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  • 2003 Archive

  • Vol. 5, No. 13
    Whole #106
    March 21, 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
    • NEHGS to Co-Publish Settlers of the Beekman Patent Series
    • Ask a Librarian Answers Your Research Questions
    • Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    • English and Scottish Family History for Americans
    • The NEHGS Consultation Service
    • Request for 2004 FGS Conference Lecture Proposals
    • A Very Grave Matter
    • The Oregon Burial Site Guide
    • Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Plaistow, New Hampshire, Vital Records, 1726–1871

    The town of Plaistow, New Hampshire, was originally part of Haverhill, Massachusetts, before its annexation to New Hampshire. It was chartered as a separate parish in 1749 and the town was established in 1761. These records were abstracted by Priscilla Hammond of Concord, New Hampshire, in 1937.

    Search Plaistow, New Hampshire, Vital Records at

    The Diaries of the Rev. Thomas Cary of Newburyport, Massachusetts — 1771

    Rev. Thomas Cary (1745–1808) was one of the ministers along the Merrimack River who encouraged the patriotism of parishioners during the Revolutionary War. He started his diary in Weston, Massachusetts, in 1762 and continued writing until 1806. This installment includes his observations from the year 1771.

    Search the Diaries of the Rev. Thomas Cary at

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    This week we have added transcriptions from cemeteries in Columbia and Durham, Connecticut; Peekskill, New York; and Barrington, Rhode Island.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    Master Search

    Master search all databases at

    New Research Articles on

    Rhode Island
    Finding Rhode Island Passenger Arrival Records
    by Maureen A. Taylor

    The Drouin Institute
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    NEHGS to Co-Publish Settlers of the Beekman Patent Series

    The New England Historic Genealogical Society is proud to announce an agreement with author Frank J. Doherty to co-publish upcoming volumes of his authoritative series on the settlers of Dutchess County, New York, The Settlers of the Beekman Patent, Dutchess County, New York: An Historical and Genealogical Study of All the 18th Century Settlers in the Patent. In addition to publishing future installments of this series in book form, NEHGS will also be offering previously published volumes as searchable databases on NEHGS Executive Director Ralph Crandall says, "This important project is comparable to other major genealogical compendia NEHGS has undertaken such as the Great Migration Study Project and The Search for Missing Friends book series."

    The Settlers of the Beekman Patent contains data on over thirteen hundred families who settled in the Beekman Patent, an original land grant given to Col. Henry Beekman in 1697 by the English Crown and the second largest patent in present-day Dutchess County. Many emigrants from New England lived in and passed through the Beekman Patent on their way west. Others, such as the Palatines and Quakers (almost all from New England), were early settlers and remained for several generations or more. The area of study includes the towns of Beekman, Dover, LaGrange (part), Pawling (including Quaker Hill), and Union Vale.

    The first volume of the series was published in 1990, and included all early information available on the Patent — the lease system, precinct (town) records, road dedications, the rent wars, over three hundred pages of local Revolutionary War data, and more. This volume also contains previously undiscovered Revolutionary War muster rolls for four of the of nine companies of minutemen in Dutchess County as well as important information found in the two newspapers that were published in the county during the Revolution.

    Subsequent volumes of Settlers of the Beekman Patent contain detailed family histories of the eighteenth-century residents of the Patent, many of which were drawn from sources previously unavailable to family historians, such as the original lease records of Henry Beekman and original daybooks and over sixty ledgers from early Dutchess County stores. Beginning with Volume 4 (1997), the author has included all references to the Beekman Patent family names found in New York State Probate records through 1830–1840. Mr. Doherty expects to publish six to eight more volumes before the series is completed. His most recent volume contains the names Hadden through Hunt.

    Compiler and author Frank J. Doherty has researched the settlers of the Beekman Patent for over thirty years and is considered the foremost expert on these families. He began his research after he purchased property in the town of LaGrange in Dutchess County and became interested in the history of the area. His research includes all eighteenth-century records from Dutchess County courts, probate, cemeteries, churches, stores, leases, tax lists, military, census, and other documents pertaining to the area. Volumes one through six of this series are currently available in both book form and on CD from the NEHGS online store at and from the author at his website,, which also offers individual family chapters. Publishing dates for the new volumes of the series and the online databases will be announced at a later time.

