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  • 2002 Archive

  • Vol. 4, No. 18
    Whole #74
    August 16, 2002

    • New Databases on
    • New Research Articles on
    • New NEHGS Books
    Art of Family Back in Print
    • NEHGS Summer Book Sale Ending Soon
    • New 2003 NEHGS Education Calendar!
    • Introducing Sheila Connolly, New Director of Development at NEHGS
    • Favorite Ancestor Feedback

    New Databases on

    The Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati Database

    The Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati was founded in 1783 by veteran officers of the Revolutionary War. Original membership was open to officers who served for a minimum of three years. Eligibility was also extended to officers who were “deranged” (mustered out), having been honorably discharged after said term of service. Original members of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati and eligible officers are listed in the database with details about their genealogical and military history. The names of the parents and spouse(s) are also supplied. All known children of the officer are listed with their dates and places of birth. This is an ongoing database and will be regularly updated. Please contact NEHGS if you have any documented additions or corrections to the database.

    The Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati database is based on the research of James Archer O'Reilly III in preparation for the upcoming volume of Memorials for The Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati, with additional genealogical research assistance supplied by NEHGS reference librarian David Allen Lambert. This joint collaboration between The Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati and NEHGS has produced this database containing selected genealogical details from the Memorials publication.

    Search the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati database here.

    Diary of Israel Litchfield 1774-75

    The latest addition to our online diary collection is the "Diary of Israel Litchfield." This diary provides an interesting view of the first months of the American Revolution, as recorded by the twenty-two year old Litchfield, a tanner and clockmaker who was one of the first recruits from Scituate, Massachusetts. In his diary, Litchfield recorded his daily tasks and activities, described the formations of local militia, and related secondhand war stories and rumors that added tension to the atmosphere. Litchfield also noted the deaths of some town residents and recounted a "journey" from Scituate to Chesterfield, MA and back complete with the cost of items purchased along the way. A most interesting element of the diary is Litchfield's tendency to write in cipher when describing activities that could be viewed as disreputable (attending dances, buying snuff, etc.), and when noting salacious rumors about local residents.

    Search the Diary of Israel Litchfield here.

    New Towns in the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 database

    Ninenew towns have been added this week: Dunstable, Greenfield, Methuen, Pembroke, Topsfield, Tyngsboro, Uxbridge, Westport, and Windsor.

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

    New Research Articles on

    The Name Game - Tips for Finding the Real Names of French-Canadian Ancestors
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Sykes and Single-Origin Surnames
    by George Redmonds


    What's New in NEHGS Books

    The New England Historic Genealogical Society has produced several books in the last year that contain exciting information for amateur and professional genealogists alike. NEHGS Books has published everything from genealogical research guidebooks to scholarly reference works of transcribed town or vital records to a compilation of articles about the world of decorative arts and its relationship to family history. Our authors vary widely from first-time writers to professional genealogical researchers and we always welcome new proposals for books. For more information on how to submit a book proposal, please contact Gabrielle Stone, Book Publications Supervisor at Below is a partial list of recently published books:

    Shaking Your Family Tree: A Basic Guidebook to Tracing Your Family's Genealogy by Ralph Crandall

    A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries by David Allen Lambert

    The Art of Family: Genealogical Artifacts in New England, edited by D. Brenton Simons and Peter Benes

    The Complete Great Migration Newsletter, Volumes 1-10 by Robert Charles Anderson

    Mallet & Chisel: Gravestone Carvers of Newport, Rhode Island in the 18th Century, by Vincent F. Luti

    New York State Probate Records: A Genealogist's Guide to Testate and Intestate Records, by Gordon L. Remington

    New York State Towns, Villages, and Cities: A Guide to Genealogical Sources, by Gordon L. Remington

    Art of Family Back in Print!

    We are pleased to announce that the second printing of the popular NEHGS book The Art of Family: Genealogical Artifacts in New England has arrived and is available once again from our online book store. Edited by NEHGS assistant executive director D. Brenton Simons and Peter Benes, The Art of Family is an indispensable resource illuminating the world of decorative arts and its relationship to family history. A quick check of shows "used" copies of The Art of Family selling for between $92 and $169. Order through NEHGS and save!

    NEHGS Summer Sale Ends August 31!

    Summer is almost gone and time is running out to buy great items from the NEHGS book store at summer sale prices! Listed below is a selection of specially-priced books to read while soaking up the last of the summer rays and a CD-ROM for those rainy days. This sale ends August 31, so act now!

    Member Special!
    The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633 by Robert Charles Anderson
    Three-Volume Set
    Member Price: $99 (List Price: $125)

    When ordering member specials from, please note that only members who are logged into the site will see sale prices.

