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  • 2003 Archive

  • Vol. 5, No. 36
    Whole #129
    August 29, 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
    • Volume 12, Number 3 of the Great Migration Newsletter Online Available to Subscribers
    • New Research Article on
    • Special Holiday Hours in the NEHGS Research Library
    Last Chance for Summer Book Sale Prices!
    Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    A Retirement at NEHGS
    A New Addition to the NEHGS Family
    English Church Records & Registers
    New Arrivals at the Library Listed on
    Ten Hints to Maximize the Use of City Directories
    Fall Genealogical Programs in New England
    • Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Vital Records of Worcester, Vermont, 1813–1858

    These birth, marriage, and death records were compiled by Simon C. Abbott. The birth records also include the names of the parents. The town of Worcester is located in Washington County. It was established in 1763.

    Search Vital Records of Worcester, Vermont, at

    Family Genealogy: Memoir of Rev. Samuel Whiting, D.D., and of His Wife, Elizabeth St. John (1873)

    This genealogy was written in 1873 by former NEHGS president William Whiting. According to Pishey Thompson's History and Antiquities of Boston, England, the earliest mention of the Whiting family is that of William Whytyng who was recorded as a resident of Boston, Lincolnshire, in 1333.

    Samuel Whiting was born in Boston in 1597, received degrees from Emanuel College in Cambridge, and became chaplain in the villages of Norfolk and King's Lynn. Complaints of nonconformist behavior forced him to move to the rectory of Skirbeck, where the grievances against him continued. He resigned the rectory in 1636 and emigrated to America, arriving in Boston, Massachusetts, and shortly thereafter moved to Lynn, where he officiated as minister until his death in 1679.

    Search the Whiting Genealogy at

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    This week we have added transcriptions from the following cemeteries and burial grounds in the town of Rollinsford, Strafford County, New Hampshire:

    Baker-Plaisted Plot
    Doe Plot
    First Parish Burial Ground
    Hobbs-Tate Plot
    Hussey Memorial
    Jenkins-Carpenter Plot
    Richardson Plot
    Rollinsford New Town Cemetery
    Salmon Falls
    Stackpole Plot
    Wentworth Plot #1
    Wentworth Plot #2
    Wentworth Plot #3

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    Master Search

    Master search all databases at

    Volume 12, Number 3 of the Great Migration Newsletter Online Available to Subscribers

    Great Migration Newsletter Online subscribers may now access the latest issue — Volume 12, Number 3 — on Great Migration editor Robert C. Anderson describes the contents in the new issue's editorial:

    "In this issue of the Great Migration Newsletter we are examining two topics which we have visited before, the problem of untangling two or more persons of the same name, and the analysis of early Boston vital records. The material that we present in the Newsletter, in addition to being (we hope) of interest and value to our readers, is also of great importance to us in the prosecution of the main work of the Great Migration Study Project, the compilation of the individual sketches that make up the Great Migration volumes.

    "In our earlier articles on the Boston vital records, and the vital records of other early New England towns, we developed some general principles which have assisted us in making interpretations of the records which might not be obvious from examining single vital event entries in isolation. We believe that the development of these analytical tools has helped to improve the quality of the sketches which we have generated to date.

    After fifteen years, with even greater familiarity with the records and the immigrants of the Great Migration, we have noticed that there are even more subtle wrinkles in the records which were not revealed by our initial analysis. As you will see when you read the Focus section in this issue, there are some unexpected surprises buried in the arrangement and compilation of the version of the Boston civil vital records that has come down to us.

    In particular, we have proceeded with the understanding that the earliest Boston vital records include only those families present in town at the date of the compilation of the records, and, for those families, only those events which actually took place in Boston. We now learn that while this interpretation is correct for the compilation of 1630 through 1644, it is not necessarily true for the next two groupings of town vital records, from 1643 through 1646 and for 1646 through 1650.

    As a consequence, we will now have to revisit some sketches that have already been published. We may find that some of these early Boston families resided elsewhere for a few years."

    NEHGS members may subscribe to Volume 12 now and receive access to four issues to be posted on a quarterly basis, biographical sketches available only to online subscribers, and access to the Great Migration Newsletter Online archive, which contains all of the issues of Volume 11 plus the bonus sketches from 2002. All of this can be yours for only $10 per year!

