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  • 2002 Archive

  • Vol. 4, No. 25
    Whole #81
    October 4, 2002

    • New Databases on
    • New Research Articles on
    • An Introduction to Using
    • Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    • Decorative Arts Symposium on The Art of Family — Just Two Weeks Away!
    • New Irish Genealogy Acquisitions
    • Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Online Database
    • New Hampshire Society of Genealogists Fall Meeting
    • Connecticut Society of Genealogists' Seminar
    • Genealogical Society of Vermont Irish Seminar
    • Favorite Ancestor Feedback

    New Databases on

    Boston Sea Fencibles' Signal Roll

    The Boston Sea Fencibles was chartered June 13, 1817 by the Massachusetts legislature. This organization was formed as a naval militia to serve the Commonwealth when needed. Membership was open to those over the age of twenty-one who had commanded a vessel on a foreign voyage or had served as first mate or supercargo on a foreign voyage. This listing gives the names of the members as of August 1824 as well as the number that was to be used on their individual signal flags. The original is in our rare books collection (F71/B82).

    The orderly book for this organization, covering the time from its founding in 1817 to the end of the year 1829, is kept in the NEHGS manuscripts collection (MSS B.B68 v.2). In addition to minutes of meetings and lists of members, this volume contains many original signatures of the members of the organization.

    Search Boston Sea Fencibles' Signal Roll at

    Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636–1850, by James N. Arnold, Volume 7

    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 ten towns.

    Now available:

    Friends' records for the Rhode Island, Providence, Smithfield, Naragansett, and Kingstown Meetings as well as those for the Swansea [Massachusetts] Meeting. Also included are church and minister records for Providence, Warwick, East Greenwich, Bristol, Tiverton, and Newport, Rhode Island.

    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 three new cemeteries located in the following towns: Great Barrington and Newburyport, Massachusetts, and Brooklyn, New York.

    Search cemetery transcriptions from the NEHGS collection at

    Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 Database

    Ten new towns have been added to the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 database this week: Billerica, Hardwick, Harvard, Holden, Kingston, Manchester, Natick, Phillipston, Salisbury, and Upton.

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

    Master Search
    Or master search all databases at

    New Research Articles on

    New York
    New York State Council of Genealogical Organizations (NYSCOGO)
    by Marian S. Henry

    Rhode Island
    Using Arnold's Vital Record of Rhode Island — In Print and Online
    by Maureen A. Taylor

    An Introduction to Using
    October 9, 6 p.m.

    Learn how to use the NEHGS website to advance your research! In this free class, website administrator Darrin McGlinn will offer a step-by-step live demonstration of the Society's website, Participants will explore the site in depth, ask questions, and become more comfortable using a constantly growing number of online databases and research tools.

    The program will be held on October 9 at 6 p.m. in the education center at 101 Newbury Street, Boston. Advance registration is not required. This class will next be offered on Wednesday, November 13, at 11:30 a.m.

    For more information, please call 617-226-1209 or email

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

    The "Genealogy in a Nutshell" series continues with:

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

    • "Mortality in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries" by Marie Daly, on Wednesday, October 9 and Saturday, October 12

    • "Introduction to Royal Descents for Americans" by Gary Boyd Roberts on Wednesday, October 16 and Saturday, October 19

    (Please note that there has been a schedule change — the talks by Marie Daly were originally planned for the 16th and 19th and the talks by Gary Boyd Roberts were originally planned for the 9th and the 12th. )

    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 member services 1-888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday.

    Decorative Arts Symposium on The Art of Family — Just Two Weeks Away!
    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 an additional event 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.

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

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

    New Irish Genealogy Acquisitions

    In light of the recent NEHGS Irish Genealogical Conference, we thought it might be a good time to let members know about some of the Irish genealogy items NEHGS has acquired during the past year for our Research and Circulating Library collections. Titles are listed in call number order. The word "LOAN" in a call number indicates that the item is available for members to borrow from the Circulating Library. Other items may be consulted either by visiting the Research Library or by enlisting the help of our Research Services department. To request items or learn more about them, you can locate the records (along with those for many other Irish genealogy titles) in our online library catalog.

