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  • 2003 Archive

  • Vol. 5, No. 51
    Whole #144
    December 12, 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
    • Holiday Issue of New England Ancestors Magazine Now Online
    • Register Now for GENTECH 2004!
    • Holiday Hours at the NEHGS Library
    • Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    • Register Now for Winter Research Getaways at NEHGS
    • What Became of Your Ancestor's House? Your Responses!
    • Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Records of the Proprietors of Bow, New Hampshire, 1727–1783

    The town of Bow, New Hampshire, in Merrimack County, was established in 1727. No additional information regarding the transcription of these records is available.

    Search Records of the Proprietors of Bow, New Hampshire, 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    Subscribers to the Great Migration Newsletter Online may now access ten new unpublished Great Migration sketches by Robert Charles Anderson.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: John Compton, Robert Day (1634 migration), Robert Day (1635 migration), Anthony Emery, John Emery, Richard King, Hugh Laskin, Edmond Lewis, Robert Lewis, and John Luff.

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

    To subscribe to the Great Migration Newsletter Online go to

    Index to the Probate Records of Middlesex County, Massachusetts

    This index was compiled under the supervision of Samuel H. Folsom and William E. Rogers (successively) and published between 1912 and 1914. Published in two volumes, the first contained entries from 1648 to 1871, while the second included the years 1871 to 1909.

    This index includes name (the original index includes all surname variants), residence, year, nature of record (guardian, administration, will, etc.), and case number.

    The website of the Massachusetts Archives includes the following description of the county courts:

    "The county courts, established in 1643, saw all cases involving civil disputes not exceeding a [certain] sum of money (which varied over time) and all criminal cases not concerning life, limb, or banishment. In 1692 these duties were divided between the courts of general sessions of the peace, which handled the county business and criminal cases, and the inferior courts of common pleas, which dealt with civil cases."

    The full records are held at the Massachusetts Archives and they are also available on microfilm at the NEHGS Research Library. To obtain photocopies of a particular packet, please visit the NEHGS Research Services web page and fill out the form for in-depth research.


    Search Index to the Probate Records of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, at

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    This week we have added transcriptions of the following cemeteries in the town of Weybridge, Vermont:
    Belden Family Yard, New Yard, Quaker Yard, Wright Family Cemetery, Yard on John Nixon Farm, and Yard on Stow Farm.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    Vital Records of Jamestown, Rhode Island, 1671–1800


    These records were donated to NEHGS by G. Andrews Moriarty, of Newport, Rhode Island, in 1914.


    Search Vital Records of Jamestown, Rhode Island, 1671–1800, at




    New Research Article on

    Access to Vermont Newspapers

    By Scott Andrew Bartley

    Newspapers, despite being a major source of genealogical information, are often overlooked by researchers. This is primarily due to the difficulty involved with finding out what was published and whether copies still exist today. This issue is now being addressed from a national level to the benefit of genealogists and historians alike with a massive project called the U.S. Newspaper Program. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the project's goal is to identify all newspapers ever published, microfilm all extant copies, and catalog them. The cataloged records are kept locally and uploaded to the national database maintained by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). OCLC is the most commonly used cataloging source for public and private libraries. Because this is a consortium project, the microfilms will be available to anyone at their local library through inter-library loan. The project includes all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Vermont was the last state to join, though as a small state, the project is already finished.

    NEHGS members can 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:

    Jacqueline Sleeper Russell asks:

    Do you have vital records for Quebec circa 1829? I believe my ancestor was either Presbyterian or Methodist from the baptismal records of her children. According to two census records found she was born circa 1829.

    Charles Labarge asks:

    I have been doing research on an ancestor whose arms were registered by the NEHGS Committee on Heraldry in 1953. According to the Register, each applicant was required to prove:


    1) that the coat of arms had been used "time out of mind" or,
    2) that coats had been granted or confirmed by the College of Arms, or
    3) that coats had been brought over by the emigrant.


    Since the Committee published its rolls approximately every four years, it would seem that it met as a Committee regularly to review applications and to adjudge whether these met the required criteria set out above.

    I have 2 questions:

    Does the Society still have copies of the original rolls with the coats registered and rendered by the Committee members? If so, where would one find them?

    Did the Committee keep records of their deliberations on each application and are these available for research? Would I be able to find the Committee's investigation of my ancestor's application?


