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  • 2002 Archive

  • Vol. 4, No. 14
    Whole #70
    July 12, 2002

    • NEHGS Online and Electronic Databases
    • Sale Price on Bible Records CD!
    • Renew Your Membership Online or Join/Rejoin NEHGS
    • New Research Articles on
    • Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures, Boston, MA
    • Massachusetts Regimental Military Histories of the Revolutionary War
    • FGS Conference, August 8–10, in Ontario, California
    • Decorative Arts Symposium on The Art of Family
    • Introducing the Pilgrim Hall Museum
    • Favorite Ancestor Feedback

    NEHGS Online and Electronic Databases

    Members of NEHGS today have unlimited access "24/7" to a host of carefully vetted, high-quality research databases at Since the new site was launched in November 2001, we have endeavored to bring you the best resources to aid you in your research. The site presently features more than 2 million names associated with New England genealogy and is growing all the time. Most of our online and electronic databases are exclusive materials owned by NEHGS and are not available anywhere else! And, as part of the Society's multi-year strategic plan these valuable resources will continue to be greatly expanded online through 2006—and beyond. See a complete list of our online and electronic databases below.

    One online resource that is growing by leaps and bounds is the Massachusetts Vital Records database. Currently, the vital records of twenty-seven towns have been added to the website with more than 100 to go! In addition to valuable online resources, more than half a dozen other unique databases are now available for purchase on CD-ROM at

    If you have not yet taken advantage of the resources available on our website or on CD-ROM, I hope you will do so soon! We would be delighted to know about your research discoveries and important breakthroughs, and welcome your comments, feedback, and suggestions.

    —D. Brenton Simons, Assistant Executive Director

    NEHGS databases now on include:


    The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 1847–1994
    More than 70,000 pages of the flagship journal of American genealogy are now at your fingertips. You will consult this colossal database—which references almost every New England family prior to 1850—time and time again.

    The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620–1633
    Three volumes of our most popular book series are now online. Genealogical sketches by Robert Charles Anderson present the most authoritative information on New England's earliest settlers.

    Legislators of the Massachusetts General Court, 1691–1780
    Prof. John A. Schutz presents detail biographical entries for 3,117 men who served in the Massachusetts General Court between 1691 and 1780.


    Diary of the Rev. Thomas Cary (1745–1808) of Newburyport, Massachusetts
    Transcribed in installments by Marsha Hoffman Rising, CG, CGL, FASG, this diary was kept by Rev. Thomas Cary, one of the many ministers along the Merrimack River who encouraged the patriotism of his parishioners during the Revolutionary War.

    The Diary of William Ingersoll Champney of Boston, Mass. (1814)
    William Ingersoll Champney (179[6?]-1821) was the son of William Champney and Elizabeth Ingersoll. The diary is a fragment of his third journal, begun in September of 1814 and continued through November. It is the only known surviving section of his diaries, of which at least three existed. The database contains transcriptions as well as images of the diary.


    Massachusetts Soldiers in the Colonial Wars
    Find more than 40,000 service records for soldiers serving in a host of conflicts from the mid–17th century to the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

    Divided Hearts, Massachusetts Loyalists, 1765–1790
    A comprehensive directory of more than 1,500 Loyalists and their families in late 18th century Massachusetts, Nova Scotia, and elsewhere.

    Massachusetts Militia Companies and Officers in the Lexington Alarm
    Consulting original muster rolls, this database identifies more than 1,500 individuals who served in the Lexington Alarm on April 19, 1775.

    Massachusetts Revolutionary War Pension Receipts, 1799–1807 and 1829–1837
    A unique database with images of original pension receipts featuring signatures and marks for hundreds of Massachusetts veterans of the Revolutionary War.


    Lists of Alien Passengers in the Port of Boston, 1847–1852
    Prepared by the Superintendent of the Port of Boston for the use of the Overseers of the Poor, this database lists thousands of bonded passengers who arrived between 1847 and 1852. The records often include the name of the passenger, date of arrival, ship's name, age, and place of birth. Later years included comments about the condition of the passenger upon arrival. This source is particularly valuable for those conducting Irish genealogical research.


    Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850: Births, Marriages, and Deaths
    Vital records for 31 Massachusetts towns are available with more being added on a regular basis. The database is searchable in its entirety, or by town or county. Featuring primary records of births, marriages, and deaths, plus baptisms, burials, and cemetery transcriptions, towns presently include:

    Great Barrington
    New Braintree

    Search all of the above databases at one time by using the

    NEHGS databases on CD-ROM for purchase include:


    New England Marriages Prior to 1700 by Clarence A. Torrey
    This famous twelve-volume manuscript features entries and source citations for 99% of all marriages for New Englanders that occurred prior to 1700.

    The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633 (NEHGS/
    Over 1,000 comprehensive sketches that include place of origin, residence locations, church membership, estate proceedings, education, occupation, and much more.

    Inhabitants and Estates of the Town of Boston, 1630-1800, and the Crooked and Narrow Streets of Boston (NEHGS/ Massachusetts Historical Society)
    Also known as the "Thwing Index," this database features transcriptions of more than 125,000 index cards—making it an essential source for pre-1800 Boston families.

    Genealogies of the Families of Braintree, Massachusetts, 1640-1850
    Waldo C. Sprague's massive work is considered the definitive work on the South Shore families of Braintree and its daughter towns of Quincy, Randolph, and Holbrook.


    The Search for Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot, 1831-1920
    An indispensable resource, this CD-ROM brings together eight printed volumes and features more than 45,000 advertisements for Irish individuals and families. Note: Available August 2002.


    Bible records from the manuscript collections of the New England Historic Genealogical Society
    This database transcribes thousands of unique birth, marriage, and death records culled from the NEHGS manuscript collections—many records found nowhere else.

    Records of Barnstable, Massachusetts
    G.A. Hinckley's transcriptions of early vital, town, and probate records for the town of Barnstable—home to many early settlers, Mayflower families, and their descendants.

    Records of the Churches of Boston
    All available extant records for the 17th and 18th centuries and a number extending into the 19th century—many never before in print—are presented in a single collection for the first time.

    Vital Records of Springfield, Massachusetts, to 1850 by Clifford L. Stott, FASG
    A definitive new resource for Springfield and its off-shoot towns relies upon a multitude of sources culled from 21 cemeteries, 10 churches, 11 newspapers, and many other hard-to-access sources. Note: Available August 2002.

    Sale Price on Bible Records CD!

    The popular NEHGS CD-ROM (Win/Mac) Bible Records from the manuscript collections of NEHGS is now on sale for $10.00 off! Watch your mailbox this coming week for the NEHGS bookstore summer sales flyer featuring this special offer—available to any purchaser—as well as special member discounts.

    Or visit the online store at /marketplace/store/main/. These special prices are valid only until August 31, 2002.

    Renew Your Membership Online or Join/Rejoin NEHGS

    Whether you are a current member or ready to join or rejoin the Society, we invite you to enjoy the many benefits of expanded research resources available through NEHGS.

    Save time and postage by joining or renewing on the NEHGS website:

    To renew, visit and fill in the form. Your renewal date is listed on your membership card.

    It's convenient, secure, and easy! Also, online transactions allow us to save money that be used to serve our members better.

    Please be assured that we value your privacy. Your personal information will never be given to third parties. Our Privacy Statement is available on If you have any questions about renewing online, please contact

    New Research Articles on

    Research in Connecticut Cities and Towns, Part II — Hartford: The Connecticut Historical Society
    by Joyce S. Pendery, CG

    New York
    Bounty Lands in the Military Tract in Post-Revolutionary War New York State
    by Marian S. Henry

    Rhode Island
    Summer Reading for Rhode Island Researchers, Part One
    by Maureen A. Taylor

    Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures, Boston, MA

    The "Genealogy in a Nutshell" series continues with:

    • "Case Studies in New England Native American Research" by Marc Choquet, on Saturday, July 13

    • "The Maternal Ancestry of Abraham Lincoln" Christopher Child, on Wednesday, July 17, and Saturday, July 20

