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  • 2001 Archive

  • Vol. 3, No. 8
    Whole #43
    May 21, 2001

    - Internet Access at NEHGS Restored
    - Henry Hoff Update on the Register
    - Come Home to New England, Jun 3-10, Aug 5-12
    - Summer is Family Reunion Time
    - Sydney Searching - Part 2: Tips for Using the Online Catalog at NEHGS
    - We’re bringing a little bit of New England to Portland...
    - Available in the Bookshop


    Internet Access at NEHGS Restored

    After almost two months of no internal internet access and limited email ability, NEHGS has finally had full operations restored. We have experienced additional loss of our email over the last few weeks as our internet connections have been restored, but we are now back to full strength. We understand that this has caused inconvenience to some of our patrons, and we thank you for your patience during this long month.

    Michael J. Leclerc, Electronic Publications Supervisor


    Henry Hoff Update on the Register

    I am delighted to be assuming the editorship of “The New England Historical and Genealogical Register,” the oldest genealogical journal in the U.S.  After a year away from the Society, it felt wonderful to be back for a few days recently.

    We have no plans to make any radical changes to the Register.  Indeed, it would be hard to improve upon the brilliant editorship of Jane Fiske, my predecessor. We will be looking for various types of articles.  Whether or not we actually receive them is another matter.  After all, we can't publish what we don't get!  The types of articles we will be  looking for particularly are:

    - Short articles (ones that don't have to be serialized),

    - Articles with methodology that readers can apply to their own problems, like backtracking from upstate New York into New England, and

    - Compiled accounts of families who immigrated to New England in the 19th century, particularly accounts showing extensive use of original or unusual records.

    We welcome authors who have worthwhile documented material to contribute. Many genealogists find that the process of writing up their research for an article helps sharpen their focus.  They are preserving their research for the future by publishing it -- and sometimes their articles encourage others to find the answers.

    Whether or not you are a potential author, I would be glad to hear from members about the “Register;” my email address is

    Henry Hoff, Editor of the Register


    Come Home to New England, Jun 3-10, Aug 5-12
    Spend Your Summer Vacation at NEHGS with "Come Home to New England"

    Interested in joining a genealogical program this summer?  We have the perfect research course for you!  Treat yourself to a week of lectures on a variety of genealogical topics, guided research in our extraordinary library, four thirty minute one-on-one personal consultations with our staff genealogists, and the opportunity to meet with other researchers with whom you can swap stories and discuss new techniques.   

    Accommodations for our June program (June 3-10) are provided at Emerson College's "Little Building."  Participants for our August program (August 5-12) will be housed in a hotel near NEHGS.  All program fees include lodging for 7 nights but a commuter rate is available for those who wish to stay with friends or family.

    Participants of this program will also receive special extended library hours, which would give you an added opportunity to perform research more efficiently during this week.  Space is limited but please call to check availability.

    Phone: (888) 286-3447 ext. 226 or locally at (617) 536-5740, ext. 226.  

    Feel free to e-mail us for more information at

    -Jennifer Cronin, Director of Education


    Summer is Family Reunion Time

    Are you looking for a family-oriented New England event this summer? Hoping to meet distant relatives to share your genealogical research and family stories with? Check out our website's New England calendar of events page at to see if there is a 2001 family reunion pertinent to one of your ancestral surnames. The list includes information and related links to over fifteen family reunions already and it's growing weekly!

    If you want to generate interest in your own family association's New England reunion this year, please send details via email to mailto:nehgs@nehgs.orgwith the subject heading: "Reunion Listing."

    Laura Prescott Duffy,


    Sydney Searching - Part 2: Tips for Using the Online Catalog at NEHGS

    In the last e-newsletter issue, we discussed the advantages to using Sydney, the NEHGS library’s online catalog, in your genealogical research.  This week, we’d like to pass along some hints to help you make even better use of the catalog when you search it.  (Please note: the catalog on the NEHGS website is currently a different version from the one used on-site at the Society.  The following tips, excluding the first, apply to the on-site version only.)

    A Title-Searching Secret: Less Is Better

    Here is one of our favorite hints for Sydney searchers.  When you are searching for a particular item by title – whether you only have an approximate idea of what the title is or you feel certain that you know the exact title – you do not need to enter the entire title in the search box.  You will most often get better results if you look for words in the title that are apt to be less common in the catalog and enter only those words.

    Wild Cards
    When you are searching, you do not have to enter an entire keyword.  Instead, you can enter the first few characters of the keyword, followed by an asterisk (referred to as a wild card in the lingo of database searching).

    Example: To find all the titles containing the words “California, genealogy, genealogies, genealogist, genealogists, and genealogical,” enter the title search “California genealog*”

    Example: To find all the records with the subject headings “Salem (Mass.)” and “Massachusetts – Salem,” enter the subject search “salem mass*”

    NOTE: The asterisk can be entered only at the end of a string of characters – not at the beginning or in the middle.  Example: comput* but not *omputer or com*uter.

