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  • 2003 Archive

  • Vol. 5, No. 11
    Whole #104
    March 7, 2003
    Edited by Lynn Betlock and Rod D. Moody

    Greetings from the New England Historic Genealogical Society! This free newsletter has been sent to NEHGS members and friends who have subscribed to it, or submitted their email addresses on various membership and sales department forms and website notices. NEHGS recognizes the importance of its members' privacy, and will not give away, sell or lease personal information. If you would like to unsubscribe, please click on the link at the bottom of the page and follow the instructions provided.

    © Copyright 2003, New England Historic Genealogical Society


    • New Databases on
    • New Research Articles on
    • The Great Migration Continues . . . Volume III Has Arrived and Is On Sale Now!
    • New Special Events Added to NEHGS Summer Conference
    • Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    • An Introduction to Using at NEHGS in Boston
    • Nutshell Lectures By Mail
    • NEHGS Research Tour to Nova Scotia, June 17–27, 2003
    • From the Volunteer Coordinator
    • NARA Releases Access to Archival Databases System
    • Secretary Galvin Presents Genealogy Lecture at the Massachusetts Archives
    • Favorite Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Index to the Records of the First Church of Stonington, Connecticut

    The First Church of Stonington was organized by nine men on June 3, 1674, and it has survived for over 325 years. Reverend James Noyes, of Newbury, Massachusetts, was ordained first pastor of the church and served until his death in 1719. The entire population of the town assisted with the planning and building of the meeting house, and by 1696, nearly all residents were admitted to the church. Each pew was auctioned off to the highest bidder, who "owned" it for ninety-nine years. The present structure was built in 1829. These records were abstracted by Edward H. Williams, Jr.

    Search the Index to the Records of the First Church of Stonington, Connecticut at

    Compiled Genealogy
    The History of the Church Family, by Oliver Chase and Edward A. French

    This family genealogy, published in 1887, traced the descendants of Richard Church of Plymouth, Massachusetts, who came to New England in the fleet with Governor John Winthrop in 1630. Church, a carpenter, sold his Plymouth property in 1649, and went to Eastham, then to Charlestown (1653), Hingham (1657), and Sandwich (1664). He died in Dedham in 1668.

    Search the Genealogy of the Church Family at

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    This week we have added transcriptions from cemeteries in Pembroke and Williamstown, Massachusetts.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    Master Search

    Master search all databases at

    New Research Articles on

    Marriages Performed by the Rev. Josiah Winship, Woolwich Church, Maine (1765–1821)
    by Russell C. Farnham

    Often-Overlooked Repositories of Massachusetts
    by Maureen A. Taylor

    The Great Migration Continues . . . Volume III Has Arrived and Is On Sale!

    The long-awaited third volume of Robert Charles Anderson's The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634–1635 series, covering surnames G-H, has just arrived! For a limited time, we will be offering this new book at the introductory price of $54.95 — a $5 value! Also on sale are the two earlier books in this series covering surnames A–B and C–F, each temporarily reduced by $5. These books treat immigrants from England to New England during the watershed years of the Great Migration. The biographical sketches in these volumes are arranged in alphabetical order by family name. In addition to vital statistics, each sketch may reveal the origin of the immigrant, arrival date in New England, residences, church memberships, education, parentage of spouses, estate details, and more. Within each sketch you may find source information, notes, and suggestions for further reading. To purchase the books, order online at or call toll-free 1-888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday. If you have questions, please email

    New Special Events Added to NEHGS Summer Conference

    We have added two special events to the 2003 Boston summer conference, "New England Research in the Early 21st Century": a guided tour of the Boston Public Library led by its president Bernard Margolis and consultations by NEHGS senior research scholar Gary Boyd Roberts. These are additional options that, along with the previously-announced trip to the Massachusetts Archives, are offered to conference attendees on a first-come, first-served basis. Conference registration is required. Please note that the tour of the BPL takes place a day before the conference officially begins. The NEHGS summer conference will take place on July 11 and 12 at the John Hancock Conference Center.

    A Behind-the-Scenes Tour with the President of the Boston Public Library

    On Thursday, July 10, Boston Public Library president Bernard Margolis will lead interested conference attendees on a president's tour of the library, including the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department. The tour is free but advance registration is mandatory as space is limited.

    The tour lasts two hours and begins at 9 a.m. The group will meet at the library, near Copley Square, at 8:45 a.m. As this tour is not included on the registration form, interested parties must contact conference coordinator Laura Prescott by email ( or phone (888-296-3447) after registering for the conference to sign up for the tour. If you are signing up for the Massachusetts Archives trip as well, please note that there is only one hour between these events to get something to eat and walk the three blocks from BPL to NEHGS.

