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  • 2003 Archive

  • Vol. 5, No. 24
    Whole #117
    June 6, 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


    • Two New CD-ROMs from NEHGS!
    • New Databases on
    • New Research Articles on
    • Best of Volume IV of NEHGS Nexus Now on
    • Meet "Pilgrim Life" columnist Jeremy Bangs at NEHGS on June 25
    • Come Home to New England — August 3–10, 2003
    • Sunday Position Available at NEHGS
    • Recent Circulating Library Acquisitions
    • Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    • An Introduction to Using at NEHGS in Boston
    • The Index to Providence, Rhode Island, Probate Database on
    • René Jetté (1944–2003)
    • Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    Two New CD-ROMs from NEHGS!

    We are pleased to announce the release of two new CD-ROMs of enormous value to New England researchers — The Corbin Collection: Volume 1, Records of Hampshire County, Massachusetts and Records of the Colony and State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

    The Corbin Collection: Volume 1, Records of Hampshire County, Massachusetts, edited by Robert J. Dunkle

    Residents of Northhampton, Massachusetts, Walter E. Corbin and Lottie (Squier) Corbin became professional genealogists in 1932. Their transcriptions of vital records, cemeteries, town histories, town records, and other sources allowed them to compile one of the most definitive sources for western Massachusetts anywhere. Until now these records have only been available in manuscript and microfilm form. This new, fully-searchable electronic publication allows unprecedented access to these materials. Western Massachusetts was a great crossroads for migration from southern New England to Vermont and New Hampshire, as well as from eastern Massachusetts and Maine out to New York, Pennsylvania, and beyond.

    The Corbin Collection: Volume 1, Records of Hampshire County, Massachusetts is available now from our online store at It is priced at $55.00 (plus shipping & handling).

    Records of the Colony and State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, edited by John Russell Bartlett

    Rhode Island was first formally settled with the establishment of Providence by Roger Williams in 1636. In 1643 Charles I granted a charter to Roger Williams entitled the Incorporation of Providence Plantations in the Narragansett Bay in New England. This brought the towns of Providence, Portsmouth, and Newport together into one colony. The government wasn't formally organized until 1647, at which time the town of Warwick was also included.

    Amid growing concern over the deteriorating condition of the early records, the Rhode Island General Assembly in 1855 provided for the publication of many of these records to ensure their survival for posterity. The first volume was published the following year and publication continued throughout the next decade. These volumes contain tremendous amounts of information on the pre-Federal and early state period that is invaluable to family historians, from both a genealogical and social history perspective.

    NEHGS now presents these volumes in a fully-searchable electronic format for the first time. Records of the Colony and State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, edited by John Russell Bartlett, contains the full text and images represented in these eleven books (ten volumes plus one supplement). Packed with such records as boundary disputes, lists of town freemen, members of the general assembly, and colonial officers, military records, and more, this CD is a goldmine of information waiting to be utilized!

    Records of the Colony and State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is available now from our online store at It is priced at $40.00 (plus shipping & handling).

    New Databases on

    Vital Records of Vernon, Connecticut, to 1852

    Vernon, Connecticut, was originally part of the town of Bolton before it was incorporated as a separate township in October 1808. These town records, along with those of Bolton previously posted on this site (, were abstracted by the Connecticut Historical Society in 1909.

    Search the Vital Records of Vernon, Connecticut at

    Massachusetts Society of Cincinnati Profiles

    The Society of the Cincinnati was established in 1783 by and for the officers in Continental Service. It was organized in fourteen constituent societies, one of which is the Massachusetts Society. Membership in the Society of the Cincinnati was extended to the officers of the Continental Army — as well as Continental Navy and Marine officers — who had served until the end of the war, plus those who had been declared no longer needed by acts of Congress and those who had served honorably for three years during the war. Also eligible were the oldest male lineal descendants of officers who died in service. The officers of the French Navy and Army who served with the American Army were also entitled to join. This database contains information on those Massachusetts officers eligible for membership. Absence from this list does not conclusively exclude eligibility.


