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  • 2002 Archive

  • Vol. 4, No. 8
    Whole #64
    April 19, 2002

    • Laurel Thatcher Ulrich to Speak at NEHGS Annual Meeting on April 22
    • New Book from NEHGS
    • Two Spring Dates for Genealogy 101
    • New Research Articles on
    • From the Volunteer Coordinator
    • Read All About It!: Newspaper Collections at NEHGS
    • Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures
    • Genealogy in the News
    • Staff Positions Open at NEHGS
    • Position Available: Editor, National Genealogical Society Quarterly

    Laurel Thatcher Ulrich to Speak at NEHGS Annual Meeting on April 22

    Pulitzer-Prize winning author and historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich will deliver the keynote lecture at the 2002 NEHGS annual meeting. The meeting will be held at the historic First and Second Unitarian Church on Marlborough Street in Boston, Monday, April 22, at 4 p.m. Ms. Ulrich will speak about her recent work, The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth. She is the James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History at Harvard University and the author of Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750 (1982) and A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 (1990). She also contributed a chapter to the new NEHGS publication, The Art of Family: Genealogical Artifacts in New England. The NEHGS annual meeting is open to the public.

    The First and Second Unitarian Church is located at 66 Marlborough Street. The Church is located in Boston's Back Bay at the corners of Marlborough and Berkeley Streets. The Copley T stop is only 5 minutes away. From the T stop, walk along Dartmouth (three blocks) toward the Charles River, turn right on Marlborough (two blocks) to Church on right. If driving, exit Storrow Drive inbound at Copley Square (Clarendon) turn second left onto Marlborough (one block) or exit the Mass Turnpike inbound at Copley Square (Stuart), turn first left onto Dartmouth (five blocks), turn right onto Marlborough (two blocks) to Church on right.

    New Book From NEHGS

    Mallet & Chisel: Gravestone Carvers of Newport, R.I. in the 18th Century
    by Vincent F. Luti

    Mallet & Chisel is the result of part of a major twenty-year research study of the eighteenth century gravestone carvers of Newport, Rhode Island. This book is lavishly illustrated with nearly 200 photographs and drawings and contains numerous charts, diagrams, and biographies of these remarkable folk artists.

    Through a survey of over 1,000 gravestones, research in numerous towns and county archives, and design and lettering analysis, the reader will learn about extensive bodies of gravestone sculptural work by carvers in Newport, Rhode Island, from 1700 to 1790. Genealogists interested in Newport and in cemetery research will find this book an indispensable resource and a beautiful book to display!

    2002. Hardcover. 352 pages. $50 plus $6.50 for standard shipping and handling, or $4 for economy shipping and handling.

    To order call the NEHGS Sales Department toll-free at 1-888-296-3447 from 9–5 Eastern time, Monday through Friday.

    Two Spring Dates for Genealogy 101

    NEHGS invites you to join us for our classic program for beginner and intermediate researchers, Genealogy 101. The program will be offered twice this spring:

    –In Peabody, Massachusetts, on Saturday, May 11

    –In Deerfield, Massachusetts, on Saturday, June 1

    Taught by professional genealogist Marcia Melnyk, this program offers step-by-step instruction that will help you develop the research skills necessary for exploring your family history. This will be an opportunity for you to increase your genealogical vocabulary, become acquainted with a variety of resources, and discover effective organizational skills through a series of lectures that promise to engage and inspire you!

    For more information or to register please call 617-356-5740, ext. 227, or email

    New Research Articles on

    Adoption By Law
    By Scott Andrew Bartley
    "The practice of adoption dates back to ancient Greece and Rome when citizens would adopt a person to be their legal heir. Men and women, single or married, could adopt. The purpose of adoption was to carry on succession, an occupation, or a family name. The first surviving written law regarding adoption is found in the Code of Hammurabi in the eighteenth century B.C. Paragraphs 185 through 193 of the Code defined the parameters of such matter in which the natural parents consented and released any claim to the person. The person received the full and legal rights of a natural child from his adoptive parents. If the adoptive parents subsequently had a child of their own, the adopted person could be returned to his or her birth parents but would still stand to inherit a portion of the adoptive parents' estate. The exception to this law was that parental consent was not required for the adoption of vestals, hierodules (temple slaves), certain palace officials, and slaves. Generally, the adopted person was an adult. Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) and Marcus Aurelius (121-180) are two notable adopted children, and Moses was adopted by the Pharaoh's daughter."

