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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 17, No. 02
    Whole #669
    January 8, 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.

    * Introducing Vita Brevis
    * NEHGS Database News
    * New at the Online Learning Center
    * A Note from the Editor: The Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight: Resources of the Nevada County Library, California
    * Stories of Interest
    * Great Migration Sale at Bookstore at NEHGS
    * Upcoming Education Programs at NEHGS


    Introducing Vita Brevis

    NEHGS is pleased to announce the launch of Vita Brevis, a new blog offering short essays by the Society’s expert staff on their own research processes, methods, and results, as well as news of the greater genealogical community.

    As the nation’s oldest genealogical society, NEHGS has collected books and manuscripts on subjects beyond New England, and now, with its growing database collection, NEHGS is truly a national—and an international—resource for family history. Vita Brevis will provide insight into these resources as well as add to them.

    This week’s posts are an introduction to the blog, a discussion of research methods by Alicia Crane Williams, and Google tips from Scott C. Steward.

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

    Rhode Island Roots, Volumes 31–34

    When Rhode Island Roots began publication in 1975, the publication served both as a newsletter for the newly formed Rhode Island Genealogical Society (RIGS) and as an aid to careful genealogical research. While it was short and unsophisticated in design, Roots was a serious publication assembled by people with considerable genealogical experience. This update includes volumes 31–34, publication years 2005–2008, and adds more than 23,000 records to this collection.

    Each issue of the quarterly journal, now 52 pages, features at least one compiled genealogy along with Bible records, transcriptions of original sources, book reviews, and studies of the genealogical implications of historical events. Indices of land and notarial records and petitions to the General Assembly, transcriptions of estimates of ratable estate, gravestones, and early census records all provide invaluable clues to Rhode Island genealogy. The authors include well-known genealogists as well as RIGS members with stories of their own families to tell.

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    New at the Online Learning Center

    Sign up for two webinars happening in January:*

    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

    Even if you don’t live in the Boston area, you can still access the expertise and resources at NEHGS from the comfort of your own home. Learn about online educational opportunities, digital collections and resources, services, and support. Cost: FREE Register Today!

    Ten Steps for Writing & Publishing Your Family History
    Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 3 p.m. EST (2:00 CST; 1:00 MST; 12:00 PST)
    Presented by: Penny Stratton, Publishing Director
    Level: All levels; Audience: Anyone interested in writing or publishing their research

    Whether you are just starting your research or wrapping up years of genealogical investigation, you’re probably thinking about how to share your findings with family, the greater genealogical community, and generations to come. Consider writing a book! This webinar will give a brief overview of the key steps to writing and publishing your family history. Cost: FREE Register Today!

    *If you are unable to attend a live session, a recording of the event will be posted to our website within a week of the program.

    Our growing Online Learning Center contains subject guides on a variety of genealogical topics, how-to 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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    A Note from the Editor: The Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    In 1932, the Carnegie Institution of Washington and the American Geographical Society of New York published the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States by Charles O. Paullin. The preface describes the atlas as a composite work, the result of the efforts of many scholars who contributed to the project since it was conceived in 1903. The introduction claims it “is the first major historical atlas of the United States and probably the most comprehensive work of its kind that has yet been published for any country. Its aim is to illustrate cartographically, in manageable compass, and yet with considerable detail, essential facts of geography and of history that condition and explain the development of the United States.”

    The atlas, which can be found on the fifth floor of the NEHGS library, is indeed impressive. It contains 162 pages of explanatory text and nearly 700 maps that examine a variety of topics—explorers’ routes, settlement, political maps, and plans of cities, to name a few. Anyone with an interest in history will be quickly drawn into the vast amount of information and thought-provoking detail. Genealogists will find some of the maps of particular interest, for instance: Colonial Grants, 1603–1732; a 1770 plan of Meredith, New Hampshire; Claims and Cessions of Western Lands, 1776–1802, by seven of the original states; Sources of Emigration to the United States; and multiple maps showing the concentrations of religious denominations and foreign-born populations.

    Now an enhanced online version of the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States has been released by the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab. A recent New York Times article, “Trove of Information From the 1930s, Animated by the Internet,” by Jennifer Schuessler, examines how the Atlas has been translated to an online platform. “The new site’s digital enhancements bring that sense of movement to further life, allowing users to pull up the fine-grained data behind many maps (most of which have been georectified, or warped to align accurately with a modern digital map), or just sit back and watch as animation shows, say, the march of women’s suffrage or other social reforms.”

    Whether you view the Atlas in book form or online, a treasure trove of information awaits you. Happy explorations!

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked about your genealogical resolutions. More than one answer could be selected. 3,924 people answered the survey. The results are:

    • 66%, I will organize research papers and files that I have accumulated.
    • 48%, I will write up some of my family history.
    • 40%, I will share genealogy stories with my family.
    • 11%, I will join a new society.
    • 25%, I will attend a conference or other genealogical education program.
    • 22%, I will take a research trip to a distant repository I have been meaning to visit.
    • 32%, I will take a research trip to a location where my ancestors lived.
    • 14%, I will take a DNA test for genealogical purposes.
    • 22%, I have other genealogical resolutions not listed above.
    • 13%, I am not making any genealogical resolutions this year.

