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  • 2004 Archive

  • Vol. 6, No. 13
    Whole #159
    March 26, 2004
    Edited by Rod D. Moody and Valerie Beaudrault 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
    * Ask a Librarian Answers Your Research Questions!
    * Images From the Manuscript Collections
    * Take the New NEHGS Survey!
    * Recent Additions to the R. Stanton Avery Collections
    * NEHGS Lecture Videos Now Available Through the Circulating Library
    * Website: Northeast Historic Film
    * NEHGS Event: Irish Genealogical Seminar
    * Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    * Favorite - and Black Sheep - Ancestor Feedback
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on

    Index to the Probate Records of the County of Worcester, Massachusetts

    Worcester County was established in 1731 from the counties of Middlesex and Suffolk. The index to the probate records was published in five volumes between 1898 to 1920. The years covered in the complete series are 1731 to 1910. We will be adding volumes of the index to over time.

    The most recent addition to this series is the second volume of Series B, which includes 1898 to 1904. Volumes 1 and 2 of Series A (1731-1881), and Volume 1 of Series B (1881-1897) were previously added to this database. Information in the index includes year of record, name, residence, type (or nature) of probate, and case number.

    NEHGS has the docket books from 1731 to 1881 on microfilm at the research library in Boston. To obtain photocopies by mail it is necessary to order an In-Depth Research request from our Research Services department. For more information please visit the NEHGS In-Depth Research page at

    Please note that additions to the original volumes and corrections to entries in this series were published in subsequent volumes. This database displays the corrected entry either immediately before or after the erroneous entry. Both additions and corrections are identified in the original publication and in this database by the letter A, which precedes the case number.

    For example, the following similar records are shown below for Galon Amsden. Note that the dates are different and that the letter A precedes the case number of the first entry. This indicates that the first entry is the corrected one.

    Date / Last Name / First Name / Town / Nature / Case Number

    1816 / AMSDEN / Galon / Southborough / Guardianship / A 1686

    1817 / AMSDEN / Galon / Southborough / Guardianship /1686

    Entries with an A preceding the case number but having no resemblance to the entries preceding or following it represent additions to the volumes.

    The original indexes can be viewed at the NEHGS Research Library and can be borrowed by NEHGS members through the Circulating Library. The call number is F72/W9/M45/1898-1920.

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

    Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati Profiles

    The Society of the Cincinnati was established in 1783 by and for the officers in Continental Service. It was organized in fourteen constituent societies, one of which is the Massachusetts Society. Membership in the Society of the Cincinnati was extended to the officers of the Continental Army - as well as Continental Navy and Marine officers - who had served until the end of the war, plus those who had been declared no longer needed by acts of Congress and those who had served honorably for three years during the war. Also eligible were the oldest male lineal descendants of officers who died in service. The officers of the French Navy and Army who served with the American Army were also entitled to join. This database contains information on those Massachusetts officers eligible for membership. Absence from this list does not conclusively exclude eligibility.

    New sketches are now available for the following individuals:

    Stephen Abbott, Henry Adams, Samuel Adams, William Albee, Judah Alden, Hudson Bailey, James Bancroft, Joel Barlow, Andrew Bradford, David Cobb, Lemuel Cushing, Thomas Humphrey Cushing, Moses Porter, Lemuel Snow, and William Stanwood.

    Search the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati Profiles at

    Guardianship Records of Onondaga County, New York, 1815-1849

    These guardianship records were abstracted from the original Surrogate's Office records in Onondaga County by Minnie L.C. Coleman. The work is bound in seven volumes and include Letters of Guardianship from December 1815 to December 1829 and Appointments of Guardians (Date span represents content of each volume: May 1824-Dec. 1829; Feb. 1830-Dec. 1836; Jan. 1834-Dec. 1840; Mar. 1849-Dec.1849; Nov. 1840-Mar. 1849).

    The original text is available to NEHGS members at the R. Stanton Avery Collections room at the NEHGS Library, call number NY 112 38.

    Search Guardianship Records of Onondaga County, New York, 1815-1849 at



    New Research Article on


    Did Your Ancestor Get Religion?
    By Michael J. Leclerc

    I remember when I was young taking the long trip to Boston to visit my great aunt, Sister Florence. I remember playing in the chancery in Brighton, and only when I was older realizing that the impressive man I had met there was actually Richard Cardinal Cushing, the leader of the Archdiocese of Boston. It was only when I started researching my family history that I discovered that Sister Florence was the same woman as the Aunt Vi my mother’s cousin always referred to.

