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  • 2003 Archive

  • Vol. 5, No. 42
    Whole #135
    October 10, 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 4 of the Great Migration Newsletter Online Available to Subscribers
    • New Research Article on
    • Institutional Memberships Now Available from NEHGS
    • At the NEHGS Library
    Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    Plymouth Ancestors: A Collaboration Between NEHGS & Plimoth Plantation
    NEHGS's David Dearborn to Speak in Belfast, Maine, on October 23
    • Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Added Friday, October 10

    Marriages Published in the Christian Intelligencer of the Reformed Dutch Church
    From 1830 to 1871

    In 1830 the Association of Members of the Reformed Dutch Church in New York City began publishing the Christian Intelligencer. From 1830 to 1871 the paper published announcements of marriages performed by ministers of this faith in this country and elsewhere. Many marriages of other denominations reported by readers were also published. In many cases, these announcements are the only known record of marriage. It was not required by law to keep marriage records during this time and many of the church records have been lost or destroyed.

    This database represents ten volumes of marriage records compiled and edited by Ray C. Sawyer in 1931. Six volumes of death notices from the Intelligencer will be added to our databases at a later date.

    Search the Marriages Published in the Christian Intelligencer of the Reformed Dutch Church

    Added Thursday, October 9

    Vital Records of Fairfax, Vermont

    These records, compiled by Alison Hitchcock, include births, marriages, and deaths to 1860. The town of Fairfax, located in Franklin County, was established in 1763.

    Search the Vital Records of Fairfax, Vermont, at

    Added Wednesday, October 8

    Deaths and Burials in Wethersfield, Connecticut, 1775–1808

    These records were copied by William F. J. Boardman from an original manuscript in his possession. The dates from August 11, 1779 to June 1782, and from February 15, 1784 to June 26, 1786, are missing from the original, and several leaves were removed as well. Boardman donated the transcription to NEHGS in 1910. The town of Wethersfield, in Hartford County, was organized in 1634.

    Search Deaths and Burials in Wethersfield, Connecticut, 1775–1808 at

    Added Tuesday, October 7

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    Prospect Hill Cemetery, Millis (East Medway), Massachusetts

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    Added Monday, October 6

    Records of the Third Church of Christ, East Hartford, Connecticut

    These records of the Reverend Samuel Woodbridge (1683–1746) were transcribed by W. Herbert Wood, of Sibridge, New York. They cover the years 1723 to 1745.

    The Third Ecclesiastical Society of Hartford first petitioned to procure a minister in 1694. As there were two existing societies in Hartford, it was proposed that the third society settle on the east side of the Great River. Samuel Woodbridge was ordained in 1705 and served until he fell ill in the 1730s and was unable to preach regularly.

    Search Records of the Third Church of Christ, East Hartford, Connecticut, at


    Volume 12, Number 4 of the Great Migration Newsletter Online Available to Subscribers

    Great Migration Newsletter Online subscribers may now access the latest issue — Volume 12, Number 4 — on Great Migration editor Robert C. Anderson describes the contents in the new issue's editorial:

    "The articles in the Great Migration Newsletter almost always relate to a very specific problem. We study the records of a particular town, or records of a particular type, or we examine a problem relating to two or more immigrants of the same name. In this issue we pull back from our close work on particular problems and reexamine the most fundamental underpinnings of our methodology.

    "First, we build on work carried out in the last issue of the Newsletter by applying our newfound knowledge of the Boston vital records from the late 1640s. We find that a handful of sketches of early Boston residents require revision, mostly minor, but in one or two instances fairly major changes will need to be made.

    "We are alerted by these discoveries to the assumptions we make in interpreting the records. A single entry can never be understood in isolation, and in the case of these early Boston vital records we see that a deeper analysis has changed the way we interpret the records. There are undoubtedly other records that we use regularly that need to be investigated in greater depth. We would certainly place in this category the Ipswich town records and the 1643 Plymouth Colony list of men able to bear arms. Even the early Boston vital records demand more attention.

