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  • 2002 Archive

  • Vol. 4, No. 23
    Whole #79
    September 20, 2002

    • New Databases on
    • Last Call for the NEHGS Irish Conference!
    • New Research Articles on
    • "Ask a Librarian" Answers Your Questions
    • Announcing the NEHGS President’s Tour to Germany, May 13–23, 2003
    • Decorative Arts Symposium on The Art of Family
    • Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures, Boston, MA
    • Church and Vital Records in the Maritime Provinces, Part 2
    • NEHGS Member Margaret Sullivan Recognized
    • Gary Boyd Roberts Comments on Princess Diana, Winston Churchill and George Bush
    • The History of the World Trade Center Site
    • Favorite Ancestor Feedback

    New Databases on

    Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850, by James N. Arnold, Volumes 2-4
    We continue to add new volumes of Arnold's Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850 to our database. This week we have added records for seventeen towns in Providence and Newport counties, including Providence, Newport, Jamestown, and Portsmouth. Additional towns will be added regularly.

    Now available:

    Vol 2: Providence, Cranston, Johnson, North Providence,
    Vol 3: Glocester, Burrillville, Scituate, Foster, Cumberland, Smithfield
    Vol 4: Portsmouth, Newport, Middletown, New Shoreham, Jamestown, Little Compton, Tiverton

    Search Vital Record of Rhode Island 1636–1850 at

    New Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Collection
    Since its founding NEHGS has actively collected cemetery transcriptions from a wide geographic area. We are now converting thousands of cemetery transcriptions in our manuscript collections into electronic format for our members. This week we have added fourteen new cemeteries located in the following towns: Milford, New Hampshire; Exeter, Maine; South Woodstock, Vermont; and Rockingham, Vermont.

    Search cemetery transcriptions from the NEHGS collection at

    The Thomas Cary Diary — 1766
    The Rev. Thomas Cary (1745–1808) was one of the many ministers along the Merrimack River who encouraged the patriotism of his parishioners during the Revolutionary War. He started his diary in Weston, Massachusetts in 1762 and continued writing until 1806. This installment includes his entries from the year 1766.

    Search the Thomas Cary diary at

    Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 Database
    Eight new towns have been added to the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 database this week: Burlington, Chester, Chilmark, Cohasset, Dana, Dartmouth, Heath, and Waltham.

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

    Master Search
    Or master search all databases at

    Last Call for the NEHGS Irish Conference!
    September 27 & 28, Braintree, Massachusetts

    As we near our maximum capacity for the Irish Genealogical Conference, we will accept registrations by mail, phone, or fax through Monday, September 23, on a first-come, first-served basis. After that date, registrations for the conference only (without meals) will be accepted at the door on Friday and Saturday on a space-available basis.

    For more information about the Irish conference, please visit If you have questions or would like to register by phone, please call 1-888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday.

    New Research Articles on

    New Column!
    Free Non-Member Preview
    Family Health and Genealogy by Norma Storrs Keating

    Our newest addition to our collection of research columns is "Family Health and Genealogy" by Norma Storrs Keating. These columns will cover family health histories in relation to genealogy, as well as genetics and how it is impacting genealogical research. The author's background in medicine combined with her years as a genealogist led her into this area of new technology. Norma is the president of Genes & Things, Inc., creators of GeneWeaver (, new computer software for creating and maintaining family health histories. She holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Indiana University and maintains her RN license in New Jersey and California, taking thirty units of continuing education course every two years and reviewing literature to keep abreast of the rapid changes in the medical/genetics field. We are very pleased to have her onboard!

    Family Heath and Genealogy
    by Norma Storrs Keating
    Every Family Should Have a Health History

    Web Resources for Canadian Research: Governmental Agencies
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    "Ask a Librarian" Answers Your Questions

    We have posted the first set of answers to questions asked of our expert NEHGS library staff in our "Ask a Librarian" feature.

    Here are this month's questions:

    Cheryl Wells asks: "I am currently working on a project on Canadians in the Civil War. I am on the hunt for primary material and was wondering if your holdings would have applicable diaries, letters, and the like."

    Jacquelyn T. Melton asks: "Do any records, other than census, exist for the Green Plantation near Belfast, Maine"?

    Richard Long asks: "I searched the Massachusetts Vital Records today. Where can I find the meaning of the various abbreviations used in the citations (e.g., "P.R.38", "C.R.2", "int.")? I assume that "a." means age, "s." means son, "h." means husband, and "d." means daughter, "ch." means child, and "w." means widow, but would appreciate a confirmation of those meanings."

