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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 17, No. 16
    Whole #683
    April 16, 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.

    * NEHGS Database News
    * New at Online Learning Center
    * Last Chance to RSVP for NEHGS Annual Dinner
    * Features from the American Jewish Historical Society
    * French Migrations to America Before 1800
    * A Note from the Editor: Readers Respond
    * Spotlight: GenKY, Kenton County Public Library, Kentucky
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Stories of Interest
    * Classic Reprints from the Bookstore at NEHGS
    * Upcoming Education Programs


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

    Boston, MA: Inhabitants and Estates of the Town of Boston, 1630–1822 (Thwing Collection)

    From the introduction to the CD-ROM: “When Annie Haven Thwing (1851–1940), the daughter of a Boston coal merchant, reached her mid-thirties, she became curious to know ‘where my ancestors lived, who were their neighbors, and what the neighborhood was like.’ She found it impossible, however, to contain her project, and she spent the next thirty years researching the geographic and built environment of Boston from 1630 to 1822. Tracing people and their properties through deed, probate, and the recently printed town records, enlisting church records, diaries, and graveyard epitaphs, Thwing painstakingly built an index consisting of some 125,000 catalog cards. These she used to publish, in 1920, her classic The Crooked and Narrow Streets of the Town of Boston, 1630–1822. Four years before, she had given her card index to the Massachusetts Historical Society, where it occupied seventy-four library drawers in the catalog room. Although arranged only by subjects’ names, the index has proved a valuable resource for historians and genealogists.”

    Additional information about this collection, which contains more than 73,000 records, can be found in an article by Lynn Betlock posted on The Daily Genealogist blog.

    A pdf version of the introduction to the CD-ROM version of this database, with an explanation of the various field names, can be downloaded here.

    A pdf version of Annie Thwing’s The Crooked and Narrow Streets of the Town of Boston—1630–1822 can be downloaded here.

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    New at the Online Learning Center

    Watch “Access the Expertise at NEHGS from Home”
    (47:05, presented live April 10, 2014)

    Chief Genealogist David Lambert and Director of Research Services Suzanne Stewart explain how our staff of experts can assist you through our Ask A Genealogist email service, consultations by phone or in person, and our research-for-hire program—all of which you can access from home. Watch today!

    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

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    Last Chance to RSVP for NEHGS Annual Dinner

    Friday, April 18, is the last chance to register for our Annual Dinner. This year’s Benefit with Doris Kearns Goodwin will be held at the Taj Hotel, overlooking Boston’s picturesque Public Garden, on Friday, April 25. The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian’s keynote address, “Everlasting Legacies,” will discuss how “the people we love will live on so long as we pledge to tell and retell the stories of their lives.”

    Author of six critically acclaimed books, including recent bestseller The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, Doris Kearns Goodwin will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award in American History and Biography. Proceeds of the dinner will benefit the Society’s capital campaign, Connecting Families. Advancing History. A champagne reception for patrons of the dinner will be hosted before the event. Space is limited. For more information, or to register, please visit

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    Features from the American Jewish Historical Society

    The American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) is the oldest ethnic historical society in the country. NEHGS is the permanent home of the New England Archive of AJHS, that portion of the AJHS collection relating to Jewish genealogy and Jewish cultural and institutional history in Greater Boston and New England.

    This column features selections from Chapters in American Jewish History, a series of essays edited by Michael Feldberg, PhD, Executive Director of AJHS from 1991 to 2004 and current Executive Director of the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom.

    To mark the Passover holiday, we feature an essay on the challenges Jewish soldiers faced during the American Civil War.

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    French Migrations to America Before 1800

    The French Cultural Center of Boston is hosting a presentation on early migrations from France and Québec to America. Dr. Bertrand Van Ruymbeke of the Université de Paris 8 will offer an overview of these migrations and of the French presence in America before 1800. The event will be held at 53 Marlborough Street, Boston, May 1, 2014, 6:30-8:30 PM. $5, RSVP Required. For more information visit

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    A Note from the Editor: Readers Respond
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    Last week’s article on heroic ancestors prompted a number of reader emails. Below are some responses:

    Paul Coverdale Bartlett of Hixson, Tennessee: When I read your definition of “heroic,” the women in my ancestry immediately came to mind as meeting the description of self-sacrificing contributors. I thought of one in particular, who raised her nine boys and one girl on a farm outside Binghamton, New York, in the mid-1800s. Three of her boys were quite outstanding contributors: a Congregationalist minister, a Civil War general, and a clipper ship captain. I think anyone who kept such a large household running and produced such good citizens deserves the term “hero.”