    New sketches are now available for the following individuals:

    William Kilpatrick, Rufus King, Zebulon King, Rev. Samuel Kirkland, Moses Knap, Charles Knowles, Henry Knox, Thomas Lamb, Daniel Lane, Simon Larned, William Laughton (a.k.a. Lawton), Samuel Lawrence ,Ebenezer Learned, Nathan Leavenworth, William Raymond Lee, Joseph Leland, Jacob Leonard, Archelaus Lewis, John Lillie, Benjamin Lincoln, Rufus Lincoln, John Liswell, William Lithgow, Rev. William Lockwood, and Jeremiah Lord


    Search the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati database at:


    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    This week we have added transcriptions from the following cemeteries:

    New Durham, New Hampshire
    Davis Cemetery, Runnals Cemetery

    Salisbury, New Hampshire
    Maplewood Cemetery; South Road Cemetery; Bog Road Cemetery; Salisbury-Andover Town Line Cemetery; Private Cemetery near South Road; South Road Cemetery #2; Shaw's Corner Cemetery; Smith's Corner Cemetery; Watson Private Cemetery; Sawyer Private Cemetery (South Road); Private Cemetery (West Salisbury); West Salisbury Cemetery (West Salisbury); Salisbury Heights Cemetery (Salisbury Heights); Shaw Hill Cemetery (Salisbury Heights)

    Scarborough, New York
    Sparta Presbyterian Church Yard

    Rye, New York
    Rye Neck Cemetery, Purdy Cemetery

    White Plains, New York
    Cottage Avenue Cemetery

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Collections at

    Master Search

    Master search all databases at

    New Research Articles on



    Rhode Island
    The Rhode Island Federal Census
    By Maureen A. Taylor

    This is the first article in a series on census records for Rhode Island. Many researchers use the population schedules, but are unaware of other types of census materials that exist, such as special schedules (agricultural, manufacturing, mortality, and veterans), state censuses, and city and town census reports. This column focuses on the federal census material that exists for Rhode Island (both population and special schedules). There is a tremendous amount of information in census records if you know what's available and how to use them.

    Read the full article at

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    Clocks Can Tell Stories
    By Sherrill Foster

    Tall-case clocks were romanticized in poetry and in song in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Leading citizens purchased these luxury items to enhance their social status, communicating that they could afford such an expensive item to grace their homes.

    The ten tall-case clocks in the collections of the East Hampton (Long Island) Historical Society were newly researched in 2000 for an exhibit. Several are documented Dominy clocks, made by the four-generation craft family who lived in East Hampton throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

    Read the full article at

    Best of Volume IV of NEHGS NEXUS Now on

    From 1983 to 1999, the NEHGS NEXUS newsletter presented a variety of research articles from genealogists and staff librarians, as well as Society events, genealogy news, queries, and reviews. We continue to add selected articles from past issues to our website on a regular basis. This week we have added selected articles from the six issues that comprise Volume IV, published in 1987.

    Read the NEXUS at

    Meet "Pilgrim Life" columnist Jeremy Bangs at NEHGS on June 25

    Pilgrim scholar and author Jeremy Bangs will present a special lecture on "Pilgrim Edward Winslow: New England's First International Diplomat" at NEHGS in Boston on Wednesday, June 25. A reception will be held at 5:30 and Dr. Bangs will speak at 6 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.

    From his home in the Netherlands, Dr. Bangs writes a regular column, "Pilgrim Life," for New England Ancestors magazine. Dr. Bangs is the author of and a three-volume series, Seventeenth-Century Records of the Town of Scituate, Massachusetts (Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3) .

    Come Home to New England — August 3–10, 2003

    NEHGS invites you to participate in the classic week-long program “Come Home to New England," from August 3 to 10, 2003. Research your roots with our help at the extensive NEHGS Library — one of the country’s best facilities for genealogical research.

