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  • 2002 Archive

  • Vol. 4, No. 16
    Whole #72
    August 2, 2002

    • New Databases on
    • New Research Articles on
    • New NEHGS CD-ROMs
    • New Great Migration Sketches on
    • Irish Genealogical Conference, September 27–28, 2002
    • Careers at NEHGS
    • Subscription-Only NEHGS Memberships Discontinued
    • Connecticut State Library Reopens Newspaper Microfilm Room
    • Massachusetts Public Records Legislation Update
    • GENTECH 2003 Canceled, 2004 Conference Planned for St. Louis, MO
    • Antique Coffin Plate Needs a Home
    • Favorite Ancestor Feedback

    New Databases on

    Deaths from the New York Post 1801-1890
    The second installment of the Deaths from the New York Post 1801-1890 database, covering the years 1845-1890, is now available. This database contains tens of thousands of death notices published in the New York Post and covers nearly the entire nineteenth century. Gertrude A. Barber, a prolific transcriptionist of the early twentieth century, provided these records to NEHGS in 1933. This typescript comprises 55 volumes, each with a separate surname-only index, and we present them here in a fully searchable electronic format for the first time.

    The database can be searched by first name, last name, place name, or keyword. You can also restrict your search to specific dates. The paper had a wide coverage area, with thousands of listings for individuals outside of New York state.

    A search for Stephen Smith led to the death notices of Stephen Compton Smith on November 1, 1828 and his heretofore unnamed daughter Deborah P. Smith on June 1, 1832. The listing for Deborah also gives her place of death, 68 Chatham Street.

    Places of origin for immigrant can also often be found. Take, for example, this notice from January 23, 1802: "WILLIAM GERARD, who on Wednesday last fell from one of the Docks into the North River and was drowned. He was born Aberdeen, Scotland, aged 56 yrs. left wife and 7 children." Not only does it give the circumstances of his accidental death, but his place of birth in Aberdeen around 1746.

    The years 1801-1845 were added last week.

    Search Deaths from the New York Post 1801-1890 here:

    Boston Tax List 1831
    Boston Tax List of 1831 is the latest database offering culled from the NEHGS rare books collection. This work was originally published as List of Persons, Co-Partnerships, and Corporations who were Taxed Twenty-Five Dollars and Upwards, in the City of Boston, in the Year 1831, Specifying the Amount of the Tax on Real and Personal Estate, Severally, Conformably to an Order of the Council (Boston, MA: John H. Eastburn, 1832). Not only is this database useful for tracing tax information, it can help establish dates of death where the heirs or estate administrators of individuals are paying the taxes. The list does not include the amounts paid for the Poll Tax.

    Search the Boston Tax List 1831 database here.

    New Towns in the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 Database
    Eleven new towns have been added to the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 database: Amesbury, Douglas, Dudley, Hubbardston, Lee, Marlboro, Norton, Oakham, Scituate, Sturbridge, Westminster.

    Search by town, county, or in all of Massachusetts.



    New Research Articles on

    New Hampshire
    The American Canadian Genealogical Society
    by Sherry L. Gould

    African American Research
    African American Probate Records
    by Beth Ann Bower

    Royal Descents, Notable Kin, and Printed Sources
    On Adding Internet Data to Your Ancestral Charts
    by Gary Boyd Roberts


    New CD-ROMs from NEHGS

    The Search For Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in The Boston Pilot 1831-1920
    Edited by Ruth-Ann Harris and B. Emer O'Keefe

    With a circulation that spanned the continent, the Pilot newspaper essentially acted as a missing persons bureau for those seeking to be reunited with friends and relations. These messages tell poignant stories of the nineteenth-century immigrant experience, whether in Boston's crowded streets or the wide open spaces of Wisconsin, working in the textile mills or on the railroad. Many advertisements contain references to townlands and parishes of origin in Ireland, dates and places of arrival in North America, physical descriptions, and confirmation of family relationships. No Irish historian can be without this impressive research tool!
    Item #SCD-SMF - $69.99


    Vital Records of Springfield, Massachusetts to 1850
    by Clifford L. Stott, AG, CG, FASG

    Springfield, founded in 1641, was the first settlement in western Massachusetts. Published here for the first time, Vital Records of Springfield, Massachusetts contains not only the town vital records but also information from twenty-one cemeteries, ten churches, eleven newspapers, state vital records, the records of Judge John Pynchon, and the private records of Springfield resident John S. Edwards. It includes records of birth, marriage, death, baptism, and burial created within the original town of Springfield. Among the towns formerly part of Springfield are Agwam, Chicopee, Longmeadow, Ludlow, West Springfield, and Wibraham. The history, importance, location, custody, condition, and significant features of the various documents and cemeteries are also discussed. This title will be available in the future as four-volume hardcover set for approximately $150.
    Item #SCD-SVR - $39.99!


    New Great Migration Sketches on

    Twelve new Great Migration biographical sketches have been added to our website.

    NEHGS members can sign up for an electronic subscription to the Great Migration Newsletter Online 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.


    Irish Genealogical Conference, September 27–28, 2002
    Co-sponsored by TIARA (The Irish Ancestral Research Association)

    Join us for the fifth NEHGS Irish Genealogical Conference in Braintree, Massachusetts, on September 27 and 28, 2002. The conference will take place at the Sheraton Hotel in Braintree, just 10 miles south of Boston. The program will include two days of lectures on Irish genealogical research from some of the top experts in the field. Attendees may opt to attend one or both days and may choose to attend a dinner banquet and two luncheons with featured speakers. A selection of books and CD-ROMs will be available for sale throughout the conference.

    For further details on the Irish conference, including lecture topics, speakers, and hotel information, please visit. You may download a copy of the conference brochure and the registration form online.
    You can mail in a registration form or you can register with a credit card by calling NEHGS toll-free at 1-888-296-3447, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday.


