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  • 2002 Archive

  • Vol. 4, No. 4
    Whole #60
    February 22, 2002

    • Space Available in May Heritage Tour to England
    • Reminder to Vote for NEHGS Trustees by Email
    • New Research Articles on
    • Renew Your Membership Online!
    • NEHGS Weekend Seminar in Philadelphia
    • The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine
    • Volunteering for NEHGS
    • Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures
    • A Mayflower Prize and A Mayflower Website
    • Two Staff Positions Open at NEHGS

    Space Available in May Heritage Tour to England

    Register now! Space has opened up for our exclusive tour to the Lake District of England with Dr. George Redmonds.

    NEHGS is proud to offer another popular and exciting tour with famous place names scholar Dr. George Redmonds. This year we will be exploring the Lake District and northern uplands of England, an area rich in history and famous for its literary and artistic associations. Participants stay in five-star accommodations and tour the countryside comfortably by coach. NEHGS Executive Director Dr. Ralph J. Crandall also accompanies the tour.

    For more information please call the education department toll free at 1-888-286-3447, ext 226, or in Boston at 617-536-5740 ext. 226.

    Reminder to 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 Friday, 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.

    New Research Articles on

    Rhode Island
    Mapping Rhode Island
    By Maureen A. Taylor

    "After years of looking you have finally found your Rhode Island link living in a place called Biscuit City! You have never heard of Biscuit City and you are unsuccessful finding any information on the place. Congratulations, you've just discovered one of the reasons genealogical research in Rhode Island is so challenging! Although the Ocean State has only 37 cities and towns with geographical and political divisions, there are more than one hundred villages, many of which native Rhode Islanders still identify with. For instance, when you ask a resident of Gloucester where they are from they may say Chepachet (a village). Many of these villages and post offices no longer exist except in public records, family documents, and oral histories. So what can a researcher do to find where an ancestor lived? Try one of the many Rhode Island maps and gazetteers available to help you find your way!"

    Topic of the Month
    Land Records: New England's Under-Appreciated Genealogical Source
    By Patricia Law Hatcher, CG, FASG

    "Researchers in the southern United States have long known the value of land records in solving genealogical problems. New England researchers have long thought that because of vital records, they didn't need land records. That may be true if your ancestors are found in the vital records with no potential ambiguity. However, many researchers cannot find everything they need in vital records. Land records may hold the answers to many family mysteries."

    New Column - African American Research in New England
    New England African American History Resources
    By Beth Ann Bower

    "Many researchers are surprised to learn that New England's African American history stretches back as far as that of English and European immigrants to North America. While it is still being debated whether Abraham Pearse was the "blackamoor" listed among the Pilgrim settlers in Plimoth Colony, it is certain that African slaves were brought to Massachusetts in 1638 by the colony. Connecticut and Rhode Island imported slaves in approximately the same decade and New Hampshire was not far behind. New England merchants were active participants in the Atlantic slave trade throughout the colonial period. After the end of the importation of slaves to the United States, New England's economic and family ties to plantations continued through the manufacture of cloth for southern plantations. New England experienced a steady influx of descendants of Africans as freed and escaped slaves moved north during the Antebellum period. After the Civil War and in the twentieth century, New England received some of the southern African Americans that participated in the Great Migrations. And immigrants from the West Indies and Africa have continued to settle in New England."

    New Hampshire
    Early New Hampshire Town Records
    By Edward F. Holden
    "The microfilm collection of Early New Hampshire Town Records is an important resource for researching families who lived in the Granite State more than a century and a half ago. Many of the collection's 363 reels contain two and even three volumes, and they are available at the Genealogy and Local History Room at the New Hampshire State Library ( or through the numerous Family History Centers ( of the Church of Latter-day Saints. The NH State Library staff will also accept reasonable requests for searches of the records by phone (603-271-6823), fax (603-271-2205), e-mail (, and traditional mail (NHSL Genealogy Section 20 Park St., Concord NH, 03301). If the information is found, the library will send 8.5 x 11 photocopies of the images at 10 cents per sheet with a one dollar minimum for mailing the information via USPS."