    "Second, in an abbreviated Focus section we move even further into the abstract and examine some of the rules of engagement, the principles of interpretation of the widest application. We look closely at two such rules, the relative merits of errors of omission versus errors of commission, and the meaning of the absence of records at a certain time and place.

    "After fifteen years of work on the Great Migration Study Project, we are still obtaining new insights into the records. This ensures that our understanding of our ancestors will become more sophisticated and more nuanced as we dig deeper and deeper. We may also look forward to the resolution of longstanding genealogical problems which from our current perspective appear to be insoluble."

    Subscribers to the Great Migration Newsletter Online may read the latest issue at

    We are now taking subscription and renewal orders for Volume 13 of the online and printed versions of the Great Migration Newsletter. Subscribers to Volume 13 will receive four issues published on a quarterly basis. Subscribers to the online version also receive access to over 100 bonus biographical sketches not yet in print, and access to volumes 11 and 12 of the Newsletter — all for only $10 per year! Subscriptions to the printed version is $20 per year.

    To subscribe to Volume 13 of the Great Migration Newsletter, please visit

    New Research Article on

    Introducing the Canadian Genealogy Centre
    By Michael J. Leclerc

    Genealogists researching their ancestors in Canada have an exciting new resource to add to their cache. The National Archives of Canada and the National Library of Canada recently announced the creation of the Canadian Genealogy Centre. These two organizations, in partnership with the Canadian Culture Online program of the Department of Canadian Heritage have created a new website for those researching their ancestors. The website is available at

    Read the full article at

    Institutional Memberships Now Available from NEHGS

    The new NEHGS Institutional Membership was created to help libraries and related organizations meet their patrons' growing demand for genealogical information. Institutional Memberships are now available at an annual cost of $150 to libraries, historical societies, genealogical associations, and government agencies.

    A membership provides staff and patrons with convenient access to the website at their library or institution. offers hundreds of searchable databases containing nearly eighty million names. A current listing of databases can be found at

    An Institutional Membership ($150 per year/$160 outside the U.S.) includes full access to the website databases, print subscriptions to New England Ancestors magazine and the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, online editions of recent issues of both periodicals, and special pricing opportunities on genealogical books and CD-ROMs.

    We will also continue to offer libraries and other organizations an Institutional Subscription at an annual cost of $60 ($70 outside the U.S.). This option includes subscriptions to the print version of New England Ancestors and the New England Historic Genealogical Register. An Institutional Subscription does not include access to members-only areas of the website (databases, research articles, etc.).

    For additional information, or to have information sent to your local library, please contact Tom McKenna, Director of Member Services, at 1-888-296-3447 or email

    At the NEHGS Library

    • Please note that despite the Columbus Day holiday on Monday, the NEHGS Library will be open as usual on Saturday, October 11, and Sunday, October 12.

    • Also, mark your calendars for the special Irish lecture that will be given at NEHGS this Wednesday, October 15. Dr. Susan Hood of the Church of Ireland Representative Body Library, in Dublin, Ireland, will speak on "Recovering the memory of the hidden people: an introduction to estate paper records as sources for local history." Beginning at 5 p.m., Dr. Hood will introduce her book, The Royal Roots — Republican Inheritance: the survival of the Office of Arms (Ireland's heraldic and genealogical authority), and sign copies for attendees at a reception preceding her lecture, which starts at 6.

    • In addition to the previously available databases — U.S. Records Collection and the U.S. Census Images and Indexes — visitors to the NEHGS library in Boston can now use two additional databases: Historical Newspapers (1815–2001), which are keyword-searchable and include digital images of newspapers from across the United States, and the U.K. & Ireland Records Collection, which includes the every-name searchable 1891 British census (England and Wales only) linked to images of the actual census schedules.

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

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

    • "Caring for Your Treasured Books" by Deborah Rossi on Saturday, October 11.

