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  • 2002 Archive

  • Vol. 4, No. 3
    Whole #59
    February 8, 2002

    NEHGS Library Closed for Presidents' Day Holiday
    Vote for NEHGS Trustees by Email
    Massachusetts Soldiers in the Colonial Wars Database Now Online
    Register Now for the NEHGS Washington D.C. Research Trip
    Just Released by NEHGS: A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries
    New Research Articles on
    Searching for Royalty in the Register Database
    Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures
    New Bedford Whaling Crew List Index Project
    Connecticut State Library Collection Update

    NEHGS Library Closed for Presidents' Day Holiday

    Please note that the NEHGS Research Library will be closed on Saturday, February 16, in observance of the Presidents' Day holiday. (The library is always closed on Mondays and will therefore also be closed on Monday, February 18, which is Presidents' Day.)

    Vote for NEHGS Trustees by Email

    The nominations for NEHGS Trustees and officers are in and the time to vote is drawing near! We have found that nearly 60 percent of our members have an email address. It would save NEHGS significant printing and postage costs if those members that wish to participate would vote electronically. We will soon be sending detailed instructions on the voting process to each member on our email list.

    If you would be interested in submitting your proxy electronically (via email), rather than receiving a printed ballot, please send your email address to before March 1. Email addresses submitted for voting purposes will not be used for any other solicitations or correspondence. Please note that voting is open to NEHGS members only.

    Massachusetts Soldiers in the Colonial Wars Database Now Online is pleased to announce the addition of a valuable research tool for those with colonial Massachusetts ancestry. Sponsored by the Society of Colonial Wars in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this unique database contains over 40,000 service records for Massachusetts men who fought with the militia during the colonial era.

    This database will contain information on the many altercations from seventeenth-century conflicts up to the Battle of Lexington and Concord that began the American Revolution.

    Originally published in book form between 1975 and 1985, this database offers full searchability of seven volumes of data for the first time. The first four volumes, covering the period through 1763, are now available online.

    This database was produced with a grant from the Society of Colonial Wars in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a member of the General Society of Colonial Wars. The Society of Colonial Wars is a social, genealogical, and historical organization with local societies in thirty states, Washington, D.C., and Great Britain.


    Register Now for the NEHGS Washington D.C. Research Trip
    March 17–24, 2002

    Join NEHGS as we take on our nation's capital city! Delve into the vast resources available at the Daughters of the American Revolution Library, the National Archives, and the Library of Congress. NEHGS staff genealogists David C. Dearborn, Henry B. Hoff, David Allen Lambert, and Gary Boyd Roberts will be available at these three landmark sites for individual assistance and scheduled personal research consultations during the length of the program.

    Enjoy the benefit of working with our experts at the National Archives, with its wealth of census, military, and immigration records, the Daughters of the American Revolution Library with its major collection of printed genealogies and town and county records from all over the country, and the Library of Congress, with its impressive U.S. Local History and Genealogy Reading Room. The staff from these repositories will demystify their collections and acquaint you with the rich resources available. Those already familiar with these libraries will benefit from talks by our three invited speakers, who will reacquaint participants with the repositories as well as offer updates on the collections. At least one member of our staff will always be on hand to help with questions or concerns at each site.

    A shuttle bus will take participants between all three repositories and the hotel during specified morning and evening hours each day. Hotel accommodations will be at the Hotel Washington, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The hotel is located near many of the capital's famous monuments, a major shopping mall, and the city's famously efficient and clean underground rail system. Register early to guarantee a place in our program.

    For more information please call, toll-free, 1-888-286-3447 ext. 202, or email

    Just Released by NEHGS: A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries

    All those researching Massachusetts ancestors will be pleased to learn about the publication of an invaluable new handbook, A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries, by NEHGS microtext librarian David Allen Lambert.

    This helpful reference contains:
    • cemetery names
    • year of the consecration of the cemetery, or the oldest known gravestone, or the earliest burial
    • location of the cemetery
    • printed and manuscript sources for the cemetery
    • contact information for the office affiliated with the cemetery

    The book contains many previously undocumented burial grounds as well as citations to published transcriptions of gravestone listings in places such as the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, and in collections such as the official Massachusetts Vital Records series to the end of 1850. A must for those with ties to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts!

