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  • 2004 Archive

  • Vol. 6, No. 28
    Whole #174
    July 9, 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


    * – Premier Online Irish Resource Now Available to NEHGS Members!
    * New Databases on
    * New Research Article on
    * Beta Testers Still Needed for the New Version of
    * Reminder: NEHGS Auctions Used Books on eBay, July 14-20
    * New Website Survey: Focus on Kids!
    * Website: U.S. Biographies Project
    * Events in New England
    * Circulating Library Favorites
    * Notice to Descendants of Henry Adams of Braintree and Aquila Chase of Newbury
    * London Restaurant Offers Free Meals to Genghis Khan Descendants
    * Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    * Favorite - and Black Sheep - Ancestor Feedback
    * NEHGS Contact Information

    Otherdays.comPremier Online Irish Resource Now Available to NEHGS Members!*

    Explore your Irish roots and the Ireland of your ancestors! NEHGS and have teamed up to allow NEHGS members* access to the unique content of at no extra charge!

    The new partnership between the New England Historic Genealogical Society and gives all individuals with NEHGS research, family, associate, patron, and life memberships access to this valuable online research tool. This benefit is not available to Institutional Members at this time. normally charges $44 per year for this access. NEHGS members will now receive the same access for no extra charge above the normal NEHGS membership fee.

    Anyone tracing their Irish ancestry will find’s offerings invaluable. The site offers not only a unique set of databases but also collections of maps and photographs and a number of other tools and resources for the Irish researcher. In addition, the site’s collections include an archive of general background and historical information.

    There are currently over 100 databases on The databases include Griffith’s Valuation; Placenames of Ireland; census and census substitutes; a variety of different types of directories; newspapers; gravestone inscriptions; vital records; wills and deeds; and land and property records. One new database is being added every week.

    The centerpiece of the genealogy databases is the Griffith’s Valuation of Ireland from 1847 to 1864. As described on the website, it is a comprehensive listing of persons who rented land and property throughout the country and is the most complete record of heads of household for Ireland during this period, as most census records for the nineteenth century were destroyed. Through this database, provides a comprehensive online index to Griffith’s Valuation. The database covers all thirty-two counties. The records provide the following information: townland name, Ordnance Survey Map number, plot number, name of land/house holder, immediate lessor, description of holding, acreage, and valuation. The results are linked to images of the actual pages.

    Each entry in Griffith’s Valuation is linked to the relevant Ordnance Survey Map. Ordnance Survey Maps show the county, barony, parish and townland boundaries, and the cities, towns, and villages throughout Ireland. These maps are detailed enough to allow one to identify individual houses and other structures.

    The Placenames of Ireland database has more than 80,000 place names and covers all towns, villages, townlands, and streets. Each place name is linked to the corresponding entries from Griffith’s Valuation and to the relevant Ordnance Survey Map.

    A significant number of the databases on the site may be found under the Census and Census Substitutes heading. These databases include records extracted from city directories; lists of clergy of various denominations in a variety of locales; hospital applications and departures; lists of people in various occupations; and crimes and victims of crimes, to name a few. There are also historical Newspaper databases on the site extracted from three early newspapers—the Belfast Newsletter, 1801; the Freeman’s Journal, 1775-1776; and the Dublin Penny Journal, 1832-1836.

    A number of other resources and tools are available on the site. They include Genwizard, an interactive guide to tracing Irish roots; Timelines; the Galleries of Photographs; Maps; and Genealogy Workshops, a series of articles providing information on Irish sources, research services and using the website’s tools. The site also has a Personal Portfolio feature whereby users can assemble and organize the sources relevant to the families they are researching into specific folders.

    This website offers much more than what appears in this article. There is an inestimable value to having Griffith’s Valuation with links to the corresponding Ordnance Survey Maps at your fingertips. is a tremendous resource for anyone tracing Irish ancestry!

    * Please note that this benefit is not available to Institutional Members at this time.

    Explore at

    New Databases on

    Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850
    New Town Addition - Lincoln

    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 Lincoln, in Middlesex 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 Lincoln volume is REF F74/L7/L8/1908 .

    Search Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 at

    Friends [Quaker] Records of Unity, Maine

    These records were copied from the books of the Friends [Quakers] Monthly Meeting of Unity, Waldo County, Maine. They include births and deaths from 1810 to 1896. The original books are in the possession of the Maine Historical Society in Portland, Maine. The town of Unity was established in 1804.

    The original text is part of the R. Stanton Avery Collections, call number MSS ME UNI 306.