    For further information, contact Lynn Betlock, NEHGS director of marketing, at 1-617-226-1210, fax 617-536-7307, or email

    Ask a Librarian Answers Your Research Questions

    A new selection of "Ask a Librarian" questions and answers are now available to NEHGS members at Due to the many questions submitted, please allow two to three months for questions to be answered. You will be notified if your question has been chosen for inclusion. Please note that we do not accept questions about specific families and individuals in this forum, nor do we perform "look-ups" — please visit our Research Services department page at for these types of queries. Thank you for participating in "Ask a Librarian!"

    Here are this month's questions:

    Cheryl Baker asks:
    I have been reading on various GEDCOMs that one of my ancestors was born in "Glocester, Massachusetts (now Providence, Rhode Island)." Gloucester, Massachusetts, seems to be in the northeastern part of the state, not even near Providence. Based on the little information I could find, Providence was always Providence, and not part of another town. Is it possible they mean Glocester, Rhode Island, was part of Providence? If so, should I write to Glocester or Providence for vital records for the mid-1700s?

    Eugene H. Barrows asks:
    Are there any books available for Plymouth County on divorces and annulments for the 1700s and 1800s? I have been searching for family members and have been stymied at times as to the marriages. Some names seem to have no family beyond them. I did find one but only after getting a death certificate of a child born of the marriage.

    Paul J. Flynn asks:
    Where would I likely find a circa 1799 New Hampshire marriage record (marriage was in Charlestown, Sullivan County)? If I did find it, what information would likely be in it?

    Lawton Cleveland asks:
    I recently located a number of tombstones of some of my ancestors who were buried in Sheffield, Massachusetts, in the early 1800s. Some of these stones were so dirty and badly stained that I could not read them. In one case, I literally dug one up that had broken off and fallen over. It was covered with dirt and grass. Is there some kind of a solution that I could use to clean these that would not harm the stones? A toothbrush and a bottle of water didn't help much. Thanks for your help.

    Susan McCannell asks:
    I understand from my limited research that the fire in Taunton, Massachusetts, destroyed a lot of early records. Are any remaining, especially for Raynham?

    E. Chabot asks:
    Could you explain to me the significance of the printed number in the upper right corner of certified copies of vital records produced by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Vital Statistics?

    Raymond C. Hildreth asks:
    I would like to research the early town records and vital records of Greenwich, Massachusetts, which I understand was flooded by the Quabbin Reservoir, and ceased to exist as a town. Can you tell me where the above are now kept? Also, were the bodies buried in the Greenwich cemeteries moved?

    Allen Morrell asks:
    My question is pertaining to the census. What does the initial "M" represent when written in the column indicating an individual's race in the census? I have seen this designation on some census records when a Native American was married to a Caucasian.

    Find the answers at!

    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. This is an optional event available to program attendees for an additional $45. Mr. Anderson will also be available throughout the program 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

    The NEHGS Consultation Service

    The NEHGS Consultation Service was created to aid members and non-members alike in pursuing their genealogical research with one-on-one help from experts in the field.

    To access this service you will need to contact the Research Services Department by telephone at 617-226-1233, Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. (Reservations are taken by telephone only.) The fee for the Consultation Service is $50 per hour. A credit card number and expiration date are needed to secure the appointment at the time of scheduling. We ask that you call at least two weeks in advance of your plans to be in the Boston area as this is a popular service and schedules become full early.

    Please note that you can also request a telephone consultation at the same rate as an on-site consultation.

    Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 617-226-1233.

    Request for 2004 FGS Conference Lecture Proposals

    The Federation of Genealogical Societies, the Texas State Genealogical Society, and the Austin Genealogical Society are now accepting lecture proposals for the FGS/TSGS&AGS Conference to be held in Austin, Texas, from September 8 to 11, 2004. The conference theme is "Legends Live Forever: Researching the Past for Future Generations." Information concerning the conference, the format of proposals, and submission instructions can be found at the conference page of the FGS website at Proposals may be mailed or submitted electronically. The deadline for submitting proposals for consideration is June 15, 2003.

