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  • 2001 Archive

  • Vol. 3, No. 6
    Whole #41
    April 13, 2001

    - Temporary Email/Internet Problems at NEHGS
    - New Payment Options at NEHGS
    - Education Programs: Infamous Ancestors and More!
    - Reading and Booksigning With NEHGS Trustee Tony Burroughs
    - The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Technology Center
    - Library News - "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On!"
    - Publications News
    - David L. Greene to Receive Coddington Award of Merit
    - Available in the Bookshop


    Temporary Email/Internet Problems at NEHGS

    You will notice that this issue of HisGen Highlights is slightly late. In addition, many of you may have noticed a problem contacting NEHGS via email lately. On Thursday, March 29 NEHGS lost its DSL line connecting it to the online world. The Northpoint Corporation went bankrupt and stopped the DSL connection for thousands of customers without warning, including NEHGS. We have had no access to email or to the internet from NEHGS. Our website has remained up and running however.

    If you have placed orders through the sales department or circulating library, membership changes, or made other requests via the website or email, we have not received them yet, and have not been able to respond. Our email and internet connection has only today been reestablished. It is also possible that your emails have been lost by the servers because of the length of our downtime.

    We ask for your patience as the staff handles the onslaught of ten days of backed up email and web requests. If you do not receive a response by April 13, please send an email to your email again and we will check on the problem immediately. Once again, we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused our members. In addition we expect to be without internet access in the building for at least a few more weeks, so please be aware of that before you come into the library to do research.

    Michael J. Leclerc, Electronic Publications Supervisor


    New Payment Options at NEHGS

    NEHGS is pleased to announce two new payment options. Sales purchases, circulating library loans, membership and any other payments can now be made using American Express and Discover cards. We will, of course, continue to accept MasterCard and Visa as payment as well.

    It will take some time to make changes to our website. In the meantime, you can submit payments with American Express or Discover by putting the number and expiration date for that card and noting in the comment field which card you are using. Check off either MasterCard or Visa at the top to ensure that the order goes through as this will not affect how the charge is processed at this time.

    Marie Daly, Chief Financial Officer


    NEHGS Education Programs: Infamous Ancestors and More!

    Don’t miss These Exciting NEHGS Events!

    At NEHGS in Boston
    Saturday, April 21, 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
    “Researching Your Infamous Ancestors: A Saturday Conference”

    Have you been finding a few bad apples in your family tree? Join Jerome E. Anderson, Michael J. Leclerc, Maureen Taylor and special guest David Greene, co-editor and publisher of “The American Genealogist” for a series of captivating lectures on the "darker side" of genealogy.  Topics include the Salem "Witches," using English criminal and civil court records to trace your ancestors, and the genealogy of famous scoundrels.  Tuition for this program is $90 for members, $95 for non-members and advanced registration is recommended.

    In Deerfield, Massachusetts
    Saturday April 28
    “Genealogy 101”

    Join popular instructor Marcia Melnyk for a series of beginning genealogy lectures in collaboration with Historic Deerfield, a museum of New England history and art. The course fee is $45 for members and $50 for non-members. Participate in an optional tour of the historic homes and library as well.

    At NEHGS in Boston
    “Come Home to New England”
    June 3-June 10, and August 5-August 12

    Treat yourself to a week of research in our extraordinary library, to personal consultations with our famed research staff, and opportunities to share discoveries and swap stories at several social functions throughout the week. A welcome reception on Monday and a farewell banquet on Friday provide avenues with which to meet your fellow researchers and to enjoy our facilities “after-hours.” Lodging for the June Come Home week will be provided at the Emerson College Dormitories, lodging for the August Come Home week will be provided by the John Hancock Conference Center. Members are also eligible to opt for a ‘commuter” tuition to allow participants to stay with their families or to make other accommodations.

    For more information on any of these programs 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


    Reading and Booksigning With NEHGS Trustee Tony Burroughs

    Black Roots: A Beginner's Guide to Tracing the African Americans Family Tree
    Tuesday, April 24, 6:00 P.M.

    Author Tony Burroughs will share helpful hints and genealogical methods from his book, Black Roots. "Ever since Alex Haley introduced the award winning television program called "Roots," the idea of tracing one's family history took hold in the black community….A special guide for African Americans is essential. Burroughs' book shows you how, from oral history to the internet." -Bay State Banner, 1/11/01.

    Sponsored in part by the New England Historical and Genealogical Society
    Refreshments and book sales following


    Event location: The Museum of Afro-American History, 8 Smith Court at 46 Joy Street, Beacon Hill, Boston. Call 725-0022 ext. 4 for more information.

    $5 validated parking is available at the Cambridge Street Garage under the Holiday Inn on Cambridge Street.