    Search Friends (Quaker) Records of Unity, Maine, at


    Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910

    Added this week:
    Indexes: 1876 to 1880
    Records: 1853

    The latest installment in this ongoing database includes the indexes to all Massachusetts birth, death, and marriage records from 1876 to 1880 and actual records from 1853 (vols. 69-77). 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 Sterling, Worcester County, Massachusetts

    Kendall Hill Cemetery (Chocksett); Oak Hill Cemetery; Fairbanks Burial Ground; Leg Cemetery, West Sterling; and Cookshire Cemetery, Sterling Junction.


    Source: "Five Sterling, Mass. Cemeteries." Compiled by Herbert Milton Cheever, 1955. Call number MSS MS STE 30. "Sterling, Massachusetts, 'The Leg' Cemetery Inscriptions." Compiled by Grace Olive Chapman, 1942. Call number MSS MS 70 STE 8.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    Master Search

    Master search all databases at

    New Research Article on

    The Computer Genealogist

    A Look at Global Positioning Systems and Genealogy
    by Rhonda R. McClure

    Genealogists are always looking for ways to make research easier. The computer has produced some amazing results for the field, but many genealogists seem to limit their computer use to the genealogy program into which they enter their ancestors' names, dates, and places. In truth the technological field offers much more that can be used not only to record, but also to identify, ancestors, ancestral homes, and final resting places.


    NEHGS members can read the full article at

    Beta Testers Still Needed for the New Version of

    We recently placed notices in eNews and on asking readers to help us test the beta version of our newly-redesigned website. The response was very impressive and we thank all of you who have volunteered to assist us.

    After reviewing the responses we found that the level of computer expertise cited by most of the respondents was quite high, but there were few inexperienced or mid-level users who volunteered. To make this new version successful, we need more computer novices to help us test the site.

    If you would like to volunteer to be a beta tester for the New England Historic Genealogical Society, please send an email to Please state your name and mailing address and write a sentence or two describing your level of computer and genealogical knowledge. (We do not need a lengthy resume.) Finally, please describe your computer(s) to be used: CPU speed, operating system, amount of memory and approximate age of the computer (feel free to let us know if you don't know all of the technical information and we will try to help). We will notify selected beta testers in advance of their testing schedule. We want to verify that you will be available for testing during the scheduled timeframe. If you are temporarily unavailable, we will place your name on a waiting list for future testing efforts.


    For additional details on the beta testing process, please visit

    Reminder: NEHGS Auctions Used Books on eBay, July 14-20

    Mark your calendars! Beginning July 14, NEHGS will be auctioning a selection of hard-to-find used books including vital records, town histories, and genealogies. All books are suitable reading copies for reference, and most (but not all) are volumes from our research library. The list includes both reprints and original editions.

    Here is a sample of auction items:

    Vital records of Arlington, Massachusetts to the year 1850.

    Exeter, Rhode Island historical cemeteries.

    Old families of Downpatrick & District from gravestone inscriptions, wills and biographical notes.

    Genealogy of the Estabrook family, including the Esterbrook and Easterbrooks, in the United States.

    One branch of the Miner family with extensive notes on the Wood Lounsberry Rogers and fifty other allied families of Connecticut and Long Island.

    If you have never tried bidding on eBay, check out in advance. Click on Welcome New Users for help in getting started and learn how to register, search, bid, and buy.

    Remember, the dates for this seven-day auction are Wednesday, July 14 through Tuesday, July 20. Search eBay for the seller NewEnglandAncestors to browse our listings and bid often.

    A link to eBay will appear on our website,, during the week the auction takes place.

    New Website Survey: Focus on Kids!

    The summer is a great time to connect with family and have some fun. So, our July website survey is focused on kids! But it's intended for a grownup to complete.

    If you have children in your life, or were interested in family history when you were a child, we'd like to hear from you. Sometimes it's a teacher's assignment, a grandparent's family story, or an old photograph that sets us off at an early age on a lifetime of genealogical quests. Let us know what sparked your interest or how you think we can nurture an interest in today's youth to explore the world of genealogy.

    The survey can be found at

    Website: The U.S. Biographies Project (

    The U.S. Biographies Project was organized in 1997. The project is based on the Kentucky Biographies Project model initiated by Jeff Murphy (1947–2001), U.S. GenWeb founder. Each state’s page is managed by a state coordinator. The system design and tools that were created for the Kentucky project have been made available to state coordinators in order to facilitate the development of the state biographies sites.

    The U.S. Biographies Project home page was created with a state index for ease of access to the sites. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have active Biographies websites. The remaining seventeen states, including four New England states, are waiting to be adopted. The two New England states with active Biographies sites are Connecticut and Vermont.

