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  • 2003 Archive

  • Vol. 5, No. 3
    Whole #96
    January 17, 2003
    Edited by Lynn Betlock and Rod 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
    • Coming Next Week — Two Special Editions of eNews: A Guide to
    • Free "Visitors Area" Added to
    • New Research Article on
    • Coming Soon in the January 2003 Register
    • Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    • In-Depth Research from NEHGS
    • Research Tour to Dublin, Ireland
    • From the Volunteer Coordinator
    The Burling Books, by NEHGS Member Jane Thompson-Stahr, Takes Honors
    A Program on Boston Irish Family History from the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities
    • Looking for Stanstead County, Québec, Researchers
    • Call for Proposals for the Graduate Student Forum in Early American History
    • Favorite Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Records of the First Unitarian Church of Worcester, Massachusetts, 1785–1919

    These records were copied and indexed by the Federal Writers Project, a part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). In 1936 the FWP group in Worcester transcribed these records. They include births from 1785 to 1913 and marriages and deaths from 1785 to 1919.

    Search Records of the First Unitarian Church of Worcester at

    Record of Births Attended by Dr. John French in Bath, New Hampshire, and Surrounding Towns, 1807–1857

    These records were copied, and the index compiled, by John Hibbard, town clerk of Bath, New Hampshire. Dr. John French was born in South Hampton, N.H., and commenced his practice at Warren, N.H., in 1807. Early in 1808 he located in Landaff, where he practiced until April 1822, when he removed to Bath. He remained there in active practice until the latter part of 1857. These records contain the names of 2,336 fathers and the dates of birth of their children. In addition to Bath, they list births in the surrounding towns of Landaff, Lisbon, Lyman, Benton, and Haverhill.

    Search Record of Births Attended by Dr. John French in Bath, New Hampshire and Surrounding Towns, 1807–1857 at

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    This week we have added transcriptions from twenty-six cemeteries in eleven towns in Wyoming County, New York.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at /research/database/cemeteries.

    Master Search

    Or master search all databases at

    Free "Visitors Area" Added to

    We frequently offer non-members the opportunity to view selected research articles from our website and New England Ancestors magazine normally available only to NEHGS members. We have now grouped over thirty of these articles into a new section of our Articles and Publications area, enabling non-members to easily find and access these informative and entertaining columns. You may find a directory with links to each of these articles at

    The following articles are free to all visitors of


    Identifying and Using Rare Book Collections
    Canadian Church Records

    Research in Connecticut Cities and Towns, Part II
    Hartford: The Connecticut Historical Society

    The Maine Old Cemetery Association

    Researching in Boston's Back Bay: The Boston Public Library and the Massachusetts Historical Society

    New Hampshire
    New Hampshire Church Records

    Genealogies in Vermont Town Histories, Part One

    African American Research in New England
    African American Family History Resources at NEHGS

    The Computer Genealogist
    Finding Manuscripts Online
    Photo Sharing: What Genealogists Need to Know
    Why Johnny Can't Do Genealogy

    Family Health and Genealogy
    Every Family Should Have a Health History

    Genealogy and Technology
    Grafted or Grown? Getting the Right Limbs on the Family Tree

    Royal Descents, Notable Kin, and Printed Sources
    Fifty Notable New Lines and Discoveries
    The New England Ancestry of Clint Eastwood
    New England Ancestors of Depression-Era Novelist John Steinbeck

    Topic of the Month
    The Wonderful World of Manuscripts
    Access Denied: New Restrictions for Online Public Records Databases
    Every Picture Tells a Story
    A Research Trip to the Family History Library: Twenty Reasons You Should Go

    Member and Staff Submissions
    Bringing a Portrait to Life: The Search for Daniel H. Weeks
    James Coburn (1928–2002): A Genealogical Tribute

