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  • 2003 Archive

  • Vol. 5, No. 12
    Whole #105
    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 Database on
    • New Research Articles on
    • First Issue of the Great Migration Newsletter Online, Volume 12 Available Now
    • St. Patrick's Day Specials!
    • Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    • English and Scottish Family History for Americans
    • Top Five Frequently Asked "Ask a Librarian" Questions
    • Introduction to Genealogy Class with Laura Prescott
    • Ruth C. Bishop Family History Volunteer Hall of Honor
    • Southern Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Registry of Deeds Expands Hours
    • Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    New Database on

    Baptisms in the Second Religious Society of Pembroke, Massachusetts (Now the First Congregational Church of Hanson), 1749–1825

    For over seven decades the area now known as the town of Hanson was called the West Precinct of Pembroke. In 1820, the town was incorporated and was renamed Hanson. In 1746 the West Precinct erected a meeting-house and asked Reverend Gad Hitchcock, an outspoken patriot, to be the minister. Reverend Hitchcock served the congregation for fifty-five years. After his death in 1803, the pastorate was offered to Reverend George Barstow, who served until his sudden death in 1826.

    Search Baptisms in the Second Religious Society of Pembroke at /research/database/hanson.

    Master Search

    Master search all databases at

    New Research Articles on

    Connecticut Women: Not Completely Hidden From History
    Part Two: Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Women
    by Joyce S. Pendery CG SM

    Hot Topic
    Probate Inventories: A Window to Your Ancestor's World
    by Patricia Law Hatcher, CG, FASG

    Free Non-Member Preview: Irish Research Articles
    by Marie E. Daly

    Successful Strategies for Irish American Genealogical Research

    Identifying the Origin of Your Irish Immigrant Ancestor

    First Issue of the Great Migration Newsletter Online, Volume 12 Available Now

    The first issue of Volume 12 of the Great Migration Newsletter is now available to online newsletter subscribers. In this issue, editor Robert Charles Anderson provides insight into the processes involved in creating an extensive biographical sketch. Using Boston and Dover merchant Valentine Hill as an example, Anderson discusses how the data is gathered and the editorial decisions that are made in the process. This issue's "Focus" is on notarial records, and provides sketches of two seventeenth-century Boston notaries whose records have provided much valuable information to researchers.

    NEHGS members may subscribe to Volume 12 now and receive access to four new issues to be posted on a quarterly basis, biographical sketches available only to online subscribers, and access to the Great Migration Newsletter Online archive, which contains all of the issues of Volume 11 plus the bonus sketches from 2002. All of this can be yours for only $10 per year!

    Subscribers to the Great Migration Newsletter Online may access the new issue by visiting

    To subscribe to the Great Migration Newsletter Online go to /articles/gm_newsletter/subscribe.

    St. Patrick's Day Specials!

    If you have Irish ancestors, you will not want to miss The Search for Missing Friends CD-ROM! With a circulation that spanned the continent, the Boston Pilot newspaper published thousands of advertisements submitted by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Irish and Irish-Americans seeking to be reunited with lost friends and relations. These notices often included valuable genealogical information, such as place of origin, date of immigration, physical descriptions, and confirmation of family relationships. Order The Search For Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in The Boston Pilot 1831-1920 before March 21 and receive a 10% discount.

    And with any online order of an Irish-related book or CD-ROM placed between now and Friday, March 21, we will automatically include a free copy of The Irish in New England. This booklet is a compilation of articles from the Register, including "Sources of Irish-American Genealogy" by NEHGS librarian and Irish expert, Marie Daly. Other articles investigate the immigration of Irish to New England and the genealogy of the Kennedy family of Massachusetts. This is a $3.95 value!

    Visit the NEHGS online store at May the luck of the Irish be with you!

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

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

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

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

    • "The Massachuset-Punkapoag Indians of Southeastern Massachusetts" by David Allen Lambert on Wednesday, April 2 and Saturday, April 5.

    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.

