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  • 2003 Archive

  • Vol. 5, No. 47
    Whole #140
    November 14, 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
    Ask a Librarian Answers Your Research Questions
    • Register Now for Winter Research Getaways at NEHGS
    Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    NEHGS Library Winter Hours to Begin December 1
    Family Record at NEHGS Sheds Light on Richard Carpenter the Spy
    Staff Update: D. Brenton Simons to Take Sabbatical Leave
    A Revolutionary Idea — Preserve a Piece of the Past
    • Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    The Gore Roll of Arms

    While the New England Historic Genealogical Society is best known for its extensive genealogical collections, it also has a considerable body of heraldic materials. Among the heraldic treasures owned by the Society are two illustrated rolls of arms — the Promptuarium Armorum, which features scores of English arms, ca. 1602–1616, by William Smith, Rouge Dragon Pursuivant of Arms, and the Gore Roll of Arms, consisting chiefly of New England arms and painted by John Gore (1718–1796), a coach painter of Boston. The Gore Roll, which was in the possession of the Gore family until the late nineteenth century, is widely considered to be the oldest surviving portfolio of American arms.

    Dating from probably the mid- or late eighteenth century, the Gore Roll features eighty-four complete arms (without mottos) in pen and ink and watercolors, and fifteen uncolored drawings of arms; the earliest noted within its pages is dated 1682 and the latest 1724. The influence of the Gore Roll upon the American decorative arts has been considerable. Patterns from the roll were copied by artists in the late eighteenth century especially by schoolgirls who prepared embroidered arms.

    NEHGS staff members have scanned each page of this fragile document in an effort to share these priceless works with our membership. Each image is accompanied by text written by the American heraldic scholar Dr. Harold Bowditch, who studied the Gore Roll extensively in the first half of the twentieth century. Dr. Bowditch describes the arms, wreath, crest, and legend of each image, and provides many additional details about each family and arms.

    An article about the Gore Roll will appear in the holiday 2003 issue of New England Ancestors magazine.

    View the Gore Roll at

    The Great Migration Newsletter Online
    New Family Sketches for GMNL Subscribers

    Subscribers to the Great Migration Newsletter Online may now access ten new unpublished Great Migration sketches by Robert Charles Anderson. Sketches for the following individuals were added this week: Thomas Applegate, Jonas Austin, John Bellows, Thomas Besbeech, Thomas Blodgett, William Hubbard, Robert Huestis, William Hunter, Isabel Wikinson, and Faintnot Wines.

    Subscribers to the Great Migration Newsletter Online may view the new sketches at

    To subscribe to the Great Migration Newsletter Online go to

    Vital Records of Pittston, Maine, to the Year 1892

    This book was edited by Henry Sewall Webster, A.M., and published by the Reporter-Journal Press of Gardiner, Maine, in 1911. The town of Pittston, in Kennebec County, was organized in 1779.

    Search Vital Records of Pittston, Maine, to the Year 1892 at

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    This week we have added a transcription of the Old Yard and Prospect Cemetery in Vergennes, Addison County, Vermont. Included in this transcription is a list of Revolutionary soldiers from this town.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    New York
    Death Records of Rensselaer County, New York, 1847–1851

    Rensselaer County consists of the following towns (each town name is followed by the years included in this database): Brunswick (1847, 1849), Grafton (1849), Hoosick (1847–49), Lansingburgh (1848, 1849, 1851), Nassau (1848), Petersburgh (1847–49), Pitistown (1847, 1849, 1850), Poestenkill (1848), Schaghticoke (1847, 1849), Schodak (1849–50), and Stephentown (1849).

    The preface, written by Milton Thomas, reads:

    "These records were discovered and copied around 1915 by Frank Warner Thomas, a prominent Troy lawyer and historian, and were lent to the writer [Milton Thomas] in 1921. The records as found were on sheets of paper and carelessly kept on a duty shelf in the cellar of the Rensselaer County Court House at Troy. The records were kept in accordance with the 1847 laws of New York which required that the records be kept by the clerks of the various school districts, and turned over by them to the town clerks, who in turn were to send them to the secretary of state. What was left of them would then be turned over to the Legislature. This law was soon ignored, but not repealed until 1909. The only other county known to possess any records kept under this law is Suffolk, although they may exist elsewhere.

    "An effort was made in the early part of 1922 to find the originals, but among that mass of old papers [in the Court House] it was impossible to locate them. This is greatly to be regretted, for Frank Thomas's copy is unfortunately very poorly typewritten; it was probably run off in great haste, and there are many queer spellings which may or may not be typographical errors. Most of these spellings have been retained, but when it was quite evident that Mr. Thomas had struck the wrong key, the writer did not hesitate to make the necessary correction.