    Consultations with Gary Boyd Roberts

    NEHGS senior research scholar Gary Boyd Roberts will be available during the conference for half-hour genealogical consultations. The consulting fee is $30 for a thirty-minute session. Appointments are available on Thursday morning, July 10, at NEHGS; Friday, during and after the conference programs at the John Hancock Center; and after the conference on Saturday afternoon, at the John Hancock Center.

    Consultations are separate from conference registration. If you wish to sign up for a session with Mr. Roberts, please contact Laura Prescott by email ( or phone (888-296-3447) with two to three preferences of time period and she will contact you to confirm. Upon confirmation you can pay by either credit card or check.

    Full information about the conference and registration forms are available on the NEHGS website at (scroll to the bottom of the page for the summer conference link). We've already had an enthusiastic response to the Boston Conference and we are looking forward to having you join us in July!

    Laura G. Prescott
    Educational Services Coordinator
    508-877-5750 (voice) 508-788-9500 fax
    PO Box 5089, Framingham, MA 01701

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

    The 2003 "Genealogy in a Nutshell" series continues with:

    • "Preparing For Your Research Trip to Ireland" by Marie Daly on Saturday, March 8.

    • "Massachusetts Institutional Records: Almshouses, Mental Hospitals, and Prisons" by Elizabeth Marzuoli on Wednesday, March 19, and Saturday, March 22.

    • "Researching Your Ancestors on the Internet" by Laura G. Prescott on Wednesday, March 26 and Saturday, March 29.

    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
    March 12, 11:30 a.m.

    Learn 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 next program will be held on March 12 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

    Nutshell Lectures by Mail

    Can't make it to our "Genealogy in a Nutshell" lectures? Not to worry. You can borrow lectures on audio cassette through the NEHGS Circulating Library. Tapes are available for many of the lectures beginning in June and July 2002, and continuing through the present.

    To find a lecture, go to the library catalog on our website ( and select "advanced search" on the left side of the library catalog screen. On the next screen, use the drag-down menu in the "1." field and select "series". Click on the search button. On the next screen, type the word "nutshell" into the series box. All available tapes will be displayed. Click on the number on the left-hand side to see the full citation for the tape.

    Once the full citation is displayed, you can borrow the tapes through the Circulating Library by clicking on the request button in the lower right-hand corner and following the instructions from there. Please note: You must be a member of NEHGS to borrow items through the Circulating Library. If you would like to order Circulating Library books by phone, you can call 1-888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday. If you have questions, email

    Sign Up for the NEHGS Research Tour to Nova Scotia, June 17–27, 2003

    The NEHGS Research Tour to Nova Scotia will give you maximum research time at the Nova Scotia Archives (formerly PANS) and other excellent Nova Scotia repositories, with individual help and attention from our expert staff and local specialists. Experience ten days of intensive research, lectures by leading genealogists and experts in the field, as well as hands-on assistance from tour leaders and NEHGS staff librarians George F. Sanborn Jr., FASG, FSA (Scot.), and David Allen Lambert. In addition to Halifax, we will visit Shelburne, Truro, Pictou, Sherbrooke, and Cape Breton. This tour will appeal to those tracing urban or rural Planter, Loyalist, Acadian, Foreign Protestant, Irish, or Highland Scots ancestry, among others. Outstanding cultural and educational opportunities, breathtaking scenery, comfortable accommodations, and Atlantic Canada's fine food are sure to make this an unforgettable experience.

    For more information on this tour, including full itinerary, visit, call 1-888-286-3447, or email

    From the Volunteer Coordinator

    The growing number of volunteers working at our Framingham library area are making an invaluable contribution. Staff and volunteers have developed good rapport and are working well together. However, the work to be done is increasing quickly. If any members living close to the Framingham library have time for volunteer work, I would be delighted to hear from you.

    Volunteers perform a number a tasks, such as mailing, data entry, helping with sales department processing, membership processing, proofreading, sorting out material to be sent out, as well as shelving and finding books in the Circulating Library.

    The next volunteer lunch meeting at Framingham will be on Thursday, March 20. That is the time for all to get together, have a social time, catch up on the activities of other volunteers, and discuss all things genealogical. Anyone interested in the program is very welcome to join us that day.

