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  • 2002 Archive

  • Vol. 4, No. 37
    Whole #93
    December 27, 2002

    • New Databases on
    • New Research Articles on
    • Now Available in Print! Great Migration Newsletter, Volume 11
    • Last Chance to Save 10% on NEHGS CD-ROMS!
    • The Winter Research Getaway to NEHGS
    • The NEHGS Summer Conference 2003 in Boston - Sneak Peek #1
    • Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    • Holiday Hours at the NEHGS Research Library
    • Subscribe to the Great Migration Newsletter - in Print or Online
    • Sources in the NEHGS Library for New England Families in Stanstead County, Québec, Part 1
    • Favorite Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    The Social Security Death Index!

     We are pleased to announce the addition of the Social Security Death Index to our growing list of databases. The SSDI, taken from the U.S. Social Security Administration's Death Master File, is one of the key resources available to genealogists today. It contains those individuals who were assigned Social Security numbers and whose death was reported to the SSA. It contains the names of almost seventy million individuals, most of whose deaths were recorded after 1965.

    Access to the SSDI is free to all who visit

    Search The Social Security Death Index at /research/database/ss

    Vital Records of Madison, Connecticut

    These town records were transcribed by Louise R. Allen in 1935 and represent the years 1718 to 1890. The typescript is kept in the R. Stanton Avery Collections, call number MSS CT MAD 14.

    Search Vital Records of Madison, Connecticut at /research/database/madisonvr

    Record of Deaths in Guilford, Connecticut, 1883-1890

    Alvin Bates Palmer was born May 19, 1825 in Cornwall, Connecticut. He was the son of Dr. Abram Foote Palmer and his third wife, Jemima Hartshorn. He married Delia A. Dean, daughter of Zera Dean and Betsey Hull, 10 Nov 1847 in Cornwall. They had five children. He was a carpenter and furnituremaker.

    About 1880 he moved his family from Cornwall to Guilford in New Haven County where he lived the rest of his life. He and Delia are buried in the West Side Cemetery in Guilford. From 1883 to 1890 he kept notes on deaths of individuals in Guilford. A typescript of these records is in the manuscript collection, call number MSS CT GUI 8.

    Search Record of Deaths in Guilford, Connecticut at /research/database/guilforddeaths

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    This week we have added transcriptions from cemeteries in the towns of Attleboro and Mt. Washington, Massachusetts; and South Waldoboro, Maine.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    Master Search

    Or master search all databases at

    New Research Articles on

    Canadian Church Records

    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Royal Descents, Notable Kin, and Printed Sources
    New England Ancestors of Depression-Era Novelist John Steinbeck
    by Gary Boyd Roberts

    Now Available in Print! Great Migration Newsletter, Volume 11

    The Great Migration Newsletter, Volume 11, comprises the four online issues for the year 2002 bound together in one booklet. These volumes were available only on our website throughout the year. This thirty-two page booklet is priced at $17.50 (postage included) and is available from our online store. In addition to the regular features "Editor's Effusions" and "Recent Literature," the following articles are included in Volume 11:

    Generational Patterns
    Focus on Migration Patterns of Northampton and Lebanon, CT
    The Trouble with Thomas Holbrook
    Focus on Juries (Grand Jury, Petit Jury, Coroner's Jury)
    Focus on Watertown (Grants of Land, Inventories of Land, Proprietary Shares)
    What Makes a Good Compiled Genealogy?

    To order, visit, phone toll-free 1-888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday, or write to NEHGS Sales Dept., P.O. Box 5089, Framingham, MA 01701-5089. If you have questions, please email

    Last Chance to Save 10% on NEHGS CD-ROMS!

    The end of the year is fast approaching, which means the 10% off sale for all NEHGS CD-ROMs is also about to end. This sale ends on December 31, so don't miss out on the opportunity to save on the following valuable resources:

    Now $35.99 (reg. $39.99)

    • Plymouth Court Records 1686-1859
    • Vital Records of Springfield, Massachusetts to 1850
    • The Records of the Churches of Boston
    • Bible Records from the manuscript collections of the New England Historic Genealogical Society
    • Records of Barnstable, Massachusetts
    • Genealogies of the Families of Braintree, Massachusetts 1640-1850
    • Inhabitants and Estates of the Town of Boston 1630-1800 and The Crooked and Narrow Streets of Boston 1630-1822 by Annie Haven Thwing

    Now $44.99 (reg. $49.99)

    • Bond's Genealogies and Families of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts

    Now $62.99 (reg. $69.99)

    • The Search For Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in The Boston Pilot 1831-1920

    Now $80.99 (reg. $89.99)

    • New England Marriages Prior to 1700 by Clarence A. Torrey

    For more information on these titles, please visit our Electronic Publications area at To order, please visit our online store at or call toll-free 1-888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday.

