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  • 2003 Archive

  • Vol. 5, No. 50
    Whole #143
    December 5, 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
    • Help Spread the Word about NEHGS!
    • Coming Soon in the Holiday 2003 Issue of New England Ancestors
    • Bargain Holiday Shopping at the NEHGS Used Book Store
    • An Introduction to Using at NEHGS in Boston
    Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    Finding Your Civil War Ancestor at the NEHGS Research Library
    What Became of Your Ancestor's House?
    • Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Court Files of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, 1649–1675
    These records were abstracted by Thomas Bellows Wyman and compiled in two volumes. The county of Middlesex was established in 1643.

    View the Court Files of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, 1649–1675 at

    New York
    The Settlers of the Beekman Patent, Volume 2
    New Family Sketches

    We continue with our ongoing series of family sketches featured in The Settlers of the Beekman Patent, Frank J. Doherty's multi-volume study of the settlers of the second largest patent in present-day Dutchess County, New York. The following families were added to the database this week: Barker, Barnum, Barringer, Bartlett, Barton, Bartow, and Beach.

    View new family sketches from The Settlers of the Beekman Patent at or search the database and read introductory matter at

    Vital Records of Farmingdale, Maine, to the Year 1892

    This book was published by the Maine Historical Society in 1909. It was compiled by Henry Sewall Webster, A.M. The town of Farmingdale, in Kennebec County, was incorporated on April 3, 1852. Its territory was taken from the towns of Gardiner, Hallowell, and West Gardiner.

    View the Vital Records of Farmingdale, Maine, to the Year 1892 at

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    Added this week: Transcription of the Catskill Village Cemetery, Catskill, Green County, New York

    View Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    New Hampshire
    Records of the Second Church of Christ of Boscawen, New Hampshire, 1804–1883

    The Second Church of Christ of Boscawen was organized September 10, 1804. In 1860 the town of Webster was set off from Boscawen and the church, now within the new town's boundaries, was renamed Corser Hill Church of Webster.

    These records were abstracted by Helen Loring Barnes and include baptisms, marriages, deaths, and dismissions.

    View Records of the Second Church of Christ of Boscawen, New Hampshire, 1804–1883, at



    New Research Article on

    The Computer Genealogist
    Going, going, gone! Online Auctions for Genealogical Research
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    You’ve seen the commercial. It’s the one in which the young lady sitting at the computer bursts into song, steps out of her recreational vehicle onto the highway, and extols the virtues of “doing it eBay” to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s classic “My Way.” You may have ventured into this new-fangled world of online auctions yourself. The success of eBay and other online auction sites shows that there is indeed a market for everything. Online auction sites are very helpful to genealogists, making available thousands of useful resources that otherwise would have been difficult or impossible to find.

    Read the full article at

    Help Spread the Word about NEHGS!

    We have a new brochure to promote the New England Historic Genealogical Society! In a recent mailing to our United States members, we included the brochure along with information about gift memberships and the 2004 tours and education schedule. We would like to ask you, our members and supporters, to help us place the brochure in as many places as possible around the country that genealogists visit. If you live near, help out at, or frequently visit libraries, historical societies, and other places that attract family historians, please let us know if you can take some brochures with you on your next visit.

    We are still a well-kept secret in many parts of the country. The likelihood of our brochure being placed in an organization's literature rack or public area is heightened by a personal touch from an NEHGS member. If you'd like to help, please email Laura Prescott at with the names of the places to which you can deliver a quantity of brochures and your mailing address so we know where to send them. We'll have them in the mail to you soon.

    Thank you for helping to spread the word about NEHGS!

    Coming Soon in the Holiday 2003 Issue of New England Ancestors

    Sherry L. Gould provides an essential outline for state genealogical research in A Guide to Genealogical Research in New Hampshire.

    D. Brenton Simons describes the informative value, artistic beauty, and historical significance of the Gore Roll of Arms.

    Rod Moody updates readers on databases recently added to

    Scott Andrew Bartley and John A. Leppman introduce readers to a new CD-ROM, Vermont Historical Gazetteer.

    Alvy Ray Smith, Edith T. Nordblom, and Glenn R. Trezza reveal the secrets of their genealogical success in A Trio of Case Studies.

    Grenfell P. Boicourt and Justine Harwood Laquer unravel a centuries-old mystery in The Strange Death of Philip (2) Smith of Hadley, Massachusetts.

    Gary Boyd Roberts kicks off the election season with Welcome to the 2004 Election Year: Additions and (a Few) Corrections to Ancestors of American Presidents.