    Publications News

    The January issue of the Register was mailed this week. Check your mailbox this week. Here is the table of contents for the current issue:

    “The Ancestry of the Royally Descended Mansfields of the Massachusetts Bay”
    By Robert Charles Anderson, F.A.S.G., John C. Brandon, and Paul C. Reed, F.A.S.G.

    “William1 James of Scituate and Boston, Massachusetts, Shipwright and Quaker”
    By Marya C. Myers, C.G., and Donald W. James, Jr.

    “The Peter2 Lurvey Family of Essex County, Massachusetts, Mine, and Vermont” (continued: Part Two)
    By John Bradley Arthaud and Ernest Hyde Helliwell, III

    “Ann Burden, From Dissenting Puritan to Quaker “Troubler””
    By Johan Winsser

    “Mary Fisher, Wife of Jabez5 Hatch (1709-1763), Wharfinger of Boston”
    By Frederick S. Sherman

    Reviews of Books

    New England Ancestors

    The magazine was also mailed to NEHGS members this week. Features include:

    "Research in Boston through the Centuries"
    by Ann S. Lainhart

    “The Ancestry of the Adams Brothers of the Boston Independent Chronicle”
    by Neil B. Todd

    “The Impact of Technology on the Way We Do Research”
    by Michele Foster Leinaweaver

    Book Preview: “Professional Genealogy.”
    by Elizabeth Shown Mills

    Also included are our regular columns What’s New, The Pocket Librarian, Around New England, and Pilgrim Life.


    Library News - "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On!"

    Just about everyone who comes into the Society mentions about how much our Library has changed since his or her last visit.  "I remember when the British and Irish materials were on the 5th Floor" one patron mentioned, while another commented: "I don't think they even had this floor the last time I was here!"  And once in a great while we even have people who recall our old address at 9 Ashburton Place, from whence we moved in 1964 (good memory!).  But most of our members seem to notice the moving of books and microfilm since our renovation of the 6th, 5th and 4th floors in 1997 and the renovation of the 1st floor just last fall.  With all of these renovations, material has moved around the building so that we can ensure some growth space for the books that our members give and that we purchase through funds donated to us by many kind members, and that we acquire through our yearly acquisitions budget.  Perhaps a re-acquaintance is in order to clue everyone in to where and when things have moved.

    With the renovation that occurred in 1997, we expanded the library from 2 floors to 3, by creating new reading rooms on the 5th and 4th floors (the latter floor through the kindness of Dean C. and Roberta J. Smith), renovating the manuscript floor 5A (through the help of the late R. Stanton Avery) and refurbishing of the 6th floor (through the help of Ruth C. Bishop).  This construction allowed for a separate reading room for local history materials (5th Floor) and microform materials (4th Floor).

    Soon after this renovation, the growth of our collection made us realize that available space on the 6th and 5th floors was dwindling too fast.  With the assistance of William and Vivian Treat, George Putnam and Constance Wadley Fuller we were able to renovate the 1st floor and move down materials relating to Europe and the British Isles to open up space on the upper floors, in addition to creating more research space for our members.  In addition, the 2nd floor education center was reconfigured to handle office and lectures thanks to Ted and Alice Richardson Sloane.

    So where does that leave us?  Well, the following is a brief description of what you'll find on each floor when you come in:

    6th Floor 

    "Surnames and Reference"

    Published family genealogies; genealogy reference books; access to the Rare Book Collection; published vital record books for Mass., R.I., and Conn. (to 1850) and a handful for Me. and N.H.

    5th Floor

    "U.S. and Canada"

    Any published cemetery, vital records, record indices and abstracts, guides, and county and local histories for any of the 50 states, the Canadian provinces and the Caribbean; collegiate directories and class annuals; access to the Manuscript Collection; access to journals and magazines for North America stored in the "Vault."

    4th Floor

    "Anything that's not a book"

    Any material whether it is tied into a state or family that exists in microfilm, microfiche, a CD-ROM, or on the Internet (e.g. U.S. Census, Mass. vital records 1841-1906, R.I. vital records 1853-1900s, Vt. vital records to 1990, N.H. vital records to 1900, Me. vital records for various towns and counties, New England city directories, etc.)

    1st Floor

    "Eastern Hemisphere"

    Any published parish registers, record indices and abstracts, guides, and county and local histories for the British Isles, Europe, Australia, and other foreign countries not of the Americas; heraldic materials; access to journals and magazines for Europe and the British Isles stored in the "Vault."

    Since the space we have at 101 Newbury Street is finite (and it appears that the material we can obtain on New England families is not), we often need to move materials within the building so that we can catalog and put new items into our library.  When in doubt, consult the Library User Guide or our Library catalog (both available online at and you'll be sure to circumvent all of our movin' and shakin'.

