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  • 2004 Archive

  • Vol. 6, No. 3
    Whole #149
    January 16, 2004
    Edited by Lynn Betlock and Rod D. Moody

    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 VII of Best of NEHGS Nexus Now on
    • Coming Soon — NEHGS 2004 Education and Tours Bulletin
    Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    Circulating Library Favorites
    Changes at NEHGS eNews Technical Difficulties
    • A Peculiar Coincidence
    • The Great Boston Molasses Flood
    • Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Vital Records of Putney, Vermont, 1740–1842

    These records were transcribed by Alison B. Hitchcock and compiled in 1930. The town of Putney was organized in 1753. It is located in Windham County.


    Search Vital Records of Putney, Vermont, 1740–1842 at

    Records of the Church of Christ, Norfolk, Connecticut

    The Church of Christ in Norfolk was gathered by Reverend Daniel Farrand on December 24, 1750, and was organized in 1761. Reverend Ammi Ruhamah Robbins was ordained first pastor of the church, and remained at the pulpit until his death in 1813.

    The town of Norfolk, in Litchfield County, was established in 1758.


    Search Records of the Church of Christ, Norfolk, Connecticut at

    Marriage and Death Notices Published in Two New Hampshire Newspapers

    This small manuscript contains notices published in the following newspapers on the dates indicated below.

    The Sketcher
    Published at Great Falls, New Hampshire [now Walpole] and South Berwick, Maine,
    September 28, 1848.

    New Hampshire Democrat
    Published at Laconia, New Hampshire
    February 7, 1856; April 17, 1856; June 6, 1856; June 13, 1856.


    Search Marriage and Death Notices Published in Two New Hampshire Newspapers at

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections



    This week we have added a transcription of the Lewis Yard in Oakland, Kennebec County, Maine.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    Alphabetical Index of the Births, Marriages and Deaths Recorded in Providence, Rhode Island — Volume 2

    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.

    The most recent addition to this database is Volume 2 - Marriages from 1851 to 1870.

    Search the Alphabetical Index of the Births, Marriages and Deaths Recorded in Providence, Rhode Island — Volume 2 at


    Master Search

    Master search all databases at

    New Research Article on

    Free Non-Member Preview

    NEHGS Member Submission
    English Origin of the Melendy Family
    By Herbert E. Melendy, Norfolk, Virginia

    Although more than one hundred of the families in my tree were represented in New England by 1640, there are no known records in New England, prior to 1701, of the family whose name I bear. The only direct records of William and Sarah Melendy, with a single exception, are found in the records of the First Church of Charlestown, Massachusetts. These begin with the birth of a child named William on November 1, 1701, who died November 12, 1701. After this sad but not unusual account appears the next birth, of another William, on January 4, 1703/04. He was baptized January 9, 1703/04, at Charlestown. The remaining recorded births in this family include John, born October 11, 1705, and baptized October 14; Thomas, born November 13, 1707, and baptized November 16; Richard, born May 3, 1709, baptized April 16, 1710, and died June 22, 1710; and Sarah, born May 31, baptized June 3, and died October 1, all in 1711. The only other known extant record of this immigrant family is contained in Volume II of the Report and Inventory of Copp's Hill Burying Ground in Boston, marking the burial of "Mrs. Sarah Melendy, wife to Mr. William Melendy, aged 70 years, died Feb.12, 1743/4."

    Read the full article at

    Best of NEHGS Nexus Volume VII 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 VII, published in 1990.

    Read the Nexus at


    Coming Soon — NEHGS 2004 Education and Tours Bulletin

    The 2004 NEHGS education and tours schedule is one of the strongest yet, with several exciting events and research excursions from which to choose. Keep an eye on your email inbox next week for our new Education and Tours Bulletin. This quarterly email bulletin features information on upcoming seminars, programs, and tours you won't want to miss! The bulletin will be sent in January, April, July, and October, to all NEHGS eNews subscribers.

    Included in the bulletin is information on education programs and tours as well as our ongoing Boston-based (and free!) programs: Getting Started in Genealogy, an Introduction to Using, and the "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lecture Series. For additional information, visit the NEHGS Events Calendar at

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

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

    • "Using DNA to Unravel Genealogical Mysteries" by Christopher Child on Saturday, January 17

    • "Clues and Context: What Social History Can Tell You About Your Family History" by Jean Maguire on Wednesday, January 21 and Saturday, January 24

    • "Passenger Arrivals Project at the Massachusetts State Archives" by Janis Duffy on Wednesday, January 28 and Saturday, January 31

    All lectures take place at 10 a.m. 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.

    Circulating Library Favorites

    In eNews #147 we published the first list of the most popular circulating library titles among NEHGS members. We would like to make eNews readers aware of these books since they have been helpful to many researchers. We will continue to publish these lists in eNews on an occasional basis.

    Connecticut — Stonington and New London Counties

    History of the First Congregational church, Stonington, Conn., 1674–1874. F104/S85/W4/1875.

    Stonington graveyards: a guide. F104.S85/S76/1980.

