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  • 2004 Archive

  • Vol. 6, No. 1
    Whole #147
    January 2, 2004
    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 2004, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116


    • New Databases on
    • New Research Article on
    • Genealogy in a Nutshell Schedule: January – May 2004
    • "Getting Started" Class Offered in Boston on Wednesday, January 7
    • Circulating Library Favorites
    • More on Ancestral Homes
    • New Arrivals at the Library Listed on
    • The StoryCorps Project
    • Online Roman Numeral & Date Converter
    • Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    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:

    Beadle, Beck, Beckwith, Beele, Belden, Bell, Beman, Bemis, and Ben.

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

    Thompson Genealogy: The Descendants of William and Margaret Thomson

    This genealogy, compiled by Mary A. Elliott, traces the descendants of William and Margaret Thomson, who came from Scotland to Ulster, in north Ireland, about 1716 with their seven sons and two daughters. William died while in Ireland, and Margaret and her children sailed for New England about 1718, settling in the section of Windsor, Connecticut, that is now part of the towns of East Windsor and Ellington, Connecticut.

    Search the Thompson genealogy at

    Master Search

    Master search all databases at

    New Research Article on — Now Free to Non-Members

    Look for a brand new research article next week!

    Land Records: New England's Under-Appreciated Genealogical Source
    By Patricia Law Hatcher, CG, FASG

    Researchers in the southern United States have long known the value of land records in solving genealogical problems. New England researchers have long thought that because of vital records, they didn't need land records. That may be true if your ancestors are found in the vital records with no potential ambiguity. However, many researchers cannot find everything they need in vital records. Land records may hold the answers to many family mysteries.

    Land records are not as easy to use as vital records. In New England, they are rarely abstracted. Deed indexes contain only the names of the primary parties (the grantor and grantee), so you have no way of telling what information might lie in the deeds themselves.

    Land records are also voluminous. The indexes alone might require many rolls of microfilm. On a recent NEHGS trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, NEHGS Librarian David Dearborn and I agreed that, for this reason, focusing on land records is a highly efficient use of a researcher's time in Salt Lake City.

    Read the full article at

    Genealogy in a Nutshell Schedule: January – May 2004

    NEHGS presents "Genealogy in a Nutshell" — a series of free, one-hour lectures on a variety of genealogical and historical topics. The lectures are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Advance registration is not necessary.

    Please note: 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 bookloan@nehgs.orgor call 1-888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday.

    Jan 7, 10 "Beyond the Death Record: Linking Related Records" by David Lambert
    Jan 14, 17 "Using DNA to Unravel Genealogical Mysteries" by Christopher Child
    Jan 21, 24 "Clues and Context: What Social History Can Tell You About
    Your Family History" by Jean Maguire
    Jan 28, 31 "Passenger Arrivals Project at the Massachusetts State Archives" by Janis Duffy

    Feb 4, 7 "Naturalization Records as Immigration Sources" by Marie Daly
    Feb 11 "From Sydney to Yarmouth: Researching in Nova Scotia" by George Sanborn
    Feb 18, 21 "Urban Genealogy" by David Dearborn
    Feb 25 "The Wampanoags of Martha's Vineyard" by Richard A. Pierce

    Mar 3, 6 "Manuscripts: No Longer a Last Resort" by Tim Salls
    Mar 10, 13 "Getting the Most from Federal Census Records" by Walter Hickey
    Mar 17, 20 "Genealogical Armchair Travel to Ireland" by Marie Daly
    Mar 24 "Researching Rhode Island Roots" by Maureen Taylor
    Mar 31 "Genealogical Resources at the Boston Public Library" by Henry Scannell

    Apr 7, 10 "Internet Genealogy" by Dick Eastman
    Apr 14, 17 "Founders and Patriots: Researching Notable Early Americans" by Gary Boyd Roberts
    Apr 21 "Cosmology to Cordage: A Synopsis of the Collections of the Kendall
    Institute" by Michael Dyer
    Apr 28, May 1 "Italian Genealogy" by David Dearborn

    May 5 "African American Historical Sources in New England" by Beth Bower
    May 12, 15 "New England Colonial Wars Research" by David Lambert
    May 19 "Scots for Sale: The Fate of the Scottish War Prisoners In the 17th Century " by Diane Rappaport
    May 26, 29 "Using the Corbin Collection for Central Massachusetts Research" by Robert Dunkle

    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.

    "Getting Started" Class Offered in Boston on Wednesday, January 7

    Those new to genealogy are invited to attend a free "Getting Started" class at either 12 noon or 6 p.m. on Wednesday, January 7. The one-hour classes will be held at NEHGS, 101 Newbury St., Boston. Registration is not required.

