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  • 2004 Archive

  • Vol. 6, No. 14
    Whole #160
    April 2, 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
    *Research Article from the NEHGS NEXUS Archive
    * NEHGS Research Library Resumes Regular Hours
    * New Arrivals at the Library Listed on
    * Download the April NEHGS Events Calendar
    * Getting Started in Genealogy Program
    * New Acquisitions in the Circulating Library
    * NEHGS and Family Associations
    * NEHGS Event: Come Home to New England #1
    *Events at the National Archives in Waltham, Massachusetts
    * Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    * Favorite - and Black Sheep - Ancestor Feedback
    * NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Members of the Artillery Company of Newport, Rhode Island

    This database contains the names of commanders and members of the Artillery Company of Newport, Rhode Island from 1741 to 1854. Also available on individual pages (but not part of the searchable database) are the Charter and By-Laws of the company and a description of its uniform. The original text was published in 1857.

    The Artillery Company of the Town of Newport was chartered by the Royal Governor of King George II in 1741. In 1757 one quarter of the company was called to serve the British in the French and Indian Wars. In 1775 the company elected John Malbone as its captain, and the following year he surrendered Newport to the British. This led to half of the company leaving to join Patriot forces in Tiverton with the remainder electing to serve as Loyalists to the King.

    In addition to the service mentioned above, the company also participated in the War of 1812, at the First Battle of Bull Run during the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War. According to its website, today the company is a "ceremonial unit of the Rhode Island Militia, Council of Historic Military Commands. As such, the company provides cannon salutes, color guards, and honor guards for official state and local ceremonies, as well as for privately sponsored patriotic and veterans' events."

    The original text is available to NEHGS members at the R. Stanton Avery Collections room at the NEHGS Library.

    Search Members of the Artillery Company of Newport, Rhode Island, at

    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 family sketches were added to the database this week:

    Bookout (Boeckhout/Buckhout), Booth, Bowdish/Bowdy. Bowerman, Bowles, Brackett, Bradley, Bradshaw, Bramen, Brayton, and Brevoort.

    View new family sketches from The Settlers of the Beekman Patent at

    Search the database and read introductory matter at

    The original text can be viewed at the NEHGS Library or borrowed by NEHGS members via the Circulating Library. The call number is F127/D8/D63.


    Vital Records of Dighton, Massachusetts

    This data was transcribed from Book 2 of the original town records by Elizabeth J. MacCormick and Edith W. Shaw in 1940. The records include births, marriages, and deaths from 1730 to 1868.

    The original manuscript is part of the R. Stanton Avery Collections. It can be viewed by NEHGS members at the our research library in Boston. The call number is MSS MS DIG 10A.

    Search Vital Records of Dighton, Massachusetts, at

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    This week we have added transcriptions of several cemeteries in Dighton, Bristol County, Massachusetts. The cemeteries are as follows:

    Briggs and Trafton Cemetery
    Center Street Cemetery
    Gooding Cemetery
    Old cemetery at site of First Church
    Jones Cemetery
    Manchester Cemetery
    Phillips and Simmons Cemetery
    Ware and Church Cemetery

    The original transcription is part of the R. Stanton Avery Collections. NEHGS members may view it at our research library in Boston. The call number is MSS MS 70 DIG 3.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    Records of the Second Church of Christ, Kingston, New Hampshire

    The Second Church of Christ in Kingston was organized in 1739. These transcriptions of the original church records include baptisms, marriages, admissions, dismissions, and "owning the covenant" statements from 1739 to 1777. The transcription was compiled under the direction of the New Hampshire Historical Society and Mrs. James J. Gilligan donated the volume to NEHGS in 1931.

    The original text is available to NEHGS members at the R. Stanton Avery Collections room at the NEHGS Library, call number MSS NH KIN 30.

    Search Records of the Second Church of Christ, Kingston, New Hampshire, at





    Research Article From the NEHGS NEXUS Archive

    Maritime Records: An Overlooked Source for the Genealogist
    By Dr. Russell F. Shaw, CG

    This article was originally published in NEHGS NEXUS, Vol. 4, No. 5 (1987)


    When one of your ancestors is found to be a seafaring man, the ordinary records are usually of little help in giving any details of his life. Rarely did he own property on land, he often married in some distant port far from his usual place of residence, and he might even have died at sea - all circumstances that serve to frustrate the genealogical researcher.