    A Very Grave Matter

    A Very Grave Matter is an online "pictorial and historical study of colonial cemeteries and gravestones of New England in southern Maine, southern New Hampshire, and northeast Massachusetts." There are currently individual pages for nineteen cemeteries — seven in Massachusetts, three in Maine, and six in New Hampshire. On each cemetery page is a brief history of the cemetery and a list of some of the individuals that are buried there. Clicking on a name will take you to a page that has a photo of his or her headstone along with a transcription of the inscription. If there is additional information available on the individual, links and/or biographical profiles have been added. For Mayflower passenger Richard More, who is buried at the Old Burying Point in Salem, Massachusetts, there is a link to the Richard More family gravestones page on; a link to a family genealogy site; a third link to an article on the "Mayflower Waifs"; two biographies; and a link to the new book about Richard titled Mayflower Bastard: A Stranger Among the Pilgrims. Other features of A Very Grave Matter include a discussion board, an extensive list of links, a photo gallery of interesting and artistic carvings, a "Quick Tidbits" page, which spotlights standouts of the gravestone collection, such as the "most unfortunate name" (Love Tripe) and "longest/most interesting epitaph" (Mary McHard, who choked to death on a pea). This last page also features individuals grouped by different categories, such as occupation, service in the military, members of the clergy, merchant seamen, etc.

    We asked the creator of A Very Grave Matter, Jennifer Marceilas, to tell us a little more about her motivation to create this interesting website. She writes:

    There’s one easily accessible source that many people overlook when doing their family’s genealogy research — gravestones.  If you’re lucky enough to live in New England, then you know what it's like to be able to drive just about anywhere and pass these old monuments to our ancestors.  If you've ever taken a walk through one, you can easily see the craftsmanship and artwork that went into hand-carving many of these stones, from the assortment of iconography of the first Puritan settlers, to the Victorian Greek revival columns and urns, up to today’s latest in headstone technology, laser engraved personalized stones.

    Look a little closer, though, and you'll see the misuse and vandalism that many of these tributes go through. These centuries-old historical artifacts are very often broken to pieces or painted on. Animals tunnel into and throughout the graves, often toppling over or damaging the stones. The ground is littered with empty bottles and trash left by people more interested in the seclusion the area has to offer than the history. You can't help but wonder why a man's home can be turned into a museum, but his resting place is left unprotected.

    From those first few that traveled so far to settle this area hundreds of years ago, thousands of us are descended.  Many of us can boast of having a Mayflower passenger or Revolutionary War hero in our lineage.  We can read about them in books, but many of us are too far away to see the homes they lived in or the last tributes to their memory. Many of us in New England pass by these places every day and never give them a second thought.  We go through our day never realizing that a signer of the Declaration of Independence lies only down the road, or that pirates and privateers rest nearby. 

    A Very Grave Matter is dedicated to showing people what a valuable resource we have in these graveyards.

    Visit to learn more.

    The Oregon Burial Site Guide

    The Oregon Burial Site Guide is an amazingly comprehensive listing of all cemeteries in Oregon. It was compiled by Dean H. Byrd, Stanley R. Clarke, and Janice M. Healy with the support of Ruth C. Bishop.

    A review by George Freeman Sanborn, Jr. in the July 2002 Register describes the book:

    "What started as the Oregon Cemetery Survey, a project of the Oregon Department of Transportation to create an accurate list of all the cemeteries in the State of Oregon, with a detailed description of each one, blossomed into this magnificent project. Arranged county by county, township by township, and range by range, this magnum opus lists every known burial ground with a detailed description of them, and directions for getting there. There are many photographs to give the user an idea of what some of the cemeteries look like, as well as a map of Oregon and maps of each county to guide the user to the appropriate area. Individual gravestone inscriptions are not included, of course, but anyone doing much Oregon research will find this guide very useful and a time-saving resource. Disappeared and abandoned burial grounds are also included, although I do not find Native American burial grounds as such in the listings.

    It is particularly important to have a records of which cemeteries are known to have existed, and precisely where they are and what condition they are in now. As time goes on, the value of such a compendium will become even more apparent. This book was many years in the making, a labor of love by all concerned, and will be a lasting monument itself to genealogical devotion."

    Ruth C. Bishop, a former NEHGS trustee and current Advisory Council member, made publication of the book possible. In a recent interview, she shared her perspectives on being involved with the Oregon Burial Site Guide over time. Such a massive undertaking — over a decade in the making — led to a number of challenges. The entire project was a learning enterprise for all those concerned, and the compilers grew to know quite a lot about topographical maps, changing computer technology, and book publishing. The final page count was serendipitous — not a single page more could have been added to the book or it would have been too large to publish as a single volume! The book has received many favorable reviews and a number of  organizations from other states have recognized it as a model.