    Roger Prince of Danville, California: It’s interesting how we define black sheep and heroes. Your responses from last week’s black sheep survey included two examples of accused witches. I am descended from Sarah Warren Prince Osborne (Goody Osborne of Salem Witchcraft fame) and Rebecca Towne Nurse. Both women protested their innocence and refused to be pressured into confessing or accusing others in order to save their own skins. I consider them heroines, not black sheep.

    Peggy Willoughby St. John of Boylston, Massachusetts: As I research my ancestors I am amazed at their endurance. Charlotte Taylor (1752–1841) was born in England, and about 1775 she became the third British settler and the first woman settler on the Miramichi River in Canada; Deputy Governor Francis Willoughby (1612–1671) came from England and served as Deputy Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1665 through 1670; William Bradford (1590–1657) was a founder and longtime governor of the Plymouth Colony settlement; and Samuel Downing (1764–1867) was the last Revolutionary War pensioner. There is a good balance between the ancestors that are heroic and those that are skeletons in the closet.

    Merrilee Carlson of Hastings, Minnesota: While I have a number of heroic ancestors, more importantly I have a heroic son. Sgt. Michael C. Carlson served with the 3BCT, 1st ID, 2-2 as a member of a Bradley Fighting Team. He protected the men of his unit on numerous missions while risking his life. He gave his life on January 24, 2005, in Iraq. He lived his credo, which he wrote in May of 2000. It includes the following sentiment: “I want to live forever; the only way that one could possibly achieve it in this day and age is to live on in those you have affected.”

    For more stories of heroic ancestors, visit the NEHGS Facebook page and view the posts about this topic.

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    Spotlight: GenKY, Kenton County Public Library, Kentucky
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Kenton County, located in northern Kentucky, has two county seats—Covington and Independence. The Kenton County Public Library has made a number of resources available on its website, including more than thirty-five genealogy databases and a newspaper index for northern Kentucky. The database collection includes:

    Cemetery Records
    Five cemetery databases are represented here, including Linden Grove [Covington] Cemetery 1868–1998, which contains more than 37,000 records. The data fields are last name, first name, date, and PDF (an image of the burial record). Another notable database is Mary E. Smith African American Cemetery 1950–1967, which contains tombstone records and PDFs of burial records; the data fields are last name, first name, and page number.

    Church Records
    This section contains church-related databases, including the Church Records Index, an alphabetical database of 47,855 Kenton County church records from 1850 to 2000.

    General Records
    The Northern Kentucky Real Estate Records database indexes 3,440 Kenton County transactions from the late 1960s and 1970s.The data fields are realtor, property address, date, city, and remarks. Click the link in the PDF field to view a card with a written description and photograph of the property.

    Other databases include city directories (4), court records (1), hospital records (1), military records (3), records of labor and fraternal organizations (4), and vital records (2), as well as a large number of school yearbook and memorabilia collections.

    The Newspaper Index link at the top of the GenKY Database List page leads to a database search page. The collection of five newspapers spans 1848 to the present. Click the Faces & Places link for the searchable Northern Kentucky Photographic Archives database.

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked if you have any “heroic” ancestors. 3,628 people answered the survey. The results are:

    • 33% Yes, I have many heroic ancestors (5 or more).
    • 30% Yes, I have two to four heroic ancestors.
    • 12% Yes, I have one heroic ancestor.
    • 25% No, I am not aware of any heroic ancestors in my family.

    This week’s survey asks about ancestors at the battles at Lexington and Concord. Take the survey now!

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    Stories of Interest

    After 69 Years, a Family Treasure
    During World War II, Red Cross worker Elizabeth Black “was on a personal crusade to draw as many American soldiers as she could and send the portraits back to their families in the States.” Recently a Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, woman learned her father was one of those who had his portrait drawn. Interested readers can view a documentary, Portraits for the Home Front: the Story of Elizabeth Black, produced by WQED in Pittsburgh. “WQED is working to find the surviving veterans or descendants who might be interested in these keepsake portraits drawn by Elizabeth during WW2.”

