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  • 2004 Archive

  • Vol. 6, No. 30
    Whole #176
    July 23, 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
    * Presidential Profiles from the NEHGS NEXUS Archives
    * NEHGS Library Closed July 27 During Democratic National Convention
    * New Issue of The Great Migration Newsletter Online Now Available to Subscribers
    * "Ask a Librarian" Answers Your Research Questions
    * Visit NEHGS in Texas! Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference 2004
    * NEHGS Nutshell Lectures Come to Your Home!
    * Shapleigh Family Reunion
    * Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    * Favorite - and Black Sheep - Ancestor Feedback
    * NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850
    New Town Additions - New Ashford, Saugus, Southborough, Shrewsbury, Stoneham

    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 additions to this database are the towns of New Ashford, Saugus, Southborough, Shrewsbury, and Stoneham.

    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 these volumes are as follows:

    New Ashford - REF F74/N47/N5/1916
    Saugus - REF F74/S18/S2/1907
    Southborough - REF F74/S72/S7/1903
    Shrewsbury - REF F74/S63/S6/1904
    Stoneham - REF F74/S88/V8/1903

    Search Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 at

    The Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati Profiles - Free Database!

    The Society of the Cincinnati was established in 1783 by and for the officers in Continental Service. It was organized in 14 constituent societies, one of which is the Massachusetts Society. Eligibility was based on the officer's length and terms of service.

    Membership in the Society of the Cincinnati was extended to the officers of the Continental Army - as well as Continental Navy and Marine officers - who had served until the end of the war, plus those who had been declared no longer needed by acts of Congress and those who had served honorably for three years during the war. Also eligible were the oldest male lineal descendants of officers who died in service. The officers of the French Navy and Army who served with the American Army were also entitled to join.

    This database contains information on those Massachusetts officers eligible for membership. Absence from this list does not conclusively exclude eligibility.

    The following member profiles were added to the database this week:

    William Scott, Joseph Smith, Simeon Smith, Simeon Spring, Ebenezer Sproat, William Stacy, John Roosevelt Stafford, Joseph Stebbins Jr. , William Torrey (Adjutant), William Torrey (Ensign), Jacob Town, David Townsend, Dominick Trant, William Treadwell, Samuel Tubbs, Samuel Tucker, Thomas Turner, John Steel Tyler, Christopher Walcott, Joseph Wales, Timothy Walker, Nahum Ward, Adriel Warren, Joseph Warren, and William Warren.

    Search the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati Profiles at

    Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910

    Added this week:
    Indexes: 1881 to 1885
    Records: 1854

    The latest installment in this ongoing database includes the indexes to all Massachusetts birth, death, and marriage records from 1881 to 1885 and actual records from 1854 (vols. 78-86). 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 Westbrook, Middlesex County, Connecticut:

    Old Cemetery
    Second Cemetery
    New Cemetery

    Source: "Inscriptions Town of Westbrook Conn." Compiled by the Saybrook Third Society, 1907-10. Call number MSS CT WES 22.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at


    Master Search

    Master search all databases at

    A Pair of Presidential Profiles from the NEHGS NEXUS Archives

    The Immediate Ancestry of President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton: An Ancestor Table for Six Generations
    by David Curtis Dearborn and a team of NEHGS and other researchers



    This article was originally published in NEHGS NEXUS 9:6, December 1992.

    William Jefferson Clinton is the first president whose middle name honors a predecessor (Ronald Wilson Reagan, whose middle name was his mother's surname, was born the year before Woodrow Wilson's election); the second president who took a stepfather's surname (the first was Gerald R. Ford, Jr.); the third youngest president (after Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy); and the fourth post-World War II president with southern ancestry (following Truman, Lyndon Johnson, and Carter). The following six-generation ancestor table is a very preliminary outline of the new president's ancestry; it is presented below in large part so that other genealogists, especially NEHGS members in the southern states, may add to it. The NEXUS office will collect all addenda forwarded to us and, if the material warrants, publish a supplement.


    Access to the full article is available to all readers at

    More Presidential Trivia: Who Was Our Most Inbred President?
    By Thomas H. Roderick

    This article was originally published in NEHGS NEXUS 7:2, April-May 1990.

    A few books on presidential trivia have appeared recently. One listed each president's last words. A profound final presidential statement that struck me was "I don't like the wallpaper in this room."

