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  • 2003 Archive

  • Vol. 5, No. 9
    Whole #102
    February 21, 2003
    Edited by Lynn Betlock and Rod 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 Articles on
    • NEHGS Winter Sale — Phone, Fax, or Online Only!
    eNews Contest Deadline Approaching
    • Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    • Ralph J. Crandall to Speak at the LDS Family History Center in Fort Myers, Florida
    • The NEHGS Photocopy Service
    • Experience the Best of Germany with NEHGS
    • Case Study: Jewish Genealogy with Bohemian Roots
    • Richard S. Lackey Memorial Scholarship
    • Favorite Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Marriage Records of the First Church, Westfield, Massachusetts, 1781–1835

    These records were abstracted by the staff of the Westfield Athenaeum in 1950. The First Church was organized on August 27,1679. The introduction to a database previously featured on this site, "Baptisms Performed in the Church of Christ, Westfield, Massachusetts, 1679–1836" provides an interesting profile of the first pastor of the church, Reverend Edward Taylor.

    Search the Marriage Records of the First Church, Westfield, Massachusetts, at

    Register of Deaths of the First Church, Westfield, Massachusetts, 1728–1836

    These records were abstracted as part of a project undertaken by the National Youth Administration in 1936. More information about the church can be found in the introduction to the "Baptisms Performed in the Church of Christ, Westfield, Massachusetts, 1679–1836" database.

    Search the Register of Deaths of the First Church, Westfield, Massachusetts, at

    Genealogy of the Bliss Family in America from about the Year 1550 to 1880

    The newest addition to our Family Genealogies databases is this genealogy of the Bliss family, compiled by John Homer Bliss of Norwich, Connecticut. The original volume was published in 1881 — this edition soon became unavailable, due to the destruction of the original plates used to print the book. In 1904 Henry Putnam Bliss used portions of the original volume to create the edition used in our database, which includes newer information that was compiled in the years between the publication of the first and second editions.

    Search the Genealogy of the Bliss Family at

    Jacob Benson, Pioneer, and his Descendants; in the towns of Dover and Amenia, Dutchess County, New York, and elsewhere; together with some information of the early members of the Benson family in New England and New York State.

    Another new addition to the Family Genealogies databases is this genealogy of one line of the Benson family, compiled by Arthur T. Benson of Dover Plains, New York. Originally published in 1915, this work traced the descendants of Jacob Benson, who was said to have come from Glouster (now Burrillville), Rhode Island, about 1742. In addition, information is also provided about earlier generations of the Benson family in New England and New York.

    Search Jacob Benson, Pioneer, and his Descendants at

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    This week we have added transcriptions from cemeteries in Barrington, Rhode Island, and South Carmel, New York.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    Master Search

    Master search all databases at


    New Research Articles on

    New York
    The Holland Purchase: Pioneer Settlements in Western New York State
    by Marian S. Henry

    NEHGS Winter Sale — Phone, Fax, or Online Only!

    The Winter Warehouse Sale has been extended through Monday for phone, fax, and online customers!

    Clearance items will be deeply discounted. Also, a selection of other titles will have special sale prices. This sale WILL NOT be held in the store at Boston or at our Framingham location.

    The NEHGS Member Services team will take phone orders on Friday and Monday only from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. (Eastern time) on our toll-free ordering line, 1-888-296-3447. If you are unable to reach us due to high call volume, please leave a message.

    Online customers will have two additional days — Saturday and Sunday — to place orders online. The sale prices will expire at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, February 24. We will accept fax orders during the sale at 1-508-788-9500.

    To view a list of sale items, please visit

    eNews Contest Deadline Approaching

    As announced in a previous issue of eNews, we would like your feedback on how has helped you in your research. We are asking you to be specific and relate in detail the knowledge you have gained from the website — perhaps how it helped you solve a research problem. Ten entries will be selected to receive a $10 gift certificate to NEHGS, which can be applied to the store, circulating library, membership, research services, Great Migration Newsletter subscription, or an education program.

