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  • 2002 Archive

  • Vol. 4, No. 12
    Whole #68
    June 14, 2002

    • Announcing the Great Migration Newsletter Online — Subscribe Today!
    • A New Monthly Class: "An Introduction to Using"
    • Visit Salt Lake City with NEHGS: November 3–10, 2002
    New England Ancestors Magazine Survey on Website
    • New Research Articles on
    • Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures
    • From the Volunteer Coordinator
    • "Hidden Treasures" in the NEHGS Library
    • Vital Records of Windham, N.H., Now Online
    Germans to America — Series II

    Announcing the Great Migration Newsletter Online — Subscribe Today!

    As the popular Great Migration Newsletter enters its eleventh volume, NEHGS members now can sign up for an electronic subscription for only $10 per year. Beginning with Volume 11, subscribers to the Newsletter will be able to access an exclusive, subscribers-only section of, where the newsletter will be posted on a quarterly basis. Subscribers will also receive the added bonus of biographical sketches not yet available in print. New sketches will be added regularly.

    An essential companion to the Great Migration books, the Newsletter offers feature articles on a variety of topics, including the settlement of early New England towns, migration patterns, seventeenth-century passenger lists, church records, land records, and much more. Each issue contains a comprehensive literature survey. The Newsletter compliments the individual Great Migration sketches, and addresses the broader issues that are key to understanding the lives and times of New England's first immigrants.

    To subscribe, call toll-free 1-888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), from Monday through Friday.

    If you have questions regarding the Great Migration Study Project or the online Great Migration Newsletter, please email

    A New Monthly Class: "An Introduction to Using"

    Learn how to use the NEHGS website to advance your research!

    In this free monthly program, website administrator Darrin McGlinn will offer a step-by-step live demonstration of the Society's website, You will have the chance to explore the site in depth, ask questions, and become more comfortable using a constantly growing number of online databases and research tools.

    The program will be held in the Education Center at 101 Newbury St., Boston, on the second Wednesday of each month. Advance registration is not required.

    July 10
    11:30 a.m.

    August 14
    6 p.m.

    September 11
    11:30 a.m.

    For more information about the website classes, please call 617-226-1209 or email

    Visit Salt Lake City with NEHGS: November 3–10, 2002

    Every serious genealogist knows that a trip to Salt Lake City is, at some point, an absolute must. But when faced with the vast resources of the Family History Library, even the savviest researcher can feel overwhelmed. Go to Salt Lake with NEHGS and be assured that you will make the most of your visit. Personal on-site research consultations with our esteemed NEHGS staff members, lectures on a variety of genealogical topics, guided research in the Family History Library, group meals, social mixers, and receptions are all included in the program. Hotel accommodations will be at the Salt Lake Plaza, next to the Family History Library and within easy walking distance of the Joseph Smith Building.

    For more information or to register for the November 3–10, 2002, tour, please contact the education department at, at 1-888-286-3447, ext. 226, or visit /events/events/Default.asp?id=139.

    New England Ancestors Magazine Survey on Website

    Each summer the editors of New England Ancestors magazine begin to plan the next year's schedule of features and articles. The entire NEHGS staff meets to provide feedback about the magazine and suggest ideas for future issues. This year we would also like to include the magazine's readers in the planning process. We want to know what you think about New England Ancestors!

    When you submit your feedback, please include the words "2002 survey" in the subject line of your email.

    Thank you for your response!

    New Research Articles on

    Free Preview Article for Non-Members!
    Genealogies in Vermont Town Histories, Part One
    by Scott Andrew Bartley
    "The focus of this article is to determine what Vermont town histories have been published, while listing only the ones that include a genealogical section. The first place to look for town histories is T. D. Seymour Bassett's Vermont, A Bibliography of Its History (Hanover, N.H., 1981, reprint 1983), which is volume four of the Bibliographies of New England History series. Additions can be found later in the series with volumes eight (1989) and nine (1995). The best resource for genealogical content is Vermontiana collector and bibliographer John A. Leppman's A Bibliography for Vermont Genealogy (St. Albans, VT, 2000). There have been several town histories published since Leppman's work and these are covered in this article, which includes all published histories to 2002. The entries below are in alphabetical order by town. Following the citation for each town history is an alphabetical list of all surnames included in the history. A future installment will rearrange the material and provide a comprehensive surname index to all published Vermont town histories that feature a genealogical section."