    • "Genealogical Research in Connecticut" by Joyce Pendery on Wednesday, October 15 and Saturday, October 18.

    • "Beyond Clans and Tartans: Scottish Genealogical Research" by George F. Sanborn, Jr. on Wednesday, October 22 and Saturday, October 25.

    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.

    Plymouth Ancestors: A Collaboration Between NEHGS & Plimoth Plantation

    At the beginning of October, NEHGS and Plimoth Plantation embarked on a pilot project to provide genealogical information to Plimoth Plantation visitors. Not surprisingly, many of the visitors to the Plantation are interested in learning more about their Mayflower or early Plymouth Colony ancestors — or discovering whether they have an ancestral connection to the Pilgrim Village. Drawing from the Great Migration series of books and other well-respected sources, "genealogical profiles" have been assembled for fifty-five colonists and their families that lived in the Village in 1627.

    Visitors to Plimoth Plantation will encounter a station with exhibit panels that outline the project and provide a brief introduction to genealogy. Those interested can request a copy of a genealogical profile, which also contains information on beginning family history, NEHGS, and on Plimoth Plantation. The station is staffed by volunteers from both organizations. (We are very pleased with the number of NEHGS members who have chosen to volunteer for this project!) Visitors also receive information about the project's new website, We hope this effort will inspire Plimoth Plantation visitors to pursue their genealogical connections with Pilgrim ancestors, and heighten interest in family history generally.

    If you are planning a visit to Plimoth Plantation this year, be sure to visit the Plymouth Ancestors exhibit and talk with the volunteers. At Plimoth, you can tour the 1627 Village and Hobbamock's (Wampanoag) Homesite, as well as the special exhibit "Thanksgiving: Memory, Myth & Meaning." Plimoth Plantation is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., through November 30. The Plymouth Ancestors pilot project will run through the end of the season. For more information about Plimoth Plantation, please visit their new website at

    The Maine Old Cemetery Association
    by Russell C. Farnham, CG

    In 1968, Dr. Hilda M. Fife, using the Vermont Old Cemetery Association (VOCA) as a model, saw a similar need to identify small, neglected cemeteries throughout the state of Maine. Sponsored by the Maine League of Historical Societies and Museums and the University of Maine's Department of History, Dr. Fife chartered the Maine Old Cemetery Association (MOCA) as a non-profit organization. Initially, the primary purpose of MOCA was to locate old cemeteries in order to encourage their care and preservation, which would in turn aid in the preservation of historic information. Over the years MOCA has worked with scout troops, Masons, various historical societies, and other organizations to clean up deserted and neglected cemeteries as they are identified. They also inspire and motivate local efforts by town or city officials to assist in this endeavor by calling attention to cemeteries in disrepair through local media channels.

    As the growth of MOCA began to accelerate, programs were developed to record the writings on tombstones in order to preserve their historical and genealogical interest. MOCA has taken on the herculean task of recording and documenting the inventory of every cemetery in the state, whether large and well known or small and well concealed. What an absolutely worthwhile goal! It is refreshing that MOCA, in addition to recording the tombstone inscriptions, also gathers the dedicated volunteer resources necessary to accomplish this task. Once the inscriptions are recorded, the next step is to transfer the raw material into some form of permanent record and make it available to repositories in the towns of Maine and beyond. It is a vast undertaking, made even more difficult by the condition of the stones themselves. Some tombstones are hundreds of years old and are worn due to long exposure to the environment. Older tombstones that are not set properly become cracked and settle, or even disappear, beneath the soil.

    There are several active MOCA projects that may be of great interest to genealogists. They are described below.