    Item #S2-62380, soft-cover, 272 pages, $17.95 plus $4 shipping and handling.

    To purchase A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries, call, toll-free, 1-888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday. If you have questions, email the sales department at

    New Research Articles on

    Introduction to French-Canadian Research
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Canadian specialist Michael J. Leclerc gives the inside scoop on primary resources available to French-Canadian researchers. He provides tips for accessing the records of local parishes, which were charged by the provincial government with recording births, marriages, and deaths. In addition, you will discover many comprehensive index sources compiled by individual genealogists and societies from original parish, census, and other source material. The article covers all of these important source materials and lets you in on a few secrets about getting the most out of these resources. This "Introduction to French-Canadian Research" provides all of the essential information needed to begin your excursion into French-Canadian genealogy. Bonne chance!

    "French-Canadians and their Franco-American descendants interested in genealogy are very lucky indeed. The records of Québec are among the best in the world. With the exception of minor rebellions, no major war has been fought on Québec soil since the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in the mid-eighteenth century. Because of diligent reporting practices, most parish registers have survived. And major genealogical research has been conducted for over a century."

    The Computer Genealogist:
    Researching Online: Separating Fact From Fiction
    by Rhonda R. McClure welcomes the debut column of Rhonda McClure, author of two popular books on computers and genealogy, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy and The Genealogist's Computer Companion. In "Researching Online: Separating Fact From Fiction", Rhonda McClure outlines the various processes that are used to publish databases on the Internet and warns of the pitfalls that can occur when researchers take online information as the final word. You will discover the pros and cons of manual entry, Optical Character Recognition software, and digititized image scans - in additional to details on how these processes work. As with all genealogical research, it is best to understand the big picture before pursuing the data, and this column will answer the question that many online genealogists ask: Where did the information come from and how did it get to the Internet?

    "For some reason, online researchers often do not apply the same rule of thumb to published family history web pages as they would to a published book. It is just as important, nay, more important, to see the sources used in compiling a family history web page. If sources are not provided, one should try to determine where the data came from and how it was digitized for inclusion on the Internet."

    Manuscript Family Records in Connecticut
    by Barbara Jean Mathews, C.G.

    Manuscript records are essential to research since they often contain material that may not exist anywhere else. Barbara Mathews takes you on a virtual tour through five often overlooked Connecticut repositories featuring manuscript collections. From the pedigree charts at the Connecticut Society of Genealogists to the local history scrapbooks at the Cyrenius Booth Library in Newtown, you may find that these collections hold the key to your family puzzle!

    "For people working on Connecticut families, there are several places to find the research of other genealogists in the form of pedigrees, reports, and documents. The most famous of these must be the Ancestral File at the Latter-day Saints' Family Search website. This column, however, will describe the more old-fashioned manuscript resources available at five repositories in Connecticut."

    Maine Research:
    Research Report: The Pursuit of the Nathan Longfellow Family
    by Russell C. Farnham, C.G.

    Member Submissions:
    The Family History Library in Salt Lake City: Moving into the Twenty-First Century
    By Maryan Egan-Baker

    Coming soon:

    New York Research:
    Development of Prattsburg, New York
    by Marian Henry, PhD

    New Hampshire Research:
    Early New Hampshire Town Records
    by Edward F. Holden

    New column:
    African American Research
    by Beth Bowers

    Searching for Royalty in the Register Database

    Are you researching royalty? If so, here's a tip you should know about researching royalty in the Register online database. Members of royal families were indexed by their first names. Therefore, in order to find any "royals", you should enter the first name in the last name field, not the first name field. For example, to find Henry V of England enter "Henry V" in the last name field, leaving the first name field blank.


    Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures

    This season's "Genealogy in a Nutshell" series continues with two new lectures:

    • "Basic English Research, 1300–1600" on Wednesday, February 13

    • "Crossing from Canada: The St. Albans Border Crossing Records" on Wednesday, February 20

    Both lectures take place at 10 a.m. There is no need to register in advance.

