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  • 2002 Archive

  • Vol. 4, No. 29
    Whole #85
    November 1, 2002

    • New Look for Master Search Page
    • New Databases on
    • New Research Articles on
    • Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    • An Introduction to Using at NEHGS in Boston
    • Looking for a Way to Publicize your Book or Service?
    • Brenton Simons of NEHGS to speak on "The Art of Family" in Philadelphia
    • Automatic Membership Renewal Clarification
    • From the Volunteer Coordinator
    • A Brief History of the Circulating Library
    • Postal Address Reminder for Members
    • November Highlights: A Thanksgiving Exhibit and a Mayflower Website
    • Lecture on King Philip's War to be Held in Acton, Massachusetts
    • Favorite Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    New Look for Master Search Page

    This week we present our newly redesigned master search page on Our rapidly-growing collection of individual databases are now sensibly grouped under specific categories, enabling you to easily search for information. In addition, we have greatly increased the number of search options available. You may now select specific categories, individual databases, or all databases. You may also choose to select more than one category or database to search from at once, or a combination of categories and databases. Just click on the gray "+" box to reveal the names of the databases within each category. New categories will be created as different types of content are added.

    Try our new master search page now at

    New Databases on

    List of Voters for Town Officers in the Town of Kennebunkport — March 1833

    With election day just around the corner, we offer this database of voters for officers of the town of Kennebunkport, Maine. In 1833 those who wished to vote had to pay a poll tax. In addition, the polls were only open to males. Included in this database are town residents who registered to vote in this election. Please note that several names in this manuscript were crossed out and a few symbols — primarily x's and o's — were written next to many of the names. There is no indication in the original manuscript as to what the symbols represent or why names were crossed out.

    Search the database at

    Family Genealogies

    This week we have added the Northrup-Northrop Genealogy, A Record of the Known Descendants of Joseph Northrup, Who Came From England in 1631, and Was One of the Original Settlers of Milford, Conn., in 1639, by A. Judd Northrup.

    Search Family Genealogies at

    Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636–1850, by James N. Arnold, Volume 11

    We continue to add new volumes of Arnold's Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636–1850 to our database. Volume 11 contains records of churches in the towns and villages of of Westerly, Richmond, Cross Mills, South Kingstown, Pawcatuck, Newport, Providence, Rockville, Quidnesset, and East Greenwich. Also included in this volume are the marriage records of Justice of the Peace Joshua Babcock of North Stonington, Connecticut.

    Search Vital Record of Rhode Island 1636–1850 at

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    This week we have added transcriptions from cemeteries in the New Hampshire towns of Alexandria and Alstead; the Vermont towns of Wardsboro, Stratton, Jamaica, and Dover; Ridgefield, Connecticut; South Chatham, Massachusetts; and Athens, Maine.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    New Research Articles on

    Rhode Island
    Help Wanted: Researching the Employment History of Your Ancestors
    by Maureen A. Taylor  

    Topic of the Month
    Writing as You Research: A Problem-Solving Tool Your Family Will Appreciate
    by Patricia Law Hatcher

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

    The "Genealogy in a Nutshell" series continues with:

    • "Congregational Church Records: Less Than Meets the Eye" by Dr. Harold Worthley on Saturday, November 2

    • "Book, CD, or Web? Which Medium Fits Which Publication" by D. Brenton Simons on Wednesday, November 6 and Saturday, November 9

    • "The 1930 Census: Ins and Outs" by Walter Hickey on Wednesday, November 13 and Saturday, November 16

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

    An Introduction to Using at NEHGS in Boston
    November 13, 11:30 a.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, This class gives participants the opportunity to 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 November 13 at 11:30 a.m. in the education center at 101 Newbury Street, Boston. Advance registration is not required.

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

    Looking for a Way to Publicize your Book or Service?

    If you are looking for a way to publicize your genealogical book or service, consider advertising in New England Ancestors, the popular NEHGS magazine. Each issue of New England Ancestors reaches over 20,000 NEHGS members.

    Our winter 2003 issue, due to be mailed in late January, is the first of five issues to be published in 2003. You can advertise in a single issue or receive added benefits when you commit to all five issues. Year-long advertisers enjoy substantial savings, as well as featured text and a website link on You will also have the option to pay in five installments and to change your ad copy during the year.