    Upstate New York
    The Development of Prattsburg, New York
    By Marian Henry
    "A previous article discussed the Phelps-Gorham Purchase, which began settlement of the Genesee country in western New York State. In this article we concentrate on the settlement of one small part of this tract, the town of Prattsburg. Briefly, Oliver Phelps of Windsor, Connecticut and Nathaniel Gorham of Charlestown, Massachusetts obtained title to land east of the Genesee River on November 21, 1788. Because of financial difficulties they transferred the lands they had not disposed of to Robert Morris on November 18, 1790. In less than a year after Morris took possession of the tract, his London agents sold it, at more than double the price, to three Englishmen, Sir William Pulteney, William Hornby, and Patrick Colquhoun."


    Renew Your Membership Online!

    Did you know that you can save time and postage by accessing the renewal page on the NEHGS website to renew your membership?

    When you get your next renewal notice, please consider renewing on our website at Click on the "Membership" tab in the upper right-hand corner of the home page, and then the "Renew" link in the left-hand margin. Or, simply go to and fill in the form. Your renewal date is listed on your membership card.

    It's convenient, secure, and easy! Also, online transactions allow us to save money that be used to serve our members better.

    Many of our members already have an email address in our membership database. If you are unsure whether we have your most current email address and would like to be notified by email instead of "snail" mail at the time of your next renewal, please send an email to with your current email address and your membership number. We will then notify you by email approximately two months before your renewal date and you can choose to renew online with a credit card. If we don't receive your renewal online, we will then notify you via regular mail as we traditionally do.

    Please be assured that we value your privacy. Your personal information will never be given to third parties. Our Privacy Statement is available on If you have any questions about renewing online, please contact

    NEHGS Weekend Seminar in Philadelphia
    April 12-13, 2002

    Presented by New England Historic Genealogical Society; co-sponsored with the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania.

    NEHGS is pleased to announce a weekend seminar on April 12-13, 2002, at the Holiday Inn Express Midtown in central Philadelphia. This event will feature two days of intensive genealogical instruction with NEHGS genealogists Henry B. Hoff, David Allen Lambert, Gary Boyd Roberts, and George F. Sanborn Jr. We will present a series of dynamic and informative lectures on a variety of topics, focusing on New England research, research methodology, and migration patterns, which will help participants advance their family history research.

    The seminar includes a panel discussion at the end of each day, during which participants may interact with all lecturers by participating in an active "Question and Answer" period. As with all NEHGS education programs, you will also have the chance to meet other researchers from all over the country with a variety of genealogical interests. Genealogical books and CDs will be available for purchase throughout the conference.

    Attendees can also choose to apply their knowledge by taking advantage of Philadelphia's genealogical treasures, which include the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the National Archives, the Philadelphia City Archives, and Philadelphia City Hall.

    For more information about this program or to register, please call the education department, toll-free, at 1-888-286-3447, ext. 202, or email

    The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine

    Continuing in the spirit of the joint New England Historic Genealogical Society - Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania conference mentioned above, we would like to recognize a further collaborative effort between the two societies. The Fall/Winter 2001 issue of The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine contains an article by Henry B. Hoff, CD, FASG, editor of the Register, entitled "The Jobson Family of Philadelphia and Bermondsey, Surrey" as well as an article by D. Brenton Simons, Assistant Executive Director of NEHGS, entitled "Notes on Caleb Ransted, Merchant of Philadelphia and Cheshire, England." We would also like to mention that The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine is now under the leadership of a most able new editor, Patricia Law Hatcher, CG, FASG.

    For more information on the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania please visit .

    Volunteering for NEHGS

    From the Volunteer Coordinator:

    My heartfelt thanks go to all the volunteers who worked so hard for NEHGS at the GENTECH conference in late January. NEHGS volunteers worked under the leadership of volunteer manager John Lescher, who organized an efficient registration process for the conference. Everyone involved worked hard, and I think it was an occasion enjoyed by all.

    Here at the NEHGS Orientation Center I am in need of two extra volunteers to help out. These volunteer positions involve a time commitment of one morning or one afternoon a week. The volunteers will be available to speak to people who come into the library to visit or to find out what resources are available. Interested members could combine their own work with this volunteer position.