    From New England Ancestors magazine

    What We Say in Print About Our Ancestors
    A Secret No Longer: Using the NEHGS Circulating Library
    Diaries in your Family History Research
    How to Analyze Your Research Problems
    At Your Service! Research Services at NEHGS
    CD-ROMs from NEHGS: Records of Barnstable, Massachusetts
    CD-ROMs from NEHGS: Records of the Churches of Boston
    A Tour of the NEHGS Library
    A Genealogical Tribute to the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, Part One
    Disease and our Ancestors: Mortality in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
    Introducing Genealogical Writing in the 21st Century

    Coming Next Week — Two Special Editions of eNews: A Guide to

    In the next two editions of NEHGS eNews, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the NEHGS website, We have come a long way since the launch of our the website in November 2001, and there is still much, much more that we have planned!

    You will receive the first special edition on Tuesday, January 21, and the second one will be sent on Friday, January 24.

    Below is a sampling of what we will cover in the next two issues.

    • A detailed summary of our over fifty searchable databases.
    • What you can expect to find in our 250 research articles in over twenty topic areas.
    New England Ancestors magazine — online!
    • What's new in the Great Migration Newsletter Online.
    • How our frequently asked questions about the website can help you and how you can add to them!
    • Details about our “Ask a Librarian” feature, in which NEHGS staff librarians answer a new selection of research questions every month.
    • The online debut of "The Best of NEHGS Nexus magazine."
    • “Tales from the Manuscript Collections” — a growing exhibit featuring images of interesting items from the our manuscript collections.
    • The “Visitors Area” — where individuals who are not NEHGS members can easily access over thirty free research articles on a variety of topics.
    • Plus coverage of NEHGS Books, Newbury Street Press, our research department, research and circulating libraries, our online book store, NEHGS events, tours, and educational programs, discussion forums, and more.

    New Research Article on

    Connecticut Women: Not Completely Hidden from History
    by Joyce S. Pendery, CG

    Coming Soon in the January 2003 Register

    In the lead article, Marilynne Roach has transcribed and annotated "Records of the Rev. Samuel Parris, Salem Village, 1688–1696." Because of his role in the Salem witchcraft trials in 1692, one would expect these records to have appeared in print long ago. They were used in preparing the printed vital records of Salem, but the results were not always correct because Parris' manuscript was hard to read. Interestingly, Parris doesn't mention those put to death in 1692.

    Leslie Mahler noticed that the parish registers of Thorpe Achurch, Northamptonshire, had been microfilmed. He looked there and found Edmund Quincy of Boston and his servants, Thomas and Katherine (Greene) Meakins, and the baptisms of the Quincy and Meakins children. Unexpectedly, he also found that Thorpe Achurch was the origin of Thomas Oliver of Boston, and so we now have a full list of Thomas Oliver's wives and children.

    With this issue we start an ambitious article on the Ross families of Ipswich, by Kathleen Canney Barber, Janet Ireland Delorey, and Alan Bruce Sherman. Not only did three Ross immigrants (apparently unrelated) give their children the same common first names, but also there was a Rust family in Ipswich that had to be avoided. In addition, in this first part we see that Hannah2 (John1) Ross married John Russ of Andover. Other descendants of John1 Ross settled in Windham County, Connecticut, and some moved on to Dutchess County, New York, or to the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania.

    NEHGS author Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs has found yet another document in Dutch archives that sheds new light on New England history. "John Rhoades and the Capture of Fort Pentagoet" involves a deposition given in The Netherlands in 1676 about the Dutch capture of Fort Pentagoet (Castine, Maine) in 1674.

    The final installment of Michael Boonstra's "Descendants of 'King' David Chesebrough of Newport, Rhode Island, With Clues to the Identity of His Son-in-Law, Hon. Alexander Grant, Esq., of Scotland, Newport, Nova Scotia, Jamaica, and London," traces the lives and families of David Chesebrough's three grandchildren, in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and London. As with the two prior installments, there is marvelous detail about the family's vicissitudes from the author's careful research, especially in family papers.

