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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 17, No. 06
    Whole #673
    February 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.

    * NEHGS Database News
    * New at the Online Learning Center
    * Vita Brevis: A Resource for Family History
    * Subscribe to the Great Migration Newsletter
    * A Note from the Editor: Readers Respond
    * Spotlight: Cemetery Databases: California, Iowa, and Pennsylvania
    * 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

    Connecticut Vital Records to 1870 (The Barbour Collection)

    Newly added to Connecticut Vital Records to 1870 (The Barbour Collection): Hampton (1736–1851), Lisbon (1785–1850), Montville (1786–1850), and North Haven (1786–1854). Together, these towns add more than 9,000 records to this database. Compiled from an original Lucius Barnes Barbour typescript in the NEHGS special collections, this database currently contains records for 88 towns in Connecticut.

    The complete Barbour Collection contains records of marriages, births, and deaths in 137 Connecticut towns from the 1640s to about 1850 (some towns include records up to 1870). These records were collected, transcribed, and abstracted by Lucius Barnes Barbour (Connecticut Examiner of Public Records, 1911–1934) and his team of researchers between 1918 and 1928. Mr. Barbour was an NEHGS member from 1907 until his death in 1934. This set of typescripts was donated to NEHGS by Mr. Barbour’s wife and children in 1938. Remaining towns will be added to the database over the next year.

    Record of Burials in the Dutch Church, New York, 1727–1803

    Early Records of the Lutheran Church, New York, 1697–1771

    These databases were published originally as part of the Year Book of the Holland Society of New York, an organization founded in 1885 to record the history of New Netherland. “The Record of Burials in the Dutch Church, New York, 1727–1803,” was published in 1899. It contains more than 3,500 individual name records. “The Early Records of the Lutheran Church, New York, 1697–1771,” was published in 1903. It contains more than 3,000 individual name records relating to marriages and baptisms. Names of parents and spouses have been included for both record sets, when available.

    Databases in Progress

    The next update to the Barbour Collection of Connecticut vital records will include the towns of Bethlehem, Southbury, Warren, and Weston. In the near future, we will also be updating our New Hampshire vital records collection to include marriages that occurred between the years 1901 and 1937. Another database on the horizon is the Pioneer Irish of Onondaga, which contains genealogical information about Irish families who settled in Onondaga County, New York between 1776 and 1847.

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    New at the Online Learning Center

    Watch “Ten Steps for Writing & Publishing Your Family History

    Did you know that you can borrow e-books from the NEHGS library? Read and download digital versions of thousands of books? Consult with our experts by phone? Learn how to access the resources and expertise at NEHGS without traveling to Boston by watching a recording of the webinar, “Get the Most from NEHGS…from Home!” (57:07 mins., presented live January 22, 2014, by Jean Maguire, NEHGS Library Director).

    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! Learn the basics by watching the recorded webinar, “Ten Steps for Writing & Publishing Your Family History” (1:02:20, presented live January 29, 2014, by Penny Stratton, Publishing Director at NEHGS).

    For more information on writing and publishing your family history, check out our NEW subject guide, Writing & Publishing Your Family History.

    And be sure to sign up for our next FREE webinar:

    Find Your 17th-c. New England Ancestors with NEHGS
    Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014
    3-4 p.m. EST (2 p.m. CST; 1 p.m. MST; noon PST)*

    Presented by: David Dearborn, Senior Genealogist at NEHGS
    Level: All levels; Intended Audience: NEHGS members and guest users with early New England roots

    Learn the basics of researching your early New England ancestors (1601-1700) using NEHGS resources—both on-site and online. Join Senior Genealogist David Dearborn as he discusses key reference works, records, and databases available to NEHGS members and guest users. Our webinars fill quickly—sign up today!

    *If you are unable to attend the live event, you can watch a recording of the presentation at our Online Learning Center, available within a week of its broadcast.

    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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    Vita Brevis: A Resource for Family History

    Catch up on Vita Brevis, the new blog from NEHGS! Recent posts include Alicia Crane Williams on a rambunctious seventeenth-century family (the Normans of Manchester, Mass.); Robert Charles Anderson’s account of intriguing pre-Great Migration connections between the Nowell and Winthrop families; Penny Stratton on her father’s early life in Pennsylvania and Ohio; and David Allen Lambert on programs that help the families of U.S. veterans to erect cemetery burial markers for their relatives.