    When researching your ancestors and their families, it is commonplace to find individuals who seem to disappear. A record of birth or baptism is found, but marriage, death, burial, and other information is elusive. Sometimes these individuals died as children, but it is especially puzzling to find children living with the family to young adulthood in census records only to vanish without a trace. All too easily many make the assumption that the individual died without leaving a record. But there are other possibilities as well. The child may have left home and gone to a distant place or they may never have married. One possibility that is frequently overlooked is that the child entered the priesthood or religious life.

    The full article is available to NEHGS members 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 in which staff librarians answer your 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 questions about specific families and individuals, or requests for "look-ups" will not be accepted or acknowledged. Please visit our Research Services department page at for assistance with these types of queries.

    Due to the high volume of questions submitted, it will take time to answer your question. Because of their busy schedules, NEHGS librarians are only able to answer a certain number of questions, and there is no guarantee that your question will be answered.

    NEHGS members can view all the answers at

    Here are the questions for this month:

    Robert Moffitt asks:

    Is the 1855 Massachusetts census available online, and if not, where can I find it?

    Chris asks:

    How do I go about locating people in the state of Maine if I know a name, date of birth and marriage, and town of residence?

    Mary Ellen Boyd asks:

    If a guardianship order names the guardian as "nephew" of the deceased, does this necessarily mean that the guardian was the child of the sibling or sibling-in-law of the deceased as it would today? Or might there be another definition of the relationship?

    Gladys Johnson asks:

    I am trying to find a Swedish family that settled in Worcester, Massachusetts, in the 1880s. At least one of their children was born there. Besides the 1900 Federal Census, what other sources can I research?

    John Cass asks:

    Inseventeenth-century land transactions, individuals are present to witness the transaction, and then the event is recorded in court records. I was wondering how a witness was chosen? Would a witness be pulled off the street, or would the witness typically know either the buyer or seller? I see that most transactions have two witnesses, and I was thinking one witness was for the buyer and one for the seller. Do you have any knowledge on this subject?

    Bill asks:

    I have a nefarious great grandfather who was reportedly guilty of rape in the Glover, Vermont, area ca. 1904. I am particularly interested in this specific incident because the child born as a result was my maternal grandmother. I am quite sure that I am not alone in wanting information about a past criminal case for genealogical purposes. How would one go about researching such an incident? I have been told that there was a local newspaper report but have been unable to find any reference to a paper that covered this geographic area at the time in question. Are arrest/court/prison records likely to be available and how would they be accessed?

    Karen Thoroughman asks:

    A web search turned up the following: "Boston, MA, located in Suffolk County AND Middlesex County, MA." Was there a boundary line change incorporating Boston from one county to the other? When?

    Debbie Lesser asks:

    Beside the St. Albans records, are there any other immigration records from Canada into Vermont? The St. Albans records that I always see are too late. I need records that are before 1850. If they exist, where I would find them?

    Sam Bell asks:

    I am looking for a source for the following information: 1. Any records which pertain to men serving with John Stark's militia or ranger units attached to British forces during the French and Indian War; 2. New Hampshire men serving wiith Allen and/or Montgomery during the Invasion of Canada in 1775; 3. Records of captives taken from the Dover/Exeter area by Indians in the late seventeenth century (ca. 1688) and captives purchased from those same Indians in Montreal or Québec by Canadian citizens or church institutions. I am interested in a source which would indicate what tribe was involved in the capture and the routes followed from the place of capture to Canada. All of these questions deal with men and women who first resided in Massachusetts, then later in New Hampshire.

    Maria Fotiades asks:

    How did New England get its name?

    NEHGS members can view all the answers at


    Images from the Manuscript Collections

    This month's featured images are of the Stoddard family of Northampton, Massachusetts. This exhibit includes a daguerreotype of eighty-two-year old Solomon Stoddard III (1771-1860) taken in 1853, an undated photograph of his wife, Sarah Tappan (1771-1852), and undated images of their son, Solomon IV (1800-?) and his wife Frances Greenwood (1808-1883). Benjamin Tappan and Sarah Homes (a grandniece of Benjamin Franklin) were the parents of Sarah Tappan. Their portraits, painted by Gilbert Stuart, are in the collections of the National Gallery of Art (view them at Also included in our exhibit is a photograph of the Tappan homestead in Northampton and biographical information on Solomon Stoddard III. We hope that you will enjoy this visual family history.

    Visit the Stoddard Collection at

    Take the New NEHGS Survey!