    Chad Leinaweaver, Director of User Access Services


    David L. Greene to receive Coddington Award of Merit

    At the NEHGS annual meeting on April 23, 2001, executive director Ralph J. Crandall will present the Society’s Coddington Award of Merit to Dr. David L. Greene. The award was established in 1987 to recognize the highest standard of excellence in American genealogical scholarship and lifetime achievement in the field. Prior recipients of the award have been John Insley Coddington (1902-1991), for whom the award was named, and Charles M. Hansen, currently co-editor of “The Genealogist.”

    Dr. Greene, who is chair of the humanities division at Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia, is the co-editor and publisher of “The American Genealogist,” a certified genealogist, and a fellow of the American Society of Genealogists. He is the author of numerous genealogical articles, many of which treat New England families, particularly those of the victims of the 1692 Salem witch trials. He is also interested in the history of genealogical institutions, as indicated by two of his articles in the Register, “Samuel G. Drake and the Early Years of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register,” at 145 (1991):203-33, and “The Civil War Years of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register,” at 150 (1996):436-50.

    Past NEHGS director of publications Jane Fletcher Fiske finds that David Greene’s “lively humor sparks his thorough knowledge of antiquarian subjects. Better than most of us in the field of genealogy, he seems to be able to handle both past and present with compassion, and to blur the boundaries at times without sacrificing scholarship a bit.”

    D. Brenton Simons, Assistant Executive Director


    The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Technology Center

    The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society is one of the oldest genealogical societies in the country, founded in 1869. In addition to publishing the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, they maintain a library in Manhattan. They have been working on upgrading the library and have recently announced the opening of its new  Technology Center. Here is their announcement:

    The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society announced the opening of a Technology Center on March 6, 2001. The Technology Center is located on the third floor of the Society's building and houses the microfilm, microfiche, and CD-ROM collections. The book, periodical, and manuscript collections remain on the fourth floor.

    Equipment in the Technology Center includes eight microfilm readers, a microfiche reader, and three microfilm/microfiche reader-printers.

    The purchase of two high-density microfilm storage cabinets permits all of the microfilm to be stored on the same floor for the first time in several years and makes expansion of the microfilm collection possible again. Future purchases include additional probate records (wills, letters of administration, administration bonds, guardianships), land and property records (deeds, mortgages, assessment rolls), and vital records (births, marriages, deaths) and the 1930 federal census.

    A new microfiche storage cabinet will allow growth in the fiche collection.  And shelf space has been gained in the fourth-floor Library as well as space for additional bookcases.

    For more information about the Society, please visit its web site at

    The library is located at 122 E. 58th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10022-1939. Their telephone is (212) 755-8532. If you have New York ancestors and find yourself near New York City a visit to the NYGBS is a must for your itinerary.

    Michael J. Leclerc, Electronic Publications Supervisor


    Available in the Book Shop

    Vermont Newspaper Abstracts, 1783-1816
    Extracted by Marsha Hoffman Rising, CG, CGL, FASG

    This new reference provides extracts from five early Vermont newspapers that contain potential genealogical data.  These records include births, marriages and deaths, runaway (apprentices, servants, wives and children) notices, divorce petitions, advertisements, lost items, court cases and estate notices. More than 11,000 references to Vermont residents are included for this time period! The abstracted newspapers are Vermont Gazette, The Vermont Gazette: Epitome of the World, Epitome of the World, The World, and The Green-Mountain Farmer.

    NEHGS. 2001.  449pp. Hardcover.  
    $34.95 ($31.45 members) Item #S2-83000

    A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Irish Ancestors
    By Dwight A. Radford and Kyle J. Betit

    Written by two Irish genealogy specialists, this new book is certain to be essential reading for all those tracing Irish ancestors.  Topics include the basic strategies of Irish research, accessing and using Irish records inside and outside of Ireland, making the most of Internet sources, and using cemetery records, church records, estate records, and military records.  This guide also includes source information generally not found in other Irish genealogy books, such as Masonic records, the records of priests and ministers, British miliary records, and more.

    Betterway.  2001.  224pp.  Softcover.
    $19.99*  Item #B2-62504

    On Sale!
    Everything's Relative: Genealogical Taglines, Aphorisms for an Electronic Age
    Compiled and edited by Elizabeth Biggs Payne

    This collection of taglines, derived from various Internet sites, presents some humorous insights into the world of genealogy.  The taglines are accompanied on the page by carefully chosen clip-art images.

    NEHGS.  1998.  200pp.  Softcover.
    WAS $8.95 NOW $2.25  Item #S2-63710

    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. 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.

New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

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