    Bicentennial Inscription Project (BIP)
    During the bicentennial year, MOCA received a grant for their Bicentennial Inscription Project (BIP), in which they would compile information on Revolutionary War soldiers buried in Maine. The BIP covers 7,500 veterans who lived in Maine before, during, or after the war, and includes their names; dates of births, deaths, and marriages; and burial places. The data collected has been entered into a computer, printed out, and distributed amongst the following libraries:

    • Ancient Landmarks of Parsonfield, Route 160
    • Bangor Public Library
    • Belfast Free Library
    • Cutler Library, Farmington
    • Fogler Library, University of Maine, Orono
    • Maine Historical Society, Portland
    • Maine State Library, Augusta
    • Patten Free Library, Bath

    MOCA Cemetery Inscription Project (MIP)
    The MIP will hold great interest to researchers who are into "tombstone hopping," while searching for the grave of an ancestor. This project consists of the transcription of information from every tombstone in hundreds and hundreds of cemeteries. Before MIP was begun, researchers would generally head to larger cemeteries in hopes of finding the elusive graveyard holding the remains of an ancestor. However, someone who lived far away with limited time on their hands would be hard pressed to visit (let alone find) a 200-year old family cemetery in the back field of an old deserted farmhouse located a half-mile off the Route 23 county highway road, and 100 feet beyond a cluster of oak trees and bushes, with nothing but a crude slate marker, engraved by hand, that is partially covered by the earth. Oh me! Such dedication on the part of these inspired volunteers! They give up their free time (often on weekends) because of a sincere desire to preserve the final resting places of departed individuals.

    Surname Index Project (SIP)
    While MIP just listed the names and dates inscribed on the tombstone, the Surname Index Project went a step further. In addition to listing the available information from gravestones, family relationships are recorded from cemetery records, genealogies, etc. For example, if a tombstone read: "Mary, wife of John Gilbert and dau of James Jones," Mary would be cataloged not just as Mary Gilbert, but also as Mary Jones, dau of James Jones, and the names indexed accordingly. Or, if cemetery records revealed that "Gertrude Smith Jones was the dau of John Smith," then both John Smith and Gertrude Smith would be indexed. The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints filmed the results of this enormous project, and a typescript copy of these several volumes, which cover every county in Maine, has been deposited at the Maine State Library in Augusta. Researchers must search by cemetery, which means all volumes must be searched when the location of a death is known but the cemetery is not.

    The Marble Records
    These are the record books of the Marble Monument Company and its predecessors, spanning the years 1855–1918. This was a business that originated in Bath and flourished in Skowhegan, and their records contain the inscriptions of stones that were carved by the company. In addition to more than 50,000 names and address of purchasers, these records include the name of the cemetery the stones were delivered to, and in many instances, a diagram of the stone itself. The originals of these records are kept at the Maine Historical Society in Portland, but a copy of the originals plus a computerized index will soon be available at the Maine State Archives in Augusta.

    MOCA recognizes the need to make their enormous amount of data available to researchers and the general public, and to that end, they have clearly defined their present goals and priorities. Foremost at the top of the agenda is to transfer the mountains of handwritten, typescript, photographed, or sketched data into the computer. While this monumental task slowly proceeds, new cemeteries continue to be discovered, requiring inventories to be taken, and beginning the cycle over again. MOCA exists solely on the volunteers who beat down the bushes to find new cemeteries and trudge out on their free time to write down inscriptions appearing on tombstones. They are anxious to develop a core of computer literate individuals who could provide valuable and much-needed assistance from the comfort of their own homes.

    Two of the largest counties in Maine have been completely inventoried and computerized. Within the past six years, MOCA has published four volumes of the Maine Cemetery Inscriptions, York County, containing 107,277 entries (Augusta, ME: MOCA, 1995), and the latest, Maine Cemetery Inscriptions, Kennebec County (Rockport, ME: Picton Press, 2000), in six volumes, containing 135,094 entries. The latter title is also available on CD. The Kennebec volumes ($399) can be acquired from the publisher; however, the York County volumes ($260) and the Kennebec CD ($99) are available directly from MOCA (P.O. Box 641, Augusta, ME 04332-0641). The indices to more than a quarter million names are without regard to the location of the cemetery, but the interior pages are arranged first by town and then by cemetery, enabling a researcher to conveniently view all cemeteries within a town or city. Purchasing these highly acclaimed publications directly from MOCA enables them to recapture the large sums of money initially advanced to publish these beautiful volumes. It is estimated that more than 75% of the inventory of Maine cemeteries has been completed. Typescript volumes for every county in Maine are on file at the Maine State Archives.