    Please send your entries to Lynn Betlock at by Friday, February 28. Winners will be announced in the eNews in March.

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

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

    • "From Washington to Bush: Ancestors of American Presidents" by Gary Boyd Roberts on Saturday, February 22.

    • "Preparing For Your Research Trip to Ireland" by Marie Daly on Wednesday, March 5, and Saturday, March 8.

    • "Massachusetts Institutional Records: Almshouses, Mental Hospitals, and Prisons" by Elizabeth Marzuoli on Wednesday, March 19, and Saturday, March 22.

    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.

    Ralph J. Crandall to Speak at the LDS Family History Center in Fort Myers, Florida
    March 22, 2003

    On Saturday, March 22, the LDS Family History Center in Fort Myers, Florida, will host an all-day seminar, with NEHGS executive director Dr. Ralph J. Crandall as the featured speaker. The program includes an open house with genealogical exhibits and four lectures by Dr. Crandall.

    Program schedule:

    • 8:15 a.m.–9 a.m. Registration

    • 9 a.m.–10 a.m. Shaking Your Family Tree: The ABCs of Genealogy

    • 10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m. Migration Patterns from New England to the Old Northwest: 1775–1850

    • 12 noon –1 p.m. Light luncheon provided by the Family History Center (for those who pre-registered)

    • 1 p.m.–2 p.m. The New England Historic Genealogical Society: How to Access Resources from a Distance

    • 2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m. Beginning Steps in Mid-Atlantic Research

    The seminar will be held at the Family History Center located at 3105 Broadway in Fort Myers. The program is open to the public at no charge. To register, or for more information, please contact the Fort Myers Family History Center at 239-275-0001 or Beverly Dwyer at 239-731-3329 or Early registration is recommended.

    The NEHGS Photocopy Service

    Did you forget to copy that page in the vital records book . . . the periodical you were searching . . . or the microfilm you viewed? The NEHGS Photocopy Service can help you by retracing your steps and making a copy for you!

    Why not visit our website and order copies from our Photocopy Service? We are happy to fill orders if you know the title of the source and either the page numbers or title of the article you are seeking.

    Unfortunately, we cannot research families in books as a photocopy order — however, we can help you with that project through our In-Depth Research service. Also, because manuscripts are generally unindexed, we are unable to accept photocopy orders from the manuscript collections. Manuscript collection copies may be obtained by accessing our In-Depth Research option. (Please note that access to the manuscript collections of the New England Historic Genealogical Society is a privilege of membership — only members may order information and photocopies from that special collection.)

    The Photocopy Service is ready to serve you. You may place an order online at /research/services/?page_id=650&attrib1=1&seq_num=3. If you have any questions, please call 617-226-1233, email, or write to Research Services, 101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116-3007.

    Experience the Best of Germany with NEHGS

    May 13–23, 2003

    NEHGS members who want to experience the best of Germany in an intimate, personal way will be delighted about our plans for 2003. The all-new "President's Tour" will visit some of the marquee attractions of Deutschland, plus some out of the way, but equally delightful towns, that the big tours leave out of their busy itineraries.

    Tour leaders Jim and Jenean Derheim, owners of European Focus, believe in taking the back roads and avoiding the autobahn whenever possible. This adds a tremendous dimension to your trip. You'll be able to enjoy the countryside and the villages close up — not from a distance from a fast-moving bus, as on larger tours. NEHGS President David Kruger, his wife Jean, and assistant executive director D. Brenton Simons will accompany you on this new and exciting tour.

    Participants will enjoy a relaxed schedule that has been carefully designed to be the exact opposite of the rush-rush-rush and hustle required to keep up with bigger group tours. Experience the true magic of Germany with us! Exceptionally comfortable rooms in luxury inns, all meals, drinks, sightseeing, and ground transportation are included.