    We want to know what our members think about our new membership incentive program, NEHGS Membership Rewards. The Membership Rewards program awards prizes to members who refer new members to NEHGS. For more information on this initiative, please visit

    This survey is open only to members of NEHGS. You may take the survey by visiting

    More Recent Additions to the R. Stanton Avery Collections The R. Stanton Avery Collections at NEHGS contain over two million items that have been acquired since the Society's founding in 1845. We will list new additions to the manuscript collections on a regular basis in NEHGS eNews. The following list shows new items and collections acquired in November and December 2003. Patrons should note that collections that have not yet been processed are indicated by the word "closed." These collections cannot be accessed (no exceptions) until they are processed, at which time the access restriction is lifted and the collection gains "open" access status. Those interested in donating genealogical materials to NEHGS may contact archivist Timothy Salls at or 617-226-1232. For more information about the R. Stanton Avery Collections, please visit

    Bible record for the David Clinton Burnett family [Mss A 3311]
    Bible record for the Lemuel Carlton family, 1761-1885 [Mss A 3312]
    Bible record for the Benjamin Tillinghast Waite family [Mss A 3313]
    George Palmer Foster's Book : A Civil War Diary [Mss A 3544]
    Photocopies of Bible records from the Craven County (NC) Genealogical Society [Mss A 3261]
    [Willard Chaffee and Daniel Murphy] family register, 1766-1848 [Mss A 3512]
    Bible record for the Edward W. and Marcius H. Chaffee families, 1794-1929 [Mss A 3513]
    Bible record for the Edward W. and George W. Chaffee families, 1828-1922 [Mss A 3514]
    Bible record for the George William Heath family, 1831-1926 [Mss A 3515]
    Descendants of Willard Chaffee [Mss A 3516]
    Archibald M. Willard family register, 1811-1935 [Mss A 3549]
    Jack McElhinney Papers [closed]
    John Glidden family record, 1777-1880 [Mss A 3272]
    Record of marriages by Rev. Jeremiah Shaw of Moultonborough, New Hampshire, 1779-1833 [Mss A 3289]
    Bible record for the Israel Rice family, 1782-1929 [Mss A 3340]
    David G. Hall Jr. Papers [closed]
    Jenks photograph album [closed]
    Diary of Henry Edson, 1879-1904 [closed]
    Descendants of Benjamin D. Tripp [chart]
    Thaxter Spencer Papers - currently consists of 3 mourning pieces, 6 portrait miniatures and 2 daguerreotypes. Additional material expected [closed]
    Bible record for the Thomas Tabor family, 1752-1909 [Mss A 3510]
    Some Descendants of John Millard and Elizabeth (--) and Elizabeth (--) [Mss A 3399]
    Bible record for the Judson Webb family, 1799-1903 [Mss A 3509]


    NEHGS Lecture Videos Now Available Through the Circulating Library Six videos of lectures produced by NEHGS and presented by staff researchers and librarians are now available for loan to NEHGS members via the circulating library.

    Henry Hoff, editor of the Register , is featured in two of the films. The first is Genealogical Writing: Style Guidelines and Practical Advice (CS16/H62/2003). This video will guide you through the different choices you face when producing your genealogical work for publication.

    Henry returns in Upstate New York Research (F118/H66/2003) to discuss migration of New Englanders to this area following the Revolutionary War. He guides you to the available resources to conduct research on these pioneers and provides tips on how you can identify your ancestors.

    NEHGS senior research librarian David Dearborn, FASG, presents an array of research options to help you find your female ancestors in Finding A Wife’s Maiden Name (CS14/D433/2002). His wealth of experience will help you to focus in on those long lost relatives.

    Marie Daly, co-founder of the Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) and director of NEHGS library services guides you through the steps of tracing your Irish roots from the present back to Ireland in Getting Started in Irish Genealogy (CS483/D347/2003).

    Researching Your Union Civil War Ancestor, (CS65/L36/2003) by NEHGS microtext manager David Lambert, will help you find clues from family stories and heirlooms, reveal where you can find resources, and show you how to use them. Vital, cemetery, probate, and land records that may help you find the elusive ancestor are also discussed.

    Jewish Genealogy: A Common Sense Approach to Finding Your Ancestors (CS21/W66/2003) guides you through the basics of conducting Jewish research and spotlights a number of useful websites. Hosting the video is Circulating Library director Alexander Woodle, who discovered the two most important clues to the location of his family's ancestral village at NEHGS. 

    Visit our Lectures on Tape video page at for more information on these titles.

