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  • 2003 Archive

  • Vol. 5, No. 34
    Whole #127
    August 15, 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
    • Sunday Library Hours at NEHGS to Continue!
    • A New NEHGS Publication: Vital Records of Springfield, Massachusetts to 1850
    • Nutshell Lecture Tapes received in Circulating Library
    • The Morse Society DNA Project
    • Do You Have Royal Blood?
    • Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Westfield [Mass.] Marriage Records

    These abstracts of Westfield marriage records were donated to NEHGS by Harold T. Dougherty in 1937. The town of Westfield, in Hampden County, was established in 1669. A record of births, marriages, and deaths prior to 1700 may be found in Volume VI of the New England Historical & Genealogical Register, pages 265-271. You may search these records from the Register database on

    Search the Westfield [Mass.] Marriage Records at

    Early Records of Morgan, Vermont

    These records were abstracted by Louise R. Allen of New York City in 1932. The town of Morgan, established in 1780, is located in Orleans County. The records in the original abstraction include births, deaths, and marriages, as well as miscellaneous records, such as a list of proprietors of land in 1812–13, a small number of soldiers' names (1821, 1825, 1830), names of councillors in 1808, and cemetery records. The cemetery records from this manuscript can be found in the Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections database.

    Search the Early Records of Morgan, Vermont at

    Family Genealogy: Christopher Levett of York, The Pioneer Colonist in Casco Bay (1893)

    This book, written in narrative style by James Phinney Baxter, A.M., in 1893, tells the story of Christopher Levett, who in 1623 sailed to New England to establish new settlements along the coasts of Maine and Massachusetts. His primary goal was to establish a city he would call York, which would become the third of England's Royal Colonies. He traveled up the coast from Massachusetts to New Brunswick, discovering the Saco and Nonesuch rivers as well as the land that would become the city of Portland, Maine. Levett built the first house in the region now known as Casco Bay and then sailed back to England in an attempt to convince others to join him in the new colony. However, he was unsuccessful, and circumstances prevented him from returning to New England until 1629. During this time in England he wrote his memoir of the journey, A Voyage into New England, which was published in 1628. Two years after his second trip to New England, Levett again sailed back to England, but it was to be his last voyage. He died during the journey and was buried at sea.

    When the Maine Historical Society reprinted Levett's book in 1847, very little was known about him. Author James Phinney Baxter spent a considerable amount of time researching records in England to try to uncover information about Christopher Levett. His diligent research uncovered the names of his wife and children, their dates of birth, the date of Levett's death, and much more valuable information. Baxter's book does not trace the descendants of Levett's children, but he does reprint Levett's book in its entirety.

    Search the Levett Genealogy at

    The Diaries of Rev. Thomas Cary of Newburyport, Massachusetts — 1775

    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 began his diary in Weston, Massachusetts, in 1762 and continued writing until 1806. This installment includes his observations from the year 1775.

    Search the Diaries of the Rev. Thomas Cary at

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    This week we have added transcriptions for the Morgan Center Cemetery and Cargill Cemetery in Morgan, Vermont.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    Master Search

    Master search all databases at

    New Research Article on

    Product Review: Finding Your Family History in the Attic with Tony Burroughs
    by Laura G. Prescott

    One of the benefits of writing reviews is that it is permissible — in fact required — to offer an opinion. And, in my opinion, an hour listening to Tony Burroughs talk about genealogy is an hour well spent.

    Tony recently released a video through 123 Genealogy called Finding Your Family History in the Attic, where he explores a home and its treasures. He rifles through desks, inspects bookcases and cabinets, and investigates boxes in a basement to find family heirlooms and artifacts. Ironically the only place in the house he doesn’t visit is the attic!

    The items he discovers may be familiar to any keeper of family records. The stories behind them are unique to each family. The tips Tony gives us on how to interpret and preserve these items are vital to our understanding of genealogy and how to conserve our own family’s history. Tony introduces his video by promising, “These things are a lot of fun and you’re really, really going to enjoy it.” He doesn’t disappoint.

    Read the full review at

    Sunday Library Hours at NEHGS to Continue!