    Those interested in personal genealogy research can arrange for assistance with us after the group tour has concluded. Come join us for the ultimate in private travel in Germany!

    For more information on this tour, visit, call 1-888-286-3447, or email

    Case Study: Jewish Genealogy with Bohemian Roots
    by Alexander Woodle, Circulating Library Director

    In any genealogical quest, researchers must first identify their goals or objectives. A plan must be developed and implemented to collect information. The success or failure for the genealogist will depend upon a number of factors: availability of records, patience, intuition, luck and persistence. The goals of my research were threefold: find the resting-place of my great grandfather, the village in Bohemia he came from when he emigrated to America, and the reasons for his leaving.

    Oral history within my family was laced with apocryphal accounts. David Woodle came to the United States as a boy with some older brothers in the middle of the nineteenth century. He became a successful cap manufacturer and had launched a new business venture when he died in 1885. Careful filtering yielded a few salient points: original spelling of name, Wudl; his occupation, capmaker; and his residence at the time of his death, Chicago. I ordered a copy of his death certificate from Cook County, Illinois, hoping for some geographical clue to his resting place. It revealed that he had been interred somewhere in New York! I knew he had lived in New York because his youngest son, Alexander, had been born there in 1879, but in which of the numerous cemeteries?

    When I researched the Boston Public Library's city directory records of New York City, tracing my ancestors' movements, I found numerous entries for Woodles, none of which I could link with certainty to my great grandfather. I also checked Federal census records of New York for Woodles. My database grew to over fifty names. Several of these people were capmakers, including two from Bohemia.

    A trip to New York was needed to research the Municipal Archives for death records and the National Archives for naturalization records. I searched death records just prior to the person's "disappearance" from the city directories or when a more obvious clue of a "widow of so-and-so" was listed. I came up with two certificates fairly quickly, and they revealed the names of their burial ground. They were both Jewish cemeteries. I wrote to each, asking for a list of Woodles who were buried there. Within a couple of weeks the Bayside Cemetery in Queens replied with a letter. The first name on the list was David Woodle! I had found our first immigrant ancestor lost to time for nearly a century.

    The second goal of my research was to discover his birthplace. The search began anew at the Circulating Library of NEHGS. A sixty-four volume series entitled Germans to America: Lists of Passengers Arriving at U.S. Ports yielded an important clue. An Ignatz Wudl, sixteen years old, left Hamburg, Germany for the United States in 1871. This matched perfectly with an Ignatz Woodle I had found in my New York research. My intuition concluded this was my great grandfather's younger brother. It also revealed a new spelling for our original name. The most important fact, however, was his embarkation point, Hamburg. The Hamburg Passenger Lists survived World War II bombing, and they list not only the names of the passengers, but also their home village.

    The NEHGS microtext collection includes a copy of the index of surnames for the years 1850-1871. Ignatz was not there, but two other Wudls were, Moses and Simon, who emigrated in 1855 and 1856, respectively. Moses's emigration date matched a New York Woodle named Morris, and I also had a Simon Woodle in my database, both capmakers! They both came from the same village of Ckyne (ch keen Yah) in Bohemia. The question remaining, was David their brother and therefore from the same town?

    This wonderful breakthrough in my research was about to take a turn I would have never imagined. I learned of a local film production company looking for family stories for a project they were bidding on. I contacted this company and told them my family story and asked more about the upcoming film project. The Ellis Island Museum wanted to produce five-minute films about the major ethnic groups who emigrated to the United States: the Jews, the Irish, the Italians, etc. These films would become part of an exhibit in New York to foster interest in tracing family roots. I sent a couple of family newsletters I had written, updating my recent genealogical finds, to the film producer. Then in June I received word that my story had been accepted by Ellis Island Museum; and by the way, how would you like to be flown to Prague and visit your ancestral shtetl (village)! I, of course, answered in the affirmative.