    Vermont Biographies Project ( At present, there are approximately 1,400 Vermont biographies online. The sources for the biographies include old biographical and county histories. Multiple biographies of the same individual are posted together on a single page. The biographies are organized by county. Clicking on the county link will bring you to an alphabetical index of the names of the individuals whose biographies may found on the website. Before exploring the biographies themselves, you should read the introduction to the Vermont Biographies Project, which will provide you with an explanation of how the materials have been compiled. Links to the introduction and to instructions on how to submit biographies are on the Vermont Biographies Project home page.

    Connecticut Biographies Project ( There are currently nearly 1,000 Connecticut biographies online. This website is also organized by county; however, not all county pages are active yet. Hartford, New Haven, New London and Tolland counties have active pages. Two counties, Middlesex and Windham, have "adoption[s] pending" and coordinators are being sought for the remaining two, Fairfield and Litchfield. For Hartford County, the index includes not only the names of all individuals for whom biographies have already been posted, but also the names of others whose biographies will be added in the future. In fact, the Hartford County host states, "If you see a name without a link, contact me, I will try and post it up in a few days." In some cases, a photograph of the individual has also been included.

    As noted on the U.S. Biographies Project home page, volunteers who are interested in contributing biographies to any state biography project should contact the State Coordinator via the link provided on the individual state home page. If you are interested in becoming a state coordinator, you should contact the U.S. Biographies project coordinator, Deb Murray, via the link provided on the home page.

    The U.S. Biographies Project pages enable you to easily search for information about your more prominent ancestors, even when they moved to different parts of the country.

    Visit the U.S. Biographies Project pages at

    Events in New England

    The 102nd Annual Fairbanks Family Reunion

    The Fairbanks Family in America, Inc. will host the 102nd Annual Fairbanks Family Reunion on Saturday, July 17, 2004, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the grounds of the Fairbanks House, 511 East Street, Dedham, Massachusetts. The Fairbanks Family in America, Inc. is a non-profit association organized to maintain and preserve the Fairbanks House, which is widely recognized as the oldest surviving timber frame house in North America. The house was built for Jonathan Fairebanke in 1636 and occupied by his descendants until about 1905. Members of the Fairbanks Family in America include not only descendants of Jonathan Fairbanke of Dedham, Massachusetts, but also "Friends of the Fairbanks Family."

    The schedule of events for the reunion includes a homemade luncheon, music, children’s activities and a business meeting. The guest speaker is Dedham historian Robert Hanson. In the afternoon there will be historic demonstrations and self-guided tours of the Fairbanks House. Registration begins at 10 a.m. The reunion will be held rain or shine.

    For registration information call 781-326-1170 or email Those interested in learning more about the Fairbanks House may wish to read Abbot Lowell Cummings’ book The Fairbanks House: A History of the Oldest Timber-Frame Building in New England. Visit the Fairbanks House website at

    Beyond 1704: Living History in Old Deerfield

    The Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association and Historic Deerfield present Beyond 1704: Living History in Old Deerfield, a full weekend of activities relating to the February 29, 1704 raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts, and beyond. The event will take place on Saturday, July 17 and Sunday, July 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Old Main Street in Old Deerfield.

    The weekend’s activities include a reunion of Deerfield descendants, re-enactments, dance performances, craft demonstrations, family programs, tours, and an exploration of the encounters between the Native, English and French in Deerfield in the centuries following the 1704 raid. The Remembering 1704 exhibition, Historic Deerfield houses and the Memorial Hall Museum will be open throughout the weekend.

    Tickets may be purchased at the Hall Tavern Information Center (84 Old Main Street) and at Memorial Hall Museum (on the corner of Memorial Street and Rt. 5 & 10) in Deerfield. A two-day adult ticket is $14. Admission for children 18 and under is free. There is a discount for Memorial Hall Museum members. For more information call 413-775-7214.

    Circulating Library Favorites

    This week we continue our series on the most popular books borrowed from the Circulating Library with a look at the library's holdings on the Rice family. A Genealogical History of the Rice Family, published in 1858, is one of the most popular items withdrawn from the library. Besides the two supplements and indexes to this popular book, the Circulating Library has twenty other books that involve the Rice family either directly or indirectly as an allied family. You can search for these in the online library catalog by doing a subject search on the Rice family and limiting your search to the Circulating Library.