    "As to the records themselves, they are a valuable contribution to the genealogical literature of this section as they cover a period for which there are no regularly recorded vital statistics, and for which the genealogist has to depend upon church records and gravestone inscriptions almost entirely. It will be noticed that no distinction is made in the records between married and single women."

    Search Death Records of Rensselaer County, New York, at




    New Research Article on

    Free Non-Member Preview!

    Military Research
    World War I Resources at NEHGS — A Bibliography
    In honor of the recently-observed Veterans Day we present a bibliography of manuscript, microfilm, and printed sources at NEHGS relating to U.S. World War I soldiers and sailors. The call number for each reference is provided, and books available via the NEHGS Circulating Library are indicated with "also Loan" after the call number.

    The bibliography is arranged as follows: General Reference, New England Regional, State by State (including town-specific books when available), and manuscript sources.

    Read the full article at

    Ask a Librarian Answers Your Research Questions

    A new selection of "Ask a Librarian" questions and answers is now available to NEHGS members at "Ask a Librarian" is a monthly feature that enables NEHGS members to ask staff librarians questions about research methodology, localities, sources, NEHGS holdings, and much more! Answers to questions in the "Ask a Librarian" feature are available to NEHGS members only.

    Email your research question to

    Please note that we do not accept questions about specific families and individuals in this forum, nor do we perform "look-ups" — please visit our Research Services department page at for assistance with these types of queries.

    Due to the high volume of questions submitted, please allow two to three months for questions to be answered. Because of their busy schedules, NEHGS librarians are only able to answer a certain number of questions. You will be notified if your question has been selected for publication.

    Here are the questions for this month:

    Julie Alice Johnson asks:

    Is there a way to locate Revolutionary War records online for an ancestor who was living in Scarborough, Cumberland Co., Maine, at the time of his death in 1821? I believe this was his place of residence when he served in the Army. I have tried writing to the National Archives, but no pension was filed and no records were located. Published family genealogies refer to the war service, but I would like to locate an official record.


    Candace Litchfield asks:

    I have an ancestor who was born on Lovell Island in Boston Harbor in 1822. I would like to find out who owned the island at that time and what it was used for. Do you know of any resources that would help me?

    Kay Parkman Lamb asks:

    My ancestor was the captain of the brig Hooper out of Salem in the 1760s, probably until about 1774. I can't find anything about the Hooper. Is there any way of finding out about ships back that far? Would the records be in England or in the United States?

    Steve Herrick asks:

    I have a 9th great grandfather, Henry Kimball, who is related on my father's side. His brother Caleb is my 9th great grandfather on my mother's side. I have another 9th great grandfather who has three sons who are all 8th great grandfathers, but all on my father's side. This is all so interesting, and I'd love to know how often this type of coincidence occurs.

    Daniel Redmond asks:

    Is there a single source for identifying persons lost at sea in the eighteenth century? In my family's genealogy from 1893, several are so identified, usually with very specific dates, but without further citation.

    Sandy Malitz asks:

    A controversy has arisen in Chardon, Geauga Co., Ohio, about who owns the town square. Like many of the towns in the Connecticut Western Reserve, Chardon has a public square modeled after those of New England towns.

    Maybe you can be of assistance. I seem to have exhausted local sources. In New England, who traditionally (in the 1800s) owned and cared for the town square — the government (county or town?), an individual, or an association made up of the people of the town?

    Bob Mulkay asks:

    I have been trying to research the results of a criminal court case from 1907 out of a Boston court. Researching old newspapers has not been effective. Any suggestions?


    Dean Wolbach asks:

    New Hampshire has a detailed written history of its militia. Does Massachusetts have anything comparable?

    Betty Dean Holmes asks:

    I have an ancestor who is listed as being born in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1815. Are there any early vital records of that area? Do I need to come in to the library to see them?

    Laurie Gaddis asks:

    I am trying to locate an ancestor who was reported to have sailed off down the Mississippi River and never heard from again. This ancestor served in the Civil War, and I know from his pension application that he was receiving a pension right from the date he mustered out of service. My theory is that this ancestor would have notified someone in the government of a change in his address so he could continue to receive the pension checks. What should my steps be in locating records regarding actual pension payments and the address to which they were sent for individuals who served in the Civil War?

    Register Now for Winter Research Getaways at NEHGS

    February 26–28 and March 25–27, 2004

    Plan now to escape the winter doldrums and spend a long weekend researching your family history at the renowned NEHGS Library. The NEHGS Winter Research Getaway is the perfect program to fit into your busy schedule. Offered twice this winter, this special program will provide all the benefits of our popular week-long Come Home to New England program condensed into three days.


    Don’t miss this opportunity to work with our outstanding library staff and take advantage of the exceptional resources available at our research library.

