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  • 2003 Archive

  • Vol. 5, No. 44
    Whole #137
    October 24, 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
    New England Regional Genealogical Conference Only Two Weeks Away!
    Essential Websites for Tracing U.K. Ancestors
    New Arrivals at the Library Listed on
    More on Crashed Computers and Lost Ancestors
    From the Volunteer Coordinator
    • Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Probate Records of Norwich, Connecticut, Volumes. 1–3

    These records were abstracted by Jennie F. Tefft Gallup of Norwich, Connecticut. They were acquired by NEHGS in 1929.

    The probate district of Norwich, New London County, Connecticut, was constituted in October 1748, from the New London district. The Norwich probate district at that time included the present towns of Norwich, Bozrah, Franklin, Griswold, Lisbon, Preston, and Sprague.

    The first volume of records cover the years 1748 to 1757; the second, 1749 to 1761; and the third, 1761 to 1770.

    Search the Probate Records of Norwich, Connecticut, at

    New Hampshire
    Vital Records from the New Hampshire Gazette, 1756–1800

    These records were compiled by Otis G. Hammond, former director of the New Hampshire Historical Society. They were abstracted by Priscilla Hammond in 1937.

    Many of these early records include valuable details and clues that may not be available elsewhere. In addition to records of births, marriages, and deaths, this database also includes several casualty lists from various battles of the French and Indian Wars.

    Below is a sampling of these records:

    (1759, Nov. 30) BORN, in Windham, N. H., to William Waugh, Nov. 5, 1759, a son and a daughter, which completed the number of ten legitimate children, five sons and five daughters, four double and two single births, eight alive and like to live. They were married Nov. 30, 1749.

    (1760, March 14) DIED, in Middletown, R. I., Feb. 20, 1760, Mrs. Mary Turner, leaving 13 children, 98 grandchildren, 117 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-grandchild.

    (1765, May 3) DIED, in Philadelphia, March 17, 1765, Mrs. Margaret Gray, in her 60th year, married nine times.

    (1765, Jan. 18) DIED, in Portsmouth, John Damering, so badly frozen Jan. 11, 1765, that he died soon afterwards.

    DIED in Dover, N. H., Feb. 23, 1773, Mrs. Christina Baker, born in Dover in March, 1688–9. With her mother she was taken captive by Indians in June 1689, and carried to Canada, where she married and had several children. Her husband died, and in 1714 she was exchanged, afterwards marrying Capt. Thomas Baker of North Hampton, N. H.; in Hingham, Mass.

    Search Vital Records from the New Hampshire Gazette, 1756–1800 at

    New York
    Marriages and Deaths in New York State from the New Canaan [CT] Era

    The New Canaan Era newspaper was established in 1868 and ceased publication in 1871. Lester Card, of South Norwalk, Connecticut, extracted the records from this Connecticut newspaper pertaining to marriages and deaths occurring in New York State. As the recording of vital records in New York State did not commence until 1880, it is possible that these records may not be found elsewhere.

    Search Marriages and Deaths in New York State from the New Canaan [CT] Era at

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    Transcription of Union Cemetery, Holbrook, Massachusetts (Norfolk County)

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    Marriages and Marriage Intentions of Westport, Maine, 1828–1854

    These records were copied from the town's first book of marriage intentions and marriages, and donated to NEHGS in 1938. The town of Westport, located in Lincoln County, was organized in 1828.

    Search Marriages and Marriage Intentions of Westport, Maine, 1828–1854 at




    New Research Article on

    Upstate New York
    Early Vital Records of New York State: The Work of Fred Q. Bowman
    By Marian S. Henry

    As any genealogical researcher dealing with New York State can attest, early records tend to be scattered and not widely available. It is therefore with great pleasure that I introduce in this column the work of Fred Q. Bowman. During the last twenty years Mr. Bowman has compiled a number of volumes of vital records extracted from local newspapers, as well as a volume of early land records. The books described in this article are: Landholders of Northeastern New York, 1739–1802; 10,000 Vital Records of Western New York, 1809–1850; 10,000 Vital Records of Central New York, 1813–1850; 10,000 Vital Records of Eastern New York, 1777–1834; 8,000 More Vital Records of Eastern New York State, 1804–1850; Directory to Collections of New York Vital Records, 1726–1989, with Rare Gazetteer (with co-author Thomas J. Lynch); and 7,000 Hudson-Mohawk Valley, (NY) Vital Records, 1808–1850 (also with Thomas J. Lynch). An additional volume on the 1855 census of Greene County is not included here. A review published in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record notes: “Since New York had virtually no public vital records in this period, newspaper notices can be of immense value to genealogists, and the importance of Mr. Bowman’s books is obvious.”