    This week, NEHGS Web Content Coordinator Andrew Hanson-Dvoracek will be live-blogging from RootsTech in Salt Lake City. Stay tuned for other respected writers who will be joining the blog’s masthead in February.

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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 in the first quarter of this 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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    A Note from the Editor: Readers Respond

    Last week’s survey on the events, influences, and situations that inspired readers in their genealogical searches prompted a number of emails. Below is a selection of responses.

    Diane Delbridge of Mustang, Oklahoma: For this week’s survey, I marked "none of the above" because I had a different inspiration. When I was in the sixth grade our English teacher assigned an autobiography. I remember thinking that was dumb because we were too young to have done anything to write about. But one section was supposed to be on our family trees, so my mother pulled out a pair of booklets that contained the genealogy of one line of our family. (I was so disappointed that I wasn’t listed like my parents and oldest sister, despite the booklets being written many years before I was born.) That assignment was the first spark. Then, in high school, I chose genealogy for my senior term paper, and that was gasoline on the fire. I’m still hooked 35 years later, and I’m working on an improved version of the genealogy in those little books.

    William D. Romanski of Westerly, Rhode Island: Today’s survey was lacking the choice that kicked off my interest in genealogy and family history: attending a family reunion.

    Mary & Norm Kronvall of Grand Junction, Colorado: We wanted to add that the television series Roots really got us interested to start with.  

    Jim Bullock of Littleton, Colorado: The computer was a major factor in my start in genealogy in the 1980s. First, it was finding unknown relatives online. Next, in the early 90s, it was the availability of inexpensive genealogy software—for me, Family Origins, predecessor to Roots Magic. Books and databases on CD-ROM, online genealogy mail lists, message boards, and resources such as RootsWeb were also influential. I probably never would have started if I had had to travel and correspond by postal mail.

    Julia: Two of the choices listed in the survey played a role in my diving into a family search: first, my mother was an LDS member and gave me a start with the notes she left me; second, after the deaths of my immediate family members, I felt rootless. But the primary reason I became interested in genealogy was that I wanted to connect with living cousins who might know where to find my sister. I haven’t seen her since our father’s funeral when I was seven and she was about twenty-one. Although I found quite a few living relatives, none of them had known of our existence! I also love the Sherlock Holmes aspect of researching.

    Laura Kozin of Des Moines, Iowa: In 2004, when it became clear that we would lose my mother to cancer, it was suddenly very important to me to know about our family history. Losing her launched me on a genealogical mission. I "collected" and documented hundreds of relations in my database, and in 2010, I made a pilgrimage to eastern Massachusetts. Visiting Taunton, Norton, Mansfield, and Foxborough, where for 300+ years my ancestors had lived, filled places in me that I didn’t know were empty. My research connected me with a cousin in the Netherlands who provided information about immigrant forebears I never knew—my grandfather emigrated; his stayed in Groningen. That cousin was my guide to ancient villages whose cemeteries show our family name. Every find inspires more research, and keeps the work feeling relevant. But it was losing my mother that got me started.

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    Spotlight: Cemetery Databases: California, Iowa, and Pennsylvania
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    St. Mary’s Cemetery, California
    The city of Ventura, founded as San Buenaventura, is located in southern California. The city is the county seat of Ventura County. The owners of the Restore St. Mary’s Cemetery website have made an alphabetical burial database available on their website. The database was compiled from burial record books and cards on file in the office of the Ventura city clerk. The records are in PDF format. Click the range of letters in the alphabetical list to open a new page containing the index. Scroll down to view the records. The data fields in the database are burial date, religion, sex, name of the deceased, age (year, month, day), place of death, block, lot, and section.

    Oakland Cemetery, Iowa
    Iowa City is located in eastern Iowa. It is the county seat of Johnson County. Iowa City has made a burials database for Oakland Cemetery available on its website. Click on the Map and Database link to access it. The database may be searched by the last name of the deceased or plot owner. Click “Create Report for Printing” to open a new page containing a list with all of relevant data fields displayed. The data fields in the search results include last name, first name, owner’s last name and first name, section, block, lot, space, sex, birth date, death date, burial date, and age.

