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  • 2003 Archive

  • Vol. 5, No. 30
    Whole #123
    July 18, 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 Article on
    • Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    • Registration Deadline Approaching for the NEHGS Tour to London
    • New Acquisitions in the Circulating Library
    • The FGS Conference in Orlando, Florida
    • An Acadian Parish Remembered: The Registers of St. Jean-Baptiste, Annapolis Royal, 1702–1755
    • "Cherished Possessions: A New England Legacy:" A New Exhibit in Waterville, Maine
    • Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Woburn (Mass.) Records of Births, Deaths, and Marriages From 1640 to 1873

    In 1886, while attempting to compile the full genealogy of a Woburn family, Edward F. Johnson found that no index existed for Woburn town records prior to 1843. He subsequently spent many long hours examining all the town books of births, deaths, and marriages. It must have made a strong impression on him, as he spent nearly twenty years compiling the ten volumes in his Woburn Records series. The first three volumes, published in 1890 and 1891, are included in this database. Johnson copied nearly thirteen thousand birth records, over six thousand deaths, and over seven thousand marriages for these three volumes, arranging them alphabetically and chronologically. In 1889 Edward F. Johnson became the first mayor of Woburn, and later was appointed Justice of the Fourth District Court of Eastern Middlesex County.

    Search Woburn (Mass.) Records of Births, Deaths, and Marriages From 1640 to 1873 at .

    Vital Records of Hardwick, Vermont, to 1860

    Hardwick, Vermont, in Caledonia County, was established in 1781. NEHGS acquired this typescript abstraction of the town's vital records in 1928.

    Search Vital Records of Hardwick, Vermont, to 1860 at

    Family Genealogy: Notes on the Family of Deacon Edward Convers

    This brief genealogy was included in Volume III of the Woburn (Mass.) Records of Births, Deaths, and Marriages From 1640 to 1873 series described above. It was compiled by Alfred C. Vinton of Winchester, Massachusetts, in 1891. The genealogy states that Deacon Convers "came in the fleet with Winthrop in 1630, and settled in Charlestown. He took a prominent part in the settlement of Woburn in 1640 and in that year erected the first dwelling house within the then limits of Woburn." The town of Winchester was set off from Woburn, and the residence of Deacon Convers fell within the boundaries of the new town.

    Search Notes on the Family of Deacon Edward Convers at

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    This week we have added transcriptions from the following cemeteries:

    Woburn, Massachusetts
    • First Burial Ground (Park Street)
    • Second Burial Ground (Montvale Avenue)

    North Branford, Connecticut
    • Old Cemetery
    • Congregational Church Cemetery
    • Episcopal Church Cemetery
    • Bare Plain Cemetery

    Northford, Connecticut
    • Northford Cemeteries (Old and New)

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    Master Search

    Master search all databases at

    New Research Article on

    Royal Descents, Notable Kin, and Printed Sources
    The Immediate, New England, and Royal Ancestry of the Beach Boys

    By Michael Thomas Meggison
    Introduced and edited by Gary Boyd Roberts

    Although a generation apart, born in 1943 and 1967 respectively, Mr. Meggison and I are both in many ways children of the 1960s. The generation of our parents and, to some extent, conservatives even today, often believe that the “counter-culture” of that decade later “crashed” into largely addiction and AIDS. Those of us nurtured by that decade, however, attribute to this “counter-culture” some very definite achievements. Among these are the anti-war movement, the truncated career of Lyndon Johnson (unfortunately followed by several decades of political reaction against 1960s idealism); progress in civil rights, the “sexual revolution,” feminism, gay rights, and environmental causes; and rock music. By the mid- and late 1960s this last had often turned cynical or dark (the Doors [“The End”], Rolling Stones [“Sympathy for the Devil”], and Velvet Underground [“Venus in Furs”]); much of 1950s rock had been about adolescent rebellion but with Elvis Presley and many others there was also an exuberance based partly on “hillbilly,” jazz, or R&B precedents. In the early 1960s, however, almost as a musical equivalent of the “Camelot” Kennedy years, was one sound by one group whose glorification of sheer fun was almost its only theme. This sound was the “surfer” music of the Beach Boys.

    Read the full article at

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

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

    • "The Great Migration" by Robert Charles Anderson on Saturday, July 19.

    • "Researching Québec Ancestors" by Michael Leclerc on Wednesday, July 23 and Saturday, July 26.

    • "18th and 19th-Century Migrations Out of New England" by David Dearborn on Wednesday, September 3 and Saturday, September 6

    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 toll-free at 1-888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday.

    Registration Deadline Approaching for the NEHGS Tour to London
    Tour dates: September 23–October 4, 2003

    Do you have English ancestors you would like to research on site in London with the aid of several professional researchers? If the answer is "yes," please join NEHGS on our second London Genealogical Study Tour, to be held from September 23 through October 4, 2003. By all accounts we had a productive and highly enjoyable time on the tour last fall and look forward to another successful year. Tour leader John Titford has put together a superb program to again explore "archival treasures second to none." This year attendees will benefit from expanded tutorial assistance from our highly respected team of professional English researchers, including John Titford, Michael Gandy, Paul Blake, and Geoff Swinfield, as we peruse the collections of the Society of Genealogists, Public Record Office (now known as the National Archives), British Library, Institute of Historical Research, Family Records Centre, Guildhall Library, and more.