    Read the full article at

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

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

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

    • "Finding Jewish Ancestors in Europe: A Case Study from Bohemia" by Alexander Woodle on Wednesday, October 29 and Saturday, November 1.

    • "From Albany to Youngstown: Genealogical Research in Upstate New York" by Henry B. Hoff on Wednesday, November 5.

    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.

    New England Regional Genealogical Conference Only Two Weeks Away!
    November 6–8, Falmouth, Massachusetts

    Sponsored by twenty-eight New England societies and organizations, this conference on Cape Cod 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"

    • Dick Eastman on "Keeping Your Computer (and Your Data) Healthy!" and "What Genealogists Should Expect of the Internet in the Next Few Years"

    • 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 of the website.

    For more information or to register, please visit

    Essential Websites for Tracing U.K. Ancestors

    The June 2003 issue of the British magazine Your Family Tree recommends a number of websites — ones you may or may not have heard of. Here is a sampling:

    • The National Archives (This site brings together the collections of the Public Records Office and the Historical Manuscripts Commission.)

    • FreeBMD (The aim of FreeBMD is to transcribe the Civil Registration index of births, marriages, and deaths for England and Wales, and to provide free Internet access to the transcribed records.)

    • FreeREG (Provides free Internet searches of baptism, marriage, and burial records, which have been transcribed from parish and non-conformist church registers in the UK.)

    • Curious Fox (Contains linked lists of every UK county, town, and village which lead to pages for family history, local history, surname and genealogy enquiries.)

    • (Guides users on how to conduct sound research and find relevant sources of information.)

    • The Society of Genealogists

    • GENUKI (A large collection of pages containing genealogical information for England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man)

    • Commonwealth War Graves Commission (Contains a database listing the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars and the 23,000 cemeteries, memorials, and other locations worldwide where they are commemorated.)

    If there are websites you'd like to recommend to eNews readers, please send the URLs to

    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 "October 2003."

    Here are some of this month's titles:

    The Hannums of Massachusetts and their English forebears and their descendants who removed to central and western New York, Ohio, Illinois, and points beyond
    Meggison: the ancestors and descendants of Capt. George Eden Meggison (1765–1815) of P.E.I., Canada and the United States
    Genealogies of the Catholic families of Maine, New Brunswick and the province of Quebec [electronic resource]
    West Limerick families abroad
    Tracing your family history in Australia: a national guide to sources
    The origin of Jewish family names: morphology and history
    Index to McKeen's 1875 history of Bradford, Vermont
    Vital records for the city of Norwich, Connecticut, 1659–1848 [electronic resource]
    New Jersey graveyard and gravestone inscriptions locators: Monmouth County

    More on Crashed Computers and Lost Ancestors

    NEHGS member John Leith’s advice in last week’s eNews about recovering supposedly irretrievable data from corrupted genealogy software elicited several comments from readers. We encourage readers to send their comments, tips, recommendations, and advice on genealogical software and related topics to

    Bettina Kesteloot writes:

    I wish you were MY neighbor. I have been using Family Tree Maker for about 2 1/2 years. The Sunday before Labor Day weekend, I had 84,000+ souls in the database. I still do not understand what went wrong, but I could not open anything, as the program kept telling me that the file was “damaged.” One of my sons finally came over a week later, after I'd purchased a FTM upgrade [to version 10], and I was able to get back 50,000. Now, I am not good at cleaning up my email. I've been able to get back about 85% of the information I lost through printing out old emails. But, I must still re-enter all of the data. In working with the reduced database, I have twice come across files that FTM says are damaged. Each time, the program shuts down. Is there a way to either delete those damaged files or, better yet, repair them? So much to learn. I feel like the lady who just keeps putting gas in the car and driving.