    I had hired a Prague based genealogist to help me find archival records of my family, and I now enlisted his help in setting up filming opportunities at the Jewish Cemetery in Ckyne and the Central State Archives in Prague. The cemetery is in remarkable condition due to the twenty-year efforts of one gentile man, Jan Podlesak. Unlike most Jewish cemeteries in central and eastern Europe, every stone in the Ckyne Cemetery has been reset, the walls surrounding the sacred ground rebuilt and the burial house turned into a moving memorial to local Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Within its confines we were able to identify the graves of my great grandfather's parents and grandparents as well as numerous collateral relatives.

    The next morning at the Central Archives in Prague we found the written birth record of David Wudl together with his brothers Moses, Simon and Ignatz, three of sixteen siblings born in Ckyne. An unexpected discovery yielded the name of my fourth great grandfather, Moses Wudl, born in 1738 in a small village in West Bohemia. This was a significant find, as most Jews did not have surnames until the 1787 edict from the Hapsburg Emperor Joseph.

    The Jews lived in Bohemia for a thousand years, but it was not an easy life. Jews were taxed three times as much as their neighbors; restricted in the trades they could practice; and cruelest of all, limited in family size. The Familiant Laws of 1727 were designed to limit the growth of the Jewish population. They declared that only the oldest son could marry legally. This familiant status had to be bought. Many Jews emigrated to avoid these laws. When emancipation came after 1848 emigration increased, with many Jews leaving for new opportunities in America and other lands.

    I returned home with my goals attained, but with a whole new perspective on how my ancestors lived and died. Five of my great grandfather's brothers died in infancy, the last one dying at birth along with his mother. Ever since my return home I have been immersed in the study of Jewish history and ways to preserve the memory of the Jewish heritage in these lands. The original quest to find family has been eclipsed by a larger and more meaningful mission.

    For more information about the family history films at Ellis Island, please visit In addition to the film about Alexander Woodle's family, there are also films about tracing Mexican, Italian, Irish, African-American, and Chinese ancestors. For more information about the village of Ckyne in the Czech Republic, please visit

    [This article originally appeared in the Winter 2003 issue of Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy.]

    Richard S. Lackey Memorial Scholarship

    There is one week left to apply for the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR) Alumni Association Richard S. Lackey Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship provides $500 to an experienced researcher holding either a paid or volunteer position in the genealogical community.

    The scholarship winner will be automatically accepted for the National Institute on Genealogical Research to be held at the National Archives in Washington, DC, from Sunday, July 13, 2003, to Saturday, July 19, 2003. The scholarship covers full NIGR tuition and attendance at the alumni dinner. The remainder of the award will be presented as a check at the alumni dinner to partially defray travel, hotel, and meal costs.

    More information is provided at The application form can be found at

    Applications must be received by March 1, 2003. If you have questions, please contact Julia Coldren-Walker at

    Favorite Ancestor Feedback

    We continue with reader submissions to the questions "Who is your favorite ancestor?" and "Why?" If you would like to contribute information on your favorite ancestor, please send your story in 300 words or less to Lynn Betlock at Thank you to all past and future contributors!

    "He Helped Settle Upper Canada"
    by Dorothy Rogers Wilson of Toronto, Ontario

    My favorite ancestor is Timothy Rogers. He was born in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1756 and my side of the family is descended from his daughter, Mary, who also married a Rogers. Timothy was deserted by his parents when he was very young, and was living with a man who abused him badly when his uncle, John Huntley, came by and took him to Nine Partners (near Poughkeepsie) in New York State to live.

    He stayed there until he was a young man, received some education, and married his first wife, Sarah Wilde. He tried to join the Society of Friends, but they made him wait. He then moved his young family to Danby, in Vermont, where he could buy some land, and there the Quakers accepted him. In Vermont, he lived at Vergennes and Ferrisburgh as well as Danby, and for a while at Saratoga, New York. He arrived in Saratoga just in time for the definitive battle of the American Revolution.