    The John Kelly family history, Ireland, Chatham, Canada
    Author: Norris, Dwane V.
    Publisher: Jackson, Mich.: D. Norris
    Call number: CS71/K29/2001

    McNerney Mc Inereny [i.e. Mc Inerney] genealogy: a family from Glin or Kilfergus Parish, County Limerick, Ireland
    Author: Winkler, Rosemary McNerney, 1944–
    Publisher: Albuquerque, N.M.: Rosemary M. Winkler
    Call number: CS71/M1707/2000

    A guide to local history sources in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
    Author: Bardon, Jonathan, 1941–
    Corp. Author: Northern Ireland. Public Record Office
    Publisher: Belfast: Blackstaff Press
    Call number: Intl. REF CS442/B37/2000 also LOAN

    Register of the Cathedral Church of St. Columb, Derry, 1703–1732
    Register of the Cathedral Church of St. Columb, Derry, 1732-1775
    Author: Thomas, Colin, 1939–
    Corp. Author: Church of Ireland. Representative Church Body. Library
    Call number: CS448/L8/R44/1997
    Call number: CS448/L8/R45/1999

    Ireland: a genealogical guide
    Author: Betit, Kyle J.
    Publisher: Salt Lake City, UT: Irish at Home and Abroad
    Call number: CS483/B476/1998 also LOAN

    Going to Ireland: a genealogical researcher's guide
    Author: Irvine, Sherry
    Publisher: [S.l.]: Ancestry Ireland; Victoria, B.C.: Trafford Pub.
    Call number: CS483/I78/1998

    Irish family history on the web: a directory
    Author: Raymond, Stuart A., 1945–
    Publisher: Bury, Lancashire, U.K.: Federation of Family History Societies (Publications) Ltd.
    Call number: Intl. REF CS484/R39/2001

    Index of Irish wills, 1484–1858 [electronic resource]: records at the National Archives of Ireland
    Corp. Author: Ireland. National Archives. Publisher: Dublin, Ireland: Eneclann
    Call number: Microtext CS497/A1/I63/1999 CD also LOAN

    The 1851 Dublin city census [electronic resource]: Chart's index of households
    Author: Magee, Sean
    Publisher: Eneclann Publications
    Call number: Microtext CS497/D8/M34/2001 CD also LOAN

    The Hurley's of Killinear: the story of the Australian descendants of William and Catherine Hurley from the Townland of Killinear, County Cork, Ireland
    Author: Hurley, Susan
    Publisher: Glen Waverley, Vic.: Susan and Richard Hurley
    Call number: CS2009/H87/1997

    From strangers to citizens: the integration of immigrant communities in Britain, Ireland, and colonial America, 1550–1750
    Author: Vigne, Randolph
    Publisher: London: Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland; Brighton; Portland, Or.: Sussex Academic Press
    Call number: DA125/A1/F76/2001

    Cassell's gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland [electronic resource]: being a complete topographical dictionary of the United Kingdom with numerous illustrations and sixty maps
    Publisher: Pawtucket, R.I.: Quintin Publications
    Call number: Microtext DA625/C344/1998 CD

    Sources for the history of landed estates in Ireland
    Author: Dooley, Terence A. M., 1964–
    Publisher: Dublin; Portland, OR: Irish Academic Press
    Call number: DA905/D57/2000

    Gallon: the history of three townlands in County Tyrone from the earliest times to the present day
    Author: Bradley, William John, 1943–
    Publisher: Derry [Northern Ireland]: Guildhall Press
    Call number: DA990/T9/B73/2000

    Surplus people: the Fitzwilliam clearances, 1847–1856
    Author: Rees, Jim. Publisher: Doughcloyne, Wilton, Cork: Collins
    Call number: DA990/W6/R44/2000 also LOAN

    Christ Church deeds
    Author: McEnery, M. J. (Michael Joseph) Publisher: Dublin: Four Courts Press
    Call number: DA995/D75/C48/2001