    Connecticut divorces: superior court records for the counties of New London, Tolland & Windham, 1719–1910. F102/N7/K58/1987.

    New Hampshire

    The third most popular book borrowed from the circulating library is New Hampshire Marriage Licenses and Intentions, 1709–1961 F33/O37/1991.

    We have a number of books of New Hampshire vital records that may be invaluable for your research:

    The early marriages of Strafford County, New Hampshire, 1630–1850. F42/S8/C36/1991.

    The early marriages of Strafford County, New Hampshire. Supplement #2, 1630–1870. F42/S8/C36/1991/Suppl.2.

    Barnstead, New Hampshire, vital records, 1887–2000. F44/B2/R63/2001.

    Vital records of Barrington, New Hampshire, 1720–1851: compiled from the original town record books. F44/B22/V57/1934.

    Dover New Hampshire, marriages 1623–1823 (4500 marriages). F44/D7/H36/1902.

    Marriages, 1826–1892, Laconia, New Hampshire. F44/L1/J69/1988.

    Marriages, 1869–1976: St. Joseph Cathedral. F44/M2/B65/1979.

    L'état-civil franco-américain le recueil des mariages de la paroisse Saint Antoine, Manchester, N.H. (1900–1950) F44/M2/L3/1951/v.1–2.

    As always, if you have any questions about using the circulating library, please call, toll-free, 1-888-296-3447, 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



    Changes at NEHGS eNews

    NEHGS eNews editor and assistant director for content development Lynn Betlock will be transitioning to a different role at NEHGS at the end of January. Lynn has played a vital role in the development and growth of eNews since she began editing it in 2001, and we will certainly miss the many valuable contributions she has made to it over the years. As assistant director for content development, Lynn oversaw the publication of New England Ancestors magazine (to which she was a frequent contributor) and the Society's website,

    NEHGS eNews co-editor Rod Moody will begin editing the newsletter in February, with the assistance of NEHGS visitor services representative Valerie Beaudrault. Technical Difficulties

    For the past few weeks there have been technical difficulties with This is due to a virtual memory problem which affects the efficiency of our website and databases. As a result the website is currently overtaxed and error messages are being produced. We apologize for this inconvenience and wish to assure users of the website that we are working diligently to resolve this issue.

    There are two messages that users are likely to receive.

    When using the Master Search, users may get the following "result" from their search:

    DODB.Field error '80020009'
    Either BOF or EOF is True, or the current record has been deleted. Requested operation requires a current record.

    /research/database/all/default.asp, line 2492

    The other error, which occurs throughout the entire site, displays a message that indicates that the user is not logged in as a member.

    In both instances, the only solutions at this time are:

    a. Refresh your browser repeatedly until the error message is replaced by the content that is supposed to be on the page. To refresh, press the F5 key at the top of your keyboard, or the refresh option under the View menu on your toolbar.

    b. Try the site later in the day

    We thank you for you patience!

    A Peculiar Coincidence

    by Valerie Beaudrault with Julie Helen Otto

    Like almost everyone, I enjoy sharing my family's history and stories. Through sharing, I've found many cousins and coincidences. One of the strangest of the coincidences involved my great grandfather Leander Pero (1859–1947). My family knew very little about Leander's life and ancestry. We knew he was from Keeseville, New York; that he had a younger brother named Peter; and that he had been apprenticed to a bricklayer after the third grade. Leander also told stories about jumping off the bridge in the middle of Keeseville to swim in the Ausable River, which divides the town between Clinton and Essex counties. Leander Pero left Keeseville for Nashua, New Hampshire, at about age twenty and did not return to his old home until the late 1930s. Despite all these leads, however, I had never found documentary evidence of his being at Keeseville.

    About two years ago, I went to a "Genealogy in a Nutshell" lecture at NEHGS on identifying family photos. I brought some pictures of Leander Pero and his family. My NEHGS colleague, reference librarian Julie Helen Otto, was there with photos taken at Keeseville in 1858 and 1861 of her great grandmother Eugenia Rachael (Everest) Follett (1839–1928). This chance discovery was the beginning of many conversations with Julie about our respective Keeseville ancestors.

    Julie regaled me with stories that had been passed down to her regarding Eugenia's family — the Everests and their Keeseville in-laws the Parkhills and Rices, and their friends the Tallmadges. One of the saddest tales was that of the family of Eugenia's older sister Antoinette M. (Everest) Parkhill (ca. 1824–1892). All of her children died in infancy except for two boys, aged nine and thirteen, who both drowned in the Ausable River on July 13, 1866, when one brother jumped in to save the other…and probably from that same bridge in the middle of Keeseville. I am extremely lucky that my great grandfather Leander — who would have heard all about this tragedy at the time (and may even have been present) — was more fortunate in his swimming experiences!