    Denise asks: "Do you have Boston newspapers from the 1850s & 1860s? If not, could you kindly direct me on how to find old Boston obits"?

    Carol Booker asks: "I have often encountered the terms inst. and ult. in the text of death notices appearing in early newspapers. What do these two terms mean? I thought one stood for this month and the other for last month, but I have not found that to hold true in all instances, so I think my definitions must be wrong. Can you explain how to interpret these terms? As an example, the Hampshire Gazette of 25 April 1804 says 'In Ashfield on the 18th inst. Capt Elisha Cranson aged 84.'"

    Robert P. Clark asks: "Most of our ancestors' wills in colonial America seem to carry the value of estates and property in pounds, shillings and pence. Is there a way to estimate these figures in dollars — either then or now"?

    Joan Conklin asks: "Does the library has the microfilm for Prince Edward Island baptisms prior to 1886 and P.E.I. probate records between 1807 and 1901?

    For answers to these questions please visit our "Ask A Librarian" page at

    Announcing the NEHGS President’s Tour to Germany, May 13–23, 2003:
    The Best of Bavaria and the Rhein River

    Join NEHGS on its first-ever continental European heritage tour as we explore the most beautiful parts of Germany at a relaxed pace. James and Jenean Derheim will guide our group from Munich to Frankfurt via the Bavarian Alps, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Heidelberg, Bacharach and numerous historic towns and villages in scenic Bavaria and along the Rhein River. Accompanying the tour will be NEHGS president David W. Kruger and his wife Jean, as well as assistant executive director D. Brenton Simons. Recent survey information shows that many NEHGS members identify themselves as having German ancestry, and our heritage tour will provide an excellent opportunity to see some of the most memorable and picturesque parts of this ancestral land. All food, lodging, sightseeing, and ground transportation via a comfortable full-sized van will be provided. As a lasting reminder of the journey, each couple or each single participant will in due course receive a complimentary professional photo portfolio created by James Derheim, owner of European Focus, Inc. featuring all of the places seen on this journey.

    Highlights from days one and two of our tour itinerary:

    Tuesday, May 13 (first of three nights in the Bavarian Alps / Schwangau)

    Your guides will meet you on arrival at Munich Airport and drive you ninety minutes south of Munich to the village of Schwangau-Horn, nestled against the Bavarian Alps. Your home for the next three nights will be the family-run Hotel Helmerhof. Rooms will have balconies with views of the surrounding landscape and mountains. This will be a day of rest and relaxation after your journey. Welcome dinner that night at the Helmerhof.

    Wednesday, May 14

    A buffet breakfast featuring a wide assortment of German delicacies is followed by an optional excursion via shuttle bus to a viewing point over King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein Castle. An interior tour of the castle will be offered to interested participants. Those who wish to stay below will travel to a peaceful lake to relax and take in a stunning alpine vista. Castle visitors descend the mountain by horse and carriage, joining lake visitors for a beautiful drive through the Austrian countryside and around the back of Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitz, to the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. We will have lunch at a lakeside restaurant with an awe-inspiring view of the Zugspitz.

    The rest of the afternoon can be spent relaxing at your hotel. Various activities can be arranged, including guided bike tours of the valley with one of your guides, a trip into nearby Fussen for shopping, or even a rowboat excursion on the nearby glassy Alpsee.

    We'll enjoy dinner that night at our hotel.

    For a complete day-by-day tour itinerary, please visit

    Please note: space on this exclusive tour is extremely limited. For more information, or to register, please contact Alena Tan, NEHGS Tours Supervisor, as soon as possible at 1-888-286-3447, or email

    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

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

    The "Genealogy in a Nutshell" series continues with:

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

    • "A Varied Mosaic: Researching Ancestors in Nova Scotia" by George F. Sanborn, FASG, on Wednesday, September 25

    • "Beyond the Grave: Using Cemetery Records" by David Allen Lambert, on Wednesday, October 2, and Saturday, October 5

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

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

    Church and Vital Records in the Maritime Provinces
    Part 2: New Brunswick

    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 New Brunswick.