    Seanchas Dúthalla
    Corp. Author: Duhallow Historical Society
    Publisher: [Mallow]: Duhallow Historical Society
    Call number: DA995/D914/S43 v.12

    The Fair River Valley: Strabane through the ages
    Author: Bradley, Jim
    Publisher: Belfast: Ulster Historical Foundation, in association with the Strabane History Society
    Call number: DA995/S8/F35/2000

    My wild Irish rose: the life of Rose (Norris) (O'Connor) Fitzhugh and her
    mother Delia (Gordon) Norris: a study in the lives of Irish immigrant women
    in America with a summary of matrilineal generations
    Author: Carmack, Sharon DeBartolo, 1956–
    Publisher: Boston, Mass.: Newbury Street Press
    Call number: E184/I6/C37/2001 also LOAN

    We hardly knew ye: St. Mary's Cemetery, an enduring presence, Saint John,
    New Brunswick
    Author: McDevitt, Mary Kilfoil
    Corp. Author: Irish Canadian Cultural Association of New Brunswick, Saint John Branch
    Call number: F1044.5/S14/M33/1990

    Irish emigration to New England through the port of Saint John, New
    Brunswick, Canada, 1841 to 1849
    Author: Johnson, Daniel F. (Daniel Fred), 1953–
    Publisher: Baltimore, Md.: Clearfield
    Call number: F1045/I6/J64/1996

    The Irish in Newfoundland, 1600–1900: their trials, tribulations, and triumphs
    Author: McCarthy, Michael J., 1932–
    Publisher: St. John's, Nfld.: Creative Publishers
    Call number: F1125/I6/M38/1999 also LOAN

    A new genealogical atlas of Ireland
    Author: Mitchell, Brian
    Publisher: Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub. Co.
    Call number: Intl. REF G1831/F7/M5/2002

    Jean Maguire
    NEHGS Technical Services Librarian

    Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Online Database

    Have you used the GNIS online database in your research? This database, developed by the United States Geological Survey in cooperation with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, is a tremendously helpful tool. The database contains information about almost two million physical and cultural geographic features in the United States, with references to a feature's location by state, county, and geographic coordinates.

    The database can be used to pinpoint a feature's location when you don't know the town, county, or even the state. It is also useful for determining the name of the county in which a town is located.

    To perform a search, go to, scroll down to the heading that reads "query the GNIS online data bases," and click on "United States and Territories." After the search screen appears, you can fill in the "feature name" field and click "send query" to begin a search. (If you want to search only for towns or cities, rather than geographic features, select "civil" in the drop-down menu of the "feature type" field and then search on a feature name.)

    New Hampshire Society of Genealogists Fall Meeting
    October 12, Concord, New Hampshire

    The New Hampshire Society of Genealogists meeting will feature three lectures, an optional lunch, and a business meeting.

    The lectures are:

    • "A Glimpse at Eastern European Family History" by Sigrid Maldonado

    • "Research in Manchester, New Hampshire" by Cynthia O'Neil

    • "Genealogical Web Sites" by Ann Theopold Chaplin

    The meeting will be held at the Grappone Conference Center, 72 Constitution Avenue, Concord.

    For more information about the conference and instructions on how to register, please visit

    Connecticut Society of Genealogists' Seminar
    October 19, North Haven, Connecticut

    Hear NEHGS reference librarian David Allen Lambert speak at the upcoming Connecticut Society of Genealogists' Seminar. Mr. Lambert will give a presentation entitled, "What Happened After the War? Using military pension files in your research."

    The day-long program will also feature three other speakers: Marcia Yanizze Melnyk on "Beyond the Basics," Dianne Bordeaux Lenti on "Strategies for Finding Immigrant Ancestors," and John W. Konvalinka with an "Overview of the Newest, Unusual, and Exciting Web Pages for Genealogists".

    The seminar will take place at Gateway Community College, North Haven Campus, 88 Bassett Road, North Haven.

    For more information, call the Connecticut Society of Genealogists at 1-860-569-0002 or visit

    Genealogical Society of Vermont Irish Seminar
    October 19, Rutland, Vermont

    This seminar will include three lectures on Irish research as well as a morning snack and a buffet lunch. Registration should be made in advance, although a few walk-ins can be accommodated.

