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  • 2004 Archive

  • Vol. 6, No. 19
    Whole #165
    May 7, 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
    * Volume VIII of Best of NEHGS Nexus Now on
    * Circulating Library News
    * New Arrivals at the Library Listed on
    * Website: The David Rumsey Map Collection
    * NEHGS Event: Electronic and Online Genealogical Resources
    * Careers at NEHGS
    * NEHGS Member Authors Book on Nathaniel Hawthorne
    * Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    * An Introduction to at the NEHGS Library
    * Felton Family Reunion Announcement
    * Favorite - and Black Sheep - Ancestor Feedback
    * NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on


    Early Settlers of West Simsbury [Now Canton], Connecticut

    The "Society" of West Simsbury was formed in 1780 after a series of court-ordered annexations prompted by years of disputes about the location of the Simsbury meeting house. The town of Canton was incorporated in 1806 and proceeded to become a thriving center of industry in the nineteenth century.

    This volume, compiled by Abiel Brown in 1856, contains sketches of about 185 families of West Simsbury. They were compiled from an examination of monuments and burial records in the town of Canton, of monuments and probate records in the town of Simsbury, and items collected from the nearby town of Windsor and Plymouth, Massachusetts. We must not omit the last source, as modestly described in the books introduction: "Besides these and similar sources of information the author was indebted to the storehouse of his own memory, by the strength and tenacity of which, he, above all was the man fitted for such an undertaking."

    This original text is part of the NEHGS Rare Books Collection, call number F 104 C2 B8.



    Search Early Settlers of West Simsbury [Now Canton], Connecticut 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:

    Brewster, Briggs, Brill, Brittain, Brockaway, Brooks, and Brouwer

    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.

    Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910
    Added this week:
    Indexes: 1855 to 1860
    Records: 1848 to 1849 births (partial), marriages (partial), and deaths.

    The latest installment in this ongoing database includes the indexes to all Massachusetts birth, death, and marriage records from 1855 to 1860 and partial records from 1848 and 1849. The indexes include name of individual, town or village of event, year of event, and volume and page number of the original record.

    Readers may notice that there is a gap of five years between the year of the last records posted and this installment. We are currently experiencing production difficulties with records between 1843 to 1847, and we will add them to the database as soon as possible. Additionally, not all records are present in this weeks installment: missing are volumes 35 (births from 1848 to 1849 in Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, and Middlesex counties) and 38 (marriages from 1848 to 1849 in Middlesex, Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester counties). They will be also be added at a later date. We have created a chart that tracks which records are available and which are forthcoming at

    For detailed information about this database, please refer to "Introduction to the Massachusetts Vital Records 1841-1910 Database" page found at This contains information that will contribute greatly to the success of your searches and will also answer questions that you may have about these records and our database. If you have questions that our article does not address, or if you are having difficulty with this database, please email

    Search Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910 at


    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    This week we have added the transcriptions of the following cemeteries in five towns of Franklin County, Maine

    Chesterville: Borough Cemetery, Chesterville Center Cemetery, Chesterville Hill Cemetery, Valley Mound Cemetery, Norcross Cemetery, Soper Cemetery, and Webster Cemetery

    Jay: Jay Cemetery On Route 133, Jay Cemetery (Five Miles From Beans Corner), Jay Hill Cemetery, and North Jay Cemetery

    New Vineyard: Taylor Hill Cemetery

    Strong: Strong Town Cemetery

    Weld: Center Hill Cemetery, Masterman Cemetery, Mountain View Cemetery, and Robertson Cemetery


    Source: "Cemeteries of Franklin County, Maine, Volume V," unpublished typescript, Dorothy Wirth, 1960. Call number MSS ME 84 15.


    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    Church Records of Greenfield, Massachusetts

    These records of the Second Congregational Church, the St. James Episcopal Church, and the Methodist Episcopal Church were transcribed as part of a larger effort to collect various records of Greenfield. The original handwritten manuscript also includes transcriptions of cemeteries, probate records, and Bible records, all of which will be added to our databases in the future. The manuscript was donated to NEHGS in 1915 by the Robert Henry Eddy Town Record Fund. The compiler is unknown.

    The original text is part of the R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, call number MSS MS 70 GRE 31.



    Search Church Records of Greenfield, Massachusetts, at



    New Research Article on

    Rhode Island in the War of 1812

    by Maureen A. Taylor

    In the early nineteenth century, trade issues caused tension between the United States and Great Britain. Basically, the United States wanted the right to trade with all nations, even during wartime. Specifically, they wanted to continue trade with France during the French Revolutionary Wars, which began in 1792. President Thomas Jefferson hoped to assert our right to trade by passing a series of Embargo Acts stopping foreign trade. These actions adversely affected the livelihood of Rhode Islands shipping industry.