    Our next New England Ancestors advertising deadline is December 2. Don't worry if you don't have formatted or camera-ready copy — just send us the text and we will format it for you. Our ad sizes range from a full page to a sixteenth of a page so we can accommodate whatever is most appropriate for your material.

    For more information about advertising in New England Ancestors, including reader demographics and rates, please visit

    If you have questions or if you would like to reserve ad space in the magazine, please contact Lynn Betlock at

    Brenton Simons of NEHGS to speak on "The Art of Family" in Philadelphia
    November 14, 1:30 p.m.

    D. Brenton Simons, assistant executive director of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, will present an illustrated lecture on "The Art of Family" at the fall meeting of the Pennsylvania Society of New England Women. The lecture will examine the relationship between the decorative arts and genealogy, and will reference the themes presented in the 2002 NEHGS publication, The Art of Family: Genealogical Artifacts in New England, edited by D. Brenton Simons and Peter Benes.

    The public is welcome to attend this event for a $5 fee. If you would like to attend, you must make a reservation with Mrs. Winthrop Schwab by calling 610-645-8678. The meeting and tea will take place at Historic Strawberry Mansion, Fairmount Park East, 33rd and Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia.

    Automatic Membership Renewal Clarification

    The response to the new Automatic Membership Renewal program (as announced in last week's enewsletter) has been very positive! I would like to thank our members for suggesting this program, and for supporting it.

    I wanted to take this opportunity to clarify participation in the program. It not necessary to renew your membership at this time to participate in the program. If you are not due for renewal for several months, you can contact us by phone to provide us with your account information, which we will store until it is time for your membership to be renewed. Please do not send credit card information to us via email; while our web server is secure and all web-based transactions are secure, email messages are not secure and should not include your credit card number.

    New or renewing Society members can choose to participate in the program by visiting our website or calling our Member Services staff at 1-888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.

    If you would like additional information on this program, please contact Thomas McKenna, director of member services, 1-888-296-3447, ext. 305, or email

    —Thomas McKenna, director of member services

    From the Volunteer Coordinator

    November is a busy month at NEHGS. We will have a brown bag lunch at Framingham on Thursday, November 14, at 12:00 noon. These lunches provide volunteers with a time to meet each other, discuss experiences and ideas, and express any concerns about the volunteer work. A staff member will join us, and I will provide dessert and beverages. I hope that this one will be fun, and that those volunteers who do go to Framingham can manage that date.

    We also will have a brown bag lunch at 101 Newbury Street on Wednesday, November 20, at 12:30 p.m. We haven't had a lunch in Boston for several months, and some of the volunteers who come in to the library have asked me when the next one will be. We normally schedule this for the last Wednesday of every other month, but the day before Thanksgiving is unsuitable for most people. A staff member will join us here as well to share information about the progress of a project.

    Our group of long-distance volunteers is growing! Communication is so important when one is working at home, and I do want to make sure that these volunteers are comfortable with their instructions and projects, and are able to contact me with any concerns. We hope that our volunteers enjoy these projects! I can be contacted at or at 617-226-1276.

    Thank you,

    Susan Rosefsky, Volunteer Coordinator

    A Brief History of the Circulating Library

    It is difficult to ascertain when the New England Historic Genealogical Society first loaned a book to a member for use at home. A statement in an old annual report referred to book loan as a ". . . function. . . [that] has been in operation throughout its entire history. . ." An in-depth search of old annual reports give a glimpse of how the circulating library evolved over the years.

    The library began to accumulate duplicate copies of books frequently requested by its members, and these were made available for loan. By 1915 many members availed themselves of these copies to work on the compilation of family genealogies at home. This activity quickly became a favorite benefit to those members who lived some distance from the Society's headquarters. This service actually helped to broaden the membership to people who lived at distance from the Boston office. Members were encouraged to donate duplicate copies of their family genealogies to augment the loan collection.

    During the Depression years, twenty percent of the membership borrowed books and the loan service had become one of the most important functions of the library. By 1940, borrowing books was so popular it required three librarians to process the orders. In 1950, nearly 10,000 books were shipped to members all over the country.