    Subscribers to the Great Migration Newsletter Online may access the new issue by visiting

    To subscribe to the Great Migration Newsletter Online go to

    To subscribe to the print version of the Great Migration Newsletter, please visit

    New Research Article on

    New Hampshire
    New Hampshire Town Histories and Genealogies
    By Sherry L. Gould

    New Hampshire researchers are fortunate to have an abundance of town histories and genealogies covering families who lived in the state at their disposal. This article will focus on research aids, library materials, and exemplary works to assist in the search for New Hampshire ancestors. The next installment in this series will show which New Hampshire towns have published histories; identify those histories which include genealogies; indicate those that are currently available for sale (with purchase information and cost); and note if the histories are available to NEHGS members via the Society’s circulating and research libraries.

    Read the full article at

    Special Holiday Hours in the NEHGS Research Library

    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

    Last Chance for Summer Book Sale Prices!

    The summer catalog pricing expires on Sunday, August 31st. Many CD-ROMS, including nearly all NEHGS CDs, are on sale through Sunday. If you've been meaning to order from your summer flier, or wish to see special Internet offers, log on to and place your order now!

    (NEHGS will be conducting a physical inventory in the sales department for the end of the fiscal year today and through next week. Please be aware that the availability of our member services team will be limited on those days and orders placed for the next week will be a few days slower to be processed than usual. To take advantage of our expiring sale prices, we encourage you to use the online ordering feature of

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

    The 2003 "Genealogy in a Nutshell" series resumes in September with:

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

    • "Loyalist and Pre-Loyalist Migrations to Atlantic Canada" by George F. Sanborn, Jr. on Wednesday, September 10 and Saturday, September 13

    • "Reginae Bonarum: Researching 19th-Century Irish Women" by Marie Daly on Wednesday, September 17 and Saturday, September 20

    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.


    A Retirement at NEHGS

    Bonnie Mitten, reference librarian on the fourth floor Microtext area, is retiring after eight years at NEHGS. She started even earlier as a volunteer, but in 1995 she became a front desk receptionist, and a few years later began working on the fourth floor. Many visitors may remember her as the person who handled the LDS orders. The NEHGS staff hope that we may see her from time to time, as she pursues her interests in genealogy.

    A New Addition to the NEHGS Family

    The birth of the second daughter of David Allen Lambert (NEHGS Microtext Reference Librarian) and his wife Anne-Marie occurred August 19th. Hannah Mae Lambert was born at 8:31 a.m., weighing 5 lbs. 11 1/2 ozs., 18 inches long. Both mother and daughter are doing well.

    English Church Records & Registers
    by Alexander Woodle, Circulation Library Director

    NEHGS has an extensive collection of English church records and registers in its Circulating Library. These records are catalogued by county, and they may include christenings, marriages, and burials from various parishes. The years vary, but some date from the sixteenth century. Some of these volumes only contain marriages; others include christenings and burials as well. The online catalog will tell you what type of vital record is covered in the county books, but not in the individual parishes. Typically, the books will provide the names of the bride and groom, occupation, date of marriage, and, sometimes, village of residence.

    One can easily access these catalogued items by going to Libraries, then searching the library catalog by subject and inserting the key words "England church records registers." When the default is set at "all libraries" you should receive 239 hits. Searching the same way, but setting the default for the Circulating Library, should yield 76 hits. You can narrow your search by adding the county name. For example, I added the word Essex and received only two results in Research and one in Circulating. Similarly, if you know the name of the parish, use it in a subject search. For example, if you are interested in Prestbury, you will receive two results.

    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

    New Arrivals at the Library Listed on

    The latest list of new titles added to the NEHGS library has been posted on To view the list, go to and click on "August 2003." Here are some of this month's titles:

    The Hearls, Earls, Earles of northern New England and the descendants of William Hearl of 1655
    Clock & watch makers of Edinburgh and the Lothians, 1539–1900
    Valuation of estates in the town of Stoughton, and money tax, for the year 1850
    Newton, New Hampshire: history, both past and recent . . . pictures, stories and more, 1749–1999
    Nebraska, Kansas Czech settlers, 1891–1895
    Lt. Col. John Winslow's list of the Acadians in the Grand-Pré area in 1755

    Ten Hints to Maximize the Use of City Directories
    by Marie Daly, Director of Library User Services

    City directories can be very useful records for genealogists tracing their urban ancestors. Most of us have looked up at least one ancestor in a directory, but many do not go beyond this. Yet researchers can glean much more from the directories by making full use of their features.