    The full article is available at

    Volume VIII of Best of NEHGS Nexus Now on

    From 1983 to 1999, the NEHGS Nexus newsletter presented a variety of research articles from genealogists and staff librarians, as well as Society events, genealogy news, queries, and reviews. We continue to add selected articles from past issues to our website on a regular basis. This week we have added selected articles from the six issues that comprise Volume VIII, published in 1991.

    In this volume...

    * Articles describing NEHGS sources relating to New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, the Northwest Territory, the Great Plains, Upper Midwest, and Border States, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee.

    * Gary Boyd Roberts on "Notable Kin" of the Princess of Wales, and suprising connections involving Charles Darwin and Mrs. Karl Marx.

    * John Anderson Brayton on "The Ancestry of Thomas Lanier 'Tennessee' Williams," and the kinship between Jimmy Carter, Jesse Helms, and Elvis Presley, in "A Foray into the Piedmont 'Non-Plantation South'"

    * Richard Pierce's "The Fitzgerald Ancestry of President John F. Kennedy"

    * David Dearborn's search for his "Mill English" ancestors, "The Meadowcrofts of Lancashire"

    * David L. Mishkin offers "Some Hints for Preserving Family Photographs"

    ...and much more!

    Read the Nexus at


    Circulating Library News

    In last week's eNews we introduced the new "All Expenses Paid" ordering option for the Circulating Library. This week we have added two downloadable Circulating Library order forms to the website (our traditional order form and a form for the new option, in pdf format). Just download the form, print it out, fill in your choices, and mail your order to us (Circulating Library, NEHGS, P.O. Box 5089, 1 Watson Place, Bldg 4, Framingham, MA 01701). Or, you can fax your order to 508-788-9500.

    Please note that you must have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer to download the order forms. A free version of this software is available at their website,

    You may download both Circulating Library forms from

    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

    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 complete list, go to and click on "April 2004." Here are some of this month's titles:

    * Grenham's Irish surnames [electronic resource]
    *Domesday people: a prosopography of persons occurring in English documents, 1066-1166
    *Humphrey Chetham 1580-1653: fortune, politics and mercantile culture in seventeenth-century England
    *Somerset wills
    *The Lucys of Charlecote: the invention of a Warwickshire family, 1170-1302
    *Index to Ordnance survey memoirs of Ireland series: people and places
    *Belfast merchant families in the seventeenth century
    *Russians to America, 1850-1896 [electronic resource]: passengers and immigration lists
    *Genealogical resources in New York
    *St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Parish and the early people of Carbonear, Newfoundland

    Website: The David Rumsey Map Collection

    The David Rumsey Map Collection website ( brings over ten thousand maps to your desktop at no charge. The collection's focus is on rare eighteenth- and nineteenth-century maps of North and South America. David Rumsey started his map collection about twenty years ago. The collection includes antique atlases, globes, maritime charts, state, county, city, pocket, wall, children's, and manuscript maps. Digitization began in 1997 and the website was launched in March 2000.

    Digitization has increased the accessibility of the collection as the maps differ greatly in size, format, and medium. The online catalog allows the viewer to search the map collection in a variety of ways. Complete cataloging data exists for each image in the collection, which allows for in-depth searching.

    There are links to a number of resources from the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection home page. Clicking on the News link on the left menu will bring you to an in-depth article on the development of the collection and its transformation into the website. Titled "Tales from the Vault: Historical Maps Online," the article was originally published in Common-place magazine. Another link takes you to 360-degree panoramic images of the physical map collection, which is housed in San Francisco, California.

    The collection is available in a variety of formats. You can choose the viewer best suited to your needs by clicking on the "view the collection" link. There you will find a description of each viewer and its system requirements. Your may access a viewer by clicking on the link. The viewers range from a simplified browser-based viewer to feature rich viewers. You will find a link to "viewer help" on the collection search page to assist you with using the viewer you have selected.

    Clicking on your viewer choice will bring you to the collection’s search page. You can search the images by county, state/province, publication author, data field, and keyword. Clicking on "data field" will bring up a complete list of thirty-four search categories, which include those mentioned above plus items such as publication date, engraver or printer, world area, subject, even object height and width in centimeters. Clicking on the data tab in the menu on the left side of the page and then selecting an image will bring up the image’s file data in the smaller window. If you scroll to the end, you will find a link that will enable you to download the map using the MrSid Image Viewer.