    Thank you,

    Susan Rosefsky
    NEHGS Volunteer Coordinator

    NARA Releases Access to Archival Databases System

    On February 12, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) made available their "Access to Archival Databases (AAD) System" to the public via their website, AAD provides researchers access to over 350 databases containing over fifty million historical electronic records created by more than twenty federal agencies. Researchers may search these records by first choosing from subject, geographic area, organization, time span, and creator. Drop down menus are available for each of these search options, to help the user quickly find the infomation needed. Once a specific database is selected and submitted, a general database page appears, showing the creator of the record, a brief description, and a link to a more detailed page. From this page users may search for information contained in the file. A small selection of the databases available are as follows with descriptions taken from the website:

    • Korean War File of American Prisoners of War , ca. 1950 – ca. 1953
    • World War II Prisoners of War File , ca. 1942 – ca. 1947
    • Index to the Gorgas Hospital Mortuary Death Records (Contains "records of 26,213 U.S. military soldiers and officers, employees of the Panama Canal Commission and its predecessors, and Canal Zone civilians processed through the Gorgas Hospital Mortuary between 1906 and 1991.")
    • Famine Irish Data File (Identifies "604,596 persons who emigrated from Ireland to the United States during the era of the Irish Potato Famine [1846–1851], and the ships on which they arrived.")
    • Civil War Events File, 4/12/1861 – 5/13/1865
      "Of 10,500 armed conflicts in the military history of the Civil War, the file contains information on 384 conflicts that the Commission identified as the principal battles. Each record identifies the following information: state and county or counties of the historic site, the type of battle or event that occurred there, the theater of operations and the campaign to which the engagement relates, the dates of the battle or event, the current ownership of the site, and the assessment of three subject area experts of the military significance, physical integrity, historic preservation status, and interpretive potential of the site or event, and whether it should be a priority for protection of cultural property."


    Genealogy Lecture at the Massachusetts Archives

    Secretary of the Commonwealth William Francis Galvin recently announced that a lecture, "Beginning Your Journey," will be held at the Massachusetts State Archives building at Columbia Point on Tuesday evening, March 11. The lecture begins in the Meeting Room at 6:30 p.m., and will be followed by a workshop in the Reading Room. Genealogist and Massachusetts Archives reference supervisor Janis Duffy will give the introductory lecture and lead the workshop that follows. Volunteers will be available to assist researchers and to respond to questions.

    Although reservations are not required, confirmation of attendance is appreciated. To confirm your participation or for additional information,
    please call Mary Collins at 617-727-9268 or email at Admission and parking are free and the Archives Building is handicapped-accessible.

    Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback

    The responses to our new request for stories about your black sheep ancestors are rolling in. Here are the latest reader submissions to the questions "Who is your favorite ancestor?/Who is your favorite black sheep ancestor? Why?" If you would like to contribute information on your favorite/black sheep ancestor, please send your story in 300 words or less to Lynn Betlock at Thank you to all past and future contributors!

    My Favorite Black Sheep Ancestor
    By Susan Fogg Eisdorfer of Bridgewater, New Jersey

    I look forward to being able to share about this ancestor. I joined the International Black Sheep Society of Genealogists ( after I learned about him.

    My favorite black sheep ancestor is John Billington. He was one of the original Mayflower Pilgrims and a signer of the Mayflower compact. He traveled to the New World with his wife Eleanor (or Ellen) and their two sons John Jr., and Francis. I think that they are the only Mayflower family that survived the voyage and early years intact.

    The Billingtons always pushed the envelope, as we would say today, and many stories about them have survived (some untrue, I have been told by Plimoth Plantation folks), but writings about them by Bradford and in Mourt's Relation do exist. Modern writers continue to use them as the antagonists in books published today. In 1630, John Billington became the first person to be hung under British rule in North America for the killing of John Newcomen — a young man who had just arrived in Plymouth Colony and who took a strong and inappropriate interest in Eleanor.

    I am also a descendant of the more "respectable" George Soule. However well-documented the facts about George are, there is nothing that survives to inform about him as a human being. The Pilgrim Museum has an item believed to have been owned by him, but little else — no stories, etc. On the other hand, much is known about the Billingtons and one is able to get some sense of them as people, albeit quite imperfect people.

    My Favorite Ancestor
    by Lillian Stitt DeHart of Dexter, Michigan

    One of my favorite ancestors is Laura Cummings White. She was born in Windsor, Massachusetts, in 1800, descending from a lineage that traces her back to William White of Mayflower fame. She married John Stitt about 1829 and they had two sons. They came from Massachusetts to the Western Reserve in 1834 with the two little boys and although she had a daughter in this area, I cannot find any record of their life there.

    In 1848 they moved to Fulton County, Chesterfield Township, Ohio, long enough for son Dwight to marry, and then they were off again for Gratiot County, Michigan, in the spring of 1864. Unfortunately John died in September of that year. Laura stayed in Michigan with Henry, her other son.

    My imagination runs rampant concerning their moves and their lives in two different pioneer areas. She was the person who was called in case of illness, birth, or death in the Michigan community in which she lived. She had to have traveled in a wagon and or by horse — and with two small children!

    I have a daguerreotype of Laura, in which she looks very stern, with her hair drawn back to be fastened in a bun at the nape of her neck. Part of the sternness could be attributed to her sitting still for the photographer. But she also looks strong. She died in 1878 — a real survivor.

    NEHGS Contact Information

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