    This sale ends Tuesday, December 31, 2002, so act now!

    The Winter Research Getaway to NEHGS
    Offered twice this winter: February 27-March 1, 2003 and March 13-16, 2003

    NEHGS invites you to enjoy a research getaway at our library, one of the finest facilities for genealogical research in the country. Escape the winter doldrums by joining us for guided research, personal one-on-one consultations with our esteemed librarians, morning lectures and special access to the library when it is normally closed to the public. All serious genealogists should treat themselves to this special program and enjoy the opportunity to share discoveries and swap stories with other avid researchers from all over the country. Whether you are a first-time participant or have enjoyed this program in the past, you are sure to further your research by visiting our library in Boston. Don't miss this opportunity to utilize the research expertise of our outstanding library staff and the exceptional resources we have available at our facility.

    Participants of this program will enjoy:

    • A thorough orientation of all four floors of the library
    • Daily lectures on new sources, research and methodology
    • One-on-one personal research consultations and guided research in the NEHGS library
    • A small group (35 people), which allows for plenty of individual attention
    • Quality accommodations just blocks away from the NEHGS library, in a quiet corner in the Copley Square area
    • A special farewell reception in the Richardson-Sloane Education Center

    Program Lectures

    Winter Research Getaway I:
    How to Avoid Mistakes in Genealogical Writing, Henry B. Hoff, CG, FASG
    Crossing the Line: The St. Albans INS Records, George F. Sanborn, Jr., FASG, FSA (Scot.)

    Winter Research Getaway II:
    Making the Most of Torrey's New England Marriages, David C. Dearborn, FASG
    Using Cemetery Records for Genealogical Research, David Allen Lambert

    Hotel Accommodations

    The lodging for the Winter Research Getaway will be at the John Hancock Conference Center, near Copley Square, and just three short blocks from NEHGS. This hotel is located in the heart of Boston's historic Back Bay district and provides comfortable and quiet rooms, morning coffee service, and guest laundry facilities. There are various restaurants, cafes, shops, and a supermarket nearby, as well as the Boston Public Library.

    If you would prefer to make your own lodging arrangements, you are welcome to join our program as a "commuter." In doing so, you will still benefit from our program by enjoying the lectures, consultations with our staff, and research time in our library, but will pay a reduced registration fee that does not include lodging.

    Program Fees
    Double: $390
    Single: $590
    Commuter (no hotel provided): $200

    For more information, please contact or call 1-888-286-3447, ext. 226.

    The NEHGS Summer Conference 2003 in Boston - Sneak Peek #1
    New England Research in the Early 21st Century, July 11 & 12, 2003

    In this and the next two issues of the eNews we offer some highlights of the upcoming NEHGS summer 2003 conference in Boston. If you are planning to visit Boston this summer, or have been looking for an excuse to, this could be your great opportunity. Registration begins in January!

    The opening session on Friday morning will be a general meeting for all attendees and include a special presentation by the Society's executive director Ralph J. Crandall, "Geography, Religion, and Warfare: Why People Moved Within Colonial New England." It will be followed by two days of lectures with a total of eighteen topics from which to choose. There will be something for everyone!

    In addition to traditional "theater-style" lectures, there will be lighter fare presented to compliment each of the three optional conference meals. At Friday's luncheon NEHGS assistant executive director D. Brenton Simons gives diners his take on "Boston Scandals: Misbehavior, Deviance, and Crime in the 17th and 18th Centuries," while educational services coordinator Laura Prescott will entertain with an insider's look at NEHGS resources at Saturday's luncheon with "And to Think I Saw It on Newbury Street: Treasures from the NEHGS Collection." A high point of the conference will be New England's own Dick Eastman who will address the Friday dinner audience with his unique insights into New England, genealogy, and the digital world.