    Margaret Grant Whiteker asks:

    I have a copy of the request for naturalization of Fergus Grant, which says the seal of the Marine Court of the City of New York is hereby affixed this 3rd day of November in the year 1837. I have searched for information on this for forty years and I need to know, 1) is this his naturalization papers or a request?; 2) where are the parents' names?; 3) where can I find this information? 4) where are these records today?

    Russ asks:

    My ancestor is supposed to be buried at St. Johns Church in Boston Highlands but I've been unable to find this location. If I can find it, several other members of the family that I'm searching for are probably in the same place. Can you help?

    Carolyn Shelp asks:

    I have an ancestor who was involved in a dispute over who would be the "captain of the traine band." Please tell me the definition of "traine band."

    Jim Kendall asks:

    I need to find the obituary or at least a funeral notice for a reasonably prominent man who spent most of his life in Boston and died in New York City.

    I plan to request one or more Boston newspapers on microfilm through interlibrary loan, but wonder if you can offer any advice about major Boston newspapers in 1864. I have the Boston Public Library's list of papers and there are quite a few possibilities. I am hoping to narrow my request of likely Boston papers based on your advice.

    N. Joy Spano asks:

    If a child has a guardian assigned after the death of a parent, does that guardian actually provide board and shelter for that child, or is the guardian in charge of the child's finances only? Also, if the child was made a ward of the state and confined to an orphanage, how can I access those records? The orphanage in question is the Worcester Orphans Home, with a timeline between 1847 and 1852.

    Lisa Just asks:

    My great grandmother was born in New Haven in 1882 and trained to be a nurse. In my preliminary research, I know there was a nurses' training
    school in New Haven around the turn of the century, the Connecticut Training School. We have photographs of her in her nurse's uniform that were taken at Edw. Malley & Co. and other photographs of nurses with patients in a children's ward of a hospital.

    Do you know if there are any lasting records of students who attended the Connecticut Training School and were they might be kept? How about the photography records from Edw. Malley & Co.? There is an identification number on the back of the picture.

    Luana M. Bauer asks:

    On the 1900 federal census, my ancestor stated that his father was born "at sea." The father was born September 15, 1787. How would a family researcher begin to address and find this birth. I suspect the family was of Irish or English origins. The father lived in New York and married in New Jersey in 1813.

    Holiday Issue of New England Ancestors Magazine Now Online

    The new holiday issue of New England Ancestors magazine is now available on NewEngland! Read informative and entertaining articles such as "A Guide to Genealogical Research in New Hampshire," "The Gore Roll of Arms," "New on CD-ROM! Vermont Historical Gazetteer," "Additions and (a Few) Corrections to Ancestors of American Presidents," and many more!

    New England Ancestors magazine is only a keystroke and a mouseclick away at

    Read it today!

    Register Now for GENTECH 2004!

    Join NEHGS at the 2004 National Genealogical Society's GENTECH Conference, to be held January 22 to 24, 2004, at the Millennium Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. NGS GENTECH is the biggest conference for technology and genealogy in the country. GENTECH began more than ten years ago with the mission of bridging technology and genealogy through an annual conference and related events.

    NEHGS assistant executive director for technology Dick Eastman will host an early morning "Freewheeling Discussion of What We Can Expect from Genealogy Software Vendors over the Next Few Years" on Friday, January 23, at 8:30 a.m. Later that same day at 3 p.m. he will lecture on how to utilize Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in your research.

    NEHGS membership campaign director Laura G. Prescott deserves an Apple for the two lectures she will deliver on the use of Macintosh computers in genealogy. The first, titled "A Mac User in a PC World," (Friday, 4:30 p.m.) will highlight Mac-specific software applications, GEDCOMs, CD databases, and Internet resources, while "Publish! Bringing it All Together on a Mac" (Saturday, 1:30 p.m.) will show how to use your Macintosh software to produce a genealogy at whatever level your ambitions take you.

    The NEHGS booths will be chock-full of the latest NEHGS CD-ROMs. Demonstrations of the Society's website,, will be given throughout the conference. The exhibit hall will be open Friday from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The exhibit hall will be closed to visitors on Thursday.

    For more information on GENTECH, visit the conference website at or call NGS toll-free at 800-473-0060.

    Holiday Hours at the NEHGS Library

    It's the holiday season, which means NEHGS staff might be concentrating on another type of tree besides the family variety in the weeks to come. Alas, this will result in the closure of the NEHGS Research Library from noon on Wednesday, December 24 through Sunday, the 28th.

    Additionally, the library will close at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, December 31, and will remain closed until Friday, January 2.

