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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 17, No. 09
    Whole #676
    February 26, 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
    * Heritage Tours to Nantucket and Maine
    * New from Newbury Street Press
    * A Note from the Editor: Valley Forge National Historical Park
    * Spotlight: Kansas Cemetery Databases
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Stories of Interest
    * 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): Bethlehem (1787–1851), Southbury (1787–1830), Warren (1786–1850), and Weston (1787–1850). Together, these towns add more than 6,500 records to this database. Compiled from an original Lucius Barnes Barbour typescript in the NEHGS Special Collections, this database currently contains records for 92 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.

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    New at the Online Learning Center

    Online Courses, Exclusively for NEHGS Members!

    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.

    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!

    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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    Heritage Tours to Nantucket and Maine

    NEHGS Heritage Tours provide opportunities to explore areas of the world rich in history and learn from experts while enjoying superior comforts and amenities. This summer, experienced guide Donald Friary will lead two tours with special excursions, guided walks, visits to private homes, and exceptional accommodations.

    Nantucket: “That Famous Old Island”
    Thursday, June 12–Sunday, June 15, 2014

    We will experience the incomparable beauty and rich history of Nantucket as we explore its whaling heritage, handsome architecture, artistic traditions, and natural wonders. We will walk elegant Main Street and picturesque Siasconset, visit a working cranberry bog, and venture through a wildlife refuge to Great Point Lighthouse. Accommodations at the historic Jared Coffin House will afford a comfortable retreat. We will dine at some of the island’s finest restaurants and enjoy two cocktail receptions hosted by friends of NEHGS.

    Click here for prices and detailed information

    Coastal Maine: Remarkable History, Magnificent Beauty
    Thursday, September 11–Sunday, September 14, 2014

    Encounter the varied legacies of Maine’s noteworthy inhabitants through the writings of Sarah Orne Jewett and the poetry of Portland native Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Author and agronomist David Buchanan will showcase Maine’s agricultural heritage and heirloom foods at his experimental farm. We will explore the settings that inspired America’s great artists from Winslow Homer to the Wyeth family, and enjoy a walking tour of Wiscasset, "the prettiest village in Maine." On our long weekend we will stay at the newly refurbished Westin Portland Harborview Hotel and dine at superb Portland restaurants.

    Click here for prices and detailed information

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    New from Newbury Street Press

    The Nelson Family of Rowley, Massachusetts
    by Christopher Challender Child
    6 x 9 hardcover, 772 pp., illus., $64.95, member $58.46

    In 1638, Thomas Nelson traveled with Rev. Ezekiel Rogers and his company from Rowley, Yorkshire, England, to settle Rowley, Massachusetts. This gene¬alogy treats several generations of Nelson descendants and provides new insight into Thomas’s possible ancestry at Drax, Yorkshire. An ahnentafel for Philip Stapleton, the maternal grandfather of Thomas2 and Philip2 Nelson, is also included, and indicates each way he descends from Edward I, King of England, and Edward III, King of England. Appendixes provide addi¬tional historical context regarding the establishment of Rowley, Massachusetts, and discuss the royal line of Dorothy Stapleton, Thomas Nelson’s first wife.

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    A Note from the Editor: Valley Forge National Historical Park
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    Last week Massachusetts public schools were closed for February vacation. While many of my children’s friends escaped to warm destinations like Florida and Puerto Rico, my two ten-year-olds and I headed to a historic site in Pennsylvania closely identified with harsh winter conditions: Valley Forge. Some friends questioned why we’d choose to visit the park in February, particularly since the Northeast has endured so much cold and snow this year, but I maintained that we’d have a much more authentic experience than if we visited in, say, July. (Our Presidents’ Day visit was great—although we were disappointed that we had to forgo a visit to Washington’s headquarters, the Isaac Potts house, which was closed due to icy conditions.)

    Valley Forge National Historical Park, located twenty miles northwest of Philadelphia, is famous for serving as the encampment site of the Continental Army from December 1777 through June 1778. The approximately 12,000 troops under the command of General George Washington built a city of 2,000+ log huts. In addition to foraging and seeing to their own needs, the men patrolled and drilled. The National Park Service brochure speculates that “Perhaps the most important outcome of the encampment was the army’s maturation into a more professional force.” Former Prussian officer Baron Friedrich von Steuben arrived in February 1778 and led a training program “that gave the troops a new sense of purpose and helped sustain them through many trials as they stuck to the task of securing independence.” The eighteen-minute orientation film, “Valley Forge: A Winter Encampment,” shown at the park’s theater, can be viewed online; shorter YouTube videos on specific topics related to Valley Forge can be seen here.