    Lecture 1: Kyle J. Betit, Irish Resources at the Family History Library

    Lecture 2: Mary Lee Dunn, Approaching Your Research Through Genealogy and Local History: The Example of Ballykilcline Immigrants to Vermont

    Lecture 3: Kyle J. Betit, North American Church Records of Irish Immigrants

    The seminar will take place at the Rutland Holiday Inn, which is located on U.S. Route 7 just south of downtown Rutland on the west side of the highway. For more information about the lectures, speakers, fees, and registration, visit and click on "Upcoming Events."

    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!

    "How easily the past could come into the present"
    By Iain Sargent Stowe of West Deeping, Lincolnshire, England

    My favourite ancestor is my Great Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Sargent, who married William Stowe in Boston in 1838. She was the eldest daughter of Edward Sargent and his second wife Elizabeth Pratt, having been born in 1816. This much I knew but why, I wondered, were my grandfather, father, and myself all still carrying her name?

    I had seen reference to the possibility of there being a surviving grave marker in Copps Hill Burying Ground in the North End of Boston. So when next in the city, on a bitterly cold early Sunday morning in January, I took a walk around the site. I was soon faced with the impossibility of finding a marker by chance amongst so many hundreds. I gave up and walked down the hill to the Old North Church to warm up. Whilst there I was pointed towards a recently published directory of the Burying Ground and to my surprise she was listed, together with location. Back I went and there it was:

    Elizabeth Sargent Stowe
    in loving memory of a young mother
    Mar 11th 1816 – Jan 6th 1845

    So she had died aged only twenty-eight, leaving behind my great-grandfather, aged five, and two younger siblings. No wonder he had later named his son, my grandfather, after her. I shall always remember standing there in the snow with the Charles River as a backdrop and thinking how easily the past could come into the present.

    "He triumphed over adversity"
    By James W. Cummings of Dixmont, Maine

    Abiel Lovejoy is one of my favorite ancestors; yet can one have a favorite ancestor any more than one can have a favorite child? He was born in 1731 in Andover, Massachusetts, the son of a discredited alcoholic father, Hezekiah Lovejoy and his cousin-wife, Hannah Austin. Filled with the burning desire to restore his family's sullied honor, he turned his back on Andover, married Mary Brown, the daughter of Loyalist tavernkeeper, Nathaniel Brown, and by 1761 had gone into the wild Kennebec [Maine] river country. There he plied the trades of lumberman, sawyer, ship's carpenter, and mariner. He turned his back on the Congregational church in favor of the Baptists as so many of his generation did, his "mansion house" at Vassalborough being the first local meeting house. He was a captain in the British colonial miltia, which combined with his prosperous circumstances, his father-in-law's obvious political leanings and a money swap with Colonel Benedict Arnold — a thousand dollars hard money for thirty thousand dollars in soon-to-be-worthless Colonial Confederation paper script — all contributed to Abiel's remaining at the rank of only private in the Continental Army and his election to the Vassalborough seat of the Commonwealth General Court (i.e. legislature) being dismissed without hearing in 1781 and again in 1782. During this time period, Abiel served as a selectman six times, and was also a member of a three-man commission appointed to establish Thomaston as a mail-drop point in Maine, a successful farmer, a Justice of the Peace, and a sea captain who owned part of a sea-going vessel that often traveled to Jamaica. Naturally no one is complete without faults; he was a slave owner who may well have used his other employees as he did his slaves, he was a snob and on occasion a drunkard, but I admire him because he triumphed over adversity. He died about July 4, 1812, at Sidney, Maine.

    My Favorite Ancestor
    By Garald F. Allen of Midland, Michigan

    At this point my favorite is Ebenezer Allen, who was born in Connecticut in the 1700s and died in Mentz, Cayuga County, New York, on December 20, 1812. I find he is one of a number of Ebenezer Allens born in Connecticut during the 1700s and I think he is my favorite — especially if I can find out which Ebenezer Allen he is.

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