    Royal Descents, Notable Kin, and Printed Sources
    My Own Kinships to Presidents and First Ladies
    by Gary Boyd Roberts
    "In my last column, a genealogical tribute to my late mother, with 50 "new" notable kin, I deliberately omitted mention of any U.S. presidents or First Ladies. On the dedication page of my Ancestors of American Presidents (1st ed., 1995, henceforth AAP), I indicated with which presidents my four grandparents shared certain or possible ancestors. Half or more of my presidential kinships are largely outlined on charts in AAP that cover the presidential progeny of Howlands (p. 246: F.D. Roosevelt, Nixon, Ford, and the two Bushes), Lathrops (p. 256: Grant, F.D. Roosevelt, and the two Bushes), Day/Stebbins (Stebbing) (p. 273: Hayes and Cleveland), Stanleys (p. 282: Cleveland and the two Bushes), Alcocks (p. 291: F.D. Roosevelt and Coolidge), and Worshams (p. 332, plus Notable Kin, Volume 2 [1999, henceforth NK2], pp. 76-78: the two Bushes and the second Mrs. [Thomas] Woodrow Wilson)."

    My Name is Wood
    by George Redmonds
    "Among the earliest settlers in New England were two different Wood families from the Yorkshire parish of Halifax, one arriving in 1635, the other a little later. Both families appear to have been living in Wethersfield, Connecticut by 1636. According to American genealogists they were not related, at least over a period of several generations, but there was a Jonas Wood in each family and it seems that colonial scribes distinguished between them by giving them the by-names "Halifax" and "Oram." The latter name was a form of Owram, and it referred to one of the adjoining townships of Southowram or Northowram, both in the ancient parish of Halifax. For those unfamiliar with this parish it is essential to know that it covered a vast area of hill country and included the separate chapelries of Elland and Heptonstall."

    The Computer Genealogist
    Finding Manuscripts Online
    by Maureen A. Taylor
    "When Ken Burns used one of Sullivan Ballou's letters in the PBS production The Civil War there were probably gasps in living rooms across America. Why? Because some Ballou family members probably didn't realize that one of their kinsmen left such poignant letters. As the media buzz started over his romantic words, librarians at the Rhode Island Historical Society decided to look at the Ballou material in their collection. As it turns out, there were a few more letters from him to his wife."

    Sources for Advanced French-Canadian Research
    by Michael J. Leclerc
    "Québec is a goldmine of genealogical records. A previous column, titled "Introduction to French-Canadian Research," covered the basic sources - the Drouin indexes, Tanguay's Dictionnaire Généalogique des Familles Canadiennes, and Jetté's Dictionnaire Généalogique du Québec. Once you have mastered these essential materials it is time to look at additional resources. Church records, census records, periodicals, and websites all contain extensive information to assist you in your research. While many of these sources are in the original French, knowing a basic list of words is often enough to help you decipher the information of value to you."

    Rhode Island
    A Picture Perfect Past: Finding Rhode Island Family Portraits
    by Maureen A. Taylor
    " Looking for ancestral portraits can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. I would love to have a picture of everyone on my family tree from the advent of photography in 1839 to the present, but apparently many of my ancestors didn’t seek out the services of a professional photographer. There were undoubtedly other ancestors that could not afford a camera. That doesn’t mean I have given up. If your relatives are like mine, it makes the search more difficult, but don’t assume you will not find anything. Several years ago, my father suddenly appeared with a framed, oversized charcoal portrait of my great grandfather that he rescued from a cousin. As with all types of family research you never know what you are going to find until you start to look."

    Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures

    The "Genealogy in a Nutshell" series continues with:

    • "Making Sense of Passenger and Naturalization Lists" by Marie Daly and David Lambert on Saturday, June 15

    • "Colonial Migrations within New England" by Ralph Crandall, on Wednesday, June 19, and Saturday, June 22

    • " Sons of Liberty: Researching Your Revolutionary War Ancestor " by David Lambert, on Wednesday, June 26, and Saturday, June 29

    All lectures take place at 10 a.m. Advance registration is not necessary.

    If you have questions, please call the customer service center, toll-free, at 1-888-296-3447, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday.

    From the Volunteer Coordinator

    We are in need of volunteers to help staff with scanning projects at 101 Newbury Street in Boston. Anyone who can use the website can be shown how to use the scanner, and people who can spend an hour or so on a regular basis would be of great help to the staff.

    If you are interested, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Susan Rosefsky at or at 617-226-1276.

    Thank you.

    "Hidden Treasures" in the NEHGS Library

    Many books in the library are overlooked simply because researchers aren't aware of what they have to offer. Reference librarian David Dearborn describes three books that should be taken off the shelves more often.