    This week’s survey asks your interest in genealogy blogs. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: Resources of the Nevada County Library, California
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Resources of the Nevada County Library, California

    Nevada County is located in northeastern California. Its seat is Nevada City. The Nevada County Library system has made a number of online resources available through its Doris Foley Library for Historical Research. These resources include:

    This chronological index to baptisms in the Emmanuel Episcopal Church of Grass Valley from 1855 through 1871, contains just over 225 records. The data fields in the index are page, year, date, Christian name, surname, date of birth or age, parents’ names, and rector’s name.

    The 35 Nevada County maps in this section are sorted chronologically from 1869 to 1927 and include a list of historical maps available at the Nevada County Recorder’s Office. The database may be browsed or searched by keyword.

    Mining Collection
    The more than twenty files in this section include an alphabetical index to mining articles from local newspapers, maps, and mine operator records. The files may be browsed or searched by keyword.

    An online archive of the Grass Valley Daily Union newspaper from 1865 through 1884 is available (there are no online images for 1878). Click a year link to open the search page for that year. Click on the individual newspaper issue link to open a PDF file containing the complete issue. The library has also provided a link to the California Digital Newspaper Collection.

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    Stories of Interest

    Dad’s Message Recorded at War, a Gift Given Decades Later
    “At 71, Margaret Ann Wolf Harris heard her father’s voice for the first time in her adult life.” A few weeks before he died during World War II, Sgt. Cody Wolf had recorded a message for a 1943 Christmas broadcast produced by war correspondents. That recording was recently rediscovered and played on Baltimore’s NPR station.

    New Ohio Law to Give Adoptees Access to Birth Certificates
    This article in the Akron Beacon Journal explains the legal change that affects Ohio adoptees born between 1964 and 1996, and profiles Susie Taylor, a woman born in 1966 who is searching for her birth family.

    Family Gets a Surprise Time Capsule for Christmas: Antique Lap Desk Filled with Memorabilia
    “George and Jean Bremner kept everything, but at some point relatives heaved it out. A Toronto family reunites an heirloom with the Bremner descendants.”

    Miami Woman Tracks Her Jewish Roots through 22 Generations
    After converting to Judaism, Genie Milgrom, who was raised Catholic in a Cuban household, began to notice the clues that pointed to her family having been Crypto Jews, a group that secretly maintained Jewish customs while pretending to be Catholic. Her two-decade search led her back to a village on the Spanish-Portuguese border.

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    Great Migration Sale at Bookstore at NEHGS

    The Bookstore at NEHGS staff wish you a happy and productive new year. To help you grow your family tree in 2014, we are offering four weeks of special pricing on selected books.

    This week, save 20% on Great Migration books, including:

    • The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620–1633 (3-volume set, hardcover $79.20; paperback $63.96)
    • The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634–1635 (volumes A–B, C–F, G–H, I–L, M–P $47.96; volumes R–S and T–Y $51.96)
    • The Pilgrim Migration: Immigrants to Plymouth Colony, 1620–1633 ($23.96)
    • The Winthrop Fleet: Massachusetts Bay Company Immigrants to New England, 1629–1630 ($51.96)
    • The Great Migration Newsletter, Volumes 1–20 ($22.36)
    • The Great Migration Newsletter, Volumes 16–20 ($9.56)

    To receive your 20% discount, enter the coupon code GM2014 into the online coupon field or mention the coupon code if ordering by phone at 617-226-1212.

    (Discount is good through 1/17/14, while supplies last. Cannot be combined with other coupons or discounts, including the NEHGS member discount. Prices do not include shipping.)

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    Upcoming Education Program at NEHGS

    Mobile Genealogy
    99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.

    Part I: Using Dropbox and Evernote
    Saturday, January 11, 10:30–11:30 a.m.

    Part II: Imagining on the Go
    Saturday, February 1, 10:30–11:30 a.m.

    Join us at the NEHGS research library in Boston for a two-part lecture series introducing technology and equipment for organizing and conducting genealogy research while on the go. Alice Kane draws on her experiences as an independent researcher and NEHGS genealogist to introduce users to these helpful tools.

    In Part I, Alice will present an introduction to Dropbox and Evernote for information storage, organization, and notetaking.

    Part II will cover using digital cameras and the Flip-Pal scanner for recording documents.

    All levels of computer experience are welcome at both sessions.

    Free and open to the public. Space is limited. To reserve your space, email or call 617-226-1226.

    If you’re headed to Rootstech in Salt Lake City, Utah, in February, look for Alice’s session, A Mobile Genealogist: Using Evernote for Genealogy Research.

    Note: While these sessions will be held at our library in Boston, an online course on mobile genealogy will be held in the future. For other upcoming online programs visit our Online Learning Center.  

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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

© 2010 - 2014 New England Historic Genealogical Society