    Enjoy a week of guided research in our library, personal one-on-one research consultations, daily morning lectures designed specifically for “Come Home” participants, and special access to the library when it is normally closed to the public. The lectures will include a tour of NEHGS, which will introduce first-time researchers to the library and update long-time participants on the library’s latest resources. In addition, this year’s Come Homers can opt to take part in an afternoon at the Boston Public Library, where a lecture and guided tour will introduce you to its vast resources.

    Hotel Accommodations
    Lodging for the “Come Home”program will be at the John Hancock Hotel and Conference Center, conveniently located near Copley Square and just three short blocks from NEHGS.

    Daily Itinerary

    Sunday, August 3
    After 3 p.m. Check in to the John Hancock Hotel and Conference Center

    Monday, August 4
    9 a.m.–5 p.m. Private research day. The library will be open for “Come Home” participants only.
    9–9:45 a.m. Registration
    9:45–10 a.m. Welcome and announcements
    10–11 a.m. Lecture: Orientation and a Look at Newly-Acquired Resources, Marie E. Daly
    11–11:30 a.m. Tour of the library
    12–4 p.m. Research time and scheduled personal research consultations
    4–5 p.m. Welcome reception

    Tuesday, August 5
    9 a.m.–9 p.m. Extended research hours for “Come Home” participants. The library closes to the public at 5 p.m.
    9:30–10:30 a.m. Lecture: An Insider’s View on Using Manuscripts in Your Research, Timothy Salls
    10:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Research time and scheduled personal research consultations

    Wednesday, August 6
    9 a.m.–9 p.m. Research time and scheduled personal research consultations
    9:30–10:30 a.m. Lecture: English Origins of New England Colonists, David C. Dearborn
    3–4:30 p.m. Optional Lecture and Guided Tour of the Boston Public Library

    Thursday, August 7
    9 a.m.–9 p.m. Research time and scheduled personal research consultations
    9:30–10:30 a.m. Lecture: Researching Your Nineteenth-Century New England Immigrant Ancestors, David Allen Lambert

    Friday, August 8
    9 a.m.–6 p.m. Research time and scheduled personal research consultations
    9:30–10:30 a.m. Lecture: Atlantic Canada Research at NEHGS, George F. Sanborn Jr.
    6–8 p.m. Farewell Banquet at NEHGS

    Saturday, August 9
    9 a.m.–5 p.m. Research time

    Sunday, August 10
    12 noon or earlier Check out of the John Hancock Hotel and Conference Center

    Scheduled lectures and speakers are subject to change.

    Tour Fees and Payment
    Double $1050 per person, double occupancy, shared with another researcher
    Single $1495, single occupancy OR double room shared with a non-researching spouse or friend (non-researchers please include a $400 fee)
    Commuter $600 (no hotel provided)

    Please send a deposit of $200 per person with your registration.

    For further information, please contact the education department at 1-888-286-3447, ext. 226, or by email at

    Sunday Position Available at NEHGS

    The New England Historic Genealogical Society is looking for a friendly, knowledgeable individual to serve as a front desk receptionist on Sundays, from 12 noon to 5 p.m., from July 13 through August 24.

    Responsibilities include:

    • Greeting members and prospective members
    • Processing book sales, membership sales, and other patron transactions
    • Filling out a daily front desk report
    • Answering general questions about genealogy and NEHGS collections

    Job requirements include:

    • A friendly, personable manner
    • An ability to handle several tasks at one time
    • Some knowledge of genealogy and NEHGS resources

    This seven-week period will be the first time NEHGS has been open on Sundays. After the trial period is over, a decision will be made about whether the Sunday hours will continue. This is a paid, hourly position.

    If you are interested, please contact Lynn Betlock at or at 617-226-1210.

    Recent Circulating Library Acquisitions

    The Circulating Library is constantly adding new books, CDs, and cassettes to its extensive collection of resources. Here is a sample of some of its new additions.

