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  • 2003 Archive

  • Vol. 5, No. 16
    Whole #109
    April 11, 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 England Historical and Genealogical Register to be Endowed by Ruth C. Bishop
    • New Databases on
    •, Inc., Acquires
    • New Great Migration Newsletter Sketches on
    • New Research Article on
    • Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    • Borrow the "Preparing for Your Research Trip to Ireland" Lecture Tape and CD-ROM
    • Ohio Genealogical Conference Features Two NEHGS Speakers
    Register Editor Henry Hoff Receives Award
    • Join the NEHGS Research Tour to Nova Scotia, June 17–27, 2003
    • Finding an Original Ancestral Photograph on the Web
    • Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    The New England Historical and Genealogical Register to be Endowed by Ruth C. Bishop

    The New England Historic Genealogical Society is pleased to announce that Ruth Chauncey Bishop, a former trustee and long-time friend of the institution, will be endowing the Society's scholarly journal, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, with a two million dollar gift. This generous pledge will ensure that the Register, continuously published since 1847, will carry on its tradition of genealogical scholarship.

    NEHGS executive director Dr. Ralph J. Crandall hailed Ruth Bishop's deep commitment to excellence in American genealogy. "By endowing the Register, Miss Bishop has made an ongoing and visible contribution to high standards in the field." A member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society for eighteen years, Ruth Bishop has made many significant contributions to the organization in the past. The Ruth C. Bishop Reading Room, located on the sixth floor of the NEHGS library, was dedicated in 1990. Miss Bishop also has been active with many other genealogical endeavors, including co-chairing two National Genealogical Society conferences in her hometown of Portland, Oregon; contributing to the Oregon Burial Site Guide (2001); and creating the Ruth C. Bishop Family History Volunteer Hall of Honor through the Federation of Genealogical Societies. Miss Bishop developed her initial interest in genealogy by listening to the stories told by her maternal grandfather, Frank C. Conner, about his New England Fairbanks and Jaquith ancestors.

    In discussing the role of the Register in genealogical research, Miss Bishop points to the importance of the journal's body of work from 1847 to the present. She owns a complete set of the printed volumes of the Register and says that she refers to them frequently in her own research. The fact that the information is well-documented is paramount. "You can believe in the source material," she notes.

    Henry B. Hoff, editor of the Register, offers a summation of the importance and impact of this major gift. "This unprecedented generosity by Ruth Bishop is a tribute to her unique role as a long-time philanthropist and a dedicated and active genealogist. Her magnificent support of the Register will ensure that we continue to publish the best genealogical articles for New England."

    New Databases on

    Massachusetts and Maine 1798 Direct Tax

    We are pleased to add the Massachusetts and Maine 1798 Direct Tax to our growing list of databases. This important resource can be used as a companion to the 1800 U.S. Federal Census, and to track the movement of individuals between the 1790 and 1800 censuses. The first areas to be available are the towns in the Maine counties of Washington, Hancock, and Lincoln, and Essex County, Massachusetts. We will be loading additional areas in coming weeks until the entire tax list has been added.

    Read about the history of the Massachusetts and Maine 1798 Direct Tax at

    It is important to know that not all Massachusetts and Maine towns are represented in these tax lists. The tax lists were in the process of being destroyed when they was saved by an alert clerk at the Boston Customs House. You may view a list of towns missing from the Direct Tax at

    An index to the tax list and guide to counties included in the database can be found at

    With this database, we are also introducing the MrSID Online Viewer. This free viewer software allows you to view, manipulate, save, and print images from original records in the comfort of your own home. We will employ this advanced technology in future databases generated from original records. Read more about the MrSID Online Viewer at

    Search the Massachusetts and Maine 1798 Direct Tax at

    Vital Records of the Town of Brooksville, Hancock County, Maine

    Brooksville was incorporated as a town on June 13, 1817, from parts of Castine, Penobscot, and Sedgwick. These town records were transcribed in 1948 by Anne Bush of Concord, Massachusetts. The dates in this database range from 1767 to 1913.