    1) Meredith B. Colket, Founders of Early American Families; Emigrants from Europe 1607–1657 (revised edition, Cleveland: General Court of Order of Founders and Patriots of America, 1985) [call # R Rm REF CS 61 C64 1985; also available through the NEHGS Circulating Library].
    This small book contains an excellent and useful list of all known immigrants to what is now the United States between 1607 (the founding of Jamestown) and 1657, who left male descendants (who thus carried on the surname), with a list of books and articles for each immigrant helpful for tracing their descendants. Although immigrants to Virginia, Maryland and New Netherlands are included, the immigrants are overwhelmingly New Englanders, and of course covers the complete period of the Great Migration. Furthermore, because the book was published in 1985, it gives citations to books and articles produced much more recently than the sources in Torrey's New England Marriages, which has no entries later than 1962. Typical citations are to published family genealogies, and to articles in the Register and The American Genealogist, and to Savage. I should add that I have attempted to keep our reference library copy annotated with citations to recent (i.e., post–1985) articles in the Register and TAG.

    2) Another very useful source that is definitely a "hidden treasure" is the very boringly-named Report on the Custody and Condition of the Public Records of Parishes, Towns and Counties by Carroll D. Wright (Boston: Wright & Potter Printing Co., State Printers, 1889) [call # R Rm REF CD 3290 A2]. This book was a special report prepared for the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and describes in detail all the church records (arranged both by town and denomination), town records (arranged by county, then by city/town; these list not only VRs but town proceedings, selectmen, assessor and proprietor and miscellaneous records), and court records, as of 1889. This also contains useful information on exact dates of when towns were established and incorporated, dates of when one part of a town was split off or annexed to another town, when a town became a city, etc.

    3) Finally, I would also mention, as a hidden treasure, Harold F. Worthley's also boringly-named but very useful An Inventory of the Records of the Particular (Congregational) Churches of Massachusetts Gathered 1620–1805 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970; Harvard Theological Studies XXV) [call # REF BX 7148 M4W65]. This book lists alphabetically, town by town, every "Congo" church in the state, including churches that are still (as of 1970) active, churches that have merged, switched to Unitarianism, or are extinct, with date of establishment, and lists and dates of all settled ministers, ruling elders and deacons. For each church we are also told where the records are today (i.e., 1970), a volume-by-volume description of the records, whether there are any gaps, and whether any of the records have been published, either in book form or serialized in the Register or elsewhere, and whether a history of the church has ever been printed.

    If any eNews readers have other "hidden treasures" they would like to share, they should send the title, author, and a short description to The responses will be published in a future enewsletter.

    Vital Records of Windham, N.H., Now Online

    NEHGS member Jeffrey Lyons just informed us that the Nesmith Library in the town of Windham, New Hampshire, has made all of the town's vital records from 1887 to the present available online. These birth, marriage, and death records were compiled from the town's annual reports and the entries are listed alphabetically. Genealogists will be pleased to discover that the death records cover not only those who died in Windham but also town residents who died outside of the town. This database was compiled by Nesmith Library volunteer Bruce Mathewson.

    Mr. Lyons notes that the database is a little slow to download but that it could be a very good resource for those with ties to that community. To use this database, visit

    Our thanks to Mr. Lyons for sharing this information!

    Germans to America — Series II

    Germans to America: Lists of Passengers Arriving at U.S. Ports is an invaluable resource for those searching for German ancestors. The series, first published in 1988, now numbering sixty-seven volumes, contains passenger arrival information for the years 1850–1897. The books contain information from the original ship manifest schedules, or passenger lists, filed by all vessels entering U.S. ports. For every passenger list, the following information is provided: ship name, port of departure, port of arrival, date of arrival, and list of German-surname passengers. Ships that departed from German ports or carried passengers who declared themselves to be of German origin are included, with full name, age, sex, occupation, and, when this information is given, country, province or village of origin provided for each emigrant. Each of the volumes is fully indexed.

    Like many others descended from German immigrants, I've found ancestors in the Germans to America books. My favorite discovery was finding my great-great-grandmother, Christina Schmidt, listed as traveling alone at age fourteen from Bremen to New York in an 1867 passenger list. This proved at least part of the family story that as a young girl Christina left Germany by herself to live with an aunt in Madison, Wisconsin, who had lost her only son in the Civil War.

    As I walked past the Germans to America set in the NEHGS library yesterday, I was surprised and pleased to discover that a second series is now underway. The second series will cover German immigrants arriving in the 1840s. Two volumes in this new series were published earlier this year. Volume 1 covers January 1840 to June 1843, and Volume 2 covers July 1843 to December 1845. A representative for Scholarly Resources, the publisher of both series, said that a further six or seven volumes will complete the second series. One or two more volumes will be published by the end of 2002.

    If you are visiting the NEHGS Research Library, you will find the Germans to America volumes on the fifth floor. If you would like to borrow the books through the circulating library, you will find that all sixty-seven volumes of the first series as well as the two volumes of the second series are available for loan. For more information about the circulating library, visit /libraries/circulation/, email, or call toll-free 1-888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time).

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