    NEHGS will continue to open the library to members and the public on Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m. after the trial period ends this summer. Member response has been very positive and attendance has been solid. Sunday hours are popular with local members whose work or family schedule makes research difficult during the week. Making the library available on Sundays encourages visitors from out of town to spend a full weekend in Boston, enjoying the more leisurely weekend pace in the city and allowing for two days of research.

    Asked about the plan to add this additional research day on a continuing basis, Executive Director Ralph Crandall commented, "I am delighted that we can make this service available to our members. Because we have so many members who live outside of New England, NEHGS is a destination and we want to maximize hours that the membership has available to do their research, including evenings and weekends. We are very sorry to see that state budget cuts have necessitated the cessation of Sunday hours at many public libraries; thanks to our growing membership base and the continuing generosity of our members, we are pleased to be able to add Sunday afternoons to our schedule. Our membership survey identified expanded weekend hours as an important service and member response has been very positive."

    Additionally, each member may bring one non-member guest at no charge to the library on Sundays (one visit per guest) and a brief orientation to the library will be available at no charge at 1 p.m. each Sunday. The Family Treasures bookshop will be open to the public as well.

    The library will be closed on Sundays on or preceding major holidays, including the following: (August 31, 2003 for Labor Day; December 28, 2003 for Christmas; February 15, 2004 for President's Day; April 11, 2004 for Easter; May 30, 2004 for Memorial Day; July 4, 2004 for Independence Day and September 5, 2004 for Labor Day.)

    (Please note that the NEHGS library will be closed on Saturday and Sunday, August 30 and 31, in observance of Labor Day.)

    For a complete library schedule, including holiday closings, please visit

    A New NEHGS Publication: Vital Records of Springfield, Massachusetts to 1850
    by Clifford L. Stott, AG, CG, FASG

    Springfield, founded in 1641, was the first settlement in western Massachusetts. Published here for the first time in book form, Vital Records of Springfield, Massachusetts contains not only the town vital records but also information from twenty-one cemeteries, ten churches, eleven newspapers, state vital records, the records of Judge John Pynchon, and the private records of Springfield resident John S. Edwards. It includes records of birth, marriage, death, baptism, and burial created within the original town of Springfield. Among the towns formerly part of Springfield are Agawam, Chicopee, Longmeadow, Ludlow, West Springfield, and Wibraham. The history, importance, location, custody, condition, and significant features of the various documents and cemeteries are also discussed.

    The publication consists of 3,200 pages contained in four hardcover volumes. Twenty-three illustrations are included. The price of the volume is $150 plus shipping. To order online, visit

    The publication is also available as a CD-ROM. To order it online, visit

    If you have any questions or would like to place an order by telephone, please call the sales department toll-free at 888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday.

    Nutshell Lecture Tapes received in Circulating Library
    by Alexander Woodle, Circulating Library Director

    The Circulating Library has just received the following Nutshell Lectures on cassette:

    Researching Your Quebec Ancestors by Michael Leclerc. F3/N49/2003a/ nos. S-6.

    And to Think I Saw It on Newbury Street: Treasures from the NEHGS Collection by Laura Prescott. F3/N49/2003a/no. KN-2.

    Using the Family History Library Catalog Online and on CD by Helen Schatvet Ullmann. F3/N49/2003a/ vo. S-5.

    Upstate New York Research by Henry Hoff. F3/N49/2003a/S-4.

    Determining Immigrant Origins in Various Federal Records by Walter Hickey. F3/N49/2003a/no. F-7.

    Finding Your Ancestors on by Michael Leclerc. F3/N49/2003a/S-2.

    Just Beyond Newbury Street: Family Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society by Peter Drummey. F3/N49/2003a/ no.S-3.

    As always, 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 Morse Society DNA Project

    The Morse Society has begun a genetics project to analyze the DNA of the Y chromosome. The aim of the project is to clarify if members of the known Morse lines are related, and also to place members with uncertain ancestry into a Morse line. The project is open to men with the surnames Morse, Moss, and Morss. The Morse Society, originally established in 1892 by descendants of the five New England progenitors, is a non-profit organization dedicated to researching and compiling Morse genealogical records in the United States and Canada. The Society has engaged the services of Family Tree DNA to perform the analysis at the reduced group rate of $99 (regularly $219 and up).