    Already a classic, this three-volume set contains the most accurate, up-to-date information on over 900 New England families! The information on each individual or family includes their port or country of origin, if known; the date and ship on which they arrived in New England, if known; the earliest known record of the individual or family; their first residence and subsequent residences, when known; return trips to their country of origin, whether temporary or permanent; and marriages, births, deaths, and other important family relationships.

    Other Sale Items

    The Great Migration Newsletter, Volumes 1-5: 1990-1994 (hardcover) by Robert Charles Anderson
    Sale Price: $9.75 (List Price: $19.50)

    The twenty issues of the first five years of the Newsletter have now been consolidated into one bound volume with a subject and name index.

    Guidelines for Authors of Compiled Genealogies by Thomas Kozachek

    Sale Price: $2.50 (List Price: $5.00)
    Guidelines for Authors is a basic introduction to the Newbury Street Press house style. Copiously illustrated with examples, this pamphlet covers many topics of interest to researchers preparing their work of publication in book form. Included are discussions of formatting issues, models for organizing genealogical data, and suggestions for manuscript preparation. 

    The Search for Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in The Boston Pilot, edited by Ruth-Ann M. Harris and B. Emer O'Keeffe - Hardcover-Limited Quanities Available
    Each volume is $22.50. - 50 % off regular price!

    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. 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 family historian can be without this impressive research tool!

    CD-ROM - Bible Records from the Manuscript Collections of the New England Historic Genealogical Society
    Sale Price: $29.99 (List Price: $39.99)

    For over 150 years, the manuscript department of the New England Historic Genealogical Society has collected family Bibles and copies of Bible records. Now, for the first time, these records are available in a fully-searchable text format. This new CD-ROM includes thousands of birth, marriage, and death records — much of this data was never recorded in official vital records and can be found nowhere else.

    New 2003 NEHGS Education Calendar

    The 2003 NEHGS education calendar is now finalized. We hope that you will join us for one or more of the exciting and informative events that we have planned! For more information on 2003 NEHGS tours, email or call toll-free 1-888-286-3447.

    Winter Research Getaway to NEHGS
    February 27-March 1, 2003

    March 13-15, 2003

    Escape the winter doldrums and spend a long weekend researching your family history at the NEHGS Research Library in Boston. Offered twice this winter, this special program offers group lectures, library research, and personalized consultations.

    English and Scottish Family History for Americans
    April 9-12, 2003

    Join English surnames and place-names expert Dr. George Redmonds and others at NEHGS for an engaging and informative exploration of the history and origins of surnames from the British Isles. Learn how to identify your surnames over time, and the significance of frequency and geographic distribution. Other topics of interest to those researching English and Scottish ancestors will be covered as well. Participants will also enjoy personal research consultations, guided research in the NEHGS library, and an evening dinner at NEHGS.

    President’s Tour to Germany
    May 13-22, 2003

    Join us as we explore the most beautiful parts of Germany. James Derheim and Jenean Lindley will guide you from Munich to Frankfurt via the Bavarian Alps, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Heidelberg, and numerous historic towns and villages in scenic Bavaria and along the Rhein River. Join NEHGS president David Kruger and his wife Jean, as well as assistant executive director D. Brenton Simons on this historical tour, and experience the luxury of seeing Germany at your own pace. All food, lodging, sightseeing, and ground transportation will be provided.

    Research Tour to Nova Scotia
    June 17-27, 2003

    This tour will give you maximum research time at Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management (formerly PANS) and other excellent Nova Scotia repositories, with individual attention from local specialists and tour leaders George F. Sanborn Jr., and David Allen Lambert. Experience ten days of intensive research, lectures by leading genealogists and experts in the field, and hands-on assistance. We will visit Halifax, Shelburne, Truro, Pictou, Sherbrooke, and Cape Breton. This tour will appeal to those tracing urban or rural Planter, Loyalist, Acadian, Foreign Protestant, Irish, or Highland Scots ancestry, among others. Outstanding cultural and educational opportunities are sure to make this an unforgettable experience.

    NEHGS Summer Conference 2003 in Boston
    July 11-12, 2003

    Join NEHGS in 2003 for our first summer conference in Boston! The program and accommodations will be at the John Hancock Conference Center. Full details will be available soon — watch and New England Ancestors magazine.

    Research Tour to Dublin, Ireland
    July 13-20, 2003

    Experience Dublin through the eyes of a student in this one-week research visit to the Republic of Ireland. We offer guided research at various repositories in central Dublin, including the General Register Office, National Library, and National Archives, among others, and genealogical lectures and personalized consultations throughout the week with Marie E. Daly and local genealogical authorities. Fees include lodging in “superior” accommodations at Trinity College (in the heart of the city), and most meals.

    Come Home to New England
    August 3-10, 2003

    This intensive week-long program is a special opportunity for all serious genealogists to immerse themselves in their research at the NEHGS library. Highlights include lectures on genealogical research and methodology, and one-on-one consultations.