    The program will introduce beginners to the fundamentals of genealogy and take participants on a tour of the NEHGS Library. For more information about "Getting Started," please visit, or email the NEHGS Library Director at, or call 617-226-1231.

    Circulating Library Favorites

    We have compiled statistics on which circulating library books are the most popular among NEHGS members. We'd like to make eNews readers aware of these books since they have been helpful to many researchers. So from time to time in the eNews, we'll publish a list of popular circulating library titles. Here is our first installment, which concentrates on research in the Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts, area:

    Vital records of Amesbury, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849.
    F74 A4/1913.

    Early Salisbury, Massachusetts. F74/S16/T784/1989.

    History of Amesbury and Merrimac, Massachusetts. F74/A4/M5/1978.

    Vital records of Salisbury, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849. F74/S16/S2/1915.

    The Genealogy of the descendants of John Clough of Salisbury, Massachusetts. CS71/C643/1952.

    The ancestry of Thomas Bradbury (1611–1695) and his wife Mary (Perkins) Bradbury (1615–1700) of Salisbury, Massachusetts. CS71/B798/1988.

    The Coffin family of Rings Island. CS71/C675/2000.

    As always, if you have any questions about using the circulating library, please call, toll-free 1-888-296-3447, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time) or email To learn more about the circulating library and to borrow books online, please visit

    More on Ancestral Homes
    by Heather Wilkinson Rojo of Londonderry, New Hampshire

    In the past three years I have found three ancestral homes that I didn't know existed! The first two were the Felton houses (yes, two!) in Peabody, Massachusetts. Cora Felton Anderson of the Felton Family Association was organizing a Felton reunion at the site of the two homes at Brooksby Farm (owned by the town of Peabody, and under the protection of the Peabody Historical Society ), and I was shocked to learn from her that Nathaniel Sr.'s house AND Nathaniel Jr.'s house still existed side by side on their original home sites. All my family grew up and still live in the area, and they were all ignorant of the fact that these homes exist right behind the North Shore Mall. The Felton father, Nathaniel Sr., built his home in 1645, then later subdivided it. Part of the original home was moved next door as the central part of his son's house. At the reunion the Peabody Historical Society led tours of the Nathaniel Felton Jr. home (which is rented out to the public for weddings and such), but we had the additional thrill of touring the Nathaniel Felton Sr. house, which is in a state of great disrepair.

    The second home we found by accident when researching my dad's side of the family in Woburn, Massachusetts. We went to the First Burial Ground in the center of town to take photos of some Converse family gravestones. There was another couple there giving a tour, and when we exchanged greetings she told us she was there to see the stone of Francis Wyman. I was very excited to learn he was also buried in the same cemetery, for he was my mom's ancestor. The couple was on the board of the Wyman Family Association . They told me that the next weekend was the Wyman reunion at the Francis Wyman house , which was still standing in what is now Burlington, Massachusetts. Well, I was quite happy to have met them just in time to sign up for the reunion and tour this ancestral home, too. The Wyman house had survived a recent fire, but the family association (which still owns it, not a historical society) is working hard on the restoration.

    It is interesting to note the differences in the upkeep and care of these homes under different types of ownership. It is very difficult for a family to preserve, maintain, and insure an uninhabited home with limited funds. It is also challenging for historical societies and family associations with only volunteers and limited funds. Observing the houses' care and restoration over the past three years has been an education to me — I live in a fairly new condominium and don't know anything about old homes. But I grew up in an old home that had been in my family for five generations, and I know how much it means to keep the old ancestral houses intact and viable.

    If you have a story to contribute on the topic of ancestral homes, please email

    New Arrivals at the Library Listed on

    The latest list of new titles added to the NEHGS library has been posted on To view the list, go to click on "December 2003." Here are some of this month's titles:

    • Sephardic genealogy: discovering your Sephardic ancestors and their world [also LOAN]
    • Indexes to certificates of registration and enrollment issued for merchant vessels at Boston, Massachusetts, ca. 1827–1868 [microform]
    • Swiss sisters separated: pioneer life in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Washington 1889-1914 from the letters of Louise Guillermin Dupertuis to her sister Élise Guillermin, the painter [also LOAN]
    • Giles Hickox: a Revolutionary soldier, his ancestors and descendants [also LOAN]
    • John Hughes and my other Quaker ancestors: their pioneering efforts at Gwynedd, Oley / Exeter & Roaring Creek meetings and subsequent removal to Illinois, 1698 to 1998 [also LOAN]
    • Some descendants of Rev. Leonard Metcalf of Tatterford Parish, Norfolk, England: mostly of those of his son Michael, the emigrant to Dedham, Massachusetts, in 1637: a genealogical register [also LOAN]
    • The hearth tax list for Claro Wapentake, West Riding of Yorkshire: Lady Day 1672
    • Index to 1851 census: Parish of Kincardine (with Croick), Ross and Cromarty
    • Survey of the Church Cemetery, New Braintree, Massachusetts.
    • Vermont religious certificates [also LOAN]
    • As the cedars grow: the origins of Saint John's Lebanese community in Canadian history

    To borrow books from the circulating library (marked "also LOAN"), please visit call 1-888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday.