    Maritime records often help in identifying the life events of the ordinary seaman, although such documents are little known, and consequently little used by the average researcher. The maritime records that I have found useful fall into six categories: custom house records, State Department records, Admiralty Court records, whaling records, privateering records, and records dealing with the African Slave Trade.

    The full article is available to NEHGS members at

    NEHGS Research Library Resumes Regular Hours

    The NEHGS Research Library resumed regular operating hours on April 1. The library will now be open until 9 p.m. on both Wednesday and Thursday evenings. The library hours are as follows:

    Monday - closed
    Tuesday - 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Wednesday - 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
    Thursday - 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
    Friday - 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Saturday - 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Sunday - Noon - 5 p.m.

    Please note that the library will be closed on Easter Sunday, April 11, and on Sunday, April 25, for an administrative meeting.

    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 and click on "March 2004." Here are some of this month's titles:

    * Ancestors and descendants of Harvey Towner and Caroline (Waterman) Cole of Williamstown, MA, 1810-1881.
    * Mordecai: an early American family.
    * The same great struggle: the history of the Vickery family of Unity, Maine, 1634-1997.
    * Joseph Williams: son of Roger & Mary (Barnard) Williams and his descendants for four generations.
    * King's daughters and founding mothers: the Filles du roi, 1663-1673.
    * Spelling variations in German names: solving family history problems through applications of German and English phonetics.
    * John O'Donovan's letters from County Fermanagh (1834).
    * Ships from Scotland to North America, 1830-1860.
    * Slaves, sailors, citizens: African Americans in the Union navy.
    * Landscape and material life in Franklin County, Massachusetts, 1770-1860.
    * In the pilgrim way: the First Congregational Church, Marshfield, Massachusetts, 1640-2000.
    * DAR patriot index [2003].

    Download the April NEHGS Events Calendar

    Did you know that you can now download and print the NEHGS Events Calendar for the current month from You no longer have to "mark the date" of Genealogy in Nutshell lectures, NEHGS seminars and events, Introduction lectures, and library closings - we have done the work for you!

    The calendar is in pdf format and you must have Adobe Reader on your computer to access it. You may download Adobe Reader for free at Once it is installed, you may download the calendar by clicking the following link:

    A new calendar will be available to download every month on the main Education page of the website at .


    Getting Started in Genealogy Program

    Wednesday, April 7, 12 noon and 6 p.m.

    NEHGS invites you to attend its free Getting Started in Genealogy program, a quick course designed to introduce beginners to the main principles of genealogical research. This informative program also includes a tour of the NEHGS Research Library.

    "Getting Started" is an hour-long class, offered on the first Wednesday of every month, at noon and 6 p.m. in the Richardson-Sloane Education Center at NEHGS in Boston.

    For more information, please call 888-296-3447 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday.

    New Acquisitions in the Circulating Library

    Register of the Foreign Protestants of Nova Scotia(ca. 1749-1770) Call number F1038/B453/2003/V#.

    This monumental work of the late Winthrop Pickard Bell was finally published last year. Dr. Bell had meticulously collected and collated eighteenth century civil, church, and other types of records on seven hundred families. While he did not live to see his research published, advocates of his work persisted in making it available. The compilers opted to use scanned images of Dr. Bell's original work for these volumes, rather than transcribing his papers.

    "Bell's Register," covering nearly two thousand individuals, consists of five sections: families whose ship from Europe is identified; passengers whose ship from Europe is unknown; passengers who subsequently do not show up in Nova Scotian records; names taken from a miscellaneous collection of Bell's research papers; and names appearing in 1749 passenger lists. The book also contains a brief history of the foreign settlement of Protestant planters in Nova Scotia; origins of Dr. Bell's sources; and a series of maps depicting origins of emigrants.

    The Genealogy of John Taylor of Hebron, Connecticut, by Jeannette M. Taylor Childs. CS71/T24/2002.

    The author has laid out the genealogy of this Connecticut lineage of Taylors from the 1700s to the present. The book is filled with family charts and copies of relevant documents including deeds, wills, bible records, and miscellaneous papers. References and a complete name index are included.

    Vital Records of Effingham and Freedom, NH 1888-2001 by Richard P. Roberts. F44/E2/R63/2003.