    Research Tour to Salt Lake City
    October 12-19, 2003

    NEHGS invites you to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of our annual research program in Salt Lake City with us. Experienced and well-known genealogists from our staff will assist participants in their research at the Family History Library. In addition, personal research consultations with staff, lectures on a variety of genealogical topics, receptions, group meals, and accommodations at a hotel next door to the library will be included in the weeklong program.

    Introducing Sheila Connolly, New Director of Development at NEHGS

    From Executive Director Ralph Crandall:

    With the departure just three months ago of Ann Hiester, our former director of development, NEHGS was faced with finding a new development director who would continue to bring the Society into the twenty-first century. By early June the position was filled and we were eager to welcome our new director of developement, Sheila Connolly, who began work full-time on August 1.

    Sheila, who holds a PhD in fine arts from Harvard University and an MBA in finance from the University of California, Berkeley, has an impressive and diverse professional background. For fifteen years Sheila made her home in Pennsylvania, working many of those years in the non-profit sector and gaining extensive experience in the development field. From July 1994 to October 1998, she worked as assistant development director and associate development director at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania; from November 1998 to September 1999, she worked as development manager at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia; and from May 2000 until August 2002, she was the sole proprietor of Lost Ancestors, a small business that provided research services in genealogy, family history, and related areas for people with Pennsylvania, New England, and Irish ancestry.

    In these few short months since Sheila joined the development team she has made great strides in implementing new ideas and strategies in fundraising and grant writing. Sheila is a wonderful addition to our development team

    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!

    ". . . he had adventures of his own"
    by Sybil F. Crawford of Dallas, Texas

    My favorite? Great-great-grandfather Silas Card (1800-1897) carries some "names" on his ancestral chart - Roger Williams, Anne (Marbury) Hutchinson, Mary (Barrett) Dyer, and more - but one immediately senses he had adventures of his own. Fortunately, members of his family have never been hesitant about setting pen to paper, and some fascinating word pictures have been left behind. Richard Card, grandfather of Silas, moved his Rhode Island family to Nova Scotia as part of the Planter migration of the early 1760s. A master mariner for the first half of his life, Silas also undertook shipbuilding for a time (constructing sailing vessels at Grand Manan, New Brunswick, in the 1820s and 1830s). After giving up an untold number of kinsmen to the sea (including a favorite brother), Silas opted to move his family inland in 1856. The record of their journey to Ontario continues to captivate readers. Still-extant letters of "Capt. Jerry," one of his seafaring sons who stayed behind, tell of his whirlwind courtship and second marriage (clearly not a marriage of convenience on his part!) Descendants of Silas are strong-minded, even today, but daughter Mary holds the record. After raising her family on Pelee Island (in the middle of Lake Erie), she advised them that she spent her best years looking after them, and took permanently to her bed, with instructions that they could care for her thereafter. And how many families have a member struck by lightning? Silas has become a "real person," not just another name.

    "...she is the first member of the family who is literate..."
    by Peter Hughes of Englewood, Colorado

    My favorite cousin is Sarah Lawrence Danton, baptized May 28, 1815, at St. Lawrence in Thanet, Kent, England. In the parish registers in the 1830's, starting about when she is 16, her signature appears repeatedly as one of the witnesses when each of her older brothers and sisters is married. She was obviously very popular in the family, and her signature shows great character. As I worked back in the parish registers and BT's from 1830 in the Canterbury Cathedral archives, I found names other than Sarah appearing repeatedly as witnesses. At first, I presumed that these were the popular brothers or cousins in the family of the next earlier generation, but it eventually dawned on me that the names I was seeing were of church officials, such as "Thos. Ashenden" and the ubiquitous "Henry Philpott". If we take the ability of an individual to sign his or her own name as the measure of literacy, then literacy arrived among the young adults of our family in Thanet in the early 1830's - and the accomplishment of Sarah Lawrence Danton is that she is the first member of the family who is literate. It is no wonder that she appears as the most popular member of the family when it comes to the selection of witnesses at a wedding.

    "...the Florence Nightingale of Michigan..."
    by Bonnie Bergeron of Kankakee, IL

    My favorite ancestor is my great-grand aunt, Julia S. Wheelock. She left her teaching position in Ionia, Michigan, during the Civil War to travel to Washington D.C. to find her brother, Orville, who was wounded. Upon arriving she found he had died. But she saw such a need to help the war casualties that she stayed and tended to the wounded an dying for three years. She wrote about her experiences in a book entitled The Boys In White and was dubbed the "Florence Nightingale of Michigan" by a noted Civil War historian. She was courageous, selfless, compassionate and totally devoted to the men she served. She is being honored this October by the Michigan Women's History Association and I will be so proud to be at the ceremony.

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