    English and Scottish Family History for Americans
    Boston, Massachusetts
    April 9–12, 2003

    Join English surnames and place-names expert Dr. George Redmonds, Great Migration Study Project director Robert Charles Anderson, English and Scottish specialist Jerome Anderson, and NEHGS library staff at the NEHGS Library in Boston for an engaging and informative exploration of English origins. The program features two lectures each day, extended library hours, and consultations with nationally recognized experts in the field.

    Fans of the Great Migration series will be particularly interested to note that Robert Charles Anderson will present the banquet lecture. Entitled "Puritan Personalities: Finding the Individual in the Collective," the lecture will feature lively examples from the latest Great Migration volume. Mr. Anderson will also be available for consultations and to sign copies of his books.

    Program fees: The full four day program is $495 for NEHGS members and $520 for non-members. NEHGS members may register for a single day option which includes two lectures and a consultation for $150.

    For more information, please visit, contact the Education Department at 1-888-286-3447, or email

    Top Five Frequently Asked "Ask a Librarian" Questions

    Every month we receive a minimum of sixty new questions to our "Ask a Librarian" mailbox. We welcome your active participation in this forum and we'd like to provide further information about the kinds of questions we can and can't answer. We continue to receive a large number of questions regarding specific individuals/lines and technical questions about, none of which can be answered in "Ask a Librarian." The answers to many of these questions can be found on our website. We have listed below the top five frequently asked questions to "Ask a Librarian" that are not published in the feature — and the answers!

    Question 1. My ancestor John Doe married Jane Jones in Barnstable in 1820. When and where were John and Jane born?

    Does NEHGS have any information about my ancestor John Doe?

    There is a conflict in information between The Modern Genealogist magazine and the Register regarding the Parker family. Do you know which information is correct?

    I would like to know if I am related to any of the presidents of the United States.

    My ancestor is in the 1840 census. Can you tell me if he is in the 1850 and 1860 censuses?

    Answer: "Ask a Librarian" cannot conduct research for you! This service is meant to answer questions that can help you perform your own research. The librarians will only answer general questions about genealogical research. Examples of appropriate topics are: sources, research techniques, NEHGS holdings, past customs and practices, migration, etc. When they are able to, the librarians will answer questions about specific localities.

    Questions that include a specific family or individual name or that request a "lookup" will not be considered.

    NEHGS Research Services will conduct research for you and assist you with any request large or small. To employ the services of our Research Department, please visit

    Question 2. How does one go about obtaining a copy of a non-circulating item in your manuscript collections?

    If I know a specific book and pages and the book is in the NEHGS library, how can I request for copies to be made of those pages and have them sent to me? At what cost?

    Answer: Copies from the manuscript collection are available to NEHGS members only and require a minimum of a one-hour authorization ($40) of In-Depth research. Entire manuscripts may not be photocopied and may be subject to other restrictions. Please visit our In-Depth Research page for more information at

    Our photocopy service can provide copies from (non-manuscript) books in our collections. For more information, go to

    Question 3. I would like to know if you have a copy of a particular book in your collections. How can I access this book?

    Answer: The searchable library catalog on contains all of the books that we have in our collection. If you cannot find a book in the catalog that you believe is in our collection, you may need to modify your search. Tips on how to perform a successful search in the library catalog can be found on our library catalog page at /libraries/sydneyplus.asp. Items from the Manuscript Collections are still being added to the catalog.

    NEHGS members have access to the largest and most comprehensive genealogical circulating library in the country. Members may borrow from our 30,000+ volume circulating library and research at home. To determine whether a book is available for loan, find the call number in the library catalog and look for the word LOAN next to it. More information about how to order from the Circulating Library is available at /libraries/circulation/.

    Question 4. Where do I find particular pages in the online version of the Register? They are missing from the database.

    There appears to be a transcription error in one of your online databases.

    I have forgotten my login information for the website. Please advise.

    Answer: All technical questions regarding our website,, as well as any reports of errors should be sent to Questions to our webmaster are checked and answered frequently.

    Question 5. I need to confirm something with your Research Department regarding an order that I placed.