    • "Find Your Italian Ancestors" by David Dearborn, on Wednesday, July 24, and Saturday, July 27

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

    For more details about NEHGS education events, please visit

     Massachusetts Regimental Military Histories of the Revolutionary War 

    For quite some time I believed that no regimental histories existed for the Revolutionary War. I envied those researching the Civil War, who could rely upon extensive histories that frequently include in-depth accounts of battles, as well as lists of officers and soldiers. The Revolutionary War researcher, on the other hand, often is forced to create the story of a regiment by compiling individual histories of each officer and soldier. However, while researching quite another topic recently, I found that some capsule histories of Massachusetts Revolutionary War regiments appear in a series of articles in The Massachusetts Magazine. Between 1908 and 1918, historian Frank A. Gardner, MD, submitted articles on many of the early colonels of the Massachusetts line, as well as their subordinate officers. The following is a bibliography of these articles. Volumes 1 through 9 of The Massachusetts Magazine are available at the NEHGS research library (F/61/M48). The same series also includes capsule histories of many privateer vessels from Massachusetts. To the best of my knowledge, this series of articles was never compiled into a single volume.

    "Col. John Glover's Marblehead Regiment" by Frank A. Gardner, M.D.
    [The Massachusetts Magazine, January 1908, 1:1, p. 14-20; April 1908, 1:2, p. 85-102]

    "Col. William Prescott's Regiment. Colonel William Prescott's Minute-Men's Regiment 1775. Tenth Regiment Army of the United Colonies 1775. Seventh Regiment Continental Army 1776" by Frank A. Gardner, M.D.
    [The Massachusetts Magazine, July 1908, 1:3, p. 149-167; October 1908, 1:4, p. 235-259]

    "Colonel Ephraim Doolittle's Regiment. Colonel Ephraim Doolittle's Minute-Men's Regiment 1775. Twenty-Fourth Regiment, Army of the United Colonies 1775."
    [The Massachusetts Magazine, January 1909, 2:1, p. 11-29]

    —David Allen Lambert, Reference Librarian

    FGS Conference, August 8–10, in Ontario, California

    The Federation of Genealogical Societies' conference in Ontario, California, is right around the corner. NEHGS will be staffing a booth at the conference, which will feature all the latest NEHGS books and CDs, including New York State Probate Records: A Genealogist's Guide to Testate and Intestate Records and The Complete Great Migration Newsletter, volumes 1-10. If you visit the exhibit hall, please stop by and say hello.

    Conference attendees can hear lectures by the following NEHGS staff members:

    Thursday, August 8, 12:15 p.m.
    D. Brenton Simons on "The New England Genealogical Experience"
    (NEHGS luncheon talk; reservation required)

    Friday, August 9, 12:15 p.m.
    Michael Leclerc on "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Conference"
    (Genealogical Speakers Guild luncheon talk; reservation required)

    The conference will be located at the Ontario Convention Center (2000 Convention Center Way). You can find NEHGS in the exhibit hall at booth numbers 318, 320, and 322.

    The exhibit hall hours are as follows:

    Thursday, August 8: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
    Friday, August 9: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
    Saturday, August 10: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

    If you would like information about attending the conference, you can contact the Federation of Genealogical Societies at 1-888-FGS-1500 or visit their website at

    Decorative Arts Symposium on The Art of Family
    October 19, 2002, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    Co-sponsored by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities and the New England Historic Genealogical Society

    The 2002 publication of The Art of Family: Genealogical Artifacts in New England (NEHGS) eloquently brings together the research of leading scholars to shed light on family history through the exploration of decorative arts materials. This symposium brings together many of these historians and decorative arts experts to explore historic artifacts that document family life including mourning pieces, coats of arms, furniture, miniatures, family registers, and portraits. These objects become visual testaments that reveal clues and provide insights into the family and culture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Speakers include:

    • Jane Nylander on Preserving New England Legacies: A Keynote Address
    • Philip Zea on The Role of Family in New England Furniture-Making
    • Elle Shushan on The Tradition of Portrait Miniatures in New England, 1740–1840
    • Betty Ring on Mourning Pieces and Coats of Arms
    • Abbott Lowell Cummings on The Abigail Ball Box
    • Peter Benes on 'Dron by Eunice Gardner 1796': A Family Register from Nantucket
    • Lauren B. Hewes on 'A Strange Fascination': The American Family Portrait

    $150 SPNEA and NEHGS members, $185 nonmembers. Lunch included.