    Colonial Collegians is a project of NEHGS and Massachusetts Historical Society to publish updated biographical data on all identified students through the Class of 1774 at the nine American colleges in existence before the Revolution. The project eagerly seeks the help of Register readers.

    In spring 2002, NEHGS received a photocopy of the records of the Suffolk Street Chapel, Boston, 1837–1846, which are published here with the permission of the Unitarian Universalist Association. The deaths, marriages, and baptisms were recorded by the Rev. John Turner Sargent, an early member of NEHGS.

    The Mills-Deming-Babcock-Ball Family Bible provides a valuable record of related New England families as they moved across upstate New York and into the Midwest.

    Enjoy the articles — and read the footnotes!

    —Henry B. Hoff, Editor of the Register

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

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

    • "Establishing Genealogical Proof: When is Enough?" by Marshall Kirk on Saturday, January 18

    • "Masonic and Fraternal Organization Records" by David Lambert on Wednesday, January 22 and Saturday, January 25

    • "Photograph Identification Workshop: Bring Your Photos" by Maureen A. Taylor and Julie Helen Otto on Wednesday, January 29 and Saturday, February 1

    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.

    In-Depth Research from NEHGS

    Have you thought of having us help you with your research? The NEHGS Research Services Department is ready to be of assistance to you. We are waiting to be challenged by your queries and we are ready to analyze, research, and report our findings back to you.

    To begin the process, all you need to do is log on to our website, /research/services/ and place an order for In-Depth Research. From this page you may fill out an online form and submit it electronically or download a printable form to mail to us. Let us know the specific question(s) you want answered, what you already know, where you have already looked, how many hours you wish us to search, and we will take it from there!

    Having access to one of the country's largest genealogical collections allows us to research many unique sources quickly and efficiently. Having other respected repositories within easy reach gives us a wider source base. Why not let us help you conquer those “brick walls?"

    Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone at 617-226-1233 (Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time), by mail at Research Services, 101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116-3007, or by email at

    Research Tour to Dublin, Ireland
    July 13–20, 2003

    Experience Dublin with the New England Historic Genealogical Society in this one-week research program. The tour features guided research at various repositories in central Dublin, including the General Register Office, National Library, National Archives, and Registry of Deeds, among others. In addition, you will benefit from genealogical lectures and personalized consultations throughout the week with NEHGS director of library user services Marie E. Daly; Dublin-based independent researcher Eileen M O’Duill, MA, CGRS; and Massachusetts State Archives reference archivist Janis P. Duffy, as well as local genealogical authorities. Why travel on your own, when you can join experienced genealogists and other avid researchers who have the same interests as you?

    For more information and a daily itinerary, please visit /events/events/Default.asp?id=210. If you have questions, please email

    From the Volunteer Coordinator:

    On Thursday, January 23, we will have a brown bag lunch at the Framingham site. Volunteers should bring a sandwich, and beverages and dessert will be provided. This is a good opportunity for volunteers to meet each other, discuss genealogy, and share ideas about the volunteer program with coordinator Susan Rosefsky.

    If you would like to attend this lunch and explore volunteer work at the Framingham site, you would be very welcome.

    We are in need of volunteers for two different areas at Framingham:

    • The Accounting Department — someone who is detail oriented with very basic computer skills would be helpful.

    • The Membership Department — basic computer skills would be helpful.

    If you have some time available, and would like to volunteer, please contact me at, or leave a voice mail for me (including a time to return your call) at 617 226-1276.