    The StoryCorps Project
    by NEHGS staff member Valerie Beaudrault

    I found out about the StoryCorps project last week when my daughter gave a recording session to her grandmother as a Christmas gift.

    StoryCorps is an initiative of Sound Portraits Productions, a non-profit company that produces public radio documentaries. The StoryCorps project is modeled on the oral history interviews recorded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the 1930s. The project is described as "a national initiative to instruct and inspire Americans to record one another’s stories in sound."

    StoryCorps plans to build soundproof recording booths across the United States and invites everyone to participate in preserving their stories. Because the project has received significant corporate, foundation, and private funding, a forty-minute recording session costs only $10. At the end of the session, the participants receive one copy of the interview on a CD with permission from StoryCorps to duplicate it. Another copy of the interview will become part of the archive of American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, the same archive that holds the WPA recordings. In addition, StoryCorps is working in partnership with local public radio stations to broadcast excerpts of selected interviews.

    According to Peggy Bulger, director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, "This project will provide America with important social documentation on a grassroots, nationwide scale that mirrors what the historic Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Writers' Project accomplished more than half a century ago." (From a press release on the Library of Congress website: NEWS from The Library of Congress, September 30, 2003 )

    On October 23, 2003, the first StoryBooth opened in New York City's Grand Central Station. And, early in 2004, those living far from StoryBooth locations will be able to order a StoryKit to enable them to make their own broadcast quality recordings.

    To listen to excerpts from some of the best of the completed interviews, make a reservation for a recording session, or to find out more about StoryCorps,visit You can also make a reservation by telephone at 1-212-931-8553.

    Online Roman Numeral & Date Converter

    Most genealogists are familiar with online Soundex converters, such as the one on Rootsweb ( With a Soundex converter, the user types in a surname and the appropriate Soundex code is conveniently provided.

    This week we discovered another online converter that may be of use to genealogists: the Roman numeral and date converter. We frequently encounter Roman numerals in the copyright date of older histories and genealogies — and are sometimes at a loss to immediately translate them into Arabic numerals. Last week, when faced with a particularly baffling string of numbers, it occurred to us that there really should be something on the Internet to handle this problem. We checked, and, indeed, there was.

    A web page entitled, "Roman Numeral and Date Conversion with Roman Calculator" allows users to convert between Arabic and Roman numerals as well as between Julian and Gregorian dates. Users can also determine the day of the week for any Gregorian or Julian date. This can be a handy feature if you would like to discover on what day of the week a particular event occurred in your ancestor's life. By entering in an ancestral birthday of September 23, 1867, for instance, you will discover that date fell on a Saturday.

    To use the Roman Numeral and Date Conversion website, please visit

    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 Thank you to all past and future contributors!

    My Favorite Ancestor
    by Don Cordell of Lancaster, California

    My favorite ancestor was Valentine Huddleston who settled in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, by 1670. He was born in England in 1629, immigrated to Maryland in 1663, received property that was offered to immigrants, but obtained other land, then sold all of it, and for some reason settled in Dartmouth.

    He married Katherine Chatham Chamberlin. Katherine, a Quaker, had arrived in Boston in 1660 and been banished to the forest in the winter where they expected her to die (as related in New England Judged by the Spirit of the Lord (1703) by George Bishop.) However, she surprised them and survived to marry John Chamberlin of New Jersey.

    John Chamberlin's first marriage to Mary Brown had produced five children, and Katherine and John had four children, then John died in 1667. About 1670, Katherine married Valentine Huddleston. At the time, Valentine was about forty-one, and he took on nine stepchildren and then had four more children with Katherine. In 1718, one of his stepsons left all his possessions to Valentine for the love and care Valentine had shown his family.

    Valentine died in 1728 at the age of ninety-nine. I believe he is actually buried in Acushnet Cemetery [in Acushnet, Massachusetts] where other descendants are buried. I'm sure it must have been hard to provide for that many children at that time. How many men at age forty-one would have taken on that many stepchildren? —and been rewarded later for loving them? One of Valentine's descendants was Henry Huttleston Rogers, millionaire financier of the late 1800s, who donated much to his town of Fairhaven, Massachusetts.

    NEHGS Contact Information

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