    Answer: Questions to the Research Department should be sent to

    NEHGS memberscan view previously answered "Ask a Librarian" questions at Look for a new set of questions and answers next week!

    Introduction to Genealogy Class with Laura Prescott
    Hollis, New Hampshire

    Educational services coordinator Laura Prescott will present a two-session introduction to genealogy class through the Hollis/Brookline Community Education program. The class will be held on two Wednesdays, March 26 and April 2, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. This course will cover the basics of genealogical research for beginners, and will then explore printed and online resources to complete charts and build a family tree. Computers will be available to do research on the Internet.

    The class size is limited to fourteen and the course fee is $30. Classes will be held at Hollis/Brookline High School (24 Cavalier Court) in Hollis, New Hampshire. For more information, please visit or call 603-672-0283.

    Ruth C. Bishop Family History Volunteer Hall of Honor

    The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) is pleased to announce the creation of the Ruth C. Bishop Family History Volunteer Hall of Honor. It is the goal of the Federation to make this the most prestigious yearly award in the genealogical community.

    The Volunteer Hall of Honor has two sections:

    Living Volunteer Hall of Honor — one person a year is inducted from the nominations received.

    Posthumous Volunteer Hall of Honor — an unlimited number of deceased individuals will be inducted based on the nominations received.

    Award Specifications:
    Those to be considered for placement in the Volunteer Hall of Honor can only be nominated by a current FGS member society. Each qualified group may submit one nominee per category per year.

    The Living Volunteer Hall of Honor winner will receive a registration to the FGS conference for the year in which he/she is inducted, five complimentary hotel nights (Tuesday through Saturday at the conference hotel), airfare to the conference, and a ticket to the FGS banquet. The Living Hall of Honor winner will also merit a cash award of $1,000, donated in their behalf, to the nominating society. A certificate will be presented to the nominating society for each person inducted into the Posthumous Volunteer Hall of Honor. An additional certificate can be requested for the family of the individual inducted. The Volunteer Hall of Honor will be a part of the FGS website.

    FGS will induct the first members to the Volunteer Halls of Honor at this year's FGS conference in Orlando, Florida, on September 5, 2003, during the FGS banquet. The criteria for choosing the winner will be based solely on the amount and type of volunteer service rendered. Genealogy background, years of research, education, etc. will not be a part of the criteria. A panel of seven judges from the across North America will consider the merits of each nomination and make the final selections.

    Nominations should be submitted by current FGS member societies, either online at the FGS website ( or by mail (Federation of Genealogical Societies, PO Box 200940, Austin, TX 78720-0940). The deadline is April 17.

    The nominations consist of the following information:
    Name and address of the nominating society
    Name, title, and contact information for nominator
    Name and contact information for nominee
    Several paragraphs describing the nominee's service

    Ruth C. Bishop, the catalyst behind the Volunteer Halls of Honor, is a former NEHGS trustee and currently serves on the Society's Advisory Council. As an FGS member society, the New England Historic Genealogical Society is particularly pleased to recognize the contribution that these awards will make to the field of genealogy. The importance of volunteers to NEHGS cannot be overestimated and we are grateful for their contributions as well as those of all genealogical volunteers.

    Southern Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Registry of Deeds Expands Hours

    An article in the March 9 edition of the Boston Sunday Globe announced new extended hours for the Southern Middlesex Registry of Deeds in Cambridge. Beginning on March 10, weekday operating hours will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. These hours will be in effect until June 30.

    The hours have been extended to deal with the extra filings that have resulted from the home refinancing boom. According to the Globe article, "Employees will work overtime to trim the logjam that has resulted in thousands of documents in boxes in Registry hallways waiting to be copied and recorded." The extra filings have also resulted in long lines and lengthy wait times at the Registry.

    The Registry of Deeds holds real estate deeds, mortgages, liens, and certificates of title dating back to the 1600s. The Middlesex County Registry of Deeds in Cambridge is located at 208 Cambridge Street in East Cambridge. You can visit the Massachusetts Registry of Deeds website at

    Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback

    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 and/or black sheep ancestor, please send your story in 300 words or less to Lynn Betlock at Thank you to all past and future contributors!