    Later, he heard that good land was being given away in Upper Canada, and traveled here to see. He arranged a large land grant, returned to Vermont to gather together forty families, and they arrived at what is now Newmarket, Ontario, in May 1800. In 1810 they finished building the Yonge Street Meeting House, still in use today. In 1812 his wife, Sarah, died, and in 1813 he returned to the United States — to Rahway, New Jersey, and married his second wife, Anna Harned, there and brought her back with him. Later they moved to Pickering, east of York (now Toronto) where Timothy built a mill on the French River. He died there sometime in 1827.

    During his life, he cleared five farms, built at least two mills and a store, traveled many miles preaching his gospel (as far as Nova Scotia), sired twenty children, and helped to settle Upper Canada. He was also one of the early abolitionists in Vermont, arranging the freeing of two black slaves. He was an amazing man.

    Lady Deborah Moody
    by Betty Dean Holmes of Swampscott, Massachusetts

    When I moved to Swampscott and first heard the name, Lady Deborah Moody, I realized she was connected to our family tree. Lady Moody was widow of the brother of my direct ancestor, William Moody. I wanted to learn more about her for hers isn't a prominent name in town. No landmark is named for her. There are streets and beaches named for John Humphrey, first owner of Swampscott, and streets and beaches named for Daniel King, the third owner, as well as streets named for other early male settlers. Nothing is named in honor of Lady Moody, although she was listed in the Salem quarterly court records of November 1651 as the second owner of the farm called Swampscott.

    Lady Deborah Dunch was born in England and married an older man, Sir Henry Moody — a baronet. They had one child, a son named for his father. After her son grew up, her husband died, leaving her a wealthy widow, and she decided to move to New England. Her father, Walter Dunch, a member of Parliament from Wiltshire, was related to the Earl of Lincoln, who was John Humphrey's father-in-law. Lady Moody may have known of the possibility of purchasing John Humphrey's farm called Swampscott, before she left England. For a woman to travel alone without a husband or father and plan to settle in the colony was most unusual in the 1640s.

    Lady Moody first came to Lynn and soon joined the church at Salem. In 1641 she bought the farm called Swampscott from John Humphrey for eleven hundred pounds, and she was granted four hundred acres by the General Court. It wasn't long before Lady Deborah Moody had a serious disagreement with the church at Salem. Governor Winthrop wrote, "the Lady Moodye, a Wise, and anciently [formerly] religious woman, being taken with the error of denying baptism to infants, was dealt with by many of the elders and others, and admonished by the church of Salem, whereof she was a member: but persisting still, and to avoid further trouble, she removed to the Dutch, against the advice of all of her friends."

    In 1643, after Lady Moody rented her farm called Swampscott to Daniel King, she left town. She first went to Providence, Rhode Island, where she stayed for a while with Roger Williams' group of Salem dissenters. Later, she traveled to Gravesend, New York, where the Dutch were more tolerant of differences in religious views. She became the founder of the little community at Gravesend, which is now a part of Brooklyn.

    Meantime, Daniel King rented the farm Swampscott from Lady Moody. For ten years he made no attempt to pay her. She was outraged. Because women were not allowed to go to court, she wrote her son, Sir Henry Moody, asking him to come to Salem to represent her, and force Daniel King to pay his debt. Sir Henry came from Virginia to represent his mother's case before the Salem court. The Salem quarterly court records state "The right worshipful Sir Henry Moody, Knight, attornye for the honored Lady Deborh Moody v. Mr. Danyell Kinge. For rent and stock for her farm, which he received from the tenant, "The sd farme of swampscott sictuate in Lin or the bounds thereof." Lady Moody's suit prevailed and Daniel King paid her in cash plus farm stock and draper's goods.

    In Swampscott today, it is as though the outspoken and opinionated Lady Deborah Moody had never lived in Swampscott in 1641. However, in the dusty court records of Salem, she remains the second owner of Swampscott.

    NEHGS Contact Information

    To view the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, please visit

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

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