    Focus on states
    Every New England state will have a place on the program and we won't forget New York, either, since many New England families are connected in some way to our neighboring state to the west.

    As you will note in the following list, we've got your states covered! These speakers are pros when it comes to researching the states in which your forebears lived. Detailed descriptions of each topic and speaker biographies will be posted on in January.

    • Connecticut: "Genealogical Research in Colonial Connecticut" with Barbara Mathews, CG
    • New Hampshire: "Genealogical Research in the Granite State" with George F. Sanborn, Jr., FASG, FSA (Scot.)
    • Vermont: "Researching Your Vermont Families" with Scott Andrew Bartley
    • Massachusetts: "Just Beyond Newbury Street: Family Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society" with Peter Drummey
    • Rhode Island: "Connecting to Rhode Island" with Maureen A. Taylor
    • Maine: "Maine: Not as Difficult as You May Think" with David C. Dearborn, FASG
    • New York: "Upstate New York Research" with Henry B. Hoff, CG, FASG

    For more information, and the complete list of conference topics, please watch for future announcements in this newsletter or email

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

    A new series of "Genealogy in a Nutshell" lectures begins the second week of January with:

    • "The Mill English of the 19th Century" by David Dearborn on Wednesday, January 8 and Saturday, January 11
    • "Establishing Genealogical Proof: When is Enough?" by Marshall Kirk on Wednesday, January 15 and Saturday, January 18

    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.

    Holiday Hours at the NEHGS Research Library

    Note the special holiday hours in the NEHGS Research Library:

    • Tuesday, December 31 - Early closing at 3 p.m.
    • Wednesday, January 1 - Closed for New Year's Day

    To see a full listing of operating hours and holiday closings go to

    Subscribe to the Great Migration Newsletter - in Print or Online

    We are pleased to announce that beginning with Volume 12 of the Great Migration Newsletter, we will offer NEHGS members the choice of either subscribing to the newsletter online or receiving a printed version of each issue as it is published. Members may choose to receive either the electronic subscription for only $10 per year (which includes bonus biographical sketches unavailable in the print version) or the quarterly printed version for $20 per year.

    To subscribe, visit

    Sources in the NEHGS Library for New England Families in Stanstead County, Québec, Part 1

    By George F. Sanborn Jr., FASG, FSA (Scot.), Reference Librarian

    Beginning in 1791, when the virtually unpopulated area known as the Eastern Townships (Les Cantons de l'Est, or now, preferably, L'Estrie in French), was opened to settlement by New Englanders and other Americans, hundreds if not thousands of New England families migrated northward and over the line into what is now Québec, Canada, but at the time was called Canada East (C.E.), and later Lower Canada (L.C.). They came from all over New England, New York, New Jersey, and elsewhere, to this cluster of townships just to the north of New Hampshire and Vermont, but below the seigneuries that stretched along the south bank of the St. Lawrence River. One section that saw heavy settlement was Stanstead County, bordering the Vermont state line. The area drew a lot of its settlers from New Hampshire (some by way of Vermont), but there was considerable settlement from other areas, including New York Dutch people. Most of these were not Loyalists, actually, but merely farmers looking for new land, followed by the tradespeople, merchants, and service providers that any new settlement attracts. After a generation or two, many descendants of these people migrated westward to Ontario and the Great Lakes states, while others drifted southward to work in the mills along New England's rivers, or as lumbermen or farmers. Accordingly, many families from all over North America can trace lines of ancestry back to a time when the families lived in the Eastern Townships of Québec. While there was an overlay of immigration directly from Scotland, England, and other places, including the gradual occupation by French-Canadians from further north, the area still has a distinctly "Anglo" and "New England" aspect.