    Considerable interest in the ancestor tables of presidents has developed in the past few years (note the several articles on this subject in The American Genealogist) and with the recent publication of Ancestors of American Presidents (1989) by Gary Boyd Roberts, now in its first revised edition, published in December 1989 by Carl Boyer 3rd of Santa Clarita, California. A comparative study of the inbreeding of our presidents could be interesting, since inbreeding is something we can calculate from these ancestor tables.


    Access to the full article is available to all readers at

    NEHGS Library Closed July 27 During Democratic National Convention

    The Democratic National Convention will roll into Boston's Fleet Center July 26 and continue through the 29th. Getting into and around the greater Boston area will be extremely difficult due to security precautions, planned rallies, and many detours and road closures. Because of the disruptions in commuter service during this week, the NEHGS Research Library will be closed on Tuesday, July 27. The library will reopen on Wednesday under normal operating hours.

    New Issue of The Great Migration Newsletter Online Available to Subscribers

    Great Migration Newsletter Online subscribers may now access the third issue of Volume 13 on Beginning with this issue, subscribers can now choose how they wish to view and print the Newsletter. This issue can either be viewed in the usual format, with separate links and pages for each article, or it can now be viewed on a single page, which can easily facilitate one-step printing. Just click on the link titled Printer-Friendly Version under the Great Migration image in the main table of contents to view in this format.

    Great Migration editor Robert Charles Anderson introduces the new issue in his editorial:

    "Because we are using a portion of this issue to conclude the article on New Haven land, begun in the last issue, the arrangement of the current issue departs from the usual format. The lead article examines a narrow aspect of the early history of Boston, which gives us some insight into the growth of private associations, one of the distinguishing aspects of American history. Although the records of this association apparently have not survived, we are able to paint a reasonably full picture of its organization and operation based on deeds and entries in the town records.

    "A highly interesting feature of the record survival in this instance is the agreement of 29 April 1656 between the trustees of William Ting and the wardens of the waterworks [SLR 6:21-24]. Most of the verbiage of this document is devoted to reciting at great length the contents of two earlier agreements relating to the waterworks. The second of these two embedded documents is the General Court order of 1652, which survives in a more reliable form in the records of the court. The first of these earlier agreements, however, is not preserved anywhere else, for the stated reason that it was initially a verbal agreement, and never put to paper during the lifetime of William Ting.

    "When records are preserved in this way, we are confronted with the problem of assessing the reliability of the document, since it has clearly been copied at least once, after the passage of many years. In the present instance, we are assisted by the inclusion within the 1656 agreement of two earlier documents, one of which exists in an earlier form and the other of which doesn't. Since we are able to compare the 1652 document both as it exists in the court records and as it is reproduced in the 1656 agreement, and since that comparison demonstrates that the 1656 version is a good copy, our confidence in the accuracy of the verbal agreement, which exists only in the 1656 document, is increased.

    "This same phenomenon is also seen in a number of the deeds cited for this article. For example, we learn of the piece of land owned by Edmund Jackson in part be a reference in one deed to an earlier deed which does not survive. We gladly take our evidence where we find it."

    You must be a member of NEHGS and have an active subscription to the Great Migration Newsletter Online to access these volumes. Subscriptions to the Great Migration Newsletter Online are $10 per year.

    Subscribers to the Great Migration Newsletter Online may access the new issue by visiting

    To subscribe to the Great Migration Newsletter Online visit

    To subscribe to the print version of the Great Migration Newsletter, please visit

    " Ask a Librarian" Answers Your Research Questions

    A new selection of Ask a Librarian questions and answers is now available to NEHGS members at Ask a Librarian is a regular feature in which staff librarians answer your questions about research methodology, localities, sources, NEHGS holdings, and much more! Answers to questions in the Ask a Librarian feature are available to NEHGS members only.

    Please note that questions about specific families and individuals, or requests for look-ups will not be accepted or acknowledged. Please visit our Research Services department page at for assistance with these types of queries.

    Due to the high volume of questions submitted, it will take time to answer your question. Because of their busy schedules, NEHGS librarians are only able to answer a limited number of questions, and there is no guarantee that your question will be answered.