    101-year-old Bottle Message: Baltic Find Reveals My Roots, Says Grandfather
    Angela Erdmann of Berlin received a very unexpected message from her grandfather, who died six years before she was born. “A man stood in front of my door and told me he had post from my grandfather. He then told me that a message in a bottle was found and that the name that was on the card was that of my grandfather.”

    Frozen in Time: Last Effects of World War One Hero Killed at the Somme
    “The worldly possessions of 18-year-old Private Edward Ambrose came home in a neat parcel from the Western Front … And they stayed shut away for 98 years until Edward’s nephew John, 82, read an appeal asking for items for a local exhibition marking the centenary of the First World War.”

    Haunting Photos of World War I Reveal How Little Europe Has Changed in 100 Years
    “Photographer Peter Macdiarmid collected modern photos from around Europe and overlaid World War I-era images, giving a sense of how much—and how little—has changed since the War to end all Wars.”

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    Classic Reprints from the Bookstore at NEHGS

    Did you know that the Bookstore at NEHGS offers library-quality copies of more than 10,000 rare and out-of-print books? Some titles ordered by recent customers include:

    • Genealogy of the Van Brunt Family of New York, 1653–1867 (Item P4-H26046, $28.50)
    • Early History of Ransom County, North Dakota, Including References to Sargent County, 1835–1885 (Item P5-ND0006S, $15.00)
    • Eaton Family of Nova Scotia, 1760–1929 (Item P4-H09279, $50.00)
    • Family History of Jeremiah Fenton (1764–1841) of Adams Co., Ohio, and His Descendants (Item P4-H10236, $43.50)
    • History of Cherry Valley, New York, from 1740 to 1898 (Item P5-NY0071H, $19.50)

    Search the entire Classic Reprints catalog or order a copy of the Classic Reprints Catalog here. The cost of the catalog is $12.95 plus shipping.

    If you would like a list of FAQs and search tips for the Classic Reprints catalog, simply send an email with “Classic Reprints” in the subject line to

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    Crafty Bastards: Beer in New England from the Mayflower to Modern Day
    When: Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 6–7 p.m.
    Where: NEHGS Library, 99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.

    Join NEHGS for a presentation and book signing by Lauren Clark, who will share her new book, Crafty Bastards: Beer in New England from the Mayflower to Modern Day.

    Making beer in New England hasn’t always been easy. Puritan housewives, industrial-era beer moguls, and contemporary craft brewers alike have concocted humankind’s oldest beverage in the face of scarce ingredients, legal hurdles, and public indifference. Despite these challenges, beer has always been and continues to be a staple of New England life.

    With Crafty Bastards: Brewing in New England from the Mayflower to Modern Day, Lauren Clark deepens our appreciation for beer and the challenges inherent in creating the perfect pint. Mayflower Brewing Company, founded in Plymouth, Mass., by a tenth-great-grandson of John Alden, will offer a tasting of their unique, high-quality ales at the event.

    Free and open to the public. Reserve a space by calling 617-226-1226 or emailing

    Writing and Publishing Seminar
    When: May 15–16, 2014
    Where: 99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.

    Join the experts at NEHGS to learn best practices and helpful tips in order to turn your research into a publication. Workshops during this two-day program include goal setting, using genealogical style, working with images, and adding narrative to your genealogy. In addition, participants will learn about working with editors, publishers, and the nuts and bolts of completing family history publications. Learn from a team of skilled writers and editors with decades of experience in publishing family histories. Two one-on-one consultations with NEHGS publications staff are included in the registration.

    More information and registration

    Nova Scotia Tour
    Registration deadline is approaching!
    When: June 22–29, 2014
    Where: Halifax, Nova Scotia

    Travel to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to trace your ancestors in Atlantic Canada. Let NEHGS experts David Allen Lambert and Judith Lucey, as well as local historians, guide you through the vast resources at the Nova Scotia Archives and other local repositories. The tour includes lectures, consultations, a walking tour of Halifax, group events, and a day trip to the charming harborside town of Shelburne.

    More information and registration

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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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