    Members who borrowed books by mail paid roundtrip shipping costs and were responsible for replacing the books if they were lost. In 1961 a small transaction fee was instituted. The first circulating library catalogs were published in 1976, and credit card payment was introduced in 1991.

    The most innovative change took place in 1996 when the entire library collection was bar-coded. This dramatically changed the way the circulating library operated. Book orders could be processed and tracked quickly and efficiently. Members received their books sooner and more orders could be handled per day. Another innovation made the order form available online for the first time. Telephone orders began the following year.

    The circulating library's collection has grown through the years to over 30,000 volumes. New books, microfilms, and other media are continuously being added. With the advent of our website,, the complete holdings went online for the first time. Furthermore, a member can now avoid having books placed on reserve by using the "copies" button to check a book's status. Our online system is easy to use and allows for secure financial transactions. Updated printed catalogs are produced every two years.

    As we go forward, the circulating library will continue to grow to serve the needs of NEHGS members. We always welcome suggestions by our patrons for additions to the collection and ideas to improve our ordering process.

    For more information on the circulating library, please visit If you have questions, please email or call 1-888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday.

    Alex Woodle, Circulating Library Director

    Postal Address Reminder for Members

    As we passed the one year anniversary of our move to our Framingham facility, our postal service mail forwarding order from our previous address expired. If you are sending a letter to our Framingham facility (where the membership, sales, and circulating library departments have offices), please use the following address:

    NEHGS [department name]
    P.O. Box 5089
    Framingham, MA 01701-5089

    If you are returning circulating library books or sending a package, please use this address:

    NEHGS [department name]
    1 Watson Place
    Framingham, MA 01701

    November Highlights: A Thanksgiving Exhibit and a Mayflower Website

    Thanksgiving: Memory, Myth, & Meaning

    Plimoth Plantation, in Plymouth, Massachusetts, has a new indoor exhibit — Thanksgiving: Memory, Myth, & Meaning — that will take visitors through four centuries of the Thanksgiving holiday, all the way back to the original 1621 harvest celebration. The exhibit will begin with contemporary celebrations of the holiday and continue backwards in time, peeling back layers of popular culture, observance, meaning, and myth to let viewers see the history of this holiday. The exhibit's main focus will be an immersion in 1621. Visitors will experience the sights and sounds of that long-ago harvest celebration through the eyes of the Wampanoag as well as the Plymouth colonists. Drawing on written, oral, and archeological sources as well as years of reconstruction of artifacts and sites, the exhibit aims to present history based on all perspectives, not just a single view. For more about this exhibit, visit

    Caleb Johnson's Mayflower Web Pages

    Readers with an interest in Plymouth colony history will find much to explore at Caleb Johnson's Mayflower Web Pages. This website allows you to view:

    • Passenger lists of the Mayflower (1620), the Fortune (1621), and the Anne (1623)
    • Ahistory of the Mayflower, and information about the crew and voyage
    • Documents such as the Mayflower Compact and the peace treaty with Massasoit
    • All known wills of Mayflower passengers
    • Contemporary writings by and about the Pilgrims
    • Historical information that helps put the Pilgrim story into context
    • Information on common Mayflower myths and common Mayflower genealogy hoaxes

    The above list is just a sampling of the information contained on this website. And there will be even more to view in 2003. The site's author, Caleb Johnson, says he is planning to move the site to its own domain this coming year, with vastly updated material.

    The Mayflower Web Pages site is located at

    Lecture on King Philip's War to be Held in Acton, Massachusetts
    November 9, 2002

    The Middlesex Chapter of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists will present a lecture by author Michael Tougias entitled, "King Philip's War: The History and Legacy of America's Forgotten Conflict" on Saturday, November 9 at 1:30 p.m. The talk will take place at the Acton Memorial Library in Acton, Massachusetts. (The library is located at 486 Main Street — Route 27). This event is free and open to the public.

    If you have questions, please call 508-485-3275 or 617-527-1312.

    For more information on the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, 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!