    NEHGS members can view all the answers at

    Here are the questions for this month:

    Lionel S. Joseph asks:

    I have just joined NEHGS and am very excited about researching my family's history. According to family stories, one of my mother's ancestors was a private in General Gage's army in Boston, and when the Revolution started, he went over the hill and joined the Continental Army. Is there a list (hopefully alphabetical) of the soldiers in General Gage's army?

    Kevin Corwin asks:

    I recently came across documentation wherein the researcher had included the country name in place name identification for vital events such as births and deaths. I was perplexed when he identified the country as "USA" for events that occurred during the 1600s in the thirteen original British colonies in North America. That got me to thinking about modern-day town name changes, such as Truth or Consequences, Arizona. What is the appropriate documentation for events that occur before a place name changes?

    Charles Hentz asks:

    What is the process or procedure for locating registrations or naturalizations at the NEHGS Library?

    Tricia Pethic asks:

    I am a descendant of Richard Haven of Lynn, and Joseph Bixby of Boxford, Massachusetts. I will soon be in Boston on a rare trip to that region. Since both these families have been documented heavily, I would like to stop by the library while in town and make copies of records and visit cemeteries if possible. I am having trouble finding any cemeteries in which people of either family are buried. What tips do you have for me and what would you suggest I focus on during my brief stay in the Boston area? I was considering a trip to Lynn and/or Framingham but am not sure how fruitful that would be since my ancestors' houses are gone and their land probably cannot be distinguished from the surroundings.

    Darnell Schalasky asks:

    I am coming to Boston soon and would like to do some family tree research. Where would be the best place/library to go to find obituaries for Boston, Massachusetts, and New Jersey?

    Stephanie Meegan asks:

    Last week when I visited NEHGS I copied several Suffolk County Deed records for the Damrell family for the early 1900s. It was a very busy day on the fourth floor and I chose not to study the documents until later. Could I have assistance in interpreting the deeds?

    1) There are grantor and grantee records. What do these terms mean? Were these grants in the sense of gifts, as opposed to purchases where there is a seller and buyer?

    2) What is the significance of the four-digit numbers in the fourth column? Are they reference numbers, like dockets? Are they real estate valuations? In some, but not all, of the records, there is a fifth column containing three-digit numbers. What do these numbers signify?

    3) What is meant by notice of petition?

    4) What do these abbreviations mean? (I may have misread the handwriting)
    disch. mort. and mort (death? mortgage?)
    s ux
    ral Trs. & al

    5) Boston Five Cents Savings Bank is mentioned a few times in the second column where generally names are listed. Why?

    6) Taking for school property - does that mean the city took the property by eminent domain?

    I appreciate your assistance in helping us make sense of these deed documents.

    Christina Latham asks:

    My great-great grandfather was one of the founders of Limestone, Maine, in Aroostook County. All of the town's records were burned in 1922, and I have been unable to learn when he died or where he is buried. Can you help me?

    NEHGS members can view all the answers at

    Visit NEHGS in Texas! Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference 2004

    Join us at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) conference, taking place September 8-11, in Austin, Texas. NEHGS will be exhibiting at the conference which is billed as "the premier genealogical event held in the Southwest this year." Several staff members and professionals affiliated with the Society will be attending or speaking at the event.

    D. Brenton Simons, assistant executive director for resource development, will give the New England Historic Genealogical Society Luncheon talk on Thursday, September 9. His topic is "The New England Research Experience." Michael J. Leclerc, director of electronic publications, is on the program for "New England Online: Researching Your Family on," an NEHGS-sponsored lecture on Saturday, September 11. Michael will also be speaking at a special APG-sponsored event on "Effective Communication in the Age of Technology" on Wednesday. And, as if that’s not enough, he will also be delivering three additional talks: "Five Steps to Building a Website for Your Society" (Wednesday), "Charting Your Family’s Medical Legacy: Creating Genograms" (Thursday), and "Publishing in the Age of Technology" (Friday).

    Several authors and contributors to Society publications will be speaking at the conference, including Patricia Law Hatcher, CG, FASG; Rhonda R. McClure; and the Great Migration Study Project’s Robert Charles Anderson, FASG.

    At the NEHGS exhibit booth you’ll find Dick Eastman, assistant director of technology; Laura Prescott, director of marketing; and Gary Boyd Roberts, senior research scholar. Gary also will be on hand to sign copies of his recent Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants to the American Colonies or the United States. We will have a selection of books and CDs from our bookstore on sale at the booth, as well as membership information, and the Society’s newly redesigned website will be demonstrated.