    Westward to Destiny: A Denison Family Saga, by Ray W. Denison (2002)
    This book follows the Denison family, beginning in colonial Stonington, Connecticut, in 1694. Chapters describe the family's migration to New York, where they were lured by the promise of free arable land. There they encountered the tyrannical patroon system and struggled to receive title to their land. During the War of 1812, the family dispersed, living in both Canada and the United States during the War of 1812, before reuniting in Canada in 1821. After nearly a century of living in Canada the family returned to the U. S., to take advantage of employment opportunities. The book concludes with the Denison family’s history in the United States from the 1920s through 1945.
    Call Number CS71/D396/2002

    The Missing Randalls: Descendants of John Randall of Westerly through his Son, Peter, by Nancy Simons Peterson (2002).
    This book is an outgrowth of the author’s research to help clarify the Randall ancestors who moved to New York from Connecticut in the 1750s. Using a recently discovered old family history of the Randalls, the author painstakingly corroborated the data in this work to her family line. The Missing Randalls was the 2003 winner of the American Society of Genealogists' Scholar Award.
    Call Number CS71/R19/2002’s 1920 U. S. Federal Census Index for Brooklyn and Manhattan Boroughs.
    These two fully indexed CDs contain over 1.5 million names of heads of households. The fourteenth census includes names of each member of household, relationship to the head of the family, sex, color or race, age, marital status, and year of immigration to United States.
    Call Numbers F129/B7/A53/2002 CD and F129/B7/A53/2002 CD.

    All of these acquisitions can be found in our online library catalog at If we can help you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us by email at or by calling toll-free at 1-888-296-3447, Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time).

    Alexander Woodle, Circulating Library Director

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

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

    • "Maine Lines: Finding Your Downeast Ancestors" by David Dearborn on Saturday, June 7

    • "Best Sources for Mayflower Research" by Gary Boyd Roberts on Wednesday, June 11 and Saturday, June 14

    • "Searching Compiled Genealogies to Prevent Duplication" by Christopher Hartman on Wednesday, June 18 and Saturday, June 21

    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

    June 11, 6 p.m.

    Learn how 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.

    This program will be held on June 11 at 6 p.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

    The Index to Providence, Rhode Island, Probate Database on

    by Maureen A. Taylor

    [Editor's Note: Since we added the "Index to the Probate Records of Rhode Island" to our searchable databases (at, we have received several emails from members asking what the next step was after consulting and copying the information from the index. The following article, originally published in September 2002, tells how to use the information in the index to find the documents, gives useful tips for searching the database, and explains in detail the various intricacies in researching probate records. This article, first published on in October 2002, will be published in two installments — look for the conclusion in next week's eNews]

    Searching for Providence probate records just got easier with’s new database, “Index to Providence, Rhode Island Probate, 1646–1899.” Researchers can now locate case numbers and search for names, dates, and case types with just a few mouse clicks (and a NEHGS membership). The index, compiled by Edward Field, was originally published in 1902 and titled Index to the probate records of the Municipal court of the city of Providence, Rhode Island. From 1646 to and including the year 1899 (Snow & Farnham). It quickly became a vital tool for anyone looking for ancestors with Providence connections, and is still one of the first reference volumes researchers consult when checking for such data. The published index is the result of efforts undertaken by the clerk of the Municipal Court in 1897 to organize all pre-1891 documents. Amazingly, this entire project only took three years to complete, and by 1900, the cumulative index from 1646 to 1899 was available for use. The online database contains almost 30,000 probate cases handled over the course of two and a half centuries. It is fully searchable by name, case number, date, or type of probate.

    The easy-to-use search engine for the database provides genealogists and historians with a number of options. For instance, you can search by name — first, last, or both. There is a soundex option when you are unsure of how to spell a name. A general search for all individuals named “Brown” provides the expected results plus spelling variations such as “Browne.” If you know the case number but not the name of the person it belongs to, you can search by the number alone. You can narrow your choices by selecting the year of the probate record or search for all cases in a particular time frame be it one year or a span of dates.