    Participants will enjoy:

    • A small group of thirty-five, which allows for plenty of individual attention
    • Special access to the library when it is normally closed to the public
    • A thorough orientation to all four floors of the library
    • Daily lectures on new sources, research methodology, and genealogical topics
    • Personal research consultations and guided research in the library
    • A welcome reception on Thursday and a Friday evening pizza gathering in the Sloane Education Center

    Program fees for the Winter Research Getaway are $375 for the full three days, or $150 for a single day. Please note that Winter Research Getaway prices are exclusive of hotel fees. For your convenience, we have reserved a block of rooms at the Charlesmark Hotel.


    For further information, please contact the education department at 1-888-286-3447, ext. 226, or at

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

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

    • "Doughboys: Researching World War I Soldiers and Sailors" by David Allen Lambert on Saturday, November 15.

    • "Overview of Massachusetts State and County Court Records" by Elizabeth Bouvier on Wednesday, November 19 and Saturday, November 22.

    • "Tracing Present Day Relatives" by David Dearborn on Wednesday, November 26 and Saturday, November 29.

    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.

    NEHGS Library Winter Hours to Begin December 1

    Winter hours at the NEHGS Research Library in Boston will begin on December 1. During this time the library will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday; and, with the exception of the month of December, 12 noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The library will be closed on Sundays in December. Winter hours will stay in effect until April 1, 2004.

    In addition, the library will close at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, November 26, and will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday on November 27.

    For a complete list of library hours and holiday schedules, visit

    Family Record at NEHGS Sheds Light on Richard Carpenter "the Spy"

    Members of the NEHGS Electronic Publications team can often be found searching through the countless treasures in our manuscript collections selecting items to share with you on During a recent treasure hunt, a record was discovered for the family of Richard Carpenter which included information about his arrest and death sentence for "Fritning the Generals Gage How Burgoin & Clinton and twenty two British Regiments in the town of Boston." Further research uncovered a page devoted to this individual in Amos B. Carpenter's A Genealogical History of the Rehoboth Branch of the Carpenter Family in America (1898), where the author expressed his belief that "Richard the spy" was personally asked by George Washington (a close friend of Carpenter's wife) to perform these duties. The author went on to argue that "Richard the spy" and Richard Carpenter of Goshen, New York, were one and the same, and interviewed descendants to obtain additional information to make his case. These descendants offered two family traditions about Richard's fate — the first was that he was executed by the British; the second told that when arrested he claimed to be an emigrant from Ireland. He imitated the Irish brogue so accurately that the British were unable to convict him, but kept him prisoner on a British war ship, where he took sick and died.

    Though consisting of a single page, the Carpenter record at NEHGS contradicts certain elements of the profile in the Carpenter genealogy (such as the author's Richard of Goshen conclusion), identifies places of origin for both he and his wife (he was from Ireland), gives his children's names and dates of birth, and notes his imprisonment, release, and death. Additional research revealed that John Hancock wrote to George Washington in 1777 expressing the recently released (via exchange) Carpenter's desire to serve again, and that a "Richards" Carpenter was kept on the notorious prison ship Old Jersey. Additional details can be found in "Richard the Spy," Rod D. Moody's article about the document and subsequent discoveries that were made.

    The family record with transcription and the article can be viewed in the Tales From the Manuscript Collection area of

    Staff Update: D. Brenton Simons to Take Sabbatical Leave

    D. Brenton Simons, the Society's assistant executive director for resource development, will be on a sabbatical leave during the months of January, February, and March 2004. Mr. Simons, who has been on the NEHGS staff for ten years, will use the sabbatical to work on a book project, several articles, and to travel. During his employment at the Society, Mr. Simons launched the Newbury Street Press in 1996, New England Ancestors magazine in 2000, and in late 2001 he led the Electronic Publications team that produced the Society's new website. In addition, he was one of the planners of the Sesquicentennial Conference in 1995 and has published two books, The Langhornes of Langhorne Park in 1997, and The Art of Family: Genealogical Artifacts in New England in 2002. Currently, he is developing the Society's new Planned Giving Program and oversees several departments and initiatives at the Society, including Education and Tours, Book Publications and Periodicals, and the Marketing/Membership Campaign. He will return to the Society full-time in April 2004. Mr. Simons wishes to express his gratitude to Ralph Crandall, the NEHGS board of trustees, staff, and membership for giving him this time to work on several projects. He hopes that any members needing his assistance will contact him in the next few weeks before his sabbatical leave begins. He may be reached by email at

    A Revolutionary Idea — Preserve a Piece of the Past

    Do you have a photograph of a Revolutionary War ancestor? As odd as that sounds, you might and not realize it.

    Photographic historian and author Maureen A. Taylor — with help from David Lambert, a librarian at the New England Historic Genealogical Society — has embarked on a project to locate images of Revolutionary War patriots. They estimate that there were more than five hundred veterans still living at the advent of photography in 1839. "It's quite possible that families own images of these patriots and aren't aware of their historical significance," says Taylor.