    In the course of my research, I had looked through the area censuses for years and had never found the Pero family. They were nowhere to be found in any indexes, under any imaginable spelling (and some unimaginable ones). Leander Pero, born in 1859, should have been enumerated in the 1860 census. When NEHGS gained online access to an unindexed 1860 census, I trolled through the images for Keeseville and its neighboring Essex County hamlet of Port Kent, page by page. There I finally found Leander as the one-year-old child I had expected, listed with his parents and two older siblings. I had never found them before because of the way their name was spelled in the print version of the 1860 census index. By 1870, Leander's father had died and his mother had remarried. Leander was enumerated together with his mother, siblings, half-siblings, and step-siblings in the Keeseville household of his stepfather, Peter Seguin (ca 1826 – living Keeseville 1880). Leander did, in fact, have a younger brother named Peter. And, in the dwelling right next to this amalgamated family, were Julie's great grandmother Eugenia R. (Everest) Follett, her husband George, and their three oldest children! Preparatory to their move later in the year to Brooklyn, New York, the Folletts were living as guests in the now-childless home of William B. and Antoinette M. (Everest) Parkhill.

    I was born in Nashua and raised in Milford, New Hampshire; Julie was born in Inglewood, California, and her parents attempted to civilize her about fifty miles east in Ontario, where decades ago she took in her first genealogical lecture at the public library. There, a woman she never saw again (despite many later attempts) inquired vaguely about "a Mrs. Rice in Keeseville, New York, in the 1800s." That Mrs. Rice was Helen Armenia (Everest) Rice (1832–1878), Antoinette's and Eugenia's middle sister, who at the time of that lecture had at most two living descendants — neither of whom was the lady asking about Mrs. Rice. How this person fit into the puzzle remains a mystery, but the great granddaughters of former neighbors Leander Pero and Eugenia (Everest) Follett will never cease to be amazed at how very small this world can be.

    We want to hear about your fascinating — and unusual — genealogical discoveries! Share your stories with eNews readers by emailing them to Rod Moody at Please limit length to 300 words or less.

    The Great Boston Molasses Flood

    January 15th marked the eighty-fifth anniversary of Boston's Molasses Flood of 1919. On that day a steel vat containing over two million gallons of molasses exploded in the city's North End. By the time it was over twenty-one people had died, one hundred fifty were injured, and scores of buildings were destroyed. Waves of molasses filled the streets.

    The vat in which the molasses was stored was hastily and poorly built in 1915 to meet the demand for the sticky brown syrup. Not only was molasses used to make rum, it was also used to produce industrial alcohol, an ingredient in the ammunition used in World War I. The molasses tank was known to leak, which worried the people who lived and worked in the area. It was painted brown to disguise those leaks. The explosion occurred the day after a shipment of cold molasses was added to the warm molasses in the tank, filling it to the brim.

    The Boston Public Library is presenting an exhibit about the disaster through January 28 in its Deferrari Hall at 700 Boylston Street in Copley Square. Titled "Molasses Flood: The 1919 North End Disaster," the exhibit is comprised of photographs and newspaper articles from the library's archives pertaining to the flood. For more information on the exhibit, call the library at 617-859-2212 or visit

    If you are unable to get to Boston to see this exhibit, you can learn more about the molasses flood and its consequences, life in the North End at the time of the flood, and the company that owned the molasses tank, in Stephen Puleo's book, Dark Tide (2003). In this book, the author tells of the many consequences that resulted from the explosion. One hundred nineteen lawsuits were filed against Purity Distillers, the tank's owner. The faulty structure was located in the middle of the heavily populated but largely disenfranchised Italian immigrant community of the North End. The author also suggests that many Italian-Americans became citizens and more politically active because of the effects of the flood on the community. The flood also had an effect on construction safety standards, which became more stringent in Boston and, eventually, nationwide.


    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 Lynn Betlock at Thank you to all past and future contributors!

    My Black Sheep Ancestor
    by Judy Wheeler Folz of Dallas, Texas

    My parents' enthusiasm for genealogy was contagious, and so I decided to research a part of my father's family that came to New England in the 1600s. On my first trip to the genealogy section of our public library, the librarian helpfully pointed me toward bound copies of The American Genealogist. I was thrilled to find a few pages of information on my eighth great grandfather, Edward Sale, who arrived in America in 1635 on the Elizabeth and Ann. Then twenty-four years old, he settled in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and married. Imagine my surprise upon reading that Edward and his wife were tried and punished in 1637. Edward was accused of "beastly drunkeness" and was "set in the bilboes... and severely whipped." His wife, Margaret, indicted for adultery with two men, was found guilty and sentenced to be whipped and banished.

    However, in spite of the family record, Edward Sale was later made a freeman, a status of some respectability. The discovery of Edward's criminal record reminded me that the lives of our Puritan ancestors weren't always without scandal. I've often reflected on what their lives must have been like, young and in a new land, far from the restraints of English society and parental guidance. It may have been a better life in the new world, but it wasn't easy. Edward went on to have seven children, and apparently two wives, one of whom committed suicide by hanging in 1664. The author of the article, James Benjamin Nichols, concluded "Altogether, there are noteworthy features known in the history of this family that may consistently indicate a dramatic background, which if fully known to us might constitute a story of much human interest."


    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 Lynn Betlock at

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