    Broadening or Narrowing a Search
    This feature is useful when you have a list of search results that is either too long or too short and you need to reduce or enlarge it.  The Broaden, Narrow, and Exclude options enable you to conduct more complex searches than those allowed by the initial basic search.  To use these options:

    1. Enter a basic search.

    2. When Sydney displays the resulting list of hits, choose either the Narrow, Broaden, or Exclude button (see descriptions given below).  The search screen will then appear.

    3. Enter another search to narrow or broaden the existing search.  Sydney will combine the two searches into one and then display the results.

    Use the Narrow and Exclude options when you want to reduce your list of results.  Think of Narrow as another way of saying “and.”  For example, if you enter a title search for “vital records massachusetts” and it turns up too many results, you could select Narrow and enter another title search for “boston” to shorten the list.  You can also combine all the different kinds of searches, like subject and author.  For example, if you know that there is a book on Vermont genealogy by Bartley, you could search by subject for “vermont genealogy” and retrieve a long list of results.  Then you could select Narrow, enter an author search for “bartley,” and find the item you want. 

    Consider the Exclude option as another way of saying “not.”   For example, if you were interested in genealogy handbooks, but not those that were published in the 1980s, you could search by the subject “genealogy handbooks” and then shorten that list of results by clicking on Exclude, selecting Year from the pull-down box at the bottom, and entering “198*” (remember those wild cards?).

    Use the Broaden option to enlarge your list of search results.  Think of Broaden as another way of saying “or.”  For example, if you were searching for information on cemeteries in Bangor, Maine, you could enter a subject search for “cemeteries maine bangor” and retrieve one result.  You might then realize that one of your ancestors could have been buried in Calais, Maine.  You would then select Broaden and enter a subject search for “cemeteries maine calais” and find another item that might help you in your research. 

    We wish you luck with your searching, and we look forward to seeing you when you visit the library and try out your new Sydney techniques!


    Jean Maguire, Technical Services Librarian


    NEHGS at NGS Conference in the States

    The New England Historic Genealogical Society participated in the National Genealogical Society Conference in Portland, Oregon, from May 16 - 19, 2001. It was a pleasure to meet so many of our members from across the country. Several lectures were delivered by NEHGS staff, including: Michael Leclerc, Electronic Publications Supervisor, who spoke on “Charting Your Family’s Medical Legacy: Creating Genograms”,  “From Quill Pens to Pentiums: Genealogy of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”, and “After Drouin, Jette, and Tanguay: Additional Resources for French-Canadian Research”.  Laura Prescott Duffy, Senior Research Writer,  spoke on “A Mac User in A PC World.”  and D. Brenton Simons, Assistant Executive Director for Content Management, delivered the NEHGS luncheon talk on Friday, May 18th, on “The Art of Family: Genealogical Artifacts in New England and Beyond.” 

    Thank you to the many members who participated in the conference and dropped by our booth to say hello.


    Available in the Book Shop

    Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians
    Edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills

    Written and edited by over two dozen genealogists, this new manual is intended to lead genealogists "through the thicket of education and ethics, consumer stanards and quality control, copyrights and legal contracts, scholarship and professional growth, time mangement and business practices."  The major section headings are:  Professional Preparation, Ethics and Legalities, Career Mangement, Professional Research Skills, Writing and Compiling, Editing and Publishing, and Educational Services. (This book was recently previewed in the Spring 2001 issue of New England Ancestors. See page 23 of that issue for a fuller description of the book.)

    "Professional Genealogy will be a reference standard. Its 29 powerfully packed chapters are a thoroughly researched and expertly presented treatment of a subject that has truly come of age. While the whole is neatly groomed to provide continuity and consistency, each chapter can stand alone as a scholarly contribution to the field."--Curt B. Witcher, MLS, President, National Genealogical Society; and Manager Historical Genealogy Department, Allen County Public Library.

    GPC. 2001. xxvi + 654 pp. Hardcover.
    $44.95*  Item #B2-62870

    On Sale!
    Wills from the Archdeaconry of Suffolk [ENGLAND], Volume II - 1637-1640
    By Marion E. Allen and Nesta R. Evans

    NEHGS.  1986.  566pp.  Hardcover.
    WAS $25.00 NOW $6.25  Item #S2-86302

    On Sale!
    Captain John McCall, 1726-1812: His Ancestors and Descendants
    By Clare M. McCall

    This book traces seven generations, in male lines only, from Captain John McCall, who was himself descended from James McCall, taken captive at Dunbar in 1650.

    NEHGS.  1985.  213pp.  Hardcover.
    WAS $21.00  NOW $2.50  Item #S3-38100

    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
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