    Every morning we will start our day with an English breakfast followed by a group meeting or class. These sessions will be held at the Academy facilities conveniently located within our hotel. You will then have a choice of outstanding research repositories to visit. This year, we will have an extra research day as we have planned our sightseeing trip for a Sunday, rather than Saturday, so as to maximize your research time.

    For more information and a detailed itinerary, please visit If you have questions or would like to reserve your space on the tour, please contact tours coordinator Amanda Batey at or at 617-226-1226. The registration deadline for the tour is Thursday, July 31.

    New Acquisitions in the Circulating Library
    By Alexander Woodle, Circulating Library Director


    • The Windham County, Connecticut Court Records, Volume 1, 1726–1732 andVolume 2, 1732–1736 by Marcella Houle Pasay. Bound together as one book. F102/W7/P38/2000/V. 1–2.

    A look at court cases primarily involving debt, but also including tavern and tanning licenses, trespassing, highway petitions, pleas for surrender of land, etc. Location of residence for plaintiffs and defendants can be found together with occupation when known. The author's preface gives a detailed accounting of these records, including their condition and public accessibility. The entire collection covers the period 1726–1736. Each volume is indexed by surname and geographic location.

    The John Bennett Family of Stonington, Connecticut: The First Seven Generations by Dorothy Bennett Inderkum and edited by David Kendall Martin. CS71/B469/2000.

    This meticulously researched family genealogy by Dorothy Bennett Inderkum traces the Bennett family from John Bennett, born in the early 1600s, through the seventh generation. The book contains a complete surname index.

    York County, Maine Will Abstracts, 1801–1858, Volumes 1 & 2 compiled by Joseph Crook Anderson. F29/Y6/A53/1997/v. #. (Note: these books should be ordered together as the index is in volume 2. They will count as two selections).

    These two volumes catalog over 2100 abstracts of wills in over 1300 pages. Volume 1 begins with an alphabetical list of surnames followed by the place, probate year, and the will number. The actual abstracts follow in numerical order.

    The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620–1775 by George Francis Donovan; index by Phyllis O. Whitten. F75/I6D8/2002.

    We can thank NEHGS member Phyllis Whitten for bringing this wonderful resource to the light of day. While researching her Irish roots she found an unpublished PhD dissertation by George Donovan from 1931 complete with bibliography and reference notes. Donovan's thesis is divided into four main chapters: Plymouth and Boston; Northeastern and Southeastern Massachusetts; Central and Western Massachusetts; and King Philip's War and the Irish Donation. This is followed by a summary, a bibliography, and an index by Ms. Whitten.

    If you have any questions about using the circulating library, please call, toll-free, 1-888-296-3447, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time) or email To learn more about the circulating library and borrow books online, please visit

    The FGS Conference in Orlando, Florida
    September 3–6, 2003

    The Federation of Genealogical Societies, in conjunction with the Florida State Genealogical Society, presents its annual conference in Orlando, Florida, from September 3 through 6. One of the major genealogical events of the year, the conference offers over 200 different presentations with as many as nine different lectures to choose from at any given time.

    Conference attendees can hear several different lectures by two NEHGS staff members:

    Michael J. Leclerc, NEHGS electronic publications director, will speak on
    • "The Goldmine in Québec's Notarial Records" on Thursday, September 4
    • "New England Online: Tracing Your Ancestors Using" on Friday, September 5

    Laura G. Prescott, educational services coordinator, will present
    • "Diaries & Journals: Finding and Using These Valuable Resources" on Wednesday, September 3
    • The NEHGS luncheon talk, "And to Think That I Saw It on Newbury Street: Treasures from the NEHGS Collection" on Thursday, September 4
    • "Timelines: Placing Your Heritage in Historical Perspective" on Friday, September 5

    Whether or not you are registered for the conference, you are invited to visit the NEHGS booth (#406) in the exhibit hall at the Renaissance Orlando Resort at SeaWorld. To highlight the wide variety of resources on our website,, we will be offering website demonstrations throughout the day. This is also your chance to see the most recent NEHGS books, such as The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634–1635, Vol. III, as well as the latest NEHGS CDs: The Corbin Collection, Volume 1: Records of Hampshire County, Mass., and Records of the Colony and State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

    For more information about the FGS conference or to register, please visit

    For more information about NEHGS participation in the conference, please email

    An Acadian Parish Remembered: The Registers of St. Jean-Baptiste, Annapolis Royal, 1702–1755

    Numerous documents and records must have been created by the several parishes of old Acadia. In Nova Scotia today, however, the only associated materials to have survived and remained in the province are two original pre-Deportation parish registers from Annapolis Royal. The Public Archives of Nova Scotia has made these two registers from St. Jean-Baptiste, Annapolis Royal, available online as a searchable database. They cover the years 1702–1755, and serve as the official surviving record of baptisms, marriages, and burials within the parish at Annapolis, up to the time of the Expulsion.