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

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

    • "Choosing (and Using) Genealogical Software" by Steve Kyner on 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.

    • "Using DNA to Unravel Genealogical Mysteries" by Christopher Child on Wednesday, January 14 and Saturday, January 17.

    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.


    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

    What Became of Your Ancestor's House? Your Responses!

    In last week's eNews we printed a letter from a member in Virginia who was interested in what became of ancestral houses and what efforts were being made to preserve them. We invited our readers to contribute their stories and suggestions on these topics and we share them here.

    Charles Wadhams writes:

    Of course we are interested in what happened to those properties. I have the 1635 Watertown Map and would love to see the overlay. My research has shown that the Watertown families who stayed in Watertown lived there for five generations by the time of the Revolution. The intermarriages created a lineage that looks more like a chain link fence rather than a fan. I am descended from no less than 32 of the original (102?) families. Dr. Bond's "Watertown" is my genealogy. Therein lies a lesson for genealogists: when you find a couple of references to a New England town just prior to the Revoluton, keep looking because you are descended from 1/3 of the original settlers. This included everyone mentioned: Hastings, Flagg, and others like Coolidge, Mixer and Garfield. I can prove the point in Dorchester, Providence, Plymouth, and Guilford.

    Jonathan D. Galli writes:

    What a nice article! I have a feeling that most family historians can relate to this topic and certainly have an appreciation of anything/everything "old."

    A dream (or fantasy) of mine is to own an ancestral home, especially the Munn House in Southbury, Connecticut. One of the oldest houses in Connecticut, built ca. 1690 (just after the settlement of Woodbury, Southbury's parent town) and owned by members of our immediate family until 1899, it was restored twenty to thirty years ago and continues to be occupied. A previous owner gave me a tour of the entire home several years ago. What a thrill!

    Probably a good place to start, especially for New England, is the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA) (Website:, Address: 141 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA 02114, Phone: 617-227-3956), whose mission is to preserve buildings, landscapes, and objects dating from the seventeenth century to the present and use them to keep history alive.

    Another resource is House Histories: A Guide to Tracing the Genealogy of Your Home by Sally Light and Discovering the History of Your House and Your Neighborhood by Betsy J. Green. A search of these books on and showed additional similar titles.

    Of course, I always begin my family history research with Cyndi's List, so check "House & Building Histories" at

    Leigh Woodward writes:

    I believe that one old house, in Waban, Massachusetts, is on the verge of being demolished because the land on which it is located is worth more without the house than with it. The Woodward house on Fairlee Road was built ca. 1680, and was kept in the family until its present owner accepted a position in New York, and, naturally, wants his best return for the property — which is without the house. Heresay has it that neither the Newton Historical Society nor the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities is willing (or able) to invest in preserving the property, though it is said to be the second oldest house in Newton.


    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 William P. Winter of Silver Spring, Maryland

    My favorite ancestor is my great grandfather, Charles Haywood Davis. As a youngster of ten, I was fascinated by the stories of my ancestors that my maternal grandmother spun and it is no exaggeration to say that my lifelong pursuit of genealogy began at her knee. Among her stories, the one that fascinated me most was the story of her father, Charles Haywood Davis. According to her, he was one of the greatest heros of the Civil War. He was in all the battles of McClellan's Peninsula Campaign and captured or killed hundreds of rebels. He himself was finally captured, put in Andersonville Prison, and held there untill the end of the war. He was in such poor health when released, he could not work. In 1893 he developed amnesia, wandered away from home, and was never seen again. When I began to do research on him, one of my first discoveries was that he was married in December of 1864 in Baltimore, Maryland, and therefore could not have been in Andersonville Prison. However, his military records eluded me. Finally, I determined that, although from Vermont, he served in the 10th Massachusetts. That enabled me to locate his military records in the National Archives. It turned out that on his first day of active duty, while building a fort in Washington, D.C., he suffered some sort of stroke and was granted a medical discharge! He was never in any battle and never saw a shot fired in anger! But what about the "amnesia"? His file, full of applications for an increase in pension, also included an 1893 form changing his address from Washington, D.C. to Chicago, Illinois. He died there in 1924 at the age of eighty-four, but the real shocker came when I located his obituary in the Chicago papers. His surviving wife that was listed was not my great grandmother, but a women twenty years his junior who was the daughter of one of his business clients! Amnesia? He had simply run off with a younger woman!


    NEHGS Contact Information

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    To become a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, please visit


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

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