    Search the Vital Records of Brooksville, Maine, at /research/database/BrooksvilleME/.

    Master Search

    Master search all databases at
    ., Inc., Acquires

    The following press release provides information about a significant development in the genealogical world:

    "Provo, Utah — April 08, 2003 —, Inc., a leading online subscription business and the leading network for connecting families, and A&E Television Networks (AETN) announced today that MyFamily has acquired, producer of the award-winning family tree software, Family Tree Maker, and provider of extensive online genealogy resources. In addition, MyFamily will receive promotion on AETN television properties.

    " joins the MyFamily network of websites —,, and — giving customers a full complement of Internet services focused on connecting families with their histories and one another. Combined, the network of websites receives over 10 million unique visitors each month and has more than one million paid subscriptions.

    "We're excited to bring these two strong companies together to better serve consumers and the genealogy community," said Tom Stockham, President & CEO of "It's a great strategic fit and underscores an opportunity to serve the growing market for family history products. By providing customers with a broad set of tools to discover the information that makes their family history come to life, we help customers answer the questions, 'Who am I?', 'Where do I come from?' and 'How am I connected?'

    "'AETN is excited to see these two important family history companies come together, increasing the positive experience of consumers embarking on family research,' said Nick Davatzes, President & CEO, A&E Television Networks. 'We believe this agreement makes good sense for the businesses and for the consumer. AETN looks forward to a long-term strategic partnership with MyFamily.'

    " will continue to offer its wide variety of products and services, including Family Tree Maker, and its dynamic roster of online subscription products. MyFamily will continue to improve upon the products and services currently offers, enhancing the family history research experience. In addition, will continue to host GenForum message boards, a widely used free genealogy community resource, with more than six million messages posted.

    "MyFamily serves the fast-growing market of people with an interest in family history. As reported in a recent study, family history is one of the fastest-growing hobbies in the U.S., with over 60% of Americans interested in researching their family history. The addition of's strong product line to MyFamily's network of websites, family tree software, databases on CD-ROM, message boards, books, and magazines, is a natural expansion, providing researchers valuable tools to quickly and easily explore their family history, saving them time and money."

    New Great Migration Newsletter Sketches on

    We have added the following ten new Great Migration biographical sketches to the Great Migration Newsletter Online page on this week.

    Samuel Holly
    William Holman
    John Hopkins
    Samuel House
    Edward Howe
    Ralph Hudson
    Andrew Hull
    Robert Hull
    George Hunn
    Edmond Hunt

    Subscribers to Volume 12 of the newsletter may view these sketches, plus many more, at

    To subscribe to the Great Migration Newsletter Online, visit

    New Research Article on

    Vermont Probate Records
    by Scott Andrew Bartley

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

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

    • "Canadian Census Records: Seventeenth Century to 1921" by George F. Sanborn Jr. on Wednesday, April 16.

    • "Irish Presbyterians in Eighteenth-Century New England" by Jerome E. Anderson on Wednesday, April 23, and Saturday, April 26.

    •"Using New England Vital Records at NEHGS" by David Allen Lambert on Wednesday, April 30, and Saturday, May 3.

    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.

    Borrow the "Preparing for Your Research Trip to Ireland" Lecture Tape and CD-ROM

    On March 5 and 8, Marie Daly gave a nutshell talk at NEHGS entitled "Preparing for Your Research Trip to Ireland". Because several out-of-area participants on the upcoming Dublin tour wanted to view this talk at home, special arrangements were made for this lecture. Although any nutshell lecture audiotape can be borrowed from the circulating library, in the case of this lecture only, the audiotape and a PowerPoint presentation CD are available together for loan. (The items count as one loan item, not two.) To use the CD at home, you must have PowerPoint on your computer. You will advance to the next PowerPoint slide when you hear the words "Next slide, please" on the audiotape.