    Charles Wadhams writes:

    Since I have been at this computer thing since about 1981, with the first PCXTs, I have my solutions for "crashing." Several years ago my "techie" recommended a much larger hard disk. After a discussion we decided to leave behind the old disk. Today it has an automatic backup for my genealogical files and my financial files in Quicken.

    If anything crashes I correct the problem then simply go to the old drive and restore the data.

    Richard R. Kenyon writes:

    I have quite different advice for the person who is having trouble with a computer that crashed and which had her only computer copy of genealogical data for 26,000 persons.

    I think it is dangerous for her to "tinker" with the system and she might just make things worse. There are companies that specialize in retrieving data from hard disk drives. Sometimes the computer has gone through a fire or some other type of disaster.

    Ads for such data retrieval experts can be found in most computer magazines, such as PC Magazine. If a local expert isn't available, it may mean physically removing the disk drive from the computer and mailing it. Depending on the company and the situation with the drive, they may burn a copy of the files on a CD-ROM and mail it back along with the damaged drive. Fees could range from $50 to several hundred dollars. Some may not charge at all if they are unable to retrieve the data. It might help to know the names of the critical files (or at least the "extensions" associated with such files).

    I learned my lesson a couple years ago. I now burn a CD-ROM with my important data files, at least after every major update. This is very cheap insurance.

    Stephen H. Burt writes:

    I just read in the Newsletter about crashed computers and retrieving the data. My computer died recently. I installed a new hard drive since the old one had a mechanical problem. After I did this my technician tried to recover the old data by using various utility programs. This did not work but all was not lost. I sent my damaged hard drive to a recovery service. For a one-time fee of $100 they analyzed the hard drive and sent me a list of files that they could recover. It appeared that almost all files could be recovered. These included my PAF files on over 4,000 individuals. I would caution anyone to always back up because the loss of years of work is devastating. I was lucky, but here is the bottom line. After analyzing the files it cost me an additional $1,220 to get them recovered and placed on a CD. I am waiting the delivery of the CD now and hopefully I will be OK. I am now looking for a RW/CD Drive to add to my computer for back up purposes. The old floppies do not hold enough data to be practical for back up of large files.

    From the Volunteer Coordinator

    On Wednesday, October 15, NEHGS hosted the annual volunteer luncheon. It was very well attended, everyone enjoyed lunch and conversation, and all were welcomed by executive director Ralph Crandall.

    Deputy executive director Pam Swain provided some revealing figures about the growth of the volunteer program. In the year 2002–2003, NEHGS was given 9,412 hours, a 55% increase from the previous year's total of 6,086 hours.

    The departmental breakdown of hours were as follows:

    1. Electronic publications volunteers (transcribing, proofreading, and scanning for the website and CD-ROMs): 2640 hours
    2. Research service volunteers: 2000 hours
    3. Manuscripts volunteers: 1420 hours
    4. Publications volunteers: 705 hours
    5. Technical Services volunteers: 430 hours
    6. Library volunteers: 445 hours
    7. Volunteers who assist the departments in Framingham: 1030 hours

    This does not include the hours of clerical help given to all the staff at NEHGS.

    It was my pleasure to be able to thank everyone for all that has been given to NEHGS. There have been many instances when volunteers have saved a situation, for instance, finishing a transcription project to meet a deadline. Volunteers who come in to 101 Newbury Street on a regular basis oblige us in all manner of ways, including helping us at the desks to enable the entire staff to attend all-staff meetings. I could go on and on . . .

    Volunteer opportunities continue to grow. There is the pilot project with Plimoth Plantation which is progressing wonderfully. Our volunteers there are enjoying the contact with the volunteers at Plimoth. A project at the Groton Town Hall included volunteers from NEHGS. The rare books here at NEHGS are being sorted out for cleaning and repair with the help of a volunteer. In-process manuscripts in the publishing department have also received attention from volunteers.