    Membership in the Maine Old Cemetery Association is open to the public for a mere $5 per year, or $20 for five years, with lifetime membership available for $100. A nifty quarterly newsletter is mailed to members.

    Researchers may visit MOCA at or write to: Maine Old Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 641, Augusta, ME 04332-0641.

    (This article, plus over 200 other articles, are available to NEHGS members online at

    NEHGS's David Dearborn to Speak in Belfast, Maine, on October 23

    Senior College at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center invites the public to attend "Beyond the Basics," a presentation by NEHGS Reference Librarian David Dearborn.

    The presentation will be held on Thursday, October 23, at 1 p.m. at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center, Route 3, Belfast.

    For more information, please call Mary Frenning (evenings) at 207-338-6070 or Pat Pierson (weekdays) at 1-800-287-1426.

    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!

    The Kay Family, from England to the New World
    By Carole Emma Mathewson of Payson, Arizona

    The ship Albion departed Hull, Yorkshire, England, on March 14, 1774, bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia. Aboard was Bryan Kay of Yorkshire, a farmer. He stated his reason for the voyage was "to seek for better livelihood." With him were his wife, Dorothy, and their five daughters: Jane, Ann, Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth.

    The 150-ton Albion, designed for only 75 passengers, carried 175 passengers and a crew of nine. The voyage was difficult, with cramped and bitterly cold conditions. After a 52-day trip across the cold and icy waters of the Atlantic, tragedy struck on May 6 as they were landing at Halifax. The two teenage Kay daughters, Elizabeth and Hannah, were inexplicably drowned.

    While assuredly difficult for them to proceed, the Kay family made their way to Fort Cumberland on Chignecto Bay above the Bay of Fundy. There they made plans for a journey that would take them to the fertile river-bottom land of the Connecticut River Valley, where they could pasture cattle and grow crops. The family settled in Haverhill, New Hampshire. Haverhill was the northern-most outpost of colonial New Hampshire at the time of the arrival of its first settlers in 1761.

    In 1774, when the Kay family arrived, the population of Haverhill was 387. The Kay property soon became a place where both town meetings and church services were held. At a meeting held March 12, 1776, in arranging for meetings for "preaching" it was voted "that the town of Haverhill meet one half of the first six months at Mr. Kay's lower barn near where Luther Richardson lately lived, and the other six months the town agrees that the selectmen shall provide for as they think proper." The town historian added, in his 1919 history of Haverhill, "Previously the town meetings had been held at John Hazen's and Luther Richardson's, but for the next twenty years, when not held at the courthouse, Bryan Kay's appears to have been the favorite meeting place."

    Despite the hardships endured by the Kay family, Dorothy, who was four years older than Bryan, lived to about sixty-eight. Her death occurred about 1800. On July 8, 1801, Bryan married Haverhill resident Elis McConnal (apparently her maiden name), the widow of William Ayer. Their marriage took place at Bath and was performed by Justice of the Peace Jeremiah Hutchins. Elis brought to the marriage her daughter, Lavina Ayer, born in 1797.

    Bryan was sixty-seven when he and Elis became the parents of Bryan, Jr. in 1803. Another son, Robert, was born in 1805, and a daughter, Hannah, was born in 1806. It is thought she was named for her half-sister who drowned at Halifax. Elis died at the time of Hannah's birth. Bryan married a third time, to Mary Smith, widow of David Smith. There is no record of children of that union. Bryan, Sr., who was born in 1736, died in 1813 at Haverhill. His age was seventy-seven.


    NEHGS Contact Information

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

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