    Mt. Vernon Cemetery, Pennsylvania
    Mt. Vernon Cemetery is in McKeesport in southwestern Pennsylvania. McKeesport is located in Allegheny County. Click the “search cemetery data” link in the center of the homepage. The database can be searched by last name, first name, date interred, and section/lot. You can also run an AKA (also known as) search, which searches the first, middle, last name, and AKA fields. The data fields in the search results are title, first name, middle, last name, AKA, Jr/Sr, date of birth, date of death, date interred, section/block/lot/grave, funeral home, and place of death.

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked what activities or experiences have particularly inspired your genealogical pursuits. 4,193 people answered the survey. More than one answer could be selected. The results are:

    • 76%, Listening to family stories told by (or about) relatives
    • 57%, Reading letters, historical accounts, or autobiographies written by (or about) family members
    • 42%, Reading an account in a newspaper or local history that provided details of an ancestor’s life
    • 59%, Examining family papers or research notes compiled by an earlier relative
    • 76%, Looking at family photographs
    • 56%, Finding/communicating with/meeting a distant cousin or relative
    • 40%, Discovering a genealogical relationship with a historical figure or with someone who participated in a major historical event
    • 28%, Attending a family history program, talk, or conference
    • 35%, Watching a television program like Who Do You Think You Are? or Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.
    • 21%, Discussing family history with a genealogist, teacher, or librarian
    • 9%, Taking part in a conslitation with a professional genealogist
    • 60%, Visiting a site (a house, a town, etc.) connected with an ancestor
    • 35%, Reading an article in a genealogical journal or magazine
    • 12%, Living through the Bicentennial or another commemorative event
    • 20%, Feeling a personal lack of family history or having a sense of rootlessness
    • 5%, Walking past NEHGS or another historical institution, research facility, or library
    • 15%, The birth of a child, grandchild, or other relative
    • 35%, The death of a parent, grandparent, or other relative
    • 21%, I was inspired by an activity or experience not mentioned above.

    This week’s survey how many different ethnicities/nationalities there are in your ancestry. Take the survey now!

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    Stories of Interest

    A Beautiful, False 19th-Century Pedigree for George Washington
    “James Phillippe, a British genealogist working in London, presented this genealogical chart of George Washington’s lineage to Ulysses S. Grant in 1873. Phillippe hoped to curry favor with the president, and to establish his bona fides as a researcher. Though beautiful, the chart is plain wrong.”

    Mystery Girls in Iconic Photo Comes to Life
    Nameberry, a baby name website, “flip[s] back the calendar a hundred years to see what the baby name landscape looked like a century ago.”

    Are You My Cousin?
    In a New York Times opinion piece, A.J. Jacobs reflects on all the relatives generated by websites connecting “hundreds of thousands—or millions—of cousins by blood and marriage."

    The Mystery of Caruso Solved: Akron Family Identifies Soldier’s Inscription on an English Mansion Pillar
    Late last year, residents of Hennerton, Berkshire, in England, decided to find out the story behind a carving on a stone pillar at the entrance to 200-year-old Hennerton House.

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    Portable Genealogist Titles on Sale

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

    • History of Barnstable County, Mass., 1620–1830 (Item P5-MA0365H, $105.00)
    • History of Swanzey, N.H., from 1734 to 1890 (Item P5-NH0025H. $59.50)
    • History of the Town of Carlisle, Mass., 1754–1920 (Item P5-MA0408H, $39.50)
    • Pioneer Days and Later Times in Corning (N.Y.) and Vicinity, 1789–1920 (Item P5-NY0077H, $57)
    • Keating and Forbes Families and Reminiscences of C.A. Keating, A.D. 1758–1920 (Item P4-H16359, $38.50)

    Search the entire Classic Reprints catalog. If you would like a list of FAQs and search tips for the Classic Reprints catalog, send an email with "Classic Reprints" in the subject line to

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    NEHGS TIARA Irish History and Genealogy Seminar
    When: Saturday, March 8, 2014, 9:30 a.m.–noon
    Where: NEHGS, 99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.

    Join NEHGS and TIARA (The Irish Ancestral Research Association) for an Irish History and Genealogy Seminar. NEHGS Senior Genealogist Marie Daly will present “Irish Genealogical Research on,” and author and historian Christopher Klein will speak about his new book, Strong Boy: The Life and Times of John L. Sullivan, America’s First Sports Hero.

    Register online, $20.

    Writing and Publishing Seminar
    When: May 15–16, 2014
    Where: NEHGS, 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

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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