    Two family witches
    By Jean Owens of Landsdale, Pennsylvania

    Picking a favorite ancestor is a very tall order, so instead I have picked a favorite — but long and convoluted — story that I am sure has happened in many families with New England ancestors who arrived early and fanned out to settle New England and other parts of the country. To begin with in this season of Halloween I have chosen two family witches, Susanna North Martin and Mary Perkins Bradbury. Susanna was an ancestor on my grandfather's side of the family and Mary on my grandmother's. Actually, our direct descent is through sisters of these women. On my grandmother's side of the family we also count amongst our ancestors the Colbys, Sargents, and Bagleys. It is interesting that Orlando Bagley was the constable who arrested Susanna North Martin. The Sargents had accused her of witchcraft earlier in her life and been involved in a lawsuit over the matter. It seems likely that all of these people were acquainted with one another. Mary Perkins was more fortunate than Susanna in that she survived the ordeal by being rescued by family and friends and died in 1700 at the ripe old age of 85.

    Eventually, people moved on. The North descendents went to Rhode Island and the name turned into Gardner. The Gardners moved to Pownal, Vermont, and eventually Otsego County, New York, where Margaret Marilla Gardner married Lewis D. Smith; that was my grandfather's side. The people on my grandmother's side followed a different route. They migrated to New Hampshire and Maine and eventually Oneida County, New York, and areas farther to the north. Names changed again and eventually Mary Edna Morse was born in Oneida County. She also had relatives in Otsego County and eventually married George Smith. It took from the 1600s until 1910 to unite in marriage people who had actually started out in the same place in this country. I have always been fascinated by history, but being able to relate it to my own family makes it come alive. I'm sure that over time I will discover more of the interesting details of my family's background. I can't wait!!!

    He "contributed to the advancement of the neighborhood"
    By Claire C. Louden of Scottsdale, Arizona

    My favorite ancestor is Abraham Hazelton Read (1821–1892), born in Canada to Lotan and Elvira (Hutchins) Read. Fourth in a family of ten children, he came with his parents to Crawford County, Pennsylvania, in 1835. Here he helped clear land, purchased land, married the Scotch-Irish Lenora Allen, then with his wife and three children, left for Wisconsin in 1857.

    After spending three years in Grant County, he joined a small wagon train, forded the Mississippi River at Dubuque, Iowa, and continued on to Linn County, Missouri, where he is listed as a "laborer" in the 1860 census with possessions valued at $270. In 1862, he purchased eighty acres of land for $6.25 per acre.

    Finding wealthy slave-holding neighbors to the south, and conditions in this border state most unsettling, he took his family to Illinois, a free state, and remained there until after the close of the Civil War.

    Upon his return to Missouri, the original land purchase was sold for $11.25 an acre, and about 200 acres was acquired one and a half miles west. This turned out to be adjacent to the village of Forker and later, on the railroad — an ideal location. For a short time, A.H. Read owned the general store, helped build the community meeting house, and contributed to the advancement of the neighborhood.

    A structure, used as a home for the family, was erected along with a deep well for family and livestock. Sheds and other necessary buildings were built in due time.

    In 1877, the site for a new dwelling house was chosen about 400 feet east of the original structure, which, in turn became the barn. (Yankee ingenuity!) The new house had shutters on the windows, a one-room basement, and eave-spouting, which piped water in a cistern, furnishing water for household use. Drinking water still had to be carried from the deep well, some distance from the house.

    The youngest son became a victim of a drowning accident at age seventeen. The oldest son and the daughter were each given eighty acres of land, free and clear, when they were about twenty-one years of age. The son expanded his holdings, raised a large family, and now sixth-generation descendants live in the vicinity of this ancestor's foresight, thrift and hours of labor.

    The "being difficult" gene
    By Sharri Whiting of Amsterdam, Netherlands

    My late father was an irascible man, something that was whispered to "run in the family." When I began reading the records of the town of Dedham, [Massachusetts], I found evidence of that irascibility in the late 1630s, when my favorite ancestor, Nathaniel Whiting, grumbled that his mill at Mother Brook was being threatened by competition. Old Nathaniel turned up several times in those archives, always with his prickly personality showing through. He must have passed the "being difficult" gene down over three centuries to my father who passed it to . . . .

New England Historic Genealogical Society
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