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  • 2002 Archive

  • Vol. 4, No. 22
    Whole #78
    September 13, 2002

    • New Databases on
    • New Research Articles on
    • New Great Migration Sketches on
    • Irish Genealogical Conference Begins Two Weeks From Today!
    • Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures, Boston, MA
    A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries Back in Print
    • Church and Vital Records in the Maritime Provinces, Part 1
    • From the Volunteer Coordinator
    • David C. Dearborn Lectures at Essex Society of Genealogists Meeting, September 21, 2002
    • Careers at NEHGS
    • Favorite Ancestor Feedback

    New Databases on

    Vital Record of Rhode Island, 16361850, by James N. Arnold
    The next major addition to our collection of vital records covers the state of Rhode Island. In 1891 James N. Arnold began publishing a series of vital records books for the towns of Rhode Island. The series would go on to include church records and newspaper records, ultimately filling twenty-one volumes with information. The first records released are for the towns in Kent County: Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich, and Warwick. Additional towns will be added regularly.

    Search Vital Record of Rhode Island 1636–1850 at

    The Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati Database—Twenty-Five New Sketches Added
    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 at

    New Towns in the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 database
    Eight new towns have been added to the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 database: Acton, Alford, Boxboro, Carver, Grafton, Granville, Wenham,and West Boylston.

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

    Master Search
    Or master search all databases at

    New Research Articles on

    The Barbour Collection: What's In It and What's Not
    by Harlan R. Jessup

    Rhode Island
    The Index to Providence, Rhode Island Probate on
    by Maureen A. Taylor

    Genealogy and Technology
    The Internet: Following the Rules Increases Success
    by Rhonda R. McClure

    New Great Migration Newsletter Sketches on

    Ten new Great Migration biographical sketches have been added to the Great Migration Newsletter Online. Subscribers to the newsletter may view them at

    To subscribe, visit
    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 Great Migration Newsletter Online 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 Begins Two Weeks From Today!

    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 ten 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 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. Space is limited so if you are planning to attend, please register as soon as possible to ensure your place at this popular conference.

    The Irish Genealogical Conference is co-sponsored by TIARA (The Irish Ancestral Research Association). For more infomation about this organization, visit their website at

    Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library in Boston

    The "Genealogy in a Nutshell" series continues with:

    • "Deciphering Old Handwriting" by Jerome Anderson, on Saturday, September 14

    • "Preparing Your Family Genealogy for Publication" by Christopher Hartman, on Wednesday, September 18 and Saturday, September 21

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

    For more details about NEHGS education events, please visit /events/main/. 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.

    A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries Back in Print

    We are pleased to announce that the second printing of the popular NEHGS book A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries has arrived and is available once again from our online book store. Compiled by NEHGS reference librarian David Allen Lambert, A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries shows cemetery names; year of consecration of the cemetery or the oldest known gravestone or burial; location of the cemetery; printed and manuscript sources for the cemetery; and contact information for the office afilliated with the cemetery.

    Many previously undocumented burial grounds are included as well as citations to published transcriptions of gravestone listings in places such as the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, and the official Massachusetts Vital Records to the end of 1850 series. A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries is a fantastic resource for researchers with Massachusetts ancestors!

    A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries is available for $17.95 plus shipping from our book store at

    Church and Vital Records in the Maritime Provinces
    Part 1: Nova Scotia

    While members and patrons of our library may be aware of our outstanding Canadian collection, there may be certain aspects of it that would benefit from further elucidation. The church and vital statistics records for the three Maritime provinces is a case in point. This week we will examine the records of Nova Scotia.

    Nova Scotia began to keep civil records of births, marriages, and deaths in 1864. The records for the early years of this new endeavor are quite incomplete, but people were getting into the swing of things by 1877 when the provincial government decided not to bother with birth and death records any longer! It was not until October of 1908 that the practice resumed, and not until about 1920 that the records approached the detail that we expect today (e.g. names of parents on a death record). The marriages continued, uninterrupted, after 1877, but even there this writer has observed a number of known marriages which were not recorded. Ministers and doctors were the source of these records, and apparently were careless about recording the events. In many cases, there is just a brief list of marriages, with no details of parents' names and the like provided, but with the notation that the particulars may be found on the individual slips of paper submitted. Those are at the Nova Scotia Archives in Halifax, as are the original county marriage registers, and the Genealogical Society of Utah has microfilmed both sets of records. There were early marriage licenses dating back into the late 1700s, but these are very incomplete, and, of course, are only relevant if a couple obtained a license to marry, rather than having the more usual banns called in church on three successive Sundays. NEHGS has the 1864–1877 records, as well as the marriage registers into the early twentieth century, and the early marriage licenses, all on microfilm. We do not have the microfilmed marriage slips.

