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  • 2004 Archive

  • Vol. 6, No. 25
    Whole #171
    June 18, 2004
     Edited by Rod D. Moody and Valerie Beaudrault

    Greetings from the New England Historic Genealogical Society! This 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
    *Research Article on
    * New Circulating Library Acquisitions
    * Website: National Cemetery Administration of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs
    * Last Chance to Register for Electronic and Online Genealogical Resources Seminar!
    * NEHGS Genealogical and Historical Walking Tour of Boston - June 30
    * One of Family Tree Magazine's "Strongest Links"
    * Family History Professionals to Gather at PMC Conference in Austin, Texas
    * Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    * Favorite - and Black Sheep - Ancestor Feedback
    * NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on


    Tax List of Boston, Massachusetts, 1821

    This volume contains the names of taxholders residing in Boston in 1821 as well as the names of the owners of the real estate, streets of residence, and corresponding tax information.

    NEHGS has the original tax list in its Rare Book Collections, call number RB/F73.25/B765.

    Search the 1821 Tax List of Boston, Massachusetts at



    Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850
    New Addition - Warren

    At the turn of the twentieth century NEHGS was instrumental in the effort to purchase books of vital statistics to the year 1850 for the 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. By 1945 the vital records for over 200 of these municipalities had been published. Many of these volumes were added to in weekly installments during 2002. This marked the first time these records were made available online in their original context, including the original source citations.

    The newest addition to this database is the town of Warren (formerly Western, in Worcester County).

    The Vital Records to 1850 series is available at the Research Library, and most volumes are available to NEHGS members through the Circulating Library. The call number for the Warren volume is F74/W29/W4/1910.

    Search Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 at


    Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910
    Added this week:
    Indexes: 1871 to 1875
    Records: 1852

    The latest installment in this ongoing database includes the indexes to all Massachusetts birth, death, and marriage records from 1871 to 1875 and actual records from 1852. The indexes include name of individual, town or village of event, year of event, and volume and page number of the original record.

    View a chart that displays records currently available and those 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

    New this week: Transcriptions of the following cemeteries in the towns of Bucksport, East Bucksport, and North Bucksport, in Hancock County, Maine:

    Bucksport: Buck Cemetery, Bucksport Centre Old Methodist Church Cemetery, Hillside Cemetery, Laurence Cemetery, Moulton Cemetery, Parker Private Cemetery, Silverlake Cemetery, St. Vincent Depaul Cemetery (originally called Great Pond Cemetery), Town Poor Farm, and Wilson Cemetery.

    East Bucksport: Heweytown Cemetery

    North Bucksport: Cottle Cemetery, Lanpher Cemetery, and Riverview Cemetery (also called Cobb Cemetery)

    Source: Contribution by current NEHGS member Patricia Adams of Bucksport, Maine.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    Alphabetical Index of the Births, Marriages and Deaths Recorded in Providence, Rhode Island
    New Addition: Volume 8: Deaths from 1881 to 1890

    Published by the city in twenty-five volumes from 1879 to 1945, this series provides names, dates, and the volume and page numbers of the statistic in the city records. We will continue to add volumes from this series to over time.

    Search Alphabetical Index of the Births, Marriages and Deaths Recorded in Providence, Rhode Island at





    Boston is not the only place to find great repositories of genealogical resources on your Massachusetts ancestors. There are plenty of wonderful libraries and archives from just outside the city to the New York border. So where should you look? It depends on what you seek. Here is a list of some often-overlooked repositories to add to your itinerary when you decide to look for your family tree. The beauty of using a local archive, library, or historical society is that they tend to concentrate their collections on a particular area. That means you will find localized manuscript collections, unpublished genealogies, and perhaps even have an opportunity to discuss your research with a town historian. This is by no means the whole list; use Elizabeth Petty Bentley’s Genealogist’s Address Book (GPC, 1998) and Marcia Melnyk’s Genealogist’s Handbook for New England Research, Fourth Edition (NEHGS, reprint 2001) to find more places to visit in your search for your Massachusetts roots.

    Here are some tips for getting the most from your visit

    * Contact the facility to verify hours and rules for usage.
    * If they have a website, prepare for your visit by using it to familiarize yourself with their holdings.
    * Bring identification with you (and your membership cards to genealogical societies). You might be asked for them.
    * Some of these repositories are open free to the public while others charge a day fee.