    To register or inquire about our programs, please contact the Education Department, toll-free, at 1-888-286-3447, ext. 202, or email

    New Bedford Whaling Crew List Index Project

    The New Bedford Free Public Library has initiated a five-year project to construct and make available on the Internet a comprehensive index to whaling crew lists of the New Bedford Custom District for the years 1800–1925. The first year of this project was supported in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Historical Records Advisory Board and the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, William Francis Galvin. The project is being coordinated by the New Bedford Free Public Library Archives Department, which is committed to the preservation of the original documents in its care while increasing access to information.

    Currently the database contains information from crew lists, whalemen shipping papers, and written contracts with the crew for the period 1807–1850. The original documents are held in the New Bedford Free Public Library's Archives Department collection. Information from complementary collections at the National Archives in Waltham, Massachusetts, and the New Bedford Whaling Museum/Kendall Institute is also included.

    The search capabilities allow genealogists to retrieve useful information with minimal effort. Searches are possible on first and last name, birthplace or residence at time of embarkation, vessel name, departure date, whaling ground, port of registry, rank, keyword in the remarks field, or multiple combinations of these. For each crewmen's record, fields include last and first name, age, residence or birthplace, height, eye color, hair color, skin color, station or rank in the crew, remarks, vessel name, rigging type, port of registry, whaling ground, date of sailing, date of return and repository of source documents.

    The remarks field is especially significant because it might contain information from original attachments to the whalemen shipping papers. Attachments consist of supplemental information registered with custom house agents at ports visited throughout the voyage. Information such as discharges, desertions, new enlistments, promotions, deaths, missing crew, mutinies, arrests, etc. were recorded by the customs agent of the indicated port. This information is useful for someone searching for men who joined a whaler at some point after the voyage began – typically Brava in Cape Verde, the Azores, or the Sandwich Islands. With the database it is also easier to trace men who were discharged or deserted during the course of a voyage, since the remarks field will indicate date and place of discharge or desertion.

    Updates and new records will be loaded periodically. The crew list index is available free of charge through the New Bedford Free Public Library's home page and can be accessed by clicking on "Whaling Voyages Crew List" on the left side of the screen and entering your state, zip code, or country on the database's welcome screen.

    Connecticut State Library Collection Update

    Due to the increasing space shortage at the 231 Capitol Ave. building in Hartford and due to the need to consolidate collections stored at other locations, the Connecticut State Library is moving some of its archival and library collections to an offsite storage facility. Following the move, collections housed offsite will be retrieved for patron use daily, when requested.

    The Connecticut State Library will remain open during the move; however, substantial portions of the archival collections, along with parts of the book, periodicals, and original newspaper collections will be unavailable for up to a ten-week period between February 18, 2002 and April 22, 2002. During this period researchers are advised to contact 860-757-6500 and/or check the Library's website at to determine the availability of items prior to visiting the State Library.

    The following collections will be closed:

    • Most collections in the State Archives. This includes records of most state agencies, including records of the General Assembly, Governors, the Judicial Department, the Military Department, and 1970 aerial photos. The last day to access these collections and request photocopies is Friday, February 15, 2002. Most of these collections will remain closed until the end of March. Beginning in
    early April, portions of these collections will be reopened, with additional collections made available over the next few weeks.

    Portions of the following collections may be temporarily unavailable (2–3 days) during parts of the move period:

    • Original newspapers.

    • Items designated "Off Site" in the State Library's on-line catalog

    The following collections will remain open throughout the period of the move:

    • Most library collections, including genealogy, history, law, maps, newspaper microfilms, and state and federal documents.

    • 1934, 1951, and 1965 aerial photographs.

    • Most original church records and probate records, account books, diaries, Colonial Dames old house survey, and the Gov. Jonathan Trumbull Papers.

    The library apologizes in advance for any inconvenience these closures may

    To contact the History and Genealogy Unit of the Connecticut State Library, call 860-757-6580 or visit

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