    To borrow the lecture and CD, 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. (The call number for the Research Trip presentation is LOAN CS483/D35/2003 sound cassette.)

    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 use the Circulating Library. If you would like to order Circulating Library items by phone, please call 1-888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday. If you have questions, email

    Ohio Genealogical Conference Features Two NEHGS Speakers
    April 24–26, 2003, Columbus, Ohio

    The Ohio Genealogical Society's 2003 conference is shaping up to be an especially noteworthy event, as it will be commemorating Ohio's Bicentennial. The conference will feature nearly sixty individual sessions — the most of any OGS conference. Two NEHGS staff members will present talks:

    • Michael Leclerc, Director of Electronic Publications:
    — Friday, April 25, "Publishing in the Age of Technology"
    — Saturday, April 26, "Bringing Your Infamous Ancestors to Life"

    • Laura G. Prescott, Educational Services Coordinator:
    — Friday, April 25, "A Mac User in a PC World"
    — Saturday, April 26, "Diaries and Journals: Finding and Using These Valuable Resources"

    The conference will be held at the Hilton Columbus (3900 Chagrin Drive at the Easton Town Center) in Columbus, Ohio. For more information on the conference, please visit

    Note to researchers with twentieth-century Ohio connections: The Ohio Historical Society holds death certificates for the state of Ohio from December 20, 1908, through December 31, 1944. You can search an online Ohio Death Certificate Index for 1913 to 1937 at If you attend the conference in Columbus, you also can view the actual death certificates on microfilm.

    Register Editor Henry B. Hoff Receives Award

    On April 7, 2003, the National Society Women Descendants of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company presented their “Ancestors Remembered” award to Henry B. Hoff for his work as editor of the Register. The presentation was made at the organization’s annual banquet in Washington, D.C. Prior recipients of this award have included NEHGS executive director, Ralph Crandall (2001), and Great Migration Study Project director, Robert Charles Anderson (2000).

    The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company was founded in Boston in 1637. More information about the organization may be found in the summer 2003 issue of New England Ancestors  (pp. 34–35). The National Society Women Descendants of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company was founded in 1927. Members are descended from those who served in the Company between 1637 and 1774, and the Governor's Council and Deputies to the General Court of 1638.

    Join 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, and 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 a full itinerary, visit, call 1-888-286-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday, or email

    Finding an Original Ancestral Photograph on the Web

    One of the staff members here at NEHGS was favored with some genealogical serendipity recently. Out of curiosity, he entered one of his more unusually-named ancestors, Ashbel Fitch, into the Google search engine. He received a number of different hits, one of which was a link to a website called "Ford & Nagle: Preserving America's Heritage for Future Generations." Clicking on the link revealed a page listing all the "F" surname photographs that the website's creators had found during the course of their travels. The Ashbel Fitch entry provided the following information, "FITCH, Ashbel P.; studio unknown; states "For Comptroller" and may be from NY State; found Waynesville, Ohio 14 Jan 2002." Ashbel Fitch was indeed from New York, and his descendants have no family connections to Ohio. How the photo ended up at an antique store in Waynesville is a mystery. The NEHGS staff member quickly sent off an email to Ford & Nagle to inquire about the cost of the photo. For $15, he was able to purchase an original photograph of his great-great grandfather! As you can imagine, many other NEHGS staff members have since paid a visit to this site.

    Ford & Nagle is comprised of Larry L. Ford and Eric C. Nagle, dedicated genealogists who are based in Dayton, Ohio. Their website summarizes the scope of the project: "Through a number of years, we have collected numerous antique photographs of individuals and family groups. All these photographs were taken from the Civil War period up to about 1910. These are all original photographs; all have somewhere on them data which identifies the individual or individuals in each photograph. These are, for the most part, tintypes, cartes-de-visite, or cabinet cards. Some are large group photographs. All are in the condition in which they were obtained and have not been touched-up or repaired. Our collection contains nearly 3,000 images."

