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  • 2003 Archive

  • Vol. 5, No. 52
    Whole #145
    December 19, 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 or change your email address, please click on the link at the bottom of the page and follow the instructions provided.

    © Copyright 2003, New England Historic Genealogical Society


    • Attention Holiday Shoppers!
    • Holiday Hours in the NEHGS Library
    • New Databases on
    • New Research Article on
    • More on the Woodward House in Newton, Massachusetts
    • Tufts University Digital Collections
    • New Hours for the Archives of the Archdiocese of Boston Archives
    • Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    Attention Holiday Shoppers!

    Shop the NEHGS Store

    Read more about your last chance to order for Christmas delivery! Store orders received by 3 p.m. (Eastern time) on Friday, December 19, can be shipped to arrive for Christmas if a three day rush option is chosen. After 3 p.m. on Friday, all orders to be delivered by or on Christmas day must be received by 3 p.m. (Eastern time) on Monday, December 22, with a two day rush option selected or by 3 p.m. (Eastern time) on Tuesday, December 23, with a one day rush option selected.

    Please visit the NEHGS Online Store at browse or search our selection. Orders may be placed securely online or can be phoned in to our member services department toll-free at 1-888-296-3447, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday.

    Can't think of the perfect gift? Gift certificates are available in any denomination by phone, or in $25, $50, or $100 amounts via online ordering.

    Give a Gift Membership to NEHGS

    Looking for a last-minute gift? Give family and friends the gift of membership in NEHGS!

    For $75, your gift recipient will become a Research Member of NEHGS, giving him or her full access to, our Boston library resources, a $10 coupon for NEHGS services, subscriptions to New England Ancestors magazine and the Register, as well as discounts on research services, consultations, tours, and selected titles in the NEHGS Online Store.

    If we receive your order by 5 p.m. (Eastern time) on Tuesday, December 23, your gift recipient will receive an emailed notice of your gift before Christmas Eve. We will follow up with a gift card after the holidays.

    If you are interested in purchasing a gift membership, please call our member services department toll-free at 1-888-296-3447, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time).

    Holiday Hours in the NEHGS Library

    In observance of the Christmas and New Year's holidays, the research library will be closed or will close early on the following days:

    Wednesday, December 24: 12 noon closing
    Thursday, December 25: closed
    Friday, December 26: closed
    Saturday, December 27: closed

    (The library is closed on Sundays in December and on all Mondays, so the library will also be closed on Sunday, December 28, and Monday, December 29.)

    Wednesday, December 31: 3 p.m. closing
    Thursday, January 1: closed

    For a complete list of 2003 and 2004 library hours and holiday schedules, visit

    Happy holidays from the staff of the New England Historic Genealogical Society!

    New Databases on

    Vital Records of Bristol, Vermont, 1771–1859

    The town of Bristol is located in Addison County. It was established in 1761. No additional information regarding the transcription of these records is available.

    Search Vital Records of Bristol, Vermont, 1771–1859 at

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    Added this week: Transcription of Greeley's Corner Cemetery in Palermo, Maine.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at face=Arial>. 

    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 town records is available.

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



    Please note: Due to unexpectedly high traffic volumes on, users may experience difficulties with some areas of the website. We are working to implement solutions to these problems and ask your patience over the next few weeks as we work to resolve these issues.


    New Research Article on

    New Hampshire Town Histories, Part Two
    by Sherry L. Gould

    The first installment of this four-part series on New Hampshire town histories gave an overview of resources and repositories ( The three remaining installments will provide detailed information on the published histories of each New Hampshire town. This issue's installment includes all town names that begin with the letters A to F. The next section will include all towns that begin with the letters G to M, and the last part will conclude with the remainder of New Hampshire towns.

    The following information the histories for each town is included: town name; date of original printing/date of subsequent editions; title; genealogies (yes or no); index (primarily yes or no, although if the index is in the reprint and not in the original it is so noted, also if the index is specific [i.e. places, names, etc] rather than a general index the type is listed); author; available from (includes where the volume may be purchased and as much contact information as was possible to obtain — it is imperative that would-be buyers make contact to determine method of payment and any applicable shipping charges in advance of placing an order); cost (this represents the cost of the book and does not include any applicable shipping charges); NEHGS Loan (indicates whether the volume is available for loan to NEHGS members through the circulating library — yes or no); and NEHGS Research Library (indicates whether the volume is available at the NEHGS Research Library in Boston — yes or no).

    Read the full article at

    More on the Woodward House in Newton, Massachusetts

    A couple of weeks ago NEHGS member Scott Billigmeier of Leesburg, Virginia, wrote to eNews to say that he thought that "members would be interested to know what has become of ancient family lands and who is endeavoring to protect them." We asked if eNews readers had stories to share and we published three letters on this topic last week.

    In one of them, Leigh Woodward wrote:

    "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. Hearsay 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."