    New Brunswick began keeping vital statistics records in 1888, but the records (especially the births and deaths) are quite incomplete before 1920 when standardized forms for recording the particulars were brought into use. In the early years there were up to three sets of records, sometimes with differing information: for births, there were county registers, provincial registers, and provincial returns, all beginning in 1888 but ending at different times, with the filmed records of some counties going to 1919. For marriages there were county returns and provincial returns, from 1888–1919. And for deaths, there were county registers, provincial registers, and provincial returns, 1888–1919. Theoretically these contain duplicate information, but some differences have been found. Prior to 1888, the counties also kept county marriage registers, each one beginning at a different time, but all supposedly going to the advent of a more standardized system in 1888. However, the registers for Sunbury, Victoria, and Madawaska counties have been missing for a long time, while some of the other county registers end a bit before 1888, leaving a slight gap in the records (to wit, Restigouche County which ends in 1878). When using these, one should keep in mind that some counties were created from others at different years, and records pre-dating the county division may be available in the records of the parent county. NEHGS has all of these records on microfilm, as well as filmed copies of death certificates to 1951, showing all items of information, and indices to them. While the marriage records, and indices, in the NEHGS collection stop with 1919, the Provincial Archives have indices to 1926. As well, they have marriage bonds from 1810–1932, not yet a part of the NEHGS collection.

    Besides all of the above, the Society has microfilmed copies of all the Delayed Registrations of Births, 1810–1903 [1904–1906 are also available at the Provincial Archives]. These were usually recorded because someone needed a birth certificate for the Old Age Pension and the birth had never been recorded, but there are many filed for other reasons. While the index to these is informative itself, we are also privileged to have copies of all the documentation (affidavits, etc.) that were filed in support of the delayed birth record proving that the birth occurred on the stated date. This documentation often brings to light important new information about the family and clues to new relationships.

    The Department of Vital Statistics and the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick are also to be commended for putting indices to many of their records on the web in a very easy-to-use format, and continually adding to them. There are now even digitized images of many of the records in their holdings. It is nice to see government agencies excited about the records they have created and which are in their possession. The sharing of information is very important. (The home page for the New Brunswick Provincial Archives is located at and their government records database search page is located at

    The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick have also collected and microfilmed a very large number of church records from around the province, and make a number of these films available for inter-library loan. For others, it is possible to view them at the Archives in Fredericton with permission from the church officials. NEHGS has microfilmed copies of a number of the early Acadian parish registers which, of course, include non-Acadians as well if they appear in the records. There are numerous early Irish Catholics, for example, in each of the communities.

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

    NEHGS Member Margaret Sullivan Recognized

    On September 16th, NEHGS member Margaret Sullivan, of West Roxbury, Massachusetts, received the Retired Boston Police Officers Association's St. Michael's Award in a ceremony at police headquarters. Sullivan was recognized for her research that uncovered the first Boston police officers to die in the line of duty. The officers, Jonathan Houghton and David Estes, who were killed in 1825 and 1848 respectively, had been members of the Night Watch, the precursor of the modern police department. As a result of her efforts, the officers' names have been added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and will be added to the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Memorial that is planned for Boston's Pemberton Square. Sullivan is now trying to trace the descendants of the two men.

    Margaret Sullivan's achievements were noted in the September 17th edition of the Boston Herald.

    Gary Boyd Roberts Comments on Princess Diana, Winston Churchill and George Bush

    NEHGS senior research scholar Gary Boyd Roberts was referenced in a story that received widespread attention this week. A press release by, announcing their license to publish British census records from 1841 to 1901 on the Internet, also publicized the fact that Princess Diana, Winston Churchill, and George W. Bush are all distantly related. Their common ancestor was Henry Spencer (1420–1478) of Badby, Northhamptonshire. The press release stated: "According to Gary Boyd Roberts, a genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, Bush is descended from British royalty going as far back as 12th century King Henry I, the son of William the Conqueror".

    WHDH-TV, Boston's NBC affiliate, filmed a brief interview with Mr. Roberts that aired as part of the 5:30 news broadcast on Wednesday, September 18.

    To read the press release, as it appeared on, visit

    The History of the World Trade Center Site

    An article in the September 16th issue of The New Yorker entitled, "The 'Holy Ground': The early history of the World Trade Center site" will be of interest to many, but perhaps particularly to those with early New York Dutch ancestry. In the article, author Cathleen Schine examines the story of those sixteen acres, beginning with the first mention of that particular piece of land in 1625 when a corner of it was part of thirty-three acres set aside to grow food for the colony of the Dutch West India Company.

    The complete article is available online on The New Yorker's website at


    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!