    New England is well represented in the collection. A search by "state/province" for New Hampshire brought up forty images dating from 1795 to 1879. There are also ninety-seven images of Vermont, about forty images of Maine, nearly fifty of Massachusetts, twenty of Rhode Island, and over thirty of Connecticut. Not all of these images are maps; sketches of buildings and landmarks, as well as other images originally included in the atlases were scanned for the collection.

    To enlarge a map, click on the thumbnail image. Using the tools that appear in the new window, you can not only navigate the map but also print it. If you want to make a comparison between two maps, just double click on the second map and a new window will open next to the first.

    It is easy to lose track of time when exploring the David Rumsey Map Collection website. It has so much to offer.

    View the collection at


    NEHGS Event: Electronic and Online Genealogical Resources
    Saturday, June 26, at the Bill Bordy Auditorium at Emerson College in Boston

    Are you taking full advantage of the vast range of resources available in cyberspace? Are you using these electronic resources wisely? With so many choices, which ones can you trust? And what new developments are ahead for genealogists in the constantly-evolving field of technology? These questions and many more will be answered at the NEHGS Electronic and Online Genealogical Resources seminar, to be held Saturday, June 26, at the Bill Bordy Auditorium at Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts.

    Four of the most "tech-savvy" members of the NEHGS staff will be on hand to show you how to build an effective genealogy toolkit for electronic research. Topics and speakers for the seminar are as follows:

    Finding Old Cemeteries Using Today's Technology
    Dick Eastman, NEHGS assistant executive director for technology, author of Eastmans Online Genealogy Newsletter

    Learn how to use Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and the U.S. Government's Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) database to locate hidden, overgrown, and abandoned cemeteries. The once-expensive GPS receiver can now be purchased for as little as $100. Find a cemetery in the GNIS database, plug in its latitude and longitude coordinates into the GPS receiver, and it will lead you to within fifty feet of the cemetery! Find out how to use these tools to also locate grave locations, ancestral homesteads, and more.

    Tips for Searching NEHGS CD-ROMs
    Michael J. Leclerc, NEHGS director of electronic publications

    CD-ROMs are a popular format for publishing genealogical material, and provide greater access to materials that have never before been indexed. Learn how to use the powerful search engine included on all NEHGS CD-ROMs to find extensive amounts of information previously hidden in unindexed records. See how a few simple search techniques can increase your search results dramatically!

    Researching on
    Michael J. Leclerc, NEHGS director of electronic publications has grown to include over nearly eighty million names in over eighteen hundred databases. Discover the depth of material available on this genealogy megasite. With a site this extensive, it is easy to concentrate on the most popular feature - databases - and overlook the many other valuable resources available elsewhere in the site. All will be revealed in this informative lecture!

    Researching Your Ancestors on the Internet
    Laura G. Prescott, NEHGS membership campaign director

    The Internet has changed genealogy in three important ways: by providing access to large quantities of data; by directly connecting researchers with one another; and by allowing the quick and easy exchange of information. Learn how to efficiently locate data, images, records, and other important resources on both fee and free websites, and how to judge the quality and reliability of the information you find.

    Researching Online: U.S. and Canadian Military Records on the Internet
    David Allen Lambert, NEHGS microtext and technology library manager

    This lecture will have a dual focus for the attendee. You will be introduced to the best websites for U.S. and Canadian military records and you will gain a working knowledge of the best strategies for searching these records on the Internet. Knowledge of your ancestor's military service and military unit history can add a very rewarding chapter to their overall life story. Learn how to add this new layer of genealogical knowledge with the aide of the Internet.

    The Bill Bordy Auditorium is located at 216 Tremont Street, across the street from the Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts. It is easy to reach by car (with parking garages nearby), subway, or train. Register now to attend this very special event!


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



    Careers at NEHGS

    NEHGS is currently seeking to fill the position of Executive Assistant. This position is based in Boston, at our Research Library. For more information about this position please visit our careers page at

    NEHGS Member Authors Book on Nathaniel Hawthorne

    In November of 2003, NEHGS member and associate professor of literature at Pennsylvania State University Richard Kopley published The Threads of The Scarlet Letter: A Study of Hawthorne's Transformative Art. In the third chapter of this scholarly work of literary criticism, Kopley demonstrates Hawthorne's reliance on an 1842 novel by Ebenezer Wheelwright, The Salem Belle, to augment his discussion about the Salem witchcraft frenzy. Kopley credited NEHGS as being instrumental in his research for that chapter, saying, "... I had a great experience at the NEHGS finding critical manuscript material for the third chapter of my recent Hawthorne book. The staff was very helpful, and I would encourage scholars to make use of the excellent collection of the library."