    Thank you,
    Susan Rosefsky, NEHGS Volunteer Coordinator

    The Burling Books, by NEHGS Member Jane Thompson-Stahr, Takes Honors

    The Burling Books: Ancestors and Descendants of Edward and Grace Burling, Quakers, 1600-2000 (Gateway Press, 2001) by Jane Thompson-Stahr, foreword by Harry Macy Jr., FASG, has been awarded the following three prizes:

    • 2002 American Society of Genealogists, Donald Lines Jacobus Award
    • 2002 New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, Book Award
    • 2002 Heart of America Genealogical Society 1st Place, Anna Ford Family Book Contest

    Edward and Grace Burling came to New York from Barking, Essex, England, in about 1680. They were Quakers who had been involved with (and persecuted by) early Quakers in England and joined Friends in New York. The Burling Books traces about 3,200 descendants (many of them Quakers) in New York (including Long Island and Westchester), New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and farther afield to Michigan, Mississippi, Wisconsin, and California. Altogether, forty-nine states, two provinces, and various foreign countries have been home to the Burlings.

    A number of favorable reviews have appeared about the work. In the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Henry B. Hoff wrote, "The Burling Books is a superb piece of scholarship and presentation, and includes extensive family history, biography, and context". In The American Genealogist, Joseph C. Anderson II wrote, "This book is highly recommended for anyone interested in early Quaker families of metropolitan New York and for aspiring authors seeking a model of scholarly genealogical writing."

    The Burling Books is a two volume set, hardbound, on acid-free paper, 1,640 pages, 100 illustrations including photos, drawings, scanned images, documents, and charts. The set may be ordered from Jane Thompson-Stahr, 13 Circuit Ave., Scituate MA 02066. The cost is $80 plus $5 shipping. If you have questions about the set, you can visit or email Jane Thompson-Stahr at

    Ms. Thompson-Stahr has been a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society since 1989.

    A Program on Boston Irish Family History from the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities

    On Wednesday, January 22, from 12:15 to 1 p.m., historian Susan Walton will present "Along the Common Path: The Shaughnessey Family and the Boston Irish Experience" — a family history that reflects the history of the Boston Irish. Poor and unskilled upon arrival from Ireland in the late 1840s, the Shaughnesseys gradually achieved middle-class status through, among other things, three generations of service in the Boston Fire Department. The particulars of Shaughnesseys' lives, set in the context of Irish political dominance and the growth of the Catholic Church as an institutional and cultural presence, form a rich and complex story.

    The program is sponsored by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities and will take place at the Harrison Gray Otis House (141 Cambridge Street, Boston). The program is free, and registration is recommended.

    If you have questions, please call 617-227-3957, ext. 270. To view SPNEA's website, please visit

    Looking for Stanstead County, Québec, Researchers

    I read with great interest the two-part article by George Sanborn about Stanstead County, Québec, Canada, published in NEHGS eNews #93 (12/27/2002) and #94 (1/3/2003). My brother, Jonathan Merrill, and I visited Stanstead in August 2002 to investigate the Audinwood family that settled there in the 1860s. Jane Hannah Audinwood 1855–1940 was the second wife of my great-grandfather Cordeanio Harley Merrill 1840–1908. All of the information we uncovered is online at I would like to hear from other Stanstead researchers, and to learn of further information — especially electronic information — available at long distance.

    Deane Merrill
    Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts

    Call for Proposals for the Graduate Student Forum in Early American History
    Sponsored by the Colonial Society of Massachusetts
    May 2, 2003, Boston, Massachusetts

    Purpose of the Forum: To provide an opportunity for graduate students preparing dissertations in early American history to discuss their projects with peers and with the Society's distinguished membership of academics and other history professionals.

    Format: Nine students will present and receive comments during the course of the day (three sessions; fifteen-minute presentation per student), which will be capped by an address from moderator Bernard Bailyn, Adams University Professor and James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History, Emeritus, Harvard University, Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of To Begin the World Anew: The Genius and Ambiguities of the American Founders, to be published in January 2003.

    The Sponsor: The Colonial Society of Massachusetts was founded in 1892 with the mission of advancing the study of early American history through publications, encouraging and recognizing individual research, and conducting programs.