    Scott Billigmeier was particularly interested in this information because, as it happens, the Woodward house was the home of his seventh great-grandfather (and presumably earlier generations, too). Scott writes, "I had no idea the house still existed so it was with very mixed feelings that I heard the good news that it did and that bad news that it might not be in existence for long." Scott contacted the town of Newton and received the following informative — and hopeful — reply.

    Lara Kritzer, a preservation planner from the town of Newton's Department of Planning and Development, wrote:

    "The future of this site has been the source of a lot of discussion over the last few years but I am happy to say that it looks like a new owner has been found who is interested in preserving and restoring the existing house and building a new house on a subdivided piece of the property. The house has been at the risk for some time now — the current owner put it on the market for a price which reflected the development potential for the large lot which the house sits on and the Newton Historical Commission has been in discussions with the current owner to find a way to preserve the existing building. This is the first proposal which has been suggested which did not involve the demolition of all or a substantial portion of the existing house and the potential buyers are expected to meet with the Newton Historical Commission to present their proposal..."

    If you would like to share a story about your family's ancestral house or lands, please email

    Tufts University Digital Collections:
    The Boston Streets Project & the History and Topography of London

    The Boston Streets Project is a collaboration between Tufts University Digital Collections and Archives (DCA) and the Bostonian Society . The project is supported by a two-year National Leadership grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). It involves digitizing eleven Boston city directories from 1865 to 1955 and selected images from the photographic collections of the Bostonian Society. The directory database and images will be linked to historic maps of Boston through a Geographic Information System (GIS). Tufts University manages the project and all collections may be accessed through its website at

    Goals for the first year of this project are to scan Boston city directories from 1865, 1885, 1905, 1925, and 1955 and to digitize at least 1,300 photographs in the Bostonian Society collections. Currently, the 1865 Boston city directory is the only directory displayed on the Boston Streets website. In addition, about 700 photographs have been digitized and may be found on the site. The images in these photographs are of streets and buildings from throughout the city taken between 1865 and 1955. The site's mapping component, Cowpaths: An Interactive Street Atlas, is not yet operational. When this component becomes available, the user will be able to retrieve digital images of a particular location simply by clicking on the street map. The search capabilities of the Boston Streets website will afford genealogists, historians, and the general public with greater and easier access to the Bostonian Society's photographic collections, while reducing wear and tear on the photographs themselves.

    Currently, you can search the site by clicking on hyperlinks in the 1865 city directory database to bring up images of those streets in the photographic collection. By using the advanced search feature, one can search both the photographic archive and the directory information from 1865, 1870, 1872, 1875, and 1905. There are two options under type of search — metadata and full text. At present, the metadata search will only look for your search words or phrases in the titles of images and headings. The full text search will look for search words throughout the Boston Streets collection, except for titles. There are several options for grouping the search results as well, which include document type, collection, or author/title. While the Boston Streets project is still in its early stages, it appears that it will be an extremely useful electronic information resource for those researching Boston families.

    Anyone with an interest in historic London should also take a look at The Edwin C. Bolles Collection: A Digital Archive on the History and Topography of London (, which is one of a number of digital collections found on the Tufts DCA website. Funded by IMLS and the Berger Family Technology Transfer Endowment, this digital archive links texts, images, and maps from the Bolles Collection, which is primarily focused on Victorian London.

    New Hours for the Archives of the Archdiocese of Boston Archives

    The Archives of the Archdiocese of Boston will be open for researchers on one Saturday per month, beginning in January. The first Saturday dates are: January 24, February 28, March 20, April 24, and May 15. The Archives will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and they will require an appointment, just as they do on the other days they are open, which are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

    For more information, please visit call 617-746-5797.

    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!

    A Black Sheep Ancestor
    by Bruce Chilton of Northport, New York

    Gilbert fitz Richard de Clare, my twenty-third great grandfather, may not deserve to be labeled a black sheep, but the weight of circumstantial evidence supporting that conclusion is very strong.

    It is a plot worthy of Shakespeare. In the year 1100, Gilbert found himself at odds with William Rufus, successor to his father, William the Conqueror. But Gilbert and other members of the de Clare family enjoyed great favor with Henry, the Conqueror's youngest — but largely powerless — son.

    This problem was neatly solved when Rufus was killed in a hunting party by a "stray" arrow shot by Gilbert's son-in-law, Walter Tirel. Henry, at that very moment, was nicely placed to be able to ride the short gallop to the Royal Treasury at Winchester where he claimed possession. A few days later, the Bishop of London crowned him Henry I.

    Following these events, the shooter, Walter Tirel, disappeared from the scene, surfacing only some years later in Normandy. The remainder of the Gilbert fitz Richard family remained in England and, as court favorites, basked in the largess of land and position lavished upon them by King Henry I.

    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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