    Also in this issue . . .

    • The Computer Genealogist: Going, going, gone! Online Auctions for Genealogical Research
    • Computer Genealogist Spotlight: Genbox Family History 3.1.4
    • Genetics & Genealogy: DNA Corroborates a Mills Family Hypothesis
    • Manuscripts at NEHGS: Papers of the Allen, Dean, and Fearing Families
    • Bible Records at NEHGS: The William Sydney Fisher Family Bible Record
    • Pilgrim Life: Winslow's Defense in 1634–1635

    And, as always, news of NEHGS and the world of genealogy, upcoming NEHGS programs and tours, new publications, and notices of family association events, genealogies in progress, genealogies and other books recently published, and member queries.

    Subscription to New England Ancestors is a benefit of NEHGS membership. If you are not a member, you may join online at, or call toll-free 1-888-296-3447, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, Eastern time.

    Bargain Holiday Shopping at the NEHGS Used Book Store

    As regular visitors to 101 Newbury Street know, the NEHGS used book store is a treasure trove of new, old, and hard-to-find books at bargain prices. The books are priced at substantially lower levels (usually a minimum of 50% less) than shoppers will find anywhere else, including online bookseller sites. The library's Technical Services department manages the store, replenishing it on a constant basis and stocking it with items that the library, for a variety of reasons, cannot use. For example, many donors give the library items that it already holds and they kindly allow us to place these duplicates in the used book store to generate funds that support new library acquisitions.

    A tip for holiday shoppers looking for something special: We have recently added a large number of books to the store's inventory. These items are in very good condition and cover a variety of subjects. So, if you're looking for a special and unusual gift, like a fine edition of a rare local history or genealogy for a loved one (or a discounted copy of a genealogy bestseller for yourself), you should pay a visit to the NEHGS used book store. The store is located at 101 Newbury Street, on the first floor and adjacent to the Society's main book store. It is now open during the library's regular winter hours, Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Note: the library is closed on Sundays in December.)

    An Introduction to Using at NEHGS in Boston

    December 10, 6 p.m.

    Learn how to use the NEHGS website to advance your research! In this free class, NEHGS content delivery specialist Darrin McGlinn will offer a step-by-step live demonstration of the Society's website, This class gives participants the opportunity to explore the site in depth, ask questions, and become more comfortable using a constantly growing number of online databases and research tools.

    This program will be held on Wednesday, December 10 at 6 p.m. in the education center at 101 Newbury Street, Boston. Advance registration is not required.

    For more information, please call 617-226-1209 or email

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

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

    • "The Mowbray Connection: Genealogical Patterns in the Western World" by Gary Boyd Roberts on Saturday, December 6.

    • "Choosing (and Using) Genealogical Software" by Steve Kyner on Wednesday, December 10 and Saturday, December 13.

    After a three week hiatus, the nutshell series will resume in January with:

    • "Beyond the Death Record: Linking Related Records" by David Lambert on Wednesday, January 7 and Saturday, January 10.

    All lectures take place at 10 a.m. Advance registration is not necessary.

    Audio tapes of the nutshell lectures may be borrowed through the circulating library. Lecture tapes are usually available for loan about one month after the lecture date. For more information, please email or call 1-888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday.

    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.

    Finding Your Civil War Ancestor at the NEHGS Research Library
    by David Allen Lambert, NEHGS Microtext Library Manager

    If you suspect an ancestor served in the Civil War, you can find a wealth of material at the NEHGS Research Library that may tell you more about him. For the scope of this article we will concentrate on Civil War soldiers from New England regiments. When examining the pedigree charts of NEHGS patrons I often inquire if their relative served in the Civil War. Generally a Civil War soldier’s year of birth would be between 1820 and 1847. Of course there are examples of veterans with earlier or later years of birth, but this seems to be the average range. While you may already know the residence of your ancestor, don’t be too surprised if he did not enlist in his hometown. Recruits would often seek out bounty being paid by communities looking to fill their state regimental quota. For instance, you might have a farm boy from Barnstead, New Hampshire, coming down to serve in a regiment being raised in Amesbury, Massachusetts.

    To begin your search for your Civil War ancestor at NEHGS, follow the steps outlined below. If you already know the regiment in which your ancestor served, then you can skip to step 2.