    American Antiquarian Society
    185 Salisbury Street
    Worcester, MA 0609-1634
    (508) 755-5221

    Founded in 1812, this private library holds books, pamphlets, broadsides, manuscripts, prints, maps, directories, and newspapers. It also is the repository for the largest single collection of printed source material relating to the history, literature, and culture of the United States prior to 1876. The primary purpose of this institution is to accommodate academic scholars in their research. Therefore, it is necessary to obtain permission to use the facility. Before you visit, be sure to consult their online catalog and usage policies, as it is essential to know in advance what you are seeking and determine if the Society has the materials. Prospective researchers must fill out a form describing their project and meet with a staff member who will assist the researcher in finding the appropriate materials.

    American Jewish Historical Society Library
    160 Herrick Road
    Newton Centre, MA 02459
    (617) 559-8880

    If you are researching your Jewish heritage, you will want to consult the hundreds of family histories and extensive manuscript collections kept at this library. This facility also has a wealth of historical information on Jewish communities, synagogues, and communal groups. The library’s special collections include:

    Records of the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society of Boston, with arrival records, arranged alphabetically, for immigrants landing in Boston or Providence, Rhode Island, between 1882 and 1929, and incomplete chronological lists of ship arrivals and passenger lists between 1904 and 1953.

    Fully indexed Mayor’s Court papers (pre-1860), naturalization papers (pre-1860), and insolvent debtors’ papers (pre-1860). Their collection of incorporation papers of New York City (1848-1920) covers all Jewish or Jewish-related organizations incorporated in New York City during this time frame.

    American Jewish Committee, Office of War Records, 1918-1921. These records include questionnaires filled out by World War I soldiers detailing their military careers and other biographical information.

    Berkshire Athenaeum
    Local History and Genealogy Department
    1 Wendell Ave.
    Pittsfield, Ma 01201-6385
    (413) 499-9486

    This department has local histories for all of the Berkshire towns, Massachusetts vital records to 1905, periodicals, manuscripts, and special collections. Of particular interest to genealogists are the Cooke and Berkshire collections, both of which contain many valuable resources for Berkshire County researchers. The Cooke Collection was a Works Progress Administration project, compiled by Rollin Hillyer Cooke in the 1930s. This collection contains newspaper notices, Revolutionary War soldier and pension records, Shaker death records, church records, town records, and more. The Berkshire Collection includes town records, tax records, cemetery records, church records, vital records, and more. You may search the holdings of their special collections by surname in their online library catalog.

    The Jonathan Bourne Historical Center
    30 Keene St.
    Bourne, MA 02532
    (508) 759-6928

    The Jonathan Bourne Historical Center is home to the Bourne Archives, the Bourne Historical Society and the Bourne Historical Commission. The Bourne Archives has town histories, records, and material relating to the Cape Cod Canal.

    Connecticut Valley Historical Museum
    Research Library and Archives
    194 State Street
    Springfield, MA 01103
    (413) 263-6800, ex. 230

    According to their website, their collection includes "30,000 books, 40,000 photographs, 36,500 microforms and 2,500,000 manuscripts and documents." The Springfield Families Database is one of their major collections, in which the compilers began with the 15,000 Springfield residents enumerated in the 1880 U.S. Census and then supplemented the census information with local and statewide vital records, biographical compendia, and cemetery inscriptions to fill out the individual entries.

    Haverhill Public Library
    99 Main St.
    Haverhill, MA 01830
    (978) 373-1586

    The Special Collections Department of this library has microfilm of Massachusetts vital records from 1841 to 1900, records for the Massachusetts Daughters of the American Revolution, Essex County probate records (1671-1857), and much more. Two collections of note are the Haverhill History Collection (over 17,000 photographs of the town of Haverhill, city documents, city directories, cemetery books, two hundred volumes of newspaper clippings, and more) and the nine thousand-volume Pecker Genealogical Collection.

    Massachusetts Military Division History Research and Museum
    44 Salisbury Street
    Worcester, MA 01609
    (508) 797-0334

    According to, their holdings include early militia records (1776-1820); Massachusetts militia period (1820-1840); pre-Civil War period (1840-1860); Civil War (1861-1865); Reconstruction period after Civil War (1866-1897); Spanish American War/Philippines Insurrection (1898-1917); World War I period (1917-1919), including World War I State Guard records; and National Guard records (1920-1940).

    The second part of this article will be published in next week's eNews.