    I do have one regret to bring to the attention of volunteers. When the list of volunteers was published in the 2002 Annual Report in the July 2003 Register, three of our volunteers' names were missing. They were Dr. John C. Kelley, Ms. Patricia Landry, and Ms. Lynne Liethlieter. All of these volunteers contributed valuable time and work for that year, and I regret the omission.

    Each volunteer has received a newly minted volunteer badge and a certificate of recognition for the year 2002– 2003. Those of you who were not able to attend the annual luncheon will receive the items through the mail.

    It has been a year of substantial support from volunteers for the Society, and we extend our heartfelt thanks.

    —Susan Rosefsky, NEHGS volunteer coordinator

    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!

    "Patriotism is in my Blood"
    by Herb Carpenter of Concord, New Hampshire

    Recently I have become very interested in my family roots. I say recently because I have only been working on my genealogy for a little over two years. In that time I have discussed Carpenter lines with individuals who have spent over ten times as long working on their lines.

    My wife thinks genealogy is my mid-life crisis and I suppose she may be right but one day it occurred to me that I am the end of my Carpenter line. I am blessed with two beautiful daughters but no son to carry on the name. I also happened to be a fourth (IV) — who would believe they would carry on this naming convention through three generations? After we had our second daughter, my wife, with her quick wit, proclaimed that the only place I was going to get a fifth (V) was at the liquor store.

    A couple months ago, on a rainy day, I stopped over my folks' house to go through a trunk of old photos and papers with them in hopes of documenting some of the lines. Among my father's possessions was an invitation to the celebration of the 100th anniversary of our national anthem, which was held on September 6 to September 13, 1914, in Baltimore, Maryland. The invitation was made out to Maude A.H. Carpenter, my great grandmother.

    Upon further investigation I discovered that the A. H. stood for Appleton Hunter. Apparently, my great grandmother wanted people to know her lineage and was quite proud of the fact that she was related to the Appletons of Beacon Hill in Boston, Massachusetts. It didn't take long to discover that my great grandmother's mother was Georgiana Appleton, whose mother was Georgiana Armistead, whose father was George Armistead.

    Major George Armistead was the commander at Fort McHenry in 1813 and in that capacity commissioned the creation of a very large American flag which was flown over the fort during the British bombardment of Baltimore on the morning of September 13, 1814. This flag is commonly referred to as "The Star Spangled Banner," as it was the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem by the same name which later became the national anthem.

    I guess you could say that patriotism is in my blood.

    My Favorite Ancestor
    by James W. Cummings of Dixmont, Maine

    Eleazer Cummings III of Sidney, Maine, whose death date was given in the various Cummings genealogies as 1841, actually died as a private in the United States regular army on October 9, 1813; he was a member of the Massachusetts Twenty-first Infantry. He was probably born about 1765, the son of Eleazer Jr. and Martha (Brown) Cummings in Maine's Kennebec River Valley. On December 7, 1786, he and Anna Ward, the daughter of John and Mary (Clapp) Ward of Vassalborough, Maine, stated their intent to marry. The couple lived in Avon until about 1799 when Eleazer bought a piece of property in Sidney.

    Of Eleazer and Anna's children, William also fought in the War of 1812, dying at Sackett's Harbor, New York, between 1813 and 1814. Sackett's Harbor was maintained as a base of operations after the 1813 battle with the British, the 21st Regular Army Infantry regiment being among those stationed there. Son Samuel was in the militia under Col. Elnathan Sherwin whose regiment mustered out to defend Augusta in 1814, and Eleazer IV and John possibly joined the regular army. Later, all three went to Ohio. Another son, Joseph, served with Samuel and also accompanied Sherwin's regiment when it defended Wiscasset. He stayed in Sidney until 1836 then moved to the neighboring town of Belgrade, where he became a justice of the peace and served two terms as a selectman. Isaac went to Ohio and Indiana, and Seth went to Ohio and California, though his widow and children returned to Maine. Reverend Asa preached in Sidney and Weld, Maine. Enos went to Ohio but returned to Maine. Daughter Sarah married her first cousin Joshua Jackson and went to Ohio. She died there and was buried in Maine. Anna never married and died in Maine.


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