    Careers at NEHGS

    There is currently one position available at 101 Newbury St. in Boston. Duties of the Production Editor in the NEHGS Book Publications Department include organizing and formatting book content, securing necessary copyrights and International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs), proofreading manuscript content, ensuring quality control of book projects, and numerous other production and post-production tasks. This is a part-time position.


    Subscription-Only NEHGS Memberships Discontinued

    Please note that NEHGS will no longer offer subscription-only memberships to individuals for $50. A $60 individual membership will provide members with subscriptions to New England Ancestors and The New England Historical Genealogical Register, plus access to the members-only content on, discount prices for research services and educational programs, access to the NEHGS Circulating Library, and member discounts from the online book store.

    Call Member Services for additional information: 1-888-296-3447



    Connecticut State Library Reopens Newspaper Microfilm Room

    The Connecticut State Library's newspaper microfilm room, which was closed in June for installation of compact storage, reopened as of July 29
    and the newspaper microfilm collection is again available on interlibrary loan. The films do not circulate directly to patrons and therefore are marked as "Library Use Only" in the CSL catalog, ( However, patrons can request them through the interlibrary loan procedure at their local library. On behalf of a patron, the library may borrow three reels of microfilm for six weeks. Once the order of three reels has been returned, another three reels may be borrowed. Loan of newspaper microfilm is library to library only, to US and Canadian libraries. CSL does not interlibrary loan microfilm to any other countries.

    Libraries may submit interlibrary loan requests to: Connecticut State Library, Interlibrary Loan, 231 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106,
    phone 1-(860)-757-6565 or through such ILL services as OCLC or reQuest.

    Massachusetts Public Records Legislation Update

    For the past few weeks we have told you about Massachusetts House Bill HB5158, which, if passed, would effectively close public access to Massachusetts marriage and death records since 1950, and birth records after 1910. We have recently learned that the much-disputed bill was unsuccessful in getting past the House Rules Committee in time for the close of session. While this is good news for researchers, there is still a chance that HB5158 could get passed through in an informal session or reintroduced in the next session. We will continue to keep you informed about the status of this bill and we thank everyone for responding to our call for action!


    GENTECH 2003 Cancelled, 2004 Conference Planned for St. Louis, MO.

    The GENTECH Division of the National Genealogical Society have announced the cancellation of GENTECH 2003, the conference for genealogy and technology scheduled to be held January 16-18, 2003 in Phoenix, Arizona. NGS has also confirmed that GENTECH 2004 will take place in St. Louis, Missouri. For more information, visit the NGS website at


    Antique Coffin Plate Needs a Home

    Several years ago, NEHGS member Priscilla Greenlees purchased a box of antiques at an auction in Moultonboro, New Hampshire. Among the items in the box was a coffin plate inscribed with the following information:

    Mrs. Dolly Packer
    Died Feb. 25th 1844
    Aged 78 years.

    Mrs Greenlees would be interested in giving this item to a descendant of Mrs. Packer. You may contact her by email at or by regular mail:

    Priscilla Greenlees
    10820 Madison Ave. N.E.
    Bainbridge Island, WA 98110


    Favorite Ancestor Feedback

    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!

    "...American hero; quite unsung"
    By Verna Forbes Willson of Farmington, New Mexico

    My favorite ancestor is my paternal 3rd great-grandfather Jonathan Burwell. Why? Because his stubborn perserverance in the face of adversity was so admirable. How else to describe one who provided for his nine children by persisting in the weaver's trade even though crippled during the Revolutionary War by musket shot which shattered one elbow and exited the opposite shoulder. Born 1760, enlisted 1777, wounded 1782, married 1790, he died 1829. American hero; quite unsung.

    "Always a survivor..."
    By Mary B. Sherwood of Alexandria, Virginia

    My discovery of an ancestor named Herodias Long was a delight. Her name never appears in other family records of the period. Other parents named their girls Abigail, Sarah, Elizabeth, or in a few examples of optimism, Silence. The Herodias of the Bible was a grandaughter of Herod the Great and the instigator of the murder of John the Baptist. There is no obvious reason why anyone should choose the name for a little English girl. Nevertheless she was born in England in about 1623/4, place unknown, to parents whose full names are not known.

    When she was about 13 or 14, her father died, and her mother decided to marry Herodias off. She was sent to London and married to "one John Hickes unknown to any of my friends," according to an account she gave later. The child bride soon unhappily accompanied her husband to New England. The couple first lived in Weymouth, Massachusetts, and moved to Rhode Island in 1640. They are thought to have had at least two children but the marriage was unhappy. Herodias obtained a divorce from Hicks in 1643. John Hicks was bound by the court for 10 pounds to keep the peace for beating his wife. He moved to New Netherlands and received a divorce.

    Herodias then began a relationship with another colonist named George Gardiner. Their neighbors during the next 20 years all thought they were married; George and Herodias had seven children. In 1658 Herodias, a Quaker, went with one of her infant children to Boston and Weymouth to protest against the oppression of the Quakers there. She was imprisoned and whipped "ten stripes" with a three-fold knotted whip of cords by order of Governor Endicott. A few years later her common law marriage to George Gardiner broke up. Herodias then became a housekeeper for a wealthy older man named John Porter and they apparently developed a closer relationship. Porter's wife petitioned the Assembly in 1664 for support out of his estate, complaining "he is gone from her .... she is brought to a near dependence upon her children for her daily support to her great grief of heart." Porter was ordered to support her. Three years later Herodias and Porter were ordered to court "for that they are suspected to cohabit and soe to live in a way of incontinency." Both were judged not guilty. After Porter's wife died, the two of them were married. John died before April, 1692. Always a survivor, Herodias outlived him.

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