    During the course of the project the compilers encountered a number of cemeteries with fascinating histories. In Ms. Bishop’s view, the most unusual cemetery in the state is the Eternity at Sea Columbarium at the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse in Clatsop County. Originally built in 1879–81, the lighthouse was decommissioned in 1957. In 1980, it was adapted for use as a columbarium — a vault with niches for urns containing ashes — and has space for 300,000 niches. It is located on an acre-sized rock about a mile offshore. The rock is a Federal Wildlife Refuge for seabirds and it is almost entirely inaccessible to boats. Pontoon-equipped helicopter flights are made annually or on other suitable occasions.  

    Ms. Bishop’s personal favorite cemetery is the Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery in Portland. Her great-great grandfather bought a plot there because it was on the site of a river and out of town. As a testament to the change that Portland has experienced, this “country” plot is now firmly within the heart of the city, between 20th and 28th streets.

    For those with Oregon roots, this book will be a guide to many future genealogical discoveries. Ralph Crandall, executive director of NEHGS, writes, “Oregon Burial Site Guide is a definitive guide to the cemeteries of Oregon. This work will become the bible for anyone searching for an ancestor buried in Oregon. It sets a new standard for all future statewide guides, a standard that will be hard to match by other states.”

    The book consists of 1180 + xxxvi pages and includes 278 illustrations, 37 maps, and a  bibliography, index, glossary, and list of tombstone symbols. The softcover version is $90 and the hardcover version is $125. Standard shipping and handling is $6.50; economy shipping and handling is $4. To place an order, visit /marketplace/store/search/ or call 1-888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday. If you have questions, you may email

    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!

    My Favorite “Black Sheep” Ancestor
    By Marie E. Daly
    NEHGS Director of Library User Access Services

    My favorite “black sheep” ancestor is my great-great grandmother, Peggy McGlinchy Kelly, who immigrated from Donegal, Ireland, to Fort Augustus, Prince Edward Island, in 1830. She and her husband, John Kelly, were part of a group of Irish immigrants (aka “the Glasgow Irish”) brought to PEI by Rev. John MacDonald to settle on his family’s estate on Lot 36. When the immigrants sailed up the Hillsborough River, they were disheartened to see that the land was not cleared, as promised. Fr. MacDonald combined the unlikely roles of both landlord and pastor of their Catholic church. In the first years of the settlement, these Irish pioneers had difficulty generating enough income on the heavily forested land to pay the rent. Feeling Fr. MacDonald and his family had misled them, the Irish community went on rent strike. One day, when the men of the community were all away, Fr. MacDonald rowed across the river to collect the rent from the women. Peggy McGlinchy Kelly and her neighbors, Nancy Haggerty and Annie O’Hare, spied the approaching pastor and went out to the dock with pitchforks to prevent his landing. After some anxious moments of waving oars and pitchforks, Fr. MacDonald ended up in the river, the only casualty being his dignity. Thus, my great-great grandmother was known for having pitchforked the parish priest into the river.

    A Traitor to His Country
    By Richard Hudson of Charlestown, Massachusetts

    My grandfather was born in Port Motoun (Matoon), Nova Scotia, in 1883. He emigrated to the United States and became a naturalized citizen. His third child was my mother, Natalie "Leslie" Hudson. Recently, a friend who is a geneaologist in Nova Scotia supplied information on an ancestor, who started part of the "Leslie" line in and around Port Motoun. His name was Jasper Leslie, and he fought in the Revolution with the Loyalists, specifically in the British Legion as part of Tarleton's Dragoons in Capt. Ogilvie's company. This particular organization was accurately portrayed in the film The Patriot as Tavington's Dragoons, a savage, brutal, uncaring detachment that brought "total war" to non-combative civilians to demoralize the patriots and convince them to capitulate. We are all aware that when Cornwallis surrendered, those who fought as Loyalists had to run for their lives to Canada, or be hung as traitors. Jasper Leslie was able to escape to Nova Scotia, where he was awarded one hundred acres of land for his loyalty to George III. I have not been able to determine whether he emigrated from Scotland, or if he was born in the United States. It is somewhat disconcerting to realize that we have an ancestor who became a traitor to his country.

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