    How to Submit Your Proposal: The proposal, not to exceed five double-spaced pages, should give a vivid sense of the dissertation project and then highlight a particular dilemma — methodological, conceptual, source-based, etc. — encountered in research or writing. We ask that you outline a problem so that the forum's audience may be focused in providing constructive advice. Preference will be given to New England topics, but the committee will attempt to achieve a balance in subjects covered. The proposal should be submitted to: Committee Chair (Linda Smith Rhoads), CSM Graduate Student Forum, c/o The Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215; email:; fax: 617-859-0074. The deadline in February 14, 2003.

    Favorite Ancestor Feedback

    We continue with reader submissions to the questions "Who is your favorite ancestor? Why?" If you would like to contribute information on your favorite ancestor, please send your story in 300 words or less to Lynn Betlock at Thank you to all past and future contributors!

    My Favorite Ancestor, Dicey Thomas
    Esther Whitney Mott of Belvedere Tiburon, California

    Although most of my ancestors were New Englanders, the one who stands out in my mind was a Southern girl. In the seventy-five years of her lifetime she lived in four states (arriving in three of them as a pioneer), married three times, and buried two husbands.

    Dicey (Thomas) (Lewis) (Grigsby) Brown, 1810–1885, was my great-great grandmother. She was born on March 25, 1810 in Ohio County, Kentucky, the daughter of James and Elizabeth (Miller) Thomas, and the granddaughter of Virginia Revolutionary War veteran Massey Thomas.

    At about the age of fifteen she moved with her family to Marion, Lewis County, Missouri, where, in 1830, she married Valentine Lewis. Their son, John Valentine Lewis, was born in September of that year, and only four months later her young husband died.

    In 1832 she married John Grigsby, a widower with children ranging in age from three to twenty years. They bought nearly three hundred acres of land in Lewis County, but borrowed against it, and lost it all in 1837.

    They moved to Grant County, Wisconsin, in 1838, where John was a miner. In 1846 they moved back to Missouri, where Dicey and her children stayed while John went overland to California in 1849. He returned two years later, and in 1852 John and Dicey, with children Isabel, age thirteen (my great-grandmother), Lafayette, age four, and Martha, age three, set out with an ox cart for California.

    They settled first in Colusa County, but soon moved on to Humboldt County, where John Grigsby died in 1855. Dicey went to live with a brother in Gilroy, Santa Clara County, and in 1856 married William T. Brown in Monterey County. They moved to Visalia, then to San Jose, and then back to Monterey County. Dicey died in Monterey County, California on December 8, 1885.

    A Favorite Ancestor of Mine
    By Ferris Randall of Eden, New York

    A favorite ancestor of mine is Bryant Randall. You would think with the name Bryant, he would not be too hard to find. He was born about 1790 in the Easton, Massachusetts, area, the son of Isaiah and Deborah (Leach) Randall. The clue was that I had a letter from W.L. Chaffin, compiler of Robert Randall and His Descendants. This letter was written in 1904 to my grandfather, Charles Randall, who had died in 1899. The letter was forwarded to his granddaughter Emma Stannard, who apparently never answered it. Chaffin suggested that Charles' father was either Benjamin or Bryant, who had gone to New Orleans. (Another brother, Isaiah, had gone to Mobile, Alabama.)

    The only thing I had proof of was that Charles Randall's mother was Permile Tozer, daughter of Thomas, who lived in Whitehall, New York; in 1812 she signed as a witness to her father's deed as Permile Randall. Permile moved to Western New York, where some of her Tozer relatives lived, and as a widow married a David Edgerley. For over forty years, I had looked for her marriage to David, and recently found in my own backyard (Perry, New York) an informal history of the Edgerley family which states that "David Edgerley married Permile Randall, widow of "Bryant" in 1824, at Mount Morris, New York." In addition, this opened me up to a Mayflower line, since Bryant's mother was Deborah Leach, widow of Giles and the daughter of Benjamin Jackson and Hopestill Bryant.

    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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