    In 1864, the Reverend Elias Brewster Hillard, a Congregational minister from Connecticut, set out to immortalize the lives of the remaining living patriots of the American Revolution in his book, The Last Men of the Revolution (1864, reprint, Barre Publishers, 1968). Amazing as it might seem, in 1864 — eighty-one years after the eight-year war ended — there were still men collecting pensions for their Revolutionary War service. Inspired by Hillard, Taylor hopes to uncover photographic portraits of patriots taken between 1839 and 1864, prior to Hillard beginning his project.

    "Gazing at a photograph of a Revolutionary War patriot brings history to life," explains Taylor. "Each and every one of these photographs tells the story of an individual's participation in an important era in American history."

    In an attempt to find this "hidden" photographic heritage, Taylor encourages individuals to re-examine their old photographs with an eye to preserving the visual history of the Revolutionary War period. If you have any identified photographs of elderly family members dating from the 1840s, 1850s, or even the early 1860s you could be looking at a picture of an ancestor who experienced the Revolution first hand. These elderly relatives could have been young men, women, or even children who helped the war effort and lived through the first years of the United States.

    If you would like to learn more about the project or share your images, please contact Maureen Taylor at Please place "Revolutionary War" in the subject line of the email.

    Maureen A. Taylor, of and a contributing editor to Family Tree Magazine is the author of Scrapbooking Your Family History (Betterway, 2003), Preserving Your Family Photographs (Betterway 2001), and Uncovering Your Ancestry Through Family Photographs (Betterway 2000), as well as a guide to family history for kids, Through the Eyes of Your Ancestors (Houghton Mifflin, 1999). Her columns appear in New England Ancestors magazine and, Ancestry, and Family Tree Magazine. Her numerous television and radio appearances include The View, MSNBC and DIY:Scrapbooking.

    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 Favorite Ancestor
    by Hall Riediger of Port St. Lucie, Florida

    Eliza Sturtevant was one of those women that endured beyond the call of duty and served as a testament to the value that women have in our society. Eliza was twenty-three when she married Andrew Record of Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. Eliza was Andrew's second wife, and she bore him eleven children in thirteen years. When he died in 1849, she then married John Bradley, but left him after a few years and married a man named Stuart. In the process she raised Andrew's two surviving children (out of six) from his first marriage, as well as her own eleven (two boys and nine girls). She then went on to raise Bradley's children and whatever children Stuart had, though she had no further children with the last two husbands.

    Her heritage and bloodline contain six Pilgrims — Isaac Allerton, John Alden, William Brewster, Francis Eaton, William Mullins, and Degory Priest. Her father was a veteran of the Revolution as were her grandfathers.

    When she passed on in 1900 at the age of ninety-five, she chose to be buried with her first husband and true love in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine.

    This is a true American hero, unsung and unappreciated, but she persevered, outliving all of her husbands.

    My Loyalist Ancestor
    by Samuel H. Lord of Avon, Connecticut

    Thomas Millidge was born in Troy, New Jersey, in 1735, and died in Granville, Nova Scotia, in 1816. He was my fourth great grandfather. He refused to fight against the Crown in the Revolutionary War, subsequently was tried for treason but acquitted, and eventually joined the King's troops. The following story was reported by W. A. Calnek in his History of the county of Annapolis: including old Port Royal and Acadia: with memoirs of its representatives in the provincial parliament, and biographical and genealogical sketches of its early English settlers and their families (Salem, Mass, 1897).

    "On the approach of the rebel forces under Washington toward the English Army, whose headquarters were then in New York, the British Commander, being desirous of obtaining a correct knowledge of the position and forces of the enemy with a view of an attack called for volunteers for this purpose. Thomas Millidge offered himself for this purpose and was accepted. He dressed as a farmer of the district. He removed the linings from the pockets in the skirt of his coat and placed packages of cardboard cut into squares and numbered together with pencils. He then set out for Washington's Headquarters. He was arrested and taken before Washington by whom he was informed that he was arrested as a spy. Major Millidge carried out the pretence of being a farmer and said he had come to see the people's army and perhaps a battle, evidently, however, he had made a mistake in coming, and begged to be allowed to return to his family and farm. All this was done with perfect rustic simplicity and quite deceived the American Commander. General Washington ordered his release and gave him a paper which enabled him to enter the American lines and pass about within them at will. He availed himself of the privilege thus obtained and went about with his hands plunged in his pockets and with his pencil and cardboards made a sketch of the camp and surrounding country. He afterwards reduced these sketches and rough notes into a map of sufficient accuracy to enable the English Commander to determine upon a line of attack and when the advance was made to eventually drive General Washington's Army from its position."


    NEHGS Contact Information

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