    There are many important sources for Stanstead County research right here in the NEHGS library. Basic published sources include C. Thomas's Contributions to the History of the Eastern Townships (1866), for the sections on Potton and Bolton especially; Mrs. C.M. Day's History of the Eastern Townships (1869, reprinted 1989 with an index); and B.F. Hubbard's The History of Stanstead County, Province of Québec (1874, reprinted 1988 with a complete index). As well, the multi-volume Stanstead Historical Society Journals are an important source with occasional genealogical content. Because the province of Québec did not begin keeping civil records of births, marriages, and deaths until 1926, one needs to use church records (or the microfilmed annual "second copy" of them contemporaneously made for the government). Unfortunately, the early years of Protestant settlement in Stanstead County did not give rise to church records as we know them until quite late. Early religious services were held in people's homes, apparently, often with lay people reading scripture, and it would seem from available evidence that formal "church records" were not kept until a house of worship was constructed. By this time, one or two generations had gone by. The Archives nationales du Québec allowed the surviving records to be microfilmed to the end of 1879, and NEHGS has copies of those microfilms for Stanstead County and other parts of the Eastern Townships. Also some years ago, after those records were released, abstracts of them were published in book form in two separate series: Marriages of the District of St-Francois [non-Catholic], 1815-1879, were published in two volumes in 1987, arranged in alphabetical order. Deaths of the District of St-Francois [non-Catholic], 1815-1879, were published in 1992, also in two volumes, and arranged in alphabetical order. The Society later acquired a full set of the magnificent Drouin Collection of Québec church records, as well as some others, including those from non-Catholic denominations, which, besides often being easier to read than the ANQ records mentioned above, have the distinct advantage of going beyond the end of 1879, often well into the twentieth century. There is a finding aid in the Microtext Division to both the Catholic and the non-Catholic records in the collection. Add to these sources the two important newspaper abstract compendia that we have, Stanstead County Vital Statistics, 1845-1915 (from The Stanstead Journal newspaper), and those from the Sherbrooke Daily Record, 1897-1906, both in several volumes, and researchers will find that we have a fairly complete collection of vital statistics records for the area.

    Part two of this article will be features in next week's eNews.

    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!

    "Mary Caroline Bourne - An Independent Lady"
    By Dean Coston of Springfield, VA

    In researching the Bournes of Salamanca, New York, I came upon an 1818 letter that stirred my curiosity, written by Susan Bourne and enclosing letters from Susan's mother and her aunt Henrietta. My mother was Grace Bell Bourne (1896-1943), and I often wondered where the Bell name came from. Mary Caroline (Bourne) Bell (1781-aft.1850; Grace's great grandaunt) was greatly admired by her brother Thomas (Grace's great-grandfather) who was probably the source of Grace's "Bell" name, and she could easily have been a modern woman like my mother, who went to college, participated in politics, read books, and carried on intelligent activities long before it became appropriate for young women to do so.

    "January 28, 1818 . . . Many changes have taken place since you left England; the one that most concerns us is the idea that we may never again enjoy poor Caroline's society - the 48th Regiment were sent out to New South Wales, last March. Our sister Caroline would accompany her Husband - notwithstanding at the time they sailed from Portsmouth she was expecting every day to be confined - Major Bell and Caroline both wrote from Simons Town, Cape of Good Hope - and we had the happiness to hear from herself, that she was perfectly recovered from her confinement."

    Susan Bourne was writing to her brother Thomas in America a newsy letter about family affairs. The seven Bourne children were born to John Bourne and Susanna Litchford in the late 1700s. John was a "gentleman" who purchased a commission in the Army, stayed in England as a recruiter, and took care of the several estates in the English Midlands, which he and Susanna had inherited.

    "Poor Caroline," christened Mary Caroline, was Susan's older sister. She had married Lieutenant Thomas Bell, a Scotsman who had purchased his commission in the 48th Foot in 1800. Bell intended to make a career of the military, and Mary Caroline intended to serve it with him. Married in 1806 at Caroline's home in Hints, Staffordshire, they went off to Bell's station in Gloucester, where William, their first, was born in December. Bell then went off to Ireland, Gibraltar, Portugal, Spain, and France, fighting Napoleon, winning honors, getting wounded, and returning to England to sire Susan Caroline in 1811. He was posted back to Ireland and Mary Caroline went with him and it was in Ireland in 1815 that the twins, Thomas and Mary Caroline, were born.

    Thomas (by then Major) Bell was ordered to New South Wales in Australia in 1817, in command of a detachment of the 48th Foot, who were escorting convicts to exile in Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania). Mary Caroline, pregnant with her fifth child, vowed to accompany him.