    Step 1:

    Begin by looking for your ancestor’s name in a series of books found on the sixth floor of our library titled The Roster of Union Soldiers 1861–1865 (Wilmington, N.C., Broadfoot Publications, 1997) [REF/E494/H49/1997]. The New England states are contained in the following volumes: Connecticut (vol. 4); Maine (vol. 1); Massachusetts (vols. 2-3); New Hampshire (vol. 1); Rhode Island (vol. 4); and Vermont (vol. 2). We also have the complete series for all other states of both the Union and Confederate armies. These volumes are arranged by state, and list the soldiers alphabetically. This is a quick way to determine if your ancestor served from a particular state. It will identify the soldier as: “Lambert, David A., 12th [Mass.] Inf., Co. A.” You will then need to determine if this soldier is in fact your ancestor.

    Step 2:

    Look for a detailed listing of the soldiers in your ancestor’s regiment. For some states there are compiled lists of soldiers containing details such as age, residence, race, service dates, and occupation. This information should help you narrow down if you in fact have the correct veteran from the first step. The following is a listing of statewide compiled volumes of veterans.

    Connecticut Adjutant General’s Office, Catalogue of Connecticut Volunteer organizations (Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery) in the Service of the United States 1861–1865. (Hartford, CT: Brown & Gross, 1869) [E499.3/C66/1869/also Loan].

    Massachusetts Adjutant General’s Office, Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War. (Norwood, MA., Norwood Press, 1931–35), 8 vols. and index [REF/E513/M32/1931/also Loan].

    New Hampshire:
    New Hampshire Adjutant General’s Office, Revised Register of Soldiers and Sailors of New Hampshire in the War of the Rebellion (Concord, N.H., State Printer, 1985) [REF/E520.3/N55/1895/also Loan].

    Rhode Island:
    ----, Names of Offices, Soldiers and Seamen in Rhode Island Regiments, of Belonging to the State of Rhode Island. (Providence, R.I., Providence Press, 1869) [RI/60/50].

    ----, Revised roster of Vermont Volunteers and lists of Vermonters who served in the Army and Navy of the United States during the War of the Rebellion (Montpeiler, Vt, Press of the Watchman Publishing Co., 1892) [VT/50/2].

    You can also use published regimental histories to find information. NEHGS maintains a collection of all New England Civil War regimental histories on microfiche in the microtext library on the fourth floor [M.T./E49/C58/1991]. These often include post-Civil War information on the veteran and occasionally photographs. There are also some Civil War-era adjutant general reports for the state of Maine with limited details.

    Step 3:

    If your ancestor died during the Civil War it should be indicated in either a compiled state list and/or a regimental history. Another source to determine this is the Roll of Honor, which could also reveal his last resting place. The printed version of this multi-volume set can be found at the sixth floor reference library [REF/E494/U558/1994], or you can view the CD-ROM [REF/E494/R64/1996] on the fourth floor. With this resource you can easily determine if your Union Civil War ancestor is interred in a National Cemetery. A grave number is often associated with each listing, which will allow you to find the location of the grave when you visit the cemetery. Sometimes the remains of the veteran were returned back to his hometown for burial in a family or military plot. Perhaps you will want to examine the extensive collection of gravestone transcriptions kept in the NEHGS Manuscript Department.

    Step 4:

    If your ancestor survived the Civil War, and/or left a widow or dependant, you might want to check to see if he had a pension file. At NEHGS we maintain Internet access to some of the databases at the website. You can easily search through the database and view an online image of the actual card from the NARA T-288 series for pensions (1861–1934). To order the original pension files you will need to request the NATF-85 form from the National Archives. You may contact them via email or by regular mail:

    The National Archives and Records Administration
    8th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW
    Washington, D.C. 20408

    The pension file of your ancestor will unlock a virtual time capsule of information on his life after the Civil War. It includes information on medical problems, employment history, and residences since the war. You will usually find original handwritten letters sent by your veteran ancestor, his widow, or individuals representing them. Sometimes letters are from immediate family, neighbors, co-workers, clergy, or employers. These letters usually deal with the verification of a medical problem of the pensioner or marital details of the widow.

    You will also want to investigate the pensions of fellow veterans in your ancestor’s unit. You will often find that veterans wrote to the pension office after being queried about the service of a fellow soldier in their unit. This process can be rather costly if performed via the mail. So you might wish to attend a future NEHGS tour to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. to examine the documents first hand.

    Step 5:

    NEHGS also has a wealth of vital records extending into the twentieth century for all New England states. Our collection of deeds and probate records for most of the New England counties will also assist your search. Federal and state censuses for New England states are also valuable research tools. Especially valuable are the indexed 1890 Special Census of U.S. Veterans (which also lists veterans’ widows); the 1865 Rhode Island State Census; and the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. The 1910 U.S. Census indicated if a person was a Civil War veteran [Union/Confederate]. You should also check sources outside of NEHGS such as newspaper obituaries and records of the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic). Also check the local historical societies of the town in which your ancestor lived after the war for group photos of local veterans’ gatherings.