    Research in Connecticut Towns, Part 1: Records Kept in Connecticut Town Halls
    By Joyce S. Pendery, C.G.
    "Although many Connecticut records have been microfilmed and are widely available, many researchers like to visit town halls where they can do "hands-on" research from original records or make first-generation copies of those records. Researchers planning such a visit may wonder what they will find and whether it will be worthwhile."

    Topic of the Month
    Access Denied: New Restrictions for Online Public Records Databases
    By Leigh Montgomery
    "Genealogy has exploded in popularity in recent years for a variety of reasons, one of them being the increase in online genealogical resources. The Internet has certainly drawn new enthusiasts, who are attracted by the convenience of the vast number of genealogical databases now available with a click of a mouse. The information found in these databases reduces the amount of time spent searching through pages of crumbling ledgers or scrolling through endless rolls of microfilm, and for today's time-challenged researcher, the Internet is an attractive option. Digitizing vital records for the purpose of making them available online is a convenience for genealogists and state agencies alike, and marketing these records is a lucrative business for many states."

    Royal Descents, Notable Kin, and Printed Sources #57
    Notable Descendants of John Dwight of Dedham, Especially via Grandsons of Northampton and Hadley
    By Gary Boyd Roberts
    "In the last two columns I covered major historical figures descended from three of my seventeenth-century ancestors – Henry and Margaret (——) Howland of Fenstanton, Huntingdonshire (parents of John of the Mayflower, Henry of Duxbury, and Arthur of Marshfield) and Rev. John Lathrop, the founder of Barnstable, Mass. Early Howlands and Lathrops were associated largely with Cape Cod. In this column I wish to move geographically to Dedham, Boston, Northampton, and Hadley, and consider the progeny of John Dwight, also the founder of a large New England clan with a "unique particular" surname. Such surnames common in New England and to some extent the Southern Tidewater plantations (but not the backcountry or frontier) were borne by one immigrant or a set of related immigrants and almost everybody of that surname in the northern tier of states — New England, the Midwest, and the Northwest — is agnately related."

    Coming Soon:

    Identifying and Using Rare Book Collections
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    New York
    From France to New York — The Story of Three Sisters Named Marie
    By Marian Henry

    The Computer Genealogist
    Seventeenth-Century History with a Twenty-First Century Twist: The Salem Witchcraft Trials on the Internet
    By Rhonda R. McClure

    From the Volunteer Coordinator

    Are there members who come in to the NEHGS library at 101 Newbury Street who have a little extra time to volunteer? We are looking for several people with basic computer skills who could spend an hour or two helping our director of electronic publications, Michael Leclerc. His department is in need of extra fingers at a keyboard, and would be delighted with volunteer help.

    Please contact Susan R. at or at 617-226-1276.

    Read All About It!: Newspaper Collections at NEHGS

    We are frequently asked whether NEHGS collects newspapers. Because the Boston Public Library [BPL] just two blocks away has such an impressive collection, and adds to it constantly, we have not felt the need to compete with them. Nevertheless, we do have some very interesting and useful newspapers, some of which are not available at BPL!

    For Massachusetts, we have the Columbian Centinel, 1778–1820 (with gaps); the Boston Evening Transcript, Jan. 1848–Mar. 1912; and The Pilot, Jan. 1860–Dec. 1917. All of these are on microfilm in the Smith Technology Center on the fourth floor. There are also portions of some crumbling original issues of the Transcript in boxes on the sixth floor; these pages contain many of the once-popular genealogical queries that ran for years in that newspaper. The Pilot was the newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and contained the valuable "Missing Friends" columns which were transcribed and published by our Society in eight impressive volumes.

    We also have The New York Times, Sept. 1854–Dec. 1900, and the Plymouth [N.H.] Record, Jan. 1887–Dec. 1957, both on microfilm. And for researchers with interests in the Maritime Provinces of Canada, we have The Maple Leaf, Feb. 1907–Dec. 1941, published in Oakland, California, by an expatriate Prince Edward Islander for Canadians everywhere. This paper is full of death notices of Maritimers in Canada and in the United States, often stating exactly where the decedent had come from (something usually not given on American death certificates!). And lastly, we have The Casket, Dec. 1860–Dec. 1943, published in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, although it is quite incomplete before the issue of 13 January 1898.

