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  • 2001 Archive

  • Vol. 3, No. 2
    Whole #37
    February 9, 2001
    Greetings from the New England Historic Genealogical Society! This free newsletter has been sent to Society members and friends who have subscribed to it, or submitted their e-mail addresses on various Membership and Sales Department forms and website notices. The Society recognizes the importance of its Members' PRIVACY, and will not give away, sell or lease personal information.

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    © Copyright 2001, New England Historic Genealogical Society



    - Welcome to the New HisGen Highlights
    - Library News: New Winter Hours
    - Product Spotlight: Family Origins, 9.0
    - New Book: Black Roots
    - Education Programs
    - Web Resource: US Immigration and Naturalization Service
    - Available in the Bookshop


    Welcome to the New HisGen Highlights

    Welcome to HisGen Highlights! We hope that you have enjoyed past issues of the enewsletter. As we work our way into the new millennium we are working to make this newsletter even more valuable and informative for you. In addition to the usual information regarding NEHGS, you will find information on useful books, computer software, and other products. Helpful websites and other electronic sources of information will also be provided, as well as tips on conducting research and little known, but valuable resources.

    We hope that you will enjoy the additional information in the newsletter and welcome your feedback. We also welcome your research tips or techniques for publication. If you have any comments, observations, questions, or other feedback, please feel free to email us at

    -Michael J. Leclerc, Electronic Publications Supervisor


    Library News: New Winter Hours for Research Library

    Starting the week of Monday Jan. 29, the NEHGS Library will be open from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  This is a change from our 9 a.m.-9 p.m. hours, which we will resume after March 31 to accommodate our increased spring and summer patronage.

    The Library is also open from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays year-round and is closed Sundays and Mondays.


    Product Spotlight: Family Origins, 9.0

    I recently had the opportunity to explore the newest version of the genealogy software program Family Origins, which was released in August 2000. Formatted for Windows 95 and 98 systems, Family Origins 9.0 is offered in both standard and deluxe formats. In addition to the standard software, the deluxe version also offers a Place Finder tool that allows the researcher to quickly locate the state and county of a place name entered in the database — a useful tool for those who do not have gazetteers near their computers — and a free two-month trial subscription to . This website provides the researcher access to a wide variety of rare books and genealogical databases, as well as the entire index of the 1850 U.S. Federal Census and over 270,000 online Census images. This trial subscription is a nice way for the beginning or advanced genealogical researcher to examine before subscribing. 

    I found that Family Origins offers a data entry format similar to that of other genealogy software programs. One of the more interesting features is the instant display of attached photographs — in most programs the researcher has to wait for the printout of a chart to see the same results. Family Origins 9.0 is compatible with GEDCOM 5.5, PAF, LDS Ancestral File, and TempleReady; there are also options that allow you to place data online. Compared with graphics offered by other genealogy software programs, I was most impressed with the Family Origins Time Line Chart, Family Journal (Book), and the professional look to its standard pedigree chart. If you’ve never used a genealogical program before, I am certain you will find Family Origins 9.0 a good investment. The Deluxe Version retails for $49.99, the Standard Version for $29.99, and an upgrade from a previous Family Origins version is $19.99. This software is available from .

    -David Allen Lambert, NEHGS Reference Librarian


    New Book: Black Roots: A Beginner’s Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree

    Just in time for Black History Month, internationally known genealogist and NEHGS trustee Tony Burroughs has just written an invaluable new book, Black Roots: A Beginner’s Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree, published by Fireside Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. Let me quote from the preface: Why a Need for This Book?:

    After I had been researching my own family history for several years, people began asking me to recommend a beginner’s guide to researching African American family history. No books immediately came to mind, and so I started looking for one. There are several good books on rudimentary genealogy, written for the general public, but they either don’t cover Black genealogy or give it only a cursory mention. I found a few titles written specifically for African Americans, but none were step-by-step “how-to” guides. One book had not been updated in thirteen years, one was not professionally published, another was very misleading, another was out of print and couldn’t be located. They concentrated on sources instead of methods, barely mentioning where to find records….

    Now, eleven years after I started the book, a few new titles on African American genealogy have been published, but they still do not go into depth and detail on the growth of the Internet, it is even more imperative that beginners learn the basics and put technology into the proper perspective. Many researchers’ first experience in genealogy is not through reading a good genealogy book, taking a genealogy class, or joining a genealogical society. It’s through name surfing on the Internet without any guidance as to what they should be doing.

     Tony’s book will give invaluable assistance to those who are researching their African American ancestry. Written in a clear, simple style it is very easy for the beginner to understand. Each chapter comes with several examples and illustrations of the resources and techniques that should be done for quality family history research.

    The first section prepares the reader for doing research by introducing them to organizational and project management techniques for the genealogist. The second part details the sources that should be used for beginning research. The third part deals with electronic resources, compiling the family history, and how to continue the research.