    The Threads of the Scarlet Letter: A Study of Hawthorne's Transformative Art, by Richard Kopley, Ph.D., (Newark, DE, University of Delaware Press, 2003) is priced at $39.50 plus shipping and handling, and is available through Associated University Presses, 2010 Eastpark Boulevard, Cranbury, New Jersey, 08512. Tel.: 609-655-4770; Fax: 609-655-8366; email:; website:

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


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

    * "New England Colonial Wars Research" by David A. Lambert on Wednesday, May 12 and Saturday, May 15

    * "Scots for Sale: The Fate of the Scottish War Prisoners in Seventeenth-Century New England" by Diane Rapaport on Wednesday, May 19 and Saturday, May 22

    * "Central Massachusetts Research in the Corbin Collection" by Robert Dunkle on Wednesday, May 26

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

    Download a pdf of the May NEHGS Events Calendar 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.

    An Introduction to at the NEHGS Library

    May 12, 11:30 a.m.

    Learn how to use the NEHGS website to advance your research! In this free class, NEHGS content delivery specialist Darrin McGlinn will offer a step-by-step live demonstration of the Society's website, This class gives participants the opportunity to explore the site in depth, ask questions, and become more comfortable using a constantly growing number of online databases and research tools.

    This program will be held on Wednesday, May 12, at 11:30 a.m. in the education center at 101 Newbury Street, Boston. Advance registration is not required.

    For more information, please call 617-226-1209 or email

    Felton Family Reunion Announcement

    Cora Felton Anderson, historian of the Felton Family Association, sent along the following notice of the 2004 Felton Family Reunion:

    "We will begin to gather at 10:30 a.m. on the 8th of July, at the old homes of our ancestor, Nathaniel Felton Sr., who came to the colony in 1633, from Great Yarmouth, England, with his uncle, Benjamin Felton. The reunion is open to all Felton descendants who are interested in the history of our ancestors and wish to learn more about the family. We are dedicated to preserving our common history and encourage all descendants to share what they can.

    "The two houses are located at 43 Felton St., in Peabody, Massachusetts, or, as it is commonly called, "Brooksby Farms." The reunion will be held on the 8th and 9th of July. There will be discussions about our history, which goes back to the 1200s in England, when the name Felton was given to a second son as his inheritance. We will also be collecting data for a new book about the history of the Feltons.

    "There are no registration requirements, but we do ask that you let us know if you can join us so that we may estimate the amount of food and refreshments needed for the two days."

    For information about the scheduling of events, please contact:

    Cora Felton Anderson
    7791 Macleay Rd.
    Salem, Oregon, 97301
    Phone: 503-370-9028

    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 are quickly running out of favorite and black sheep ancestor stories! Please send your submission today and share your story with the readers of eNews and New England Ancestors magazine!

    "The Marrying Squire of Aberdeen, Ohio"

    by Doug Atherton of Oceanside, California

    My favorite ancestor is Thomas Shelton, the Marrying Squire of Aberdeen, Ohio. He was responsible for marrying ten to fifteen thousand couples over forty-one years. Shortly after his appointment in 1822, he determined that marrying couples could be a lucrative sideline to politics. From then on, the good squire concentrated on matrimony. Shelton married couples from all over the South, and from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, New York, and other states. Each morning, Shelton followed a ritual: He'd walk down to the wharf to watch for steamboats bringing more happy - and sometimes desperate - couples. Shelton used to say, "The early squire gets the wedding." He preferred payment in cash, of course, usually twenty dollars, but, if that wasn't possible, he'd take a pocketknife or anything he considered valuable. Twenty dollars was a large fee in the 1800s, but Shelton knew his customers had few options. If they were poor, he'd accept payment in pork, potatoes, apples, turnips, and other vegetables to stock a large produce house that he operated as another sideline. He was an entrepreneurial wedding machine. He even married slaves escaping through the Underground Railroad. He accepted whatever payment they could offer. In thousands of cases, the squires didn't bother to record the marriages. They married couples under the table, you might say. Other times, the squires intended to file marriage certificates in the courthouse, but they didn't go over to Georgetown, the county seat, too often. When they finally went, they forgot to take the certificates. Most of the "lost marriages" involved Kentuckians, who came to Aberdeen to avoid an 1800s Kentucky law requiring couples to produce a bondsman - usually a family member with cattle or some other form of security - to assure that the marriage would hold together.

    There is more to the story. I haven't told you the half of it.


    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

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