    It is a great pity that the Nova Scotia government, or some interested group working under their aegis, has not made indices to the events, and some brief amount of identifying information, searchable on the web, as a number of other provinces and states have done. For an example of this, see next week's article on New Brunswick!

    For the times when the province was not keeping civil records of vital events (and even when the province was!), one needs to view the relevant church records for the place(s) in question. A large number of these have been microfilmed, and may be viewed (sometimes permission from a church official is required) at the Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management in Halifax or, in the case of Cape Breton Island, at The Beaton Institute in Sydney. Only a very few have been published (St. Paul's Anglican in Halifax [early years only], and Roman Catholic records for southwestern Nova Scotia, to name some notable ones). The Society has these published records, as well as certain microfilms of Nova Scotia church records, including Presbyterian records for Pictou and New Glasgow; Anglican records for Guysborough County; and Anglican records [including the old Lutheran records in German] for Lunenburg.

    Nova Scotia was settled by a large number of New Englanders before the American Revolution, who took with them the New England system of town record-keeping. The township books generated in the early years of the "New England" townships in Nova Scotia are at the Nova Scotia Archives, with the exception of the Sackville [now New Brunswick] book which is at the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa. The last mentioned, as well as about half of the others, have been microfilmed and are available at NEHGS. For the remainder, a visit to Halifax (always a good idea!) is in order.

    George F. Sanborn Jr., FASG., FSA (Scot.)
    NEHGS Reference Librarian [with an interest in the Canadian Maritimes]

    From the Volunteer Coordinator

    Our growing number of volunteers is gratifying, yet there are still three departments here at NEHGS that could use extra help. The Research Services department is busier than ever, with many requests coming in from members all over the country and beyond. If you are a member who is somewhat familiar with the resources at the library, and would enjoy searching for elusive records, volunteering with our research services staff would be of enormous value.

    We also need members to come into 101 Newbury Street to help the Electronic Publications department with scanning and digital conversion projects. The books that are being scanned are turned into new genealogical material for our website databases. Anyone with basic computer skills and a little free time could be shown how to use the scanner. We have some very committed volunteers doing this, and a large number of books!

    The Orientation Center is frequently used by people who are curious about genealogy and the Society. If any member would enjoy showing people around the library, or just talking to them about genealogy, I would be most grateful for the assistance.

    If this might be of interest to you, please contact me at or 617-226-1276.

    Thank you,

    Susan Rosefsky
    Volunteer Coordinator

    David C. Dearborn Lectures at Essex Society of Genealogists Meeting, September 21, 2002

    On Saturday, September 21 at 1 p.m., NEHGS reference librarian David C. Dearborn will lecture at the Essex Society of Genealogists meeting at the Centre Congregational Church in Lynnfield, Massachusetts. This free lecture, titled "Genealogical Resources in Scotland," will be preceded by an "informal hour of sharing and sociability" at noon, for which attendees are encouraged to bring a brown-bag lunch (the Society will provide beverages and desserts). The Centre Congregational Church is located on Summer Street in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, and is next door to the Lynnfield Public Library.

    Careers at NEHGS

    Three positions are currently open at the NEHGS headquarters in Boston – grant writer, development assistant, and part-time book publications production assistant. For more information about these positions, please visit

    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 in 300 words or less to Lynn Betlock at Thank you to all past and future contributors!

    "His wanderlust and search to better himself had an influence far beyond his own lifetime."
    By Richard N. Platt, Jr., of Milford, Connecticut

    My favorite ancestor (at least the one who has the most interesting story) is my great-great-grandfather, Pernet Perry Manville. His wanderlust and search to better himself had an influence far beyond his own lifetime.