    Do you think your ancestor was at Valley Forge? The Valley Forge Muster Roll, a project of the nonprofit Friends of Valley Forge Park, can help you find out. By using kiosks at the park visitor center or a searchable database online, you can determine what regiments were present during the Valley Forge encampment. (Regiments were present from Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia.) You can also search for particular soldiers by last name or partial last name. The information in the Valley Forge Muster Roll has been compiled from original muster rolls, payroll records, pensions, letters, orders, and other contemporary primary documents.

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    Spotlight: Kansas Cemeteries Databases
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    Newton, Kansas, Cemeteries
    The city of Newton, located in central Kansas, is the county seat of Harvey County. Established in 1872, Greenwood Cemetery has more than 15,000 occupied spaces. The city has made a burial and disinterment database for Greenwood and Restlawn cemeteries available on its website. The database may be searched by last name, first name, year of interment, and veteran status of the deceased, and by last and first name of the lot owner. Use the dropdown list to limit your search to a specific cemetery or to the disinterment records. The data fields in the search results are occupant name, owner name, location, and date of burial. Click the occupant name link to view the detailed record, which contains a number of additional fields.

    Atchison Kansas Public Library The city of Atchison, located in northeastern Kansas, is the county seat of Atchison County. The Atchison Public Library has made a cemetery database available on its website. Click the A-Z links to open files with alphabetical-by-surname lists. The data fields in the database include last name, first name, birth date, death date, age, and cemetery name. There is also a database of Cummings Cemetery headstone photos. Cummings Cemetery is located in Center Township, southeast of Cummings.

    McPherson Cemetery
    The city of McPherson, located in central Kansas, is the seat of McPherson County. The city has made a cemetery burial records database available on its website. The database can be searched by name or by burial location. Click "search by name" to open the burial record catalog. Select the first letter of the surname for which you are searching, then select the appropriate surname range. The data fields in the search results are name, male/female, year born, year died, marker, and grave location. Click the image of the cross in the marker field to view a photograph of the gravestone. Click the name of the deceased to open a detailed record. A search of the database by location will bring up a list of all burials in the selected block.

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Last week’s survey asked how many marriages your most-wed ancestor had. 3,329 people answered the survey. The results are:

    • 4%, One
    • 15%, Two
    • 37%, Three
    • 24%, Four
    • 9%, Five
    • 2%, Six
    • 1%, Seven
    • 1%, Eight
    • 1%, Nine
    • 1%, Ten or more
    • 5%, I don’t know

    This week’s survey asks about publishing your family history. Take the survey now!

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    Stories of Interest

    To Read or Not to Read?
    In this article, one of an eight-part series, author Olivia Judson reflects on her mother’s life and contemplates the “stacks” of diaries she left behind when she died unexpectedly twenty years ago.

    On the Web, Exploring the Family Tree Is Easy—but Unreliable
    This NPR story on online genealogy includes commentary by NEHGS genealogist Rhonda McClure.

    North and South Koreans Hold Rare Family Reunions
    “Hundreds of North and South Korean relatives are seeing each other for the first time in decades, at a reunion for families separated by the Korean War.” Additional photos are available here.

    “Studying it has been called ‘academic suicide,’ but an astonishing range of researchers have fallen under a mysterious document’s spell.”

    Oldest-Known Holocaust Survivor Dies; Pianist Was 110
    “There are many remarkable things to say about Alice Herz-Sommer, who until her death in London on Sunday was thought to be the world’s oldest survivor of the Nazi Holocaust.”

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    When: Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 10–11 a.m.
    Where: 99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.

    The NEHGS website,, is full of great features, tools, resources, and content that highlights NEHGS’s national expertise in genealogy and family history. We now have more than 200 million searchable family history records covering New England, New York, and other areas, dating back to 1620. We invite you to attend this free lecture and demonstration to learn more about this incredible online resource.

    More information and registration

    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

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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