    To obtain an analysis, a simple and painless test is performed by gently scraping the inside of the cheek with a soft brush. The results of each analysis are compared with results of other participants. According to the Family Tree DNA web page, genetic tests can help those "who wish to extend their family trees by confirming a link where no conventional source records exist." Representatives of all major Morse lines are needed for this study. Identifying information will not be shared unless the participant gives specific consent to the Society.

    Men who are interested in this project should provide lineage information to Lisa Murdough, Morse Society database coordinator at The group administrator of the DNA project is Mary Revenis (

    To take part, go to, click on "projects," then click on "M" to search for the Morse Society project. Fill in the requested information, including why you want to participate. Instructions will then be sent on how to order the DNA collection kit. You will receive your Y chromosome analysis results and will be notified of matches with other participants if both parties provide consent.

    The Morse Society looks forward to participation of all Morse men.

    Do You Have Royal Blood?

    What is blood royal? Who qualifies for such a description? According to distinguished genealogist Sir Anthony Wagner, descendants of medieval English kings number in the millions in the UK and around the world. Charles Mosley's new book Blood Royal traces British royal lineages from the Roman emperors and native British sovereigns, through all royal houses to the present-day Windsors. A seven page introductory chapter is available free at

    Blood Royal will form a major new addition to the Burke's Peerage subscriber database; in coming months essays and genealogies of Britain's monarchs will be digitized and available online.

    For more information on British social, political and family history 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!

    An Unusual Ancestor
    by Lois-Ann Goldsbury Macy of Concord, Massachusetts

    On a cold, snowy February night, with General Benjamin Lincoln in hot pursuit, Daniel Shays and about one hundred of his men escaped to Warwick, Massachusetts — where my great-great-great grandfather, Col. James Goldsbury, owned a tavern — and spent the night. The next day, February 6, 1787, they fled to Winchester, New Hampshire, and made it safely over the state line. Col. Goldsbury was arrested and charged with harboring Shays and his men. "The date of the trial is not known . . . He was found not guilty, his defenses being that the men had paid their bills and were only guests." At a town meeting in April ". . . James Goldsbury was elected selectman . . . is father, John Goldsbury, became treasurer. A note at the end of the minutes stated that the chosen officers 'in general' had taken the required oath of allegiance to the State government."

    Quotes taken from Warwick, Massachusetts, Biography of a Town, 1763–1963, by Charles A. Morse. More detailed information appears in articles entitled "Shays' Rebellion," by John Goldsbury, printed in Worcester West Chronicle, Sept. 27, Oct. 4 and Oct. 11, 1883, and in The Trial of Col. Goldsbury by his son, Rev. John Goldsbury, Athol Chronicle, 1883.

    A Stocky Man
    by John Ellis of South Paris, Maine

    One of my favorite cousins is Sampson Reed III of Hartford, Maine (1799–1877). His son and biographer, Axel Hayford Reed, wrote:

    "He improved the homestead very much by buildings and otherwise until it became the center of attraction of the whole township. He was a man of a strong constitution, vigorous in action as well as 'head strong' in his younger days. His build was a heavy set, weighing two hundred and forty pounds in his palmy days at a height of near six feet. In addition to living a farm life, he dealt mainly in stock and for more than twenty years he visited nearly every part of Oxford county each year, buying cattle, gathering them at his home farm and from there driving them on hoof to the Westbrook and Brighton markets. The Westbrook market being near Portland, Me., and the Brighton market near Boston, Mass. He took an active part in politics and served as a representative in the Maine legislature and a term as one of the governor's council." [Axel Hayford Reed, Genealogical Record of the Reads, Reeds, the Bisbees, the Bradfords . . . , Glencoe, Minnesota, 1915]

    I imagine listening to the traffic report on a Boston radio station and hearing that a herd of cattle is approaching Brighton from the north.


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