    As always, if you have any questions about using the Circulating Library, please call, toll-free, 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 borrow books online, please visit

    Website: Northeast Historic Film

    Northeast Historic Film (NHF), located in the Alamo Theatre, in Bucksport, Maine, is a non-profit organization founded in 1986. Its mission is "to collect, preserve, and make available to the public, film and videotape of interest to the people of northern New England." NHF is not only an archive; it is also a functioning theater, which presents all types of films, and a study center. It is a membership organization with a free video lending library service for its members.

    The focus of the Northeast Historic Film collections is primarily regional film and videotape from Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont. The holdings include TV collections, industrial films, silent dramas, home movies, and independent works. In addition to "moving images," the NHF collections also include photographs and notes, which can provide a context for the donated films; postcards of cinemas; business records; scrapbooks; letters; silent movie sheet music; and the machines required to play older media.

    The website is quite simple to navigate. To start your exploration of the three hundred collections in the archive, you should go to the Online Collections Guide page. There you will find three search or browse options. You can use the quick search feature, which appears at the top of the Online Collections Guide page; the Advanced Search feature; or you can browse the Collections Index.

    There is a link from the Online Collections Guide page to the Advanced Search feature. By using this feature you can search the collections by date, location, genre, medium (audio, film and video), sound, color, and even primary film format. Genres in the collections include advertising political campaigns, oral history, news and newsreels, and many more. You can also run a full-text search from this page.

    The Collections Index consists of lists organized by subject heading, collection name, or date. Subjects include African Americans, French Americans, ice industry, boats, family, and strikes and lockouts, to name a few. Clicking on a collection name in the index will bring you to a page with a complete description of that collection. The description includes creator, date, medium, a summary, biographical/historical information, genre, locations, subjects, people depicted, and corporate names related to the particular collection.

    In addition to its Online Collections Guide, the website offers several online exhibits and selected articles from their publication, The Moving Image Review, as well as information about the organization's educational resources, membership, and its new three-story Conservation Center. If you live nearby or plan to visit the Bucksport, Maine, area, you should explore the site thoroughly to discover what research and educational resources Northeast Historic Film offers at its Study Center. Perhaps someone in your family has donated home movie footage to Northeast Historic Film. You can check out what's in the collections on the NHF website at


    NEHGS Event: Irish Genealogical Seminar
    May 8, 2004, at the John Hancock Conference Center in Boston

    This one-day seminar will focus on Irish research methods and resources, many of which may be found at the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

    Speakers will include Irish experts Eileen and Sean O’Duill from Dublin; the Society’s library director and Irish research scholar Marie E. Daly; NEHGS assistant executive director for technology Dick Eastman; and George Handran, JD, CG. This seminar is cosponsored by The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA).

    The following lectures are to be given at the seminar:

    * Progress Report on Developments in Genealogy in Ireland - Eileen M. O’Duill, CGRS, CGL

    * Getting Started on Your Irish Genealogy - Marie E. Daly

    * Griffith’s Valuation of Ireland: Accessing and Using the Resources Effectively - George Handran, JD, CG

    * Dublin: 30 June 1922: Did Everything Blow Up? - Eileen M. O’Duill, CGRS, CGL

    * Irish Resources on the Internet - Dick Eastman

    * Matchmaking and Marriage Customs in 19th-Century Ireland - Sean S. O’Duill, BA, HDip

    For more information on this seminar or to download a registration form, please visit, email, or phone toll-free 888-286-3447.

    New! You can now download a pdf of the NEHGS Events Calendar for your printing pleasure by clicking this link - Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library

    The 2004 "Genealogy in a Nutshell" series continues with:

    * "Genealogical Resources at the Boston Public Library" by Henry Scannell on Wednesday, March 31

    * "Internet Genealogy" by Dick Eastman on Wednesday, April 7 and Saturday, April 10

    * "Founders and Patriots: Researching Notable Early Americans" by Gary Boyd Roberts on Wednesday, April 14 and Saturday, April 17

    All lectures take place at 10 a.m at the NEHGS Library in Boston. Advance registration is not necessary.

    New! You can now download a pdf of the NEHGS Events Calendar for your printing pleasure by clicking this link -

    For more details about NEHGS education events, please visit < main A>. 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.

    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 Rod Moody at Thank you to all past and future contributors!

    We have run out of favorite ancestor and black sheep stories! Please send your story today!

    NEHGS Contact Information We strongly encourage you to email this newsletter to others who might be interested. To subscribe or view back issues of eNews, please visit

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

    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 Rod Moody at

New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

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