    He was born in Middlebury, Connecticut, in 1812. He was a carpenter by trade, and came to Milford, Connecticut, to work on the construction of the Plymouth Church. While in Milford, he met and married Harriet Buckingham. They had a son, Albert, in Milford. Pernet then decided that there were more opportunities for a carpenter in the South, so he moved his family to Thomasville, Georgia. While there they had three more children who lived to adulthood: George, Emily, and Mary Elizabeth. (Mary Elizabeth is my great-grandmother.)

    In 1849 he decided to go to California to seek gold. He sailed around Cape Horn and arrived in San Francisco during the summer of 1849. A letter in my possession describes his journey. A letter from Sacramento later in the summer tells that he had decided not to go to the gold fields but decided instead to build a hotel and work as a carpenter. He died in Sacramento in November 1850 during a cholera epidemic.

    His widow, Harriet, then decided to return home to Milford with her family. On the way, she stopped to visit a brother who had settled in Barnwell, South Carolina. While there, her older son Albert decided to remain with his uncle. So, when the Civil War came, Albert, born in Connecticut, fought for the Confederacy, and George, born in Georgia, fought for the Union. George did not survive the war. He was wounded in a skirmish at Kinston, North Carolina, and died shortly thereafter at the Confederate prison in Salisbury, North Carolina. It was less than a month before Appomattox.

    Albert’s descendants still live in the Barnwell area.

    ". . . I have their strength in me"

    By Jeanne Knowlton Eldredge, of Bakersfield, California

    One of my favorite grandmothers is Abigail Dane Faulkner. She is the matriarch heading two of my lineages in New England. She was born in 1652 to a middle class family in Andover, Massachusetts. When she was forty, she and her daughters were accused of being witches, along with sister Elizabeth Dane Johnson and her two children. That they were from an affluent family probably was one of the reasons for the charge. That the weather was in the middle of a mini-ice age probably was another factor. (The year 1692 was the coldest of any recorded winter in New England, and, in the thinking of that long-ago day, who could have caused that but a witch?) Though she was pregnant she survived, and saw that her daughter (Abigail Faulkner Lamson) did too, in that horrible pit that had only a roof to protect them from the extreme weather. Amniruhamah, the son with whom she was pregnant, was born healthy in March of 1693 and was the patriarch of one of my lines, and daughter Abigail, with whom she shared that horror, continued another one.

    I marvel when times are bad for me of the strength of these ancestors and how they prevailed, and realize that I have their strength in me and that I can prevail, too.

    A Woman Before Her Time
    by Dorothy Hale Amis, of Bainbridge Island, WA

    My grandmother, Mary Rose Alexander (1876–1934), was a remarkable woman. Born in the year of the centennial, she had a spirit of independence inherited from her Scot and Puritan ancestors. She faced life head on.

    She shocked her Baptist parents, John Monroe & Deborah Morton Alexander of Genesee County, Michigan, by eloping with Delbert Barrett, an Irish Catholic. Ignoring traditional family names, she named her first son Bryan, after the current Democratic presidential candidate, William Jennings Bryan.

    Moving to Milwaukee with her husband and child, she had another son and a daughter. She had to bury her second son at four years after he contracted meningitis. With her two remaining children, she followed her husband to Spokane, Washington, in 1908.

    A third son was born in 1910. Del's health had never been good and he was to die in 1910 from "la grippe." Mae, as she preferred to be called, was urged by her large extended family to return to Michigan, but she refused. She kept her family together by working as a maid.

    In 1913, she married an Englishman, James Etherington. It was an extremely happy marriage that was only marred when she went to vote in the 1920 election and was told that by her marriage to an non-citizen she was now considered an alien. Feathers in full fluff, she informed the election board in no uncertain terms that her ancestors had settled Windsor/Hartford, Connecticut, in the early 1600s and that she felt she was well qualified to exert her right to vote. And promptly did.

    Her sense of the absurd was such that after misplacing her wallet at a local circus, she prevailed upon a local garbage man to take us home. We arrived in style sitting on the wagon seat, our fragrant chariot being drawn by a very elderly horse.

    Mae's last act of independence came just before her own death on January 1, 1934. Finding that as a Catholic she couldn't be buried next to her beloved James, who had preceded her in death, she refused the last rites of the Roman Church. The Catholic priest remained at her bedside as a friend, but the rites were administered by an Episcopalian priest.

    She didn't change the world but she had the gift that brought magic to those who knew her.

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