    NEHGS keeps a large collection of Civil War letters and diaries, some of which may relate to your ancestor’s regiment. If you have original Civil War letters or diaries, consider donating them to the NEHGS Manuscript Department for safekeeping. If you prefer to keep the original, we would be glad to receive a copy of the item. However, the careful preservation methods employed by our archival staff guarantee that your original treasures will be safely preserved for future generations to learn from.

    —This article was originally posted on on August 9, 2002. Over one hundred other articles are available to NEHGS members online at


    What Became of Your Ancestor's House?

    An NEHGS member in Virginia wrote to us recently to express his interest in the fate of ancestral homes and lands:

    "I think NEHGS members would be interested to know what has become of ancient family lands and who is endeavoring to protect them. Some years ago, the town historian of Belmont, Massachusetts, did an overlay for me that compared Dr. Bond's Watertown map with the current layout of that section of ancient Watertown that is now in Belmont. As it turns out, he was living on one of the old Hastings properties and one of the other ones was partially under a reservoir. Another example of how land use can be interesting to genealogists is my reading a few years ago that the Worcester home of my ancestor, Capt. Benjamin Flagg, was purchased and restored as a B&B. Similarly, I'd be interested to know when historic properties are on the market and, in terms of preservation, which groups are doing what to preserve historic homes and lands in New England. We know the happy endings of homes such as the Abraham Brown house in Watertown and the Fairbanks house in Dedham (both in my maternal line) but there may be more contemporary opportunities where members could help (or at least read about the work of others)."

    Do you have stories to share about what became of ancestral homes or lands? Do you know what groups in New England are actively working to preserve historic properties? If so, please write to so your knowledge and experiences can be shared more widely in future issues of the eNews.

    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 Peter L. Smith of Chevy Chase, Maryland

    My father knew almost nothing about his Smith heritage, because his father left his family when my father was a young boy. My father did remember his father's birthday, a visit to a farm somewhere in Wisconsin, and the fact that his father came from New York State. Nothing more. I thought I would go to my grave also knowing nothing more.

    Imagine my jaw-dropping amazement two years later when I searched my grandfather's name at a genealogy website, and found my grandfather's siblings, parents, grandparents, and more. I have since established that a direct ancestor, George Smith, was on the Hector, a ship hired by English Puritans, led by the Reverend John Davenport, to bring a group of Puritans to the New World, and, in 1638, founded the town that is now New Haven, Connecticut. The church and town records were one and the same, and because these records were preserved and placed on the Internet, I have been able to trace dozens and dozens of Smith cousins. It is a great pleasure to trade email messages with several of my new-found cousins scattered across America.

    My Favorite Ancestor is my Great Grandfather, Thomas Gardner
    by Joan K. Wood of Tucson, Arizona

    Tom said he was born around Buffalo, New York, in 1830 and that his parents were from Rhode Island. He went west to California by the time of the 1849 gold rush, and later mined in Sonora, Mexico, before arriving in southern Arizona about 1857. (Southern Arizona had just become part of the United States in 1854.) He located many mines and operated farms, cattle ranches, and sawmills. He championed the rights of the Mexican population living in southern Arizona that was being abused by some of the Anglos. He was part of a commission at Tubac in 1859 that appealed to the government to correct this problem. He was shot by the Indian chief Cochise in 1861 and recovered to lead an exciting life that was important to Arizona. Tom and his neighbors fought off many attacks from the Apaches until peace was established in the 1880s. Being a Yankee he refused to live in Confederate Tucson during the Civil War and was a leader of the settlers that braved the Apache attacks during and after that war. He furnished produce and lumber for the United States forts in the area at that time. He married an Indian girl of Mayo descent. (The Mayos were in Mexico just south of the Yaqui river, on the Mayo River.) They had twelve children and several hundred of their descendants live in southern Arizona today.

    —Joan Wood would like to ask whether any eNews readers might know the origins of her missing Tom Gardner who went west. She has searched for his roots for many years without success. As mentioned above, Tom seems to have been born about April of 1830 around Buffalo, in Erie or Genesee County. It is thought that his father might have been named Charles or possibly Frederic. Tom went to California between 1846 and 1849, and was in Sacramento in 1850. If you have any leads for Joan Wood, please email her at

    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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