    These birth, marriage, and death records were compiled from town annual reports for Effingham and Freedom, New Hampshire. The data for births often include the number and names of other children in the family; father's place of birth and occupation; and mother's maiden name and place of birth. Marriage records generally have the names of bride and groom, their residences, ages, parents' names, occupations, and place of birth. The death records also include similar information as that mentioned above with the addition of cause of death, date of death, and age at death. In all cases, the older records are richer in data than the newer records.

    Blackledges in America: A Genealogy of Blackledge/Blacklidge Descendants with Roots in the United States of America by Mary Ann Ryza, David William and Michael Allan Blackledge. CS71/B6374/2002.

    Three Blackledge family descendants scattered across the country spent six years compiling this 953-page genealogy. The journey begins in fifteenth-century England and proceeds to the present generation. After a detailed discussion of the origins of the name, the focus turns to the descendants of the immigrant, who arrived in America in 1620. The coverage continues up to present Blackledge and Blacklidge families in forty-six states. Sources are all numbered and listed separately by chapter in the appendices. A complete alphabetical index of the Blackledge/Blacklidge and collateral families is included.

    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

    NEHGS and Family Associations

    The Bolles Family Association

    The Bolles Family Association was organized in 1977 in New London, Connecticut. It is an organization of the descendants of Joseph Bolles of Wells, Maine, who arrived in America circa 1635-40. The association lists forty different spelling variations of the surname on its website.

    A search of the NEHGS online databases under the spelling of the surname of the immigrant, Joseph Bolles, found more than eighteen hundred hits including over one hundred in the Register, nearly five hundred in Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850, and over one hundred fifty in Connecticut land records.

    Similarly, a search of the NEHGS library catalog resulted in locating two items in the NEHGS manuscript collections, one in Rare Books, two Circulating Library books available for loan, and three titles relating to Bolles in the Research Library stacks at 101 Newbury Street. Four of the items found at NEHGS are listed on the Bolles Family Association website under “Publications related to the Bolles Family Association.” These are volumes I and II of A Genealogy of the Descendants of Joseph Bolles of Wells, Maine, by George E. Williams (1970); Genealogy of the Bolles Family in America by John A. Bolles (1865); and A Topographical Account of the Parish of Scrampton in the County of Lincoln and of the Roman Antiquities lately discovered there; together with anecdotes of the family of Bolle, by Reverend Cayley Illingworth (1808 & 1810). All four of these books are out of print. With these volumes in its library, NEHGS has difficult-to-find resources readily available to anyone researching the Bolles family.

    The coat of arms of Joseph Bolles of Wells, Maine, was recorded and illustrated in part one of the "Roll of Arms" published by the NEHGS Committee on Heraldry in 1928. The first Roll of Arms, comprising seventy-two coats registered by the Committee, appeared in the Register of April 1928 (vol. 82, pages 146-148).

    To find out more about the history of the Bolles family, the Bolles Family Coat of Arms, the upcoming reunion (August 6-8, 2004, at Colorado Springs, Colorado), and more, visit the Bolles Family Association website at

    NEHGS Event: Come Home to New England #1
    June 13-20, 2004, at the NEHGS Library

    NEHGS invites you to participate in our classic intensive weeklong program "Come Home to New England." Research your roots with our help at the extensive NEHGS Library, one of the finest facilities for genealogical research in the country. Enjoy a week of guided research in our library, personal one-on-one research consultations, morning lectures, special access to the library when it is normally closed to the public, and a tour of NEHGS. This year's Come Homers can also choose to take part in an optional tour and lecture at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

    Since 1845 the NEHGS library has collected a vast number of compiled genealogies, local histories, census records, vital records, deeds, probates, and military records. The library has the latest in print, microtext, CD-ROM, and Internet resources. NEHGS also provides a highly trained research staff of professional librarians, who are eager to help you in your genealogical endeavors. For New England research from earliest colonial times to the twenty-first century, the library offers "one-stop shopping." Many resources are also available for New York, the mid-Atlantic, the South, the Midwest, Atlantic and French Canada, and elsewhere. England, Scotland, Ireland, and Germany are also strongly represented. The library collection is further strengthened by our unique manuscript collection and extensive CD-ROM holdings. Helpful reference librarians serve all four library floors.