    Our Bigamous Great Grandpa
    By Janet (Bruce) Nelson of Tillamook, Oregon

    One must give our elusive great grandpa some credit. Once he found the love of his life, he stuck by her through thick and thin, though he knew his two sons by his first wife needed him. It took 120 years, but through the help of a great volunteer at the Old Fort Society in Fort Scott, Kansas, our two branches of the family have finally made contact.

    James Ashley White was born in 1845 in Acushnet, Massachusetts. When he was ten, his father, a lay minister, migrated to Wisconsin, settling the family in Bad Ax County.

    James married Julia Spear in 1866. My grandfather, Eugene Murry White, was born in 1869. Shortly after the birth of his second son, Arthur, in 1877, James disappeared. Eugene was told that his father had died. His mother had a terrible temper (perhaps why James disappeared?), and she would tie Eugene to a snubbing post and lash him with a blacksnake whip until her arm tired. Apparently his White grandparents learned of this, because in the 1880 census, Julia was back in her father's household, listed as a widow, but without either of her sons. Eugene was in his Grandpa White's household.

    When Eugene was eleven or twelve years of age and almost to his full growth of four foot eleven inches, he was sent to the crossroads store. While there, a traveling salesman asked, "Are you James White's boy?" "Yes, sir," he answered. "Well, you are the spitting image of him," returned the salesman. "I was just dealing with him about three weeks ago at his store in Kansas."

    Eugene asked a few questions and decided to run away to his father. He worked his way south, chopping firewood for meals, and sleeping in haystacks or barns. When he finally arrived at his dad's store, James looked up and said, "Oh my God! Gene! Come into the back."

    He told Gene that he could see he needed a bath and a decent meal, but he could not take him home with him, as he had three little girls who would be "ruined" and kept from good marriages if it were ever learned his marriage was not legitimate. He gave his son a few coins and sent him on his way within the hour, never to make contact again. In subsequent years, Gene would often wonder about his three little sisters.

    Through genealogical research we have learned that James and Mattie (his second wife) had eight children. They lost both their sons and a daughter in childhood. All the girls married well and none ever had a hint of the two boys left behind. They knew of their paternal grandmother who returned to Massachusetts after her husband died in 1887, as she was mentioned as a survivor in James' obituary. This was the clue that tied the families together.

    Francis Fenton, the Money Maker
    by Maida Follini of Amherst, Nova Scotia

    I have been intrigued by, as well as admiring of, a collateral ancestor of mine, Francis Fenton (1690–1781) of Willington, Connecticut, the son of early Connecticut settler, Robert Fenton. He is described by W.L. Weaver (A Genealogy of the Fenton Family, 1867) as being a very shrewd man who possessed remarkable mechanical ingenuity — ingenuity that he used to make silver money! When an officer came to arrest him for counterfeiting, he made for the nearby shallow river, lay flat on the bottom, and breathed through a long, hollow trumpet-weed, until the officer gave up the search and left. On account of this incident, the river was afterwards called the Fenton River.

    In spite of this escape, Fenton was later arrested and brought to trial. He had made perfect imitations of Spanish milled dollars of pure silver. Although Fenton was unable to read, he had been able to reproduce every letter and figure exactly, and the coins were almost perfect copies of the originals. The outcome of the trial was that Francis Fenton was acquitted, because there was no law against counterfeiting foreign coins!

    Francis and his wife Ann had four sons and four daughters. Francis died January 25, 1781, at the age of ninety. Mechanical ability seems to have been characteristic of the Fenton family. Francis's nephew, Ebenezer Fenton Jr. (b.1743–d. after 1772), from whom I am descended, made surgical instruments, electric machines, a telescope, a spy-glass, and a microscope. But none of this family after Francis seem to have enriched themselves by, literally, making money!


    NEHGS Contact Information

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    If you have questions, comment or suggestions about the enewsletter, please contact Lynn Betlock at

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