    Ford & Nagle invite you to search by surname and see if photographs of your ancestors may have ended up with them. A list of photographs already purchased by other descendants can alert you to the existence of the photograph even if you are not able to purchase it yourself. In addition to photographs, Ford & Nagle also offers family Bibles and family documents.

    The Ford & Nagle website can be found at Happy hunting!

    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!

    A Less-Than-Admirable Past
    by Glenn R. Trezza of Boston, Massachusetts

    I think my "favorite" is Hannah Hallam (born 1790, died after 1812), a cousin of my fourth-great-grandfather, who lived in Stoney Middleton, Derbyshire, England. Hannah was a protagonist in a family soap opera that was both lurid and sad. Simply put, she stole her sister's husband. Her elder sister, Mary Hallam (ca. 1786–1811), had in 1807 married one Joshua Graham (also spelled Gream), a stranger to their town. Mary bore her husband two sons, Joseph Graham in 1808, and John Graham in late 1810 or early 1811, the latter of whom died an infant in 1811. That same year, however, Hannah Hallam, barely twenty-one, is listed in both the parish register and the bishop's transcript for Stoney Middleton as having given birth to a baseborn son, Robert, whose father is listed as Joshua Graham. Sadly, this child also died an infant in 1812, and Mary (Hallam) Graham died in 1811. Hannah, now childless, Joshua, her widowed brother-in-law (and lover — there were no other Joshua Grahams in the area at the time), and Joshua's surviving son, Joseph, then disappear from all Stoney Middleton records (church documents, census, probates, etc.) I've not found them yet, but my working theory is that they all left Stoney Middleton together, leaving behind a betrayed wife and sister gone to an early grave, and several infants prematurely lost.

    Hannah Hallam is not the most savory of my Hallam relations, but she is a most interesting one, and I have enjoyed the detective work in uncovering her less-than-admirable past.

    "Loyalty to His Sons"
    by Ron Brown

    My favorite ancestor is the original immigrant of my paternal line, Francis Brown, who came to Boston in 1637 on the Hector and was one of the original immigrants of the New Haven Colony, one of the most severe theocracies of Puritan New England. Francis Brown was loyal to his sons. All four sons of Francis appear in the records of the New Haven Colony for alcohol-related matters. His son John apparently ran a Puritan speakeasy with card playing, singing and dancing. (John's wife divorced him). His son Samuel was convicted of drunkenness and singing corrupt songs. (Samuel's wife killed their son Samuel, Jr. with an axe). Two servants in the Colony were whipped for "sinful dalliance and folly" with Francis' daughter, Lydia. My ancestor, Ebenezer, was convicted of drunkenness and fined, and he, along with his wife, Hannah Vincent, was also convicted of "sinful and wicked carriages one towards another". Hannah's sentence was suspended, but she had to "stand by her husband bare" while the sentence of corporal punishment was administered on Ebenezer. I am sure that the goodmen and goodwives packed the New Haven Colony square to see this sentence administered.

    But the loyalty of Francis Brown to his sons was shown in 1661 when John Brown was brought before the Deputy Governor and charged with intoxication. During the examination of John Brown, Francis came in and disrupted the tribunal, uttering "many contemptuous and reproachful speeches against authority". Francis and his son John were then put into prison. The authorities, considering Francis' "age and infirmity," proposed that Francis serve his sentence in the marshal's house, which he refused because his son was not granted the same privilege.

    Ebenezer's son, James, my ancestor, ran a tavern in Waterbury. James' son, James, was killed in the French and Indian War, leaving his three year old son Ebenezer in desperate straits. The next 150 years of my Brown line were marked with insolvency, foreclosure, illness, and moving from Connecticut to New York to Illinois to Oklahoma. Fortuitously, I find myself living in Connecticut, not far from New Haven, and I occasionally raise a glass to the memory of Francis Brown and his loyalty to his sons.

    NEHGS Contact Information

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