    Some of the titles include:

    Conway, Mass., and the Rice family. CS71/R496/1909

    Colonel William Rice and Wealthy Cottrell, his wife. A record of their descendants and notes regarding their ancestors. CS71/R496/1938

    By the name of Rice; an historical sketch of Deacon Edmund Rice, the pilgrim (1594-1663) founder of the English family of Rice in the United States; and of his descendants to the fourth generation. CS71/R496/1911

    Edmund Rice and his family. CS71/R496/1938a

    More about those Rices. CS71/R496/1954

    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

    Notice to Descendants of Henry Adams of Braintree and Aquila Chase of Newbury

    Past visitors to the NEHGS Library may remember the big marble memorial plaques that used to hang on the walls. They were deaccessioned some years ago as they had been in storage for many years. These attractive commemorative plaques, designed and paid for by descendants, give the immigrant ancestor's name, year of immigration, place of settlement, and sometimes additional information. They are a tangible link to the venerable ancestors they memorialize.

    NEHGS reference librarian, George F. Sanborn Jr., has two of these plaques in his possession - those for Henry Adams of Braintree, Massachusetts, and Aquila Chase of Newbury, Massachusetts. George can no longer easily accommodate these large plaques and he is looking for a good home for them. If anyone would like these attractive items, and possess a part of the Society's colorful history at the same time, please contact George at: Time is of the essence!

    London Restaurant Offers Free Meals to Genghis Khan Descendants

    London was the place to be this past week for descendants of Genghis Khan. Oxford Ancestors, a genetic research firm, teamed up with the popular Turkish restaurant Shish to offer free DNA tests to identify individuals who descended from Genghis Khan. And to sweeten the deal, if the test proved a descent from the tyrannical Mongol ruler, the lucky individual would receive a free meal from the restaurant.

    Khan defeated and occupied massive areas of Europe and Asia in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and also sired many children. Perhaps Oxford Ancestors chief executive David Ashworth put it best when he described him as "an all-conquering tribal leader."

    Oxford Ancestors, founded in 2000 by Professor Bryan Sykes, claim that 16 to 17 million men in Central Asia share a pattern of Y chromosomes in their genetic makeup that indicate probable descent from Genghis Khan. In his book, The Seven Daughters of Eve, Sykes claimed that ninety-five percent of Europeans are descended from seven tribal matriarchs who lived between 10,000 and 45,000 years ago. For a fee, his company will tell you to which maternal clan you belong.

    The Genghis Test addresses paternal ancestry by mapping patterns of Y chromosomes - which only the male species have. Thus, only men had the opportunity to win this free lunch. No word yet on whether there were any lucky winners.

    To order your very own Genghis Test visit the Oxford Ancestors website at

    Upcoming Genealogy in a Nutshell Lectures at the NEHGS Library

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

    * "New England Town Records" by David Dearborn on July 10
    * "Death by Lightning - the Shocking Facts!" by Julie Helen Otto on July 14 and 17
    * "Comparing Internet Genealogical Databases" by Dick Eastman on July 21 and 24

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

    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.

    We are almost out of stories! Submit yours today!

    Church and State in Colonial Connecticut
    By Edward Groszewski of Rochester, New York

    My favorite ancestor is actually my wife’s ancestor, Edward Frisbie. Much of Edward’s family history is unclear. Richard Frisbie and Margaret Emerson are frequently mentioned as his parents, but no convincing documentation of this has been uncovered. And although the talented genealogist Donald Lines Jacobus made a persuasive case that Edward’s wife was Hannah Culpepper, even he admitted that her identity had not been proved. We do know that he and his wife had at least eleven children whose descendants today number in the thousands.                   

    Edward was one of the more prominent members of his community. He was one of the original settlers of Branford, Connecticut, acquiring land in the town in 1645. By 1676 his house and land were assessed at 122 pounds 10 shillings, making him one of the wealthiest members of the community. He owned a large house on the village green near the Congregationalist church, of which he was a staunch member.              

    In 1667 a sharp controversy arose when a new colonial charter gave non-church members full rights to own land and all the privileges of freemen. Would the church at Branford acquiesce? This change represented a radical departure from traditional Puritan belief. Indeed, the minister at Branford insisted that only church members could attain full citizenship and led true believers to leave Branford and establish a new community to assure God’s continued blessings upon them.  In what must have been a wrenching decision, Edward disagreed, preferring tolerance to theological purity. He and forty-seven others stayed at Branford and signed the "New Plantation Covenant" promising that they "... will not in any wise encroach upon or disturb [the] liberties [of non-church members] ... nor will we be in any ways injurious to them in civil or ecclesiastical respects." Edward had participated in a small step toward the separation of church and state.

    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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