    For family historians who can trace their ancestry to Port-Royal, these two registers provide tangible links to the last generations of Acadian French living there before the Expulsion. In addition, many entries include information for families or individuals who had migrated from Port-Royal to newer communities such as Beaubassin (Amherst, NS) on the Isthmus of Chignecto, La Hève (LaHave) on Nova Scotia's south shore, and Les Mines (near Wolfville, NS) — the latter node of settlement centered around Grand-Pré, perhaps the best-known of all Acadian communities.

    The register entries — over 3550 of them — provide the names of individuals, along with the dates of their baptisms, marriages, or burials. Parents and godparents at a christening, and witnesses to a marriage, are almost always identified. In addition, supplementary details such as the exact date of birth (versus the later date of baptism), the name of the person who blessed the infant (often done immediately after birth), or specific details regarding place of residence for those from outside the parish, are frequently provided. All these various pieces of information have been extracted from each entry in the two registers and entered into a fully searchable electronic database. The end product contains information for 2,579 births, 552 marriages, and 421 deaths within the parish. In addition, every page within the two registers — over 900 in all — has been digitized and electronically correlated with the database, so that for each transcribed/translated search result, researchers may link to and view the exact entry from the appropriate register.

    For more information about the registers and to search the database, please visit

    "Cherished Possessions: A New England Legacy:" A New Exhibit in Waterville, Maine

    The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities has organized a new traveling exhibit entitled "Cherished Possessions: A New England Legacy" which is premiering at the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine. The exhibit contains approximately two hundred objects selected from SPNEA's notable collection of fine and decorative arts.

    "Cherished Possessions" showcases items ranging from furniture and photographs, to costumes and jewelry, to paintings and textiles that share the stories of life in New England. History often focuses on the stories of the wealthy and famous. SPNEA's exhibition touches on these stories, but also highlights the uniqueness of the daily objects of the everyday citizen. Thanks to New Englanders' penchant for retaining family objects that tell tales, more than three hundred years of New England history are evident in the items in the exhibition.

    The exhibit will be on view at Colby from July 16 through October 27. The Colby College Museum of Art is open Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Sunday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free of charge. The museum is located at 5600 Mayflower Hill Drive in Waterville. The phone number is 207-872-3228.

    After the exhibit leaves Colby, it will travel through 2005, with stops in Fort Worth, Texas, Honolulu, Hawaii, New York, New York, and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

    For more information about the exhibit, please visit

    Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback

    Each week we ask 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 Most Famous Ancestor
    by Glenn Trezza of Boston, Massachusetts

    My most famous ancestor is probably my great-great-grandfather, Denis Michael Hurley. He was born in Limerick City, Ireland, in 1843, immigrated to New York City at age seven in 1850 (in the great wave of potato famine immigrants), and grew up in Manhattan and Brooklyn. He was in Congress for several terms at the end of the 1890s, representing a district of downtown Brooklyn in the U.S. House of Representatives for the Republican Party, a rather unusual thing at that time as most immigrant Irish tended to be Democrats. He was still in office when he died at Hot Springs, Virginia, in February 1899, of a stroke and Graves' disease, aged fifty-five.

    Great-great-grandpa was eulogized on the floor of the House (the eulogies were collected in a book, a copy of which I now own). His funeral was big news in Brooklyn and covered at great length in a variety of newspapers. His life is also summarized in various Congressional biographies. Denis was a devoted family man, a devout Catholic, emotional, particular, with high expectations of his children. And, like many a politician, he didn't tell the truth. My mother's family has always bragged about our descent from "the Congressman," and as the family genealogist, I have had the interesting and sometimes awkward task of debunking the myths surrounding our famous ancestor.

    Denis claimed he was a poor Irish orphan boy who worked his way up on the docks and ended up running his own dredging and longshoreman's company. Well, yes, he was poor, and yes, he worked his way up, but he wasn't an orphan. His mother, Catherine (Cusack) Hurley, died an elderly widow in an old age home in Manhattan — when Denis was over forty. His father did die when Denis was sixteen, but if anything, the evidence suggests that Denis tried to deny his mother and kept her in Manhattan while he raised his five children in Brooklyn. Other original source documents also suggest that Denis claimed he had a law degree, when he apparently had simply taken some law courses.

    Denis's sons, John (my great-grandfather) and Arthur, became attorneys and political figures as well, and Denis was universally well-regarded and clearly devoted to his wife, who predeceased him, and to his children, but my genealogical research has revealed our famous ancestor was in part a product of his own creation. Some of my family were dismayed to know that Denis fabricated his origins, but I think that only makes my "famous" ancestor all the more complex and interesting, and because he left so much source material, I hope to write his biography one day and give him some little taste of fame again.

    NEHGS Contact Information

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