • 1.7%, I have written a full-length book, which I have produced myself by working directly with an online publisher/printer such as CreateSpace or Lightning Source.
    • 4.9%, I have written a full-length book, which I have produced myself by working directly with a commercial book printer.
    • 1.1%, I have written a full-length book, which one or more vendors or freelancers (designer, editor, indexer) has helped me self-publish.
    • 1.0%, I have written a book and published it with a traditional publisher (NEHGS, GPC, etc.).
    • 10.5%, I have written about my family history for an enewsletter, blog, or website.
    • 1.4%, I have written a family history and published it as an e-book.
    • 39.4%, I have not yet written my family history but would like to do so.
    • 12.2%, I do not intend to write my family history.

    This week’s survey asks about conducting genealogical interviews with relatives.Take the survey now!

    Return to Table of Contents


    Stories of Interest

    “What’ll Become of Me?” Finding the Real Patsey of 12 Years a Slave
    “With 12 Years a Slave putting Solomon Northup’s story in the spotlight, [author] Katie Calautti attempts to discover the fate of Patsey—and learns just how impossible it can be to find one woman when that woman was a slave.”

    An Interactive Map Showing How Baby Names Spread Across the U.S.
    Using U.S. census data, creator Brian Lee Yung Rowe has developed an interactive map showing how names have grown and waned in popularity in different states since the early 1900s.

    Yo-ho-ho and a Bottle of £8,000 Rum! 12 Mouldy Bottles of 18th-Century Spirit Sell for £80,000 after Being Discovered Languishing in Cellar of Harewood House since 1780s
    “The rare 18th-century spirit was discovered in the basement of Harewood House in Leeds while staff performed an inventory.”

    Return to Table of Contents


    20% Off Essential New England Titles

    The Bookstore at NEHGS is offering 20% discount on titles to help you with your New England research.

    To get your 20% discount, enter the code NE0314 into the coupon field online, or mention it when ordering via phone at 1-888-296-3447.

    *Prices good through 3/14/14, while supplies last. Prices do not include shipping. Offer cannot be combined with any other discounts, including the NEHGS member discount.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Upcoming Education Programs

    Six Women of Salem
    When: Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 6–7 p.m.
    Where: 99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.

    Join NEHGS and historian and author Marilynne K. Roach for a lecture based on Roach’s book, Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials. Roach chronicles the lives of six specific women involved in the witch hunt who represent the accusers, the accused, or both, and she uses their unique stories to illuminate the larger crisis of the trials.

    More information and registration

    Uncovering African American Stories
    When: Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 6–8 p.m.
    Where: 99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.

    The lives of African Americans have long been hidden in histories of the northern United States. However, the labor and contributions of African Americans, enslaved and free, are a part of many New England sites. Join Historic New England museum historian Jennifer Pustz as she explores the African American experience across New England from the eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries through the lens of historic properties.

    Expert genealogist David Allen Lambert will discuss the primary and secondary sources available at the New England Historic Genealogical Society for researching African Americans in New England. He will highlight how to best utilize materials such as vital records, probates, deeds, and newspapers to further expand your knowledge of African American ancestry. A wide range of sources from family manuscripts to Internet resources will give you the clues to further your research and trace your family tree.

    Co-sponsored with Historic New England.

    Registration is required. Free to Historic New England and New England Historic Genealogical Society members, $5 nonmembers. To register, call 617-994-5959 or click here.

    Return to Table of Contents


    NEHGS Contact Information

    We encourage you to email this newsletter to others who might be interested. Subscribe or view back issues of The Weekly Genealogist.

    Visit the Society on Facebook.

    The Weekly Genealogist, like all of our programs, is made possible through the generous contributions of our members. Visit us online for information about giving to NEHGS.

    For more information on the New England Historic Genealogical Society, please visit our website.

    Become a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.


    Copyright 2014, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

    Return to Table of Contents

New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

© 2010 - 2014 New England Historic Genealogical Society