    First, there were the children. The Irish-born twins, now two years old, were to go out to Australia with them. Eleven-year-old William was sent to his grandfather, John Bell, to finish his education in Scotland. Six-year-old Susan was to visit her grandmother and Aunt Susan and then go to Scotland. Aunt Susan, writing her brother, said ". . . she is a most affectionate interesting little girl; to hear her talk of her poor mother and witness her infant tears of affectionate regret, would make a stone's heart ache."

    So, they boarded the Lloyds in Portsmouth in March of 1817, with the military detachment and 219 sentenced criminals bound for Sydney. Bell's service record reports the birth of Margaret Jane "off the Island of Madeira" on April 10. Lloyds, a brig, was certainly very crowded, and, as a chartered ship, may not have had a doctor on board. Imagine the birth, in a dank, low-ceilinged space below decks, attended by her husband and possibly a ship's surgeon. By June, the ship had called at Cape Town and Mary Caroline wrote home that her confinement was successful, and the Bell family added a baby girl.

    In August, the ship arrived at Sydney, where the family stayed for ten months. Margaret Jane Bell was baptized in Sydney. A command vacancy at Hobart, Tasmania, was filled by Major Bell on appointment of Governor Macquarie. The family sailed off on the Lady Castlereigh with the surviving criminals to take up residence in Hobart. He was appointed magistrate, engineer, and inspector of public works, in addition to his military duties. Mary Caroline, in keeping with her strong will, established a reputation as a "busybody and critic," according to a local reporter. She disapproved of "the Governor Sorrell's domestic ménage and did not call on government house." Henrietta Jane was born in Hobart in 1818, and Elizabeth Selina in 1820.

    Bell and his detachment were ordered to rejoin the 48th in Madras in 1824. Mary Caroline sent the two younger girls back to England and returned herself with the twins and Margaret Jane in 1823. Bell came home from India in 1829, having been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, to rejoin his family. Her sister Susan did not marry, and lived with her mother in Grantham, Lincolnshire, until her mother's death at the age of 92, from "the general decay of old age." Another sister, Henrietta, married Lord Hazelrigg, and according to the present Lord Hazelrigg, was much like Mary Caroline, in that she, too, was headstrong, stubborn, and difficult. Her younger brother, Thomas, came to America under mysterious circumstances and founded the branch of the Bournes of which I am part. Curiously, he was not mentioned in his father's will. A rebellious youngest son?

    "I weep when I think back to the hardships she endured"
    by Joanne Hunt of Litchfield, New Hampshire

    My favorite ancestor is my maternal grandmother, Margaret Belle MacLeod, born in Prince Edward Island in 1891 and found in a basket on a doorstep when she was just a few days old. A childless couple, kin to the homeowners where she had been left, adopted her as "their chosen daughter," a phrase which brought tears to my mother's eyes when she read it in a manuscript of their family genealogy. John and Margaret (MacLeod) MacLeod were already middle-aged when this tiny baby came into their lives, and they died while she was a teenager.

    Her first job was as housekeeper to my grandfather, Henry Musick, a single man twenty-eight years her elder who lived with my great grandparents on their large farm. When she was just seventeen, he proposed marriage, prodded, no doubt, by his older sister, Mary Belle, who was so proper that family lore has it that her children were crocheted, not conceived. Aunt Mary Belle felt that "people" would talk about the Musicks having a young girl living in the same house with a single man. The marriage dissolved fourteen years later, no doubt due to the age difference.

    My grandmother emigrated to Massachusetts and was joined by my mother when she was eighteen. It was from Grammy that I learned my first words of Gaelic which was the only language she had known before starting school. There was a bond between us that was broken only by her tragic death when a hit-and-run driver struck her down as she walked a country road in Maine in 1950. I weep when I think back to the hardships she endured. She surmounted being abandoned, orphaned, married off to a middle-aged man, but lived to bring joy to me. Her love of good cooking, her ability to make a home from "bit of starched curtain and an orange crate" imprinted in my mind. Her home was always warm and welcoming, redolent of simple but delicious cooking. When I was about twelve years old, Grammy came to visit while I was out of school with chicken pox. We whiled away our time talking about the old days. My curiosity about her birth parents was born during that time. Because of the belief of the older generations that such things should not be revealed, I have never been able to identify them, but I spent more than fifty years tracking down the rest of my ancestors. None has ever captivated me the way that simple Scottish lady did.

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