    1. Identify the ward for census research. Many people have common surnames that make identifying ancestors in census records difficult. Discerning your John Sullivan ancestor among the many others, without having to look up every family, will save time and effort. Street directories can identify the streets and wards for heads-of-households.

    2. Identify the street address before 1880. City directories can provide the street addresses for pre-1880 censuses. In many of the cities, the 1880 and later censuses recorded the street address, but not so for the pre-1880 censuses. By looking at the 1850, 1860 or 1870 street directories, genealogists can determine exactly where their ancestor lived. African Americans were frequently listed separately at the end of the main directories.

    3. Follow families annually. Many immigrants moved around frequently as their families changed size (or as they were evicted for non-payment of rent). Once you have found your ancestor in a federal or state census, you can follow him forward in time between censuses, on an annual basis, in large cities. In addition, directories listed both address of employment and residence, data that allow you to identify your ancestor among others with the same name. Some directories will also list the new town of residence when your ancestor moves out.

    4. Research the neighbors. Sometimes the naturalization records do not provide enough detail to determine your ancestor's origin. Since many immigrants clustered in neighborhoods comprised of people from the old country, you can trace the origin of your ancestor by proxy, i.e., by researching their neighbors' origins. Twentieth century directories sometimes have "criss-cross" directories in the back section. These features list the heads-of-households by street, and help determine the names and addresses of the neighbors.

    5. Find a renumbered address. Even when you find your ancestor's street address in a directory, you may discover that the streets have been renumbered over time. Many directories feature listings of street numbers and cross streets, so that you can determine on which city block your ancestor lived.

    6. Find the local church. Researching in church registers can provide crucial information about our ancestors. Many directories provide not only the names and addresses of residents, but also listings of municipal offices, businesses, social organizations, newspapers and churches.

    7. Identify the priests or ministers in marriage records. The informants for civil marriage records are often the priests or ministers who performed the marriages. Directories may list the street address of the priest or minister, and sometimes list all the personnel by church. With this information, you can look for the church record of the marriage, and possibly subsequent baptisms.

    8. Find the date of death. Finding a civil death record or an obituary can be daunting for an ancestor with a common name. By following your ancestor in the directory until he disappears, or a widow appears at the same address, you can determine the possible year of death. Furthermore, many twentieth century directories provide the exact dates of death.

    9. Identify and locate others with same surname. Perhaps you have struck out finding a useful naturalization for your ancestor. You can identify others with the same surname, look for possible connections with your ancestor and research their origins. This strategy works best for less common surnames.

    10. Look for others with the name surname at same address or next door. As your ancestor's children matured and obtained employment, they may have appeared in street directories as individuals living at the same address. This feature is particularly helpful in the period between 1880 and 1900, since the 1890 census was destroyed. A child could have been born in 1880 and have moved away by 1900. Directories can help establish a relationship between the parent and child when other records are missing.

    NEHGS has a substantial collection of New England city directories on microfiche, available on the fourth floor. The collections for Boston and Massachusetts are particularly extensive. The Society also has in its rare book collection (member access only) a series of directories for New York City, from 1838 to 1860. To use these directories, inquire at the sixth floor reference desk. In addition, the Boston Public Library has most of the United States directories to 1850, and for the largest cities to 1960. (For a complete listing of the Boston Public Library directories, see

    Fall Genealogical Programs in New England

    Searching Your Roots: A Family History and Genealogy Conference
    September 13, Littleton, Massachusetts

    On Saturday, September 13, Searching Your Roots: A Family History and Genealogy Conference, will be held at the meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 616 Great Road in Littleton — on Rt. 119, about a mile west of Rt. 495.

    In the morning, two classes ("Getting Started–Getting Organized" and "An Overview of Sources, the Finding Phase") will cover some of the basic techniques. Lunch will include a question and answer session. Then at 1 p.m., Helen Schatvet Ullmann of Acton, a Certified Genealogist, a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists, and associate editor of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register will speak on "Using the International Genealogical Index (IGI) Online," and address locating and evaluating vital data for millions of individuals and families. This is a rather complex database, so it is important to understand when it is reliable and when data must be taken with a large grain of salt.