    My favorite search feature is by type of case. It is important to remember that a probate document can contain more than just a will. There are administrations, affidavits, apprentices, inventories, etc. There are a total of fifty-two options, from absentees to wills. For example, if you are searching for an ancestor that might have been adopted you can search for such case types as adoption, dependent child, and guardianships. According to law, cases that involved children were administered by the probate courts in Rhode Island.

    You may also search for dependent children cared for by the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the State Board of Control by performing a search by organization. The results include the name of the child, the year the case entered the public record, and the relevant case number. Searching the records of Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children can help you reconstruct family groups. Since the Society removed children from unfortunate family situations, the date of the probate record for dependent children can be a first step in finding verification of family relationships and additional record sources.

    So, how do you use the information in the index to find the documents? Well, it is a three-step process. First, find the document number in the index. In the case of Mary Rhodes, who died in 1728, the probate index provides a date for the administration of her estate and a case number — A 320. Next, consult the docket index or record index to see if it is just an administration or also contains a will available. These are found at the Providence City Hall Archives (City Hall, Providence, Rhode Island, 02903, 401-421-7740), on microfilm at the Rhode Island Historical Society (121 Hope St, Providence, Rhode Island, 02906, 401-331-8575), and at the NEHGS Research Library.

    Arranged by case number, the microfilm identifies the volume and page of the case type including administrations, wills, and inventories. Sometimes the database indicates what type of record will be found. Abijah Potter died at sea on November 6, 1795, and his will appears in the index as being filed in 1796. Until 1818, the city of Providence ordered an inventory of belongings for each probate, regardless of the size of the estate. Since both Mary Rhodes and Abijah Potter died before 1818 there should be an inventory of property for each of them. After 1818, inventories were prepared only for individuals who died intestate. The final step in the process is looking at the actual documents. The microfilm covering the years 1646–1870 can be viewed at the Rhode Island Historical Society or at the NEHGS Research Library. Materials dated after 1870 are found at the Providence City Hall, including Providence probate records from 1900 to the present. Out-of-state researchers unable to visit Rhode Island must request copies from city or town clerks, the Rhode Island Historical Society at, or from the NEHGS Research Services department at

    René Jetté (1944–2003)

    NEHGS is saddened at the loss of Dr. René Jetté, perhaps the foremost genealogist of his time, who died of cancer last month in Québec at the age of fifty-nine. In addition to his genealogical pursuits, Dr. Jetté was also a historian and a demographer. For more than four decades he contributed greatly to the field of French-Canadian genealogical research. He abstracted and published many repertoires of marriage records, the Répertoire des noms de famille du Québec des origines a 1825 (with Micheline Lécuyer), and his Traité de généalogie. He worked with the Programme de recherce en démographie historique (PRDH) at the Université de Montréal to create the massive, forty-seven-volume work that indexes all Catholic parish registers in Québec prior to 1800. Based on his work with the PRDH, Dr. Jetté published in 1983 the Dictionnaire généalogique des familles du Québec des origines a 1730, a work which stands as one of the standards of French-Canadian genealogy today. Most recently he collaborated on a project to trace the royal ancestry of Catherine de Baillon and succeeded in proving her descent from the emperor Charlemagne. In April of 2003 Dr. Jetté was inducted into the American-French Genealogical Society's French-Canadian Hall of Fame and was given their 2003 Award for Special Achievement in Genealogical Research.

    Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback

    We are out of favorite and black sheep ancestor stories! Please consider submitting your ancestor story for eNews. Or if you have ideas for a new feedback topic, please offer your suggestions. If you would like to contribute, please send your story in 300 words or less to Lynn Betlock at Thank you to all past and future contributors!

    NEHGS Contact Information

    We strongly encourage you to email this newsletter to others who might be interested. To subscribe or view back issues of eNews, please visit

    To view the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, please visit

    To become a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, please visit

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

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