    New Circulating Library Acquisitions

    The Circulating Library has received nine new Genealogy in a Nutshell lectures on cassette available for loan to our members:

    Beyond Death Records: Linking Related Records by David Lambert.  CS16/L36/2004 Sound cassette.

    Clues and Context: What Social History Can Tell You About Your Ancestors by Jean Maguire.  CS16/M34/2004 Sound cassette.

    Choosing and Using Genealogical Software by Steve Kyner.  CS21/K96/2003 Sound cassette.

    Manuscripts: No Longer A Last Resort by Tim Salls.  CS21/S35/2004 Sound cassette.

    Finding Your Ancestors Using Urban Sources by David Curtis Dearborn.  CS49/D435/2004  Sound cassette.

    Naturalization Records as Immigrant Sources by Marie Daly.  CS49/D353/2004.

    From Sydney to Yarmouth: Researching in Nova Scotia by George Sanborn.  CS88/N64/S257/2004 Sound cassette.

    The Wampanoags of Martha's Vineyard by Richard Andrew Pierce.  E99/W2/P54/2004 Sound cassette.

    Using DNA to Unravel Genealogical Mysteries by Christopher Child.  RB155/C45/2004 Sound cassette. 

    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

    Remember you can now borrow one, two, or three books, CDs, or cassettes by returnable pouch for the low cost of $9 per item.  Order forms are available for downloading at our website.

    Website: National Cemetery Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs

    If you have an ancestor who you think may have been buried in a national cemetery, you should check out the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration (NCA) website ( The site maintains a searchable database, which you can use to locate your veteran ancestor’s gravesite, in addition to providing historical information on the establishment of the national cemeteries.

    In 1862 Congress enacted legislation authorizing the President to purchase "cemetery grounds" to be used as national cemeteries "for soldiers who shall have died in the service of the country." During the first year 14 cemeteries were established. Today, there are 136 national cemeteries. One hundred twenty are administered by the NCA, two by the Army, and the remaining fourteen—largely battleground cemeteries—are administered by the National Park Service. According to the website, more than 2.5 million Americans—veterans from the Revolutionary War to the Gulf War—have been buried in the Veterans Administration’s national cemeteries.

    To read more about U.S. national cemeteries, first click on the "History" link found in list of contents on the home page, then click on the "General History" link. There is also a "Dates Established" link that will bring you to a list of all of the national cemeteries, organized by date of establishment, from the original 14 national cemeteries to those established since 1973.

    The records for most of the 120 national cemeteries administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs may be found in the National Gravesite Locator database. Four cemeteries have not yet completed their records: Long Island, Los Angeles, Fort Rosecrans, and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Arlington National Cemetery records are available for interments after 1999. Some state veterans cemeteries can also be searched using the Locator. The National Cemetery Administration continues to add records to this database.

    Using National Gravesite Locator, you can perform a simple search by last name (required) and first name (optional). With the Advanced Search option you can search by the veteran’s last name, first name, middle name, date of birth, date of death and cemetery. Under "cemetery’ you will find a drop down list with the names of all of the national cemeteries with records in the database. If you have difficulty finding the person for whom you are searching, the NCA suggests that you contact them by mail. Contact information and instructions for requesting information may be found on both search pages.

    Once you find your ancestor, you will want to visit the individual cemetery web pages. To get to a cemetery’s page, click on the "National Cemetery Web Pages" link on the home page. This will bring you to a list of states. Click on the state name to reach the cemetery page. The individual cemetery pages will provide you with contact information, directions, historical information, and any notable burials.

    If you have been trying to locate the graves of U.S. veterans of any war since the American Revolution, you should try using the National Gravesite Locator. Hopefully, you will find them.


    Last Chance to Register for the NEHGS Electronic and Online Genealogical Resources Seminar!

    June 26, 2004, at the Bill Bordy Auditorium at Emerson College in Boston

    This special one-day seminar will acquaint you with technological tools that will greatly aid your genealogical research. It will be held at the Bill Bordy Auditorium at Emerson College across the street from the Boston Common and the Cutler Majestic Theater at 216 Tremont Street in Boston. The deadline for registration is Tuesday, June 22.

    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 Eastman's 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. 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

    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. All will be revealed in this informative lecture!

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

    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 gain a working knowledge of the best strategies for searching these records on the Internet.