    I am not including here the large number of volumes of newspaper extracts which we have for various states and provinces, usually containing death notices and the highlights from obituaries, as well as marriage notices, but quite often containing other news items of interest to genealogists, such as "bed & board" notices, runaway apprentices, probate notices, house and barn fires, and even the occasional birth announcement. Researchers should check the library catalog (, and the relevant local history shelves, carefully when visiting the library to make sure they have not overlooked this valuable source of information. Copies of a number of these volumes are also available through the NEHGS Circulating Library (/libraries/circulation/).

    -George F. Sanborn Jr.
    NEHGS Reference Librarian

    Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures

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

    • "Probing Probate Records" by Ruth Quigley Wellner on Wednesday, April 24

    • " The NEHGS Card Catalog Demystified " by Marshall Kirk on Saturday, April 27

    All lectures take place at 10 a.m. Advance registration is not necessary.

    For more details about NEHGS education events, please visit

    Genealogy in the News

    The release of the 1930 U.S. Census is not the only genealogical topic making news! Articles in current issues of popular newsstand magazines will make for interesting genealogical reading.

    In the May 2002 issue of The Atlantic Monthly (, Steve Olson looks at "The Royal We: The mathematical study of genealogy indicates that everyone in the world is descended from Nefertiti and Confucius, and everyone of European ancestry is descended from Muhammad and Charlemagne."

    In the April 22-29 issue of The New Yorker (, Richard Rayner writes on "The Admiral and the Con Man: The chase for a multi-billion dollar inheritance," the fascinating story of a con man who tracked down American "descendants" of Sir Francis Drake for fraudulent purposes.

    -D. Brenton Simons
    Assistant Executive Director

    Staff Positions Open at NEHGS

    Currently three positions are available at NEHGS, all at the 101 Newbury Street location in Boston. The positions are:

    • Administrative Assistant to the Director
    • Director of Development
    • Digital Production Coordinator

    Position Available: Editor, National Genealogical Society Quarterly

    The National Genealogical Society Quarterly, published since 1912, represents the highest standards of the National Genealogical Society and the genealogical community. It publishes the best in research and genealogical scholarship from all parts of the nation and ethnic groups. Material includes compiled genealogies, case studies, methodology, notes on little-known resources, critical reviews and unpublished sources from private and family archives. It is recognized as one of the premier academic and scholarly journals in the field today. The editor has responsibility for assuring that the NGSQ maintains its stellar reputation and that its articles continue to represent the best in genealogical research and knowledge.

    Responsibilities: The editor will be expected to:

    • solicit, acquire, appraise, arrange peer review of, select and edit all articles to be published in the Quarterly.

    • maintain a panel of advisors who represent the highest ranks of American genealogical scholarship.

    • supervise the journal's editorial assistants, proofreaders, indexer, and book review editor.

    • prepare camera-ready (or digital production ready) articles, cover, and graphics.

    • work with the printer throughout the publication process.

    • respond promptly and process all editorial correspondence.

    • judge (with other panel members) submissions to the NGS Family History Writing Contest.

    Compensation: The position of editor is considered as an independent contractor. Compensation is in the mid-five figures.

    Qualifications: Ten or more years experience in professional or serious genealogical research. Demonstrated skill in ability to perform complex research, analyze conflicting data and reach sound conclusions. Knowledge of good grammar, sentence construction, and a wide vocabulary are essential. The applicant must be able to make a writer's good work easy for the reader to understand, to follow the writer's flow and thinking process as well as comprehend the purpose and meaning of the article. The position requires desktop publishing experience, the ability to work with multiple authors, and the proven ability to adhere to deadlines. The editor is not required to be a resident of any particular city but must be able to access significant genealogical collections.

    Preference will be given to those with academic and genealogical credentials, extensive editorial experience and a wide range of knowledge of a variety of genealogical specialties, time-periods, ethnicities and research methods.

    Application Process: Please submit the following four items: a) a resume; b) a brief, unedited article, written by yourself, of the type that would be appropriate for inclusion in the NGSQ; c) a brief statement as to what you feel should be the mission and philosophy of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly; and what, if anything, you would change about the Quarterly if you were selected as editor.

    Early application is encouraged. The selection process will begin immediately. No application will be accepted after July 1, 2002.

    Please send material to Marsha Hoffman Rising, Chair, Recruitment Task Committee, 2324 E. Nottingham St., Springfield, MO 65804-7821. Electronic submissions may be made to

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