    Any beginning genealogist (and many who have been researching for quite awhile) would benefit from reading this book, whether they have African American ancestors or not. It is well written and presents clear, illustrated examples of the techniques and resources. You can read an excerpt from the book at Simon & Schuster’s website:

    Black Roots is available for $16.00 from the NEHGS sales department (Item #B2-62099) at  or by calling the Sales Department toll-free at 1-888-296-3447, from 9-5 Eastern time, Monday through Friday.

    Michael J. Leclerc, Electronic Publications Supervisor


    NEHGS Education Programs

    Genealogy 201"
    Saturdays in Boston, March 3, 10, 17, and 31, 1:15-3:00 pm.

    NEHGS is delighted to offer a new course specifically designed to assist intermediate genealogists in the advancement of their research. Please join us in exploring Family History Library resources, English and British resources at NEHGS, the latest electronic resources, and New England military records.  Taking Genealogy 101 or a beginning class is not a requirement and even if you have taken Genealogy 201 in the past, all can benefit from these useful sessions. Class size is kept small to allow plenty of time for questions.

    Some Space Still Available in Popular March Programs!

    Don't miss an opportunity to participate in our popular Washington D.C. Research Tour,  March 18-25. Be bused from your historic hotel to all the best research spots in our nation's capitol, work one-on one with NEHGS staff and join your fellow researchers in a trip to Mount Vernon.

    Join NEHGS for two days of lectures at the Holiday Inn on the Bay in San Diego, California on March 2nd and 3rd. Lecture topics include "Finding the Irish Connection," "Organizing Your Data with Software" and many others.

    For more information or to register call the education department toll free at 1-888-286-3447, or in Boston at (617)-536-5740, ext 202. Or reach us by email at

    -Jennifer Cronin, Director of Education


    Web Resources: US Immigration and Naturalization Service

    Did you know that:

    - From 1850 to 1930 the foreign-born population of the United States rose from 2.2 million to 14.4 million?
    - The US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) operates a Historical Reference Library?
    - INS has a copy of all naturalizations performed throughout the country since 1906?
    - In addition to passenger ship arrivals, records of land entries across the Canadian border have been kept since 1895 and across the Mexican border since ca. 1908?

    INS has an excellent website with lots of valuable information for genealogists at . The home page gives updates about INS and immigration and naturalization issues of today.  Clicking on About INS and FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] reveals a number of sub-categories, including one for History, Genealogy, and Education.

    A host of information on the history of immigration to the US, as well as the records it has generated, is available here. You will find important dates in the history of immigration, essays on name changing, and the present location and accessibility of records. Sections like This Month In Immigration History contain interesting articles like the arrival of the survivors of Titanic in 1912, which includes a detailed background on the history of passenger manifests from colonial times to the present. This site is a must visit for anyone with nineteenth or twentieth century immigrants in their ancestry.

    Michael J. Leclerc, Electronic Publications Supervisor


    Available in the Book Shop

    A Finding Aid for Rhode Island Town Records in Arnold’s Vital Record of Rhode Island, Beaman’s Rhode Island Vital Records: New Series and the Rhode Island Genealogical Register
    By Helen Schatvet Ullmann, CG

    For those who find it difficult to know which volume of Arnold's or Beaman's works to consult, this little booklet will help, even in using those works on CD.  Organized by town, it identifies which volume and pages contain various types of town-based records, vital and church records, abstracts of wills and some land, cemetery and newspaper records.

    Privately published.  2000.  22pp.  Softcover.
    $4.00* Item #B2-83540

    The Oxford Illustrated History of the British Monarchy
    By John Cannon and Ralph Griffiths

    This impressive new book offers the most authoritative account of the British monarchy ever published for the general reader.  With over 400 illustrations - a third of them in color - it traces the crown’s history from Anglo-Saxon times to the present.  In addition to the text and illustrations, sidebars, color maps, a section on royal residences and tombs, a consolidated list of monarchs, genealogies, and annotated lists of further reading enhance the work.

    “What a feast...A sumptuously illustrated volume that like all good works of reference lends itself to browsing.” -Sunday Telegraph (London)

    Oxford University Press.  2001.  744pp.  Softcover.
    $27.50* Item #B2-86051

    Black Roots: A Beginner’s Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree
    By Tony Burroughs

    This engaging new book introduces the principles of genealogy and highlights the special problems, solutions, and sources unique to African-American research.  The author, a nationally- known professional genealogist, also discusses how the legacy of slavery and segregation impacts genealogical research.  The guide includes discussions of what records to look for, the pitfalls to avoid, special problem-solving techniques, helpful case studies, and samples of important worksheets and forms.

    Simon & Schuster.  2001.  464pp.  Soft-cover.
    $16.00* Item #B2-62099

    You may place your order online at or by calling the Sales Department toll-free at 1-888-296-3447, from 9-5 Eastern time, Monday through Friday.  The shipping and handling charge is $3.50 for the first book and $1.25 for each additional book. (For those ordering only the RI Finding Aid, the postage charge is $.75.)  MA residents will also be charged 5% sales tax on books not published by the Society.  Please refer to this newsletter when placing your order.

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