    Lectures will include:

    * Library Orientation/Newly Acquired Resources
    * Researching on
    * New Discoveries in Royal Descents, Mayflower Ancestry, and Notable Kin
    * Using New England Town Records
    * Investigating Cemetery Resources at NEHGS
    * Genealogical Research in Vermont


    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 -


    Events at the National Archives in Waltham, Massachusetts

    Genealogical Workshops—Spring 2004 

    The National Archives-Northeast Region is offering free genealogical workshops starting on Tuesday, April 6. These are beginner level workshops that will provide participants not only with the information they need to know in order to locate records but also with what one might expect to find in the various types of records. The workshops will be offered at the Regional Archives building, located at 380 Trapelo Road in Waltham, Massachusetts. The workshop schedule is as follows:

    * Tuesday, April 6, 1:30 p.m. - Census, 1790 - 1930
    * Wednesday, April 14, 2:00 p.m. - Genealogical Roundtable: Open Forum for Genealogical Quandaries
    * Thursday, April 22, 6:30 p.m. - Passenger Lists and Canadian Border Crossings
    * Tuesday, May 4, 1:30 p.m. - Census, Naturalization, & Passenger Lists
    * Thursday, May 13, 6:30 p.m. - Census, Naturalization, & Passenger Lists
    * Wednesday, May 19, 2:00 p.m. - Genealogical Roundtable: Open Forum for Genealogical Quandaries
    * Tuesday, June 1, 1:30 p.m. - Beyond the Census: Local History Resources in Federal Records
    * Wednesday, June 9, 2:00 p.m. - Genealogical Roundtable: Open Forum for Genealogical Quandaries
    * Thursday, June 17, 6:30 p.m. - Military Pension Files (Revolutionary War and Later Files)

    Please note that “behind the scenes” tours of the archives will be given prior to the workshops on April 6, May 4, and June 1 at 1:30 p.m.

    Space for each workshop is limited to twenty participants. There is no fee. Call 866-406-2379 to register and for more details.

    Patriot’s Day Open House

    Looking for something different to do on Patriot’s Day? Why not join the staff of the National Archives-Northeast Region at an Open House! The Open House will take place Monday April 19, 2004, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, at the National Archives facility at 380 Trapelo Road in Waltham, Massachusetts.

    National Archives staff will offer presentations about the resources available to the public and the work that the staff does. In addition, they will give a “behind the scenes” tour of their archival collection and the Record Center operation.

    The Patriot’s Day Open House will consist of two sessions. The first will run from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and the second from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Space is limited to forty participants for each session. Please call 781-663-0130 to register. This program is open to all.

    Visit the NARA website at for more information about the Waltham facility and its holdings.

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


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

    * "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

    * "Cosmology to Cordage: A Synopsis of the Collections of the New Bedford Whaling Museum Library" by Michael Dyer on Wednesday, April 21

    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 . 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!

    My Favorite Ancestor

    by Barbara May Honea of Amarillo, Texas

    My favorite ancestor is my most elusive great grandmother Orpha May (1807-1895). My father, George E. May, said she was very fair, had silvery blond hair, smoked a corn cob pipe, and was from the mountains of Tennessee.

    Our first record of Orpha is a land record in the town clerk's office of Bristol, Addison County, Vermont, dated October 7, 1845. Her name is given as Orpha May, wife of Lewis E. May on a quit claim deed transferring land to their son George Guy May.

    The Braley Genealogy - the Descendants of Roger Braley 1696-1913, by George L. Randall, has her maiden name as Cummings. When Lewis and Orpha's son Jerome married he gave his mother's maiden name as Orpha Davis (Vermont Vital Records, Oct. 9, 1870). When their son Horace married, he gave her name as Orpha Alger (Vermont Vital Records, Jan. 9, 1873). Vermont Census Records for 1850, 1860, and 1880 show her place of birth was Vermont and both her mother and father as born in Connecticut. We have not been able to find a Cummings, Davis, or Alger who had a daughter Orpha.

    Who was Orpha and why does she have three maiden names on record? No marriage record has been found for Lewis and Orpha, but they are buried together in the Old Mountain View Cemetery, Essex Center, Vermont. Where did Orpha and Lewis come from? Where did they live before the land record in 1845? Where did they meet and get married? There is no record of a Lewis E. May in the genealogy books about the colonial immigrant John May. From what we know about him, he could very well have been the black sheep of the family, or he might have changed or shortened his name when he went to Vermont, but Orpha is our mysterious lady with a strange accent that caught the imagination of her grandson, our father. They seem to have just appeared in Vermont out of nowhere, left numerous progeny and passed on out of this world.


    NEHGS Contact Information

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    If you have questions, comments, or suggestions about the enewsletter, please contact Rod Moody at

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