    In addition, a great deal of the work done by NEHGS Research Services is completed with the help of a dedicated group of volunteers. Experienced genealogical researchers are always needed to correspond with research clients, perform QuickSearch look-ups, and work on research projects. The work must be performed at the NEHGS Research Library in Boston; computer skills are helpful.

    If you are interested in becoming an Orientation Center volunteer or a Research Services volunteer, please call Susan Rosefsky, NEHGS volunteer coordinator, at 617-226-1276, or email

    -Susan Rosefsky, NEHGS volunteer coordinator

    Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures

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

    • "Non-New England Printed Sources for Genealogy" by Gary Boyd Roberts on Saturday, March 9

    • "Explore Vital Records before 1900" by David Allen Lambert on Wednesday, March 13

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

    For more details about NEHGS education events, please visit

    A Mayflower Prize and A Mayflower Website

    At the recently held 105th annual membership meeting of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, James W. Baker, former senior historian of the Plimoth Plantation was the recipient of that society's annual Distinguished Mayflower Scholarship Prize.

    Mr. Baker was recognized for the significant contribution he has made in interpreting the Pilgrims and their legacy. He was particularly cited for his part in developing the historical roles played by the Plimoth Plantation museum teachers during their visits to classrooms. "It is clear to us that by raising the historical information at Plimoth Plantation to a very high level of scholarship, and by reaching an audience of national and even international breadth, you have made the Plantation itself, in a special sense, your monument" reads the citation.

    While at Plimoth Plantation, Mr. Baker found it necessary to consider not only the material but also the mental culture of the time. He believes that the internalized beliefs and ideas of a period are vital in understanding how people thought and why they acted as they did. Therefore, all responses undertaken by the first person role-players at the Plantation had to embody not only the bare historical facts about the period but also the intellectual and emotional framework found in these ideas.

    Another topic of his research has been the "Pilgrim Story." He has published several articles on the development and evolution of the romantic and inspirational image of the Plymouth Pilgrims. He points out that the Pilgrims' cultural influence has been as much due to subsequent generations' beliefs about the myth that has surrounded them, as due to their own achievements and their factual history. His article "The Historical Significance of the Plymouth Pilgrims" appears in the December 2001 issue of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants' Mayflower Quarterly.

    Two previous recipients of the prize have had NEHGS connections: Great Migration Study Project director Robert Charles Anderson, and director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, Leiden, Holland Jeremy D. Bangs, who is the author of the three volume series, The Seventeenth Century Town Records of Scituate, Massachusetts and a columnist for New England Ancestors.

    The organization sponsoring the prize, the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, maintains a very interesting website, The website contains a wealth of information, including a wide variety of articles of Pilgrim topics, a "distinguished descendants" feature, Pilgrim-related maps, and much more. The site also offers games and other special features for children and educational materials for teachers.

    Two Staff Positions Open at NEHGS

    Part-Time Front Desk Receptionist

    The New England Historic Genealogical Society is looking for a friendly, knowledgeable genealogist to serve as a part-time front desk receptionist. The receptionist will work eight hours a week (Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 5 p.m.-9 p.m.) from April through November, and four hours a week (one weekday evening from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. per week) from December through March. When circumstances arise, additional weekday and Saturday hours will also be available.

    Responsibilities include:
    • Greeting members and prospective members
    • Checking for names in the membership database
    • Processing book sales, membership sales, and other patron transactions
    • Answering questions about NEHGS collections
    • Directing patrons to the Orientation Center or appropriate library floor
    • Answering the telephone and routing calls to staff

    Job requirements include:
    • Friendly, personable manner
    • Ability to handle several tasks at one time
    • Understanding of basic computer processes
    • Some knowledge of genealogy and willingness to learn more

    If you are interested in the receptionist position, please contact Lynn Betlock at or at 617-226-1210.

    Customer Service Representative


    The New England Historic Genealogical Society is seeking a personable, computer-savvy individual with excellent communications skills to answer telephone inquiries, process and fulfill customer orders, and assist with accounting functions at the Society's Framingham office. This is a full-time position with good benefits.

    Mail or fax resume to NEHGS, PO Box 5089, Framingham, MA 01701, 508-788-9500.

New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

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