    "The most romantic marriage ever performed in Connecticut"
    By Celia Snyder of Urbana, Illinois

    I would hate to play favorites with my ancestors, but my eighth great-grandfather Jonathan Rudd has a most romantic story associated with his marriage. The story has been published in narrative form numerous times, at least one poem has been written, and a fictionalized version "Clad in Doublet and Hose" was published in the Ladies Home Journal, No. 11, Vol. IX, 1892. The sad part of the story is that the bride has never been identified. There has been much conjecture, but, alas, no proof.

    The following is from Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911), volume four, page 1442.

    "The American ancestor of the Ruds of Bennington, Vermont, and Hoosick, New York, is Lieutenant Jonathan Rudd, who came from England, settled in New Haven, Connecticut, 1640; was freeman of Saybrook, 1644, took oath of allegiance in Hartford, 1651, was of importance in the town of Saybrook, assistant to Captain Mason in the fort there,1652, leather sealer, 1656, and held main public offices of trust. He married, 1646–47, the name unknown, but she was one of the principals in the most romantic marriage ever performed in Connecticut. The wedding day was fixed and a magistrate engaged to perform the ceremony, but a great snowstorm prevented his coming. Application was made to Governor Winthrop, but he, deriving authority from Massachusetts, could not legally marry in Connecticut, but proposed that the contracting parties come to the boundary of the colony, a narrow stream, and he would marry them from the Massachusetts side. This was done, and Winthrop and his friends from Pequot met the bridal party from Saybrook. Here the ceremony was performed 'under the shelter of no roof, by no hospitable fireside, without accommodations, but those furnished by the snow covered earth, over-arching Heaven and perchance the sheltering side of a forest of pines or cedars,' never perhaps was the legal rite performed in a situation so wild and solitary and under circumstances so peculiar and interesting. From that day the little stream has been known as Bride Book. Winthrop in his deposition says: 'And at that time, the place had (received) the denomination of Bride Book.' That a considerable party had assembled is evident from the narrative, and he further says, 'all were well satisfied with what was done.'"

    She "exemplifies what can be achieved"
    By Doug Heath of Wakefield, Massachusetts

    My favorite ancestor is Anne Adams of Braintree, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Boylston Adams and Mary Allen, granddaughter of Ebenezer Adams and Anne Boylston, second cousin of President John Adams, and fifth-generation descendant of Pilgrims John Alden and Priscilla Mullins.

    Born on February 8, 1757, in Braintree, and having lost both her parents by the age of seven, she spent the next eleven years with the family of her uncle, Rev. Zabdiel Adams, in Lunenburg, Massachusetts.

    When she was nineteen, Anne married Josiah Vinton of Braintree on October 24, 1776. She and her husband, a silversmith and farmer, lived the rest of their long lives in Braintree. After bearing twelve children and being married for sixty-seven years, she died of dropsy (edema) on December 18, 1851 at the then-remarkable age of ninety-four years and ten months.

    Anne's long life is significant to me because not only does it span her coming of age in the Massachusetts Bay Colony to her old age in the United States, but it also exemplifies what can be achieved despite losing one's parents at an early age, which must have been traumatic.

    "Sewell loved violins from an early age"
    By Maxine Boyce Buckman of Stow, Massachusetts

    My favorite ancestor is my great-grandfather, S. L. Newton Boyce — adopted at age three. His mother was a Hammond, his father a Newton. His genealogy goes back to William Brewster through Lucretia Caulkins, wife of Rev. Noah Hammond.

    He wrote to his son, Ivan, from Nelson, Arizona, in 1907 saying, "don't put my full name on any more mail as I hate it so badly that no one here or in Col. [Colorado] knew what it is"! Anyway, it was Sewell Leonard and I expect that notion did not remain with him forever.

    Sewell loved violins from an early age and became proficient in playing, making, and teaching that instrument. In Norwich, New York, he founded the Boyce Violin Company in 1894. Violin operations were transferred to Buffalo, New York, and Kalamazoo, Michigan, but being plagued with tuberculosis, he moved on to Arizona, and San Bernardino, California. He lived there with the Barton family who were instrumental in founding that city. While there he continued violin making, repair, and teaching and studied astronomy and microscopy. In 1916 he moved to Clintonville, Connecticut, to live with his son and while there operated a water powered sawmill. He seldom lost at chess and checkers, composed crossword puzzles, and had a deep interest in scientific things according to family records.

    Our family feels fortunate to own many of his violins and we have many papers describing how they were made. We also have letters of his travels across the U.S. which are a fascinating description of times gone by.

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