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

    NEHGS Genealogical and Historical Walking Tour of Boston - June 30

    Join NEHGS genealogist, Sara Doherty, and Boston Park Ranger, Debra Rossi, on an enlightening walk through some of downtown Boston's lesser-known repositories and sites of genealogical interest on Wednesday, June 30. The tour will also include many of Boston's famous historical monuments, graveyards, and buildings along the two-mile route. Although the tour is free and open to the public, attendance is limited and registration is required. Please call 888-286-3447 to make a reservation. One of Family Tree Magazine's "Strongest Links"

    For the fourth straight year, has been named one of 101 best family history websites by Family Tree Magazine. The list, published annually, is divided into five core categories: Collaboration, History and Reference, International and Immigration, Records Resources, and Regional and Ethnic. was among the websites included in the latter category. The editors write:

    "No other region enjoys a resource quite like this, so if you have New England kin, consider investing $75 for a Research Membership, which includes access to the New England Historic Genealogical Society's online databases - nearly 80 million names in records ranging from court documents to diaries and journals to vital records. Members also can get how-to articles, research information and discussion groups."

    The full list is currently featured on the Family Tree website at, and will also be available in the August 2004 issue, on newsstands June 22.

    Family History Professionals to Gather at PMC Conference in Austin, Texas

    Family history professionals from far and wide will meet this fall to discuss and develop business skills at the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) Seventh Annual Professional Management Conference in Austin, Texas.

    Genealogists and those in related professions at the conference, known as the PMC, will learn from the masters in a full day of lectures on Wednesday, September 8, 2004 in the Austin Convention Center. The PMC will be held in conjunction with Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and Texas State Genealogical Society’s 2004 Conference from September 8-11.

    The PMC helps all levels of professional genealogists, as well as librarians, researchers, teachers, writers, and others in family history-related fields to balance a variety of skills necessary to run a successful business.

    Six lecturers will speak at the conference, including NEHGS electronic publications director Michael J. Leclerc, who will deliver a lecture titled "Effective Communications in the Age of Technology." PMC coordinator Eileen Polakoff says, "Attendees say they learn more about their business in one day at the PMC than all year on their own. We can almost guarantee you will make contacts there that will send you business."

    Anyone may attend the PMC by registering for both the FGS and PMC conferences. Conference registration and program details are found at the APG website, The professional conference fee includes a separate syllabus, continental breakfast and networking luncheon. Early registration discounts end July 26, and space is limited. 

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


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

    * "Probing Probate Records" by Ruth Quigley Wellner on June 23

    * "New England Town Records" by David Dearborn on July 7 and 10

    * "Death by Lightning - the Shocking Facts!" by Julie Helen Otto on July 14 and 17

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

    Download a pdf of the June 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.

    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!

    Please note that NEHGS does not verify responses.

    My Favorite Ancestor

    By Jane Lahey of Kenilworth, Illinois

    My favorite ancestor isn’t an ancestor at all, just a cousin. He is the one my great grandfather relied upon to get himself out of a mess of his own creation, having wisecracked on his pension application about his "bad habits."

    William Lindsay was a lawyer with a sense of history: for his family, his home, and his time. His professional title was Clerk of the United States District Court for the Western District, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He grew up in West Middletown, Pennsylvania, a small town on the main road between Washington, Pennsylvania, and the Ohio River. Around the turn of the twentieth century, long before tape recorders, Lindsay arranged for oral histories of the town to be recorded by court clerks. He also contributed detailed family information to another family historian in Missouri. Those records eventually came to reside in various Missouri archives.

    My great-great grandmother and her brother liked to lie about their ancestry, so they could be perceived as cousins of Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens). Yes, Twain and my ancestor were third cousins, but I doubt the distinguished author and lecturer ever heard of them, let alone met them as they claimed. Grandma destroyed the family Bible and other documents that would have been nice to prove lineage, not to mention the misinformation she gave to her grandchildren.

    When my great grandfather applied for a Civil War pension, he went to Lindsay for a character reference to set the record straight about those "bad habits." Ditto for the half-crazy uncle who needed an affidavit to prove his actual birth date so he could get an increase in his pension after he had been lying about his age for half a century.

    William Lindsay is my hero because without him, there would be no reliable record back to our family’s early colonial history.

    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


    Research Article on

    We are currently in the process of selecting authors for new research articles. In the meantime, we will be spotlighting articles previously featured on and in NEHGS NEXUS. These articles will be featured in their entirety here in eNews.

    This week we present part one of "Often-Overlooked Repositories of Massachusetts" by Maureen Taylor, originally published on in March 2003. 

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