    Registration and a short welcoming program begin at 9 a.m. To ensure a place at the conference, please call ahead to Dolores Crofton-MacDonald at 978-263-4285. You may reserve a bag lunch ($5) at the same time, or bring your own. Otherwise the conference is free. Come for the entire day or just for part of it.

    Genealogy Seminar
    September 20, Manchester, Connecticut

    A genealogy seminar for both beginning and experienced researchers will be sponsored by the Connecticut Society of Genealogists on Saturday, September 20. The conference will run from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., at Manchester Community College, Ramey Dr., in Manchester.

    The following lectures will be given:

    • Getting Started . . . and more!
    • Getting the Most from the 1930 Federal Census and the Ellis Island Database
    • Sleuthing in the Stacks: Using Non-Traditional Sources to Uncover Genealogical Clues
    • The Newest Electronic Frontier: Online Searchable Scanned Newspapers

    For more information about this conference, or to register, please visit

    Genealogical Society of Vermont Fall Meeting
    October 18, Randolph Center, Vermont

    This meeting will be held at Vermont Technical College (just off Exit 4 of I-89 at the geographic center of Vermont). The program includes two talks by Henry Hoff, Editor of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register and former Editor of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, a genealogist noted for his work on early New York families, among other subjects. He will speak on "Coping with the Common Surname" during the first morning lecture slot, and on "When One Record Is Wrong, But You Don't Know Which One" in the afternoon slot. The second morning lecture will be by Eric G. Grundset, Librarian of the D.A.R. Library in Washington, D.C., on "How Old Did They Have To Be. . .? Age Considerations In Interpreting the Records We Use." The meeting will be an excellent opportunity to hear from experts about the sorts of dilemmas genealogists often face in doing research.

    The registration fee of $16 for GSV members and $18 for non-members includes morning refreshments and lunch. Registration will start at 9 a.m. and a business meeting will start about 9:30 a.m.

    Those planning to attend must make reservations by October 1. Registration fees may be sent to: Genealogical Society of Vermont, PO Box 1553, St. Albans, VT 05478-1006. If you have questions about the fall meeting, please email John Leppman at

    Seventh New England Regional Genealogical Conference
    November 6, Falmouth, Massachusetts

    Sponsored by twenty-eight New England societies and organizations, this conference will feature over forty speakers and sixty-five lectures or workshops.

    A number of NEHGS staff members will speak at the conference:

    • Ralph J. Crandall on "When the Last Document Has Been Searched: NEHGS Manuscript Collection"

    • Marie E. Daly on "Transcending the Myth of Irish-American Culture: Woburn, Massachusetts"

    • David C. Dearborn on "New Hampshire: Crossroads of Northern New England"

    • Laura G. Prescott on "Locating Digitized Images Online" and "Timelines — Placing Your Heritage in Historical Perspective"

    • Ruth Q. Wellner on "Nuggets, Gems, and Jewels or Fools' Gold: Mining the U.S. Census" and "City Directories: A Great Source Waiting to Be Discovered"

    • Alexander Woodle on "Jewish Genealogy: How to Do It"

    Register editor Henry B. Hoff will present the NEHGS luncheon talk, "What, Me Worry? Genealogy of the Alfred E. Neuman Family and Other Little Known Treasures at NEHGS" on Friday, November 7.

    NEHGS will sponsor a booth in the exhibit hall which will feature the latest NEHGS books and CD-ROMs, book-signings, and demonstrations on the website.

    For more information or to register, 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!

    A Black Sheep Ancestor
    by Robert Brown of Atlanta, Georgia

    In 1734, my ancestress Elizabeth Cheshire, a spinster of Baltimore County, Maryland, was found guilty of bastardy and sentenced to fifteen lashes at the whipping post and a fine. Poor and disgraced, unable to pay the fine or support herself and the child, on April 6, 1734, she placed her four year old son, Richard Cheshire, into indentured service, apprenticed to Josias Hendon. The terms of the indenture required that the boy be trained as a planter, taught the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments, and provided with food, clothing, and shelter until his twenty-first birthday. The indenturing of the child worked for his good. The Hendons eventually emigrated to North Carolina, where Richard Cheshire became a landowner and planter, married, and named his children after members of the Hendon family. Several Richard Cheshire descendants were named "Handin" (Hendon) well into the 19th century.


    NEHGS Contact Information

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

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

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