    Symposium attendees can also choose to attend two additional events on Friday, October 18:

    NEHGS/SPNEA Connoisseurship Tour
    Friday, October 18, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
    At NEHGS, 101 Newbury St., Boston
    In this behind-the-scenes-tour of the NEHGS Special Collections Department, participants will discover treasures such as family registers, Bible records, charts, and diaries. SPNEA Chief Curator and Director of Collections Richard Nylander and needlework historian Betty Ring will guide the group through highlights from the SPNEA collection of samplers, mourning pieces, and coats of arms.
    $60 SPNEA and NEHGS members, $75 non-members
    Registration is required and is restricted to symposium participants only.

    Boston Athenæum Tour and Reception

    Friday, October 18, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
    At the newly renovated Boston Athenæum Library, 10½ Beacon Street, Boston. Free. Registration is required and is restricted to symposium participants only.

    Registration is required for all events. For more information or to register for the symposium and the tours, please call SPNEA at 617-227-3957 ext. 270.

    Learn more about the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities by visiting

    Introducing the Pilgrim Hall Museum

    The Pilgrim Hall Museum was built and opened to the public in 1824, making it the oldest museum in continuous operation in the United States. Visitors to the museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts, have the opportunity to view some real Mayflower treasures, including William Bradford's Bible, the cradle in which Susanna White rocked her son Peregrine, the great chair of William Brewster, and the only portrait of a Pilgrim—Edward Winslow—actually painted from life.

    The museum's website offers a number of resources for those interested in the Pilgrim experience. These include online exhibitions on the Pilgrim story, Thanksgiving, museum artifacts, paintings and samplers, as well as biographical information on Mayflower passengers.

    When you visit, you immediately notice the evocative image of a seventeenth-century ship displayed in the upper left hand corner. This illustration is taken from an 1882 oil painting entitled The Mayflower on Her Arrival in Plymouth Harbor, by William Formsby Halsall (1841–1919). The painting is owned by the Pilgrim Hall Museum, which kindly granted NEHGS the right to use the image on

    Explore the Pilgrim Hall website at

    Favorite Ancestor Feedback

    In this issue of the enewsletter, we continue with reader submissions to the questions "Who is your favorite ancestor? Why?" If you would like to contribute information on your favorite ancestor, please send your story to Lynn Betlock at Thank you to all past and future contributors!

    "Welcome Home, Daughter"
    By Grace Moore Reale of Wethersfield, Connecticut

    Flavilla Jane (Dill) Briggs was born and died in Auburn, Maine (1849-1917).
    She descended from its pioneer families. The wife of her grandson, my mother, remembered her as a gracious and diplomatic woman. When my mother, a young Irish Catholic woman from Massachusetts, arrived at this Yankee household as a bride in 1915, "Jennie" stood at the entrance to the family home to greet her and said, "Welcome home, daughter." They had never met before.

    "How I would have loved to have talked to him"
    By Marjorie Higley Brown of Stow, New York

    As I started doing genealogy about eleven years ago I hoped beyond hope I would discover an Irishman in my background. And I did! He is Connor Dowd, born in Cavan County in Northern Ireland in 1757. He traveled to America with his parents and sisters in 1763. The ship was in a storm and blown off course, landing in Philadelphia. They traveled to his grandfather's place in North Carolina by land.

    He fought in the Revolution under Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox, as a guerrilla fighter. His grandfather was a Loyalist. Connor was present when Cornwallis surrendered.

    After the war he married a young Quaker girl, Hannah Greave, twenty years his junior, and moved from North Carolina to Ohio where they raised a large family near Athens, Ohio. How I would have loved to have talked to him, but I'm just thankful this colorful man is in my line.

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