    If you are planning to attend the conference and are interested in volunteering for a couple of hours at the exhibit booth, please contact Laura Prescott at Even if you do not plan to register for the conference, you are welcome to visit the exhibit hall. It is open to the public, free of charge, and we hope you’ll stop by and say hello.

    The FGS 2004 conference, "Legends Live Forever: Researching the Past for Future Generations," takes place at the Austin Convention Center, September 8-11. More information is available at

    NEHGS Nutshell Lectures Come to Your Home!

    Do you live a great distance from the NEHGS Research Library? Have you ever wished you could attend one of the "Genealogy in a Nutshell" lectures you’ve seen listed in eNews? Well, you can now listen to or view a number of these lectures from the comfort of your home. There are forty-six sound cassette recordings and six videotapes of Nutshell lectures available for loan through the Circulating Library.

    The following is a sampling of the "Nutshell" sound cassette recordings:

    * "Archives of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston" by Robert Johnson-Lally
    * "Beyond the Grave: Using Cemetery Records" by David Allen Lambert
    * "From Sydney to Yarmouth: Researching in Nova Scotia" by George Freeman Sanborn
    * "A Good Deed: Important Documents for Your Research" by David Curtis Dearborn
    * "The Ins and Outs of City Directories" by David Curtis Dearborn
    * "Manuscripts: No Longer a Last Resort" by Timothy Salls
    * "Case Studies in New England Native American Research" by Mark Choquet
    * "Deciphering Old Handwriting" by Jerome E. Anderson

    A special type of search must be made in our online library catalog to find Nutshell lectures on tape. To search for a complete list of "Nutshell" sound cassette recordings, follow these steps:

    1. Click on the link to the NEHGS online catalog located in
    2. Click on the Advanced Search link, which will bring you to a page with six boxes containing drop-down lists.
    3. Choose "Document Type" for box #1 and "Series" for box #2 from the drop-down lists.
    4. Click on Search. This will bring you to a new page.
    5. Choose your specific Document Type—"Sound Recording"—from the drop-down list and type the Series name—"Nutshell"—in the space provided below.
    6. Click the Search button to bring up the complete list.

    Currently, the following Nutshell lectures are available on videotape.

    * "Genealogical Writing: Style Guidelines & Practical Advice" by Henry B. Hoff
    * "Getting started in Irish genealogy" by Marie E. Daly
    * "Jewish Genealogy: A Common-sense Approach to Finding Your Ancestors" by Alexander Woodle
    * "Methods of Finding a Wife's Maiden Name" by David C. Dearborn
    * "Researching your Union Civil War Ancestors" by David Allen Lambert
    * "Upstate New York Research" by Henry B. Hoff

    The steps for finding the videotaped lectures in the online catalog are basically the same as those for finding the sound cassette recordings:

    1. Repeat steps 1 and 2 above.
    2. Choose "Document Type" for box #1 and "Series" for box #2 from the drop-down lists.
    3. Click on Search. This will bring you to a new page.
    4. Choose your specific Document Type—"Video"—from the drop-down list and type the Series name—"NEHGS lectures on tape"—in the space provided below.
    5. Click the search button to bring up the complete list.

    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

    Remember you can now borrow up to 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

    Shapleigh Family Reunion

    The following is a message from The Shapleigh Family Association, Kittery, Maine

    Shapleigh Family Reunion 2004 - August 15

    Please join with us for our annual Shapleigh Family Reunion. This year the social/meeting will be held on Sunday, August 15, at the Lions Club, Route 1, in Kittery, Maine. This facility is air-conditioned, clean, and handicap accessible with plenty of parking.

    A continental breakfast will be served at 9 a.m. Our official meeting will begin at 11 a.m. with a box lunch to follow. The cost for lunch is $8 per person. This year we are excited to say there will be activities for the wee ones, so please bring the youngsters.

    To be able to take part in a special project we have planned for you, please bring with you the names of your family line.

    For more information please contact Pat Jones, reunion chairperson, at or Jane Shapleigh Edgecomb, secretary, at

    Upcoming Genealogy in a Nutshell Lectures at the NEHGS Library

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

    * "Comparing Internet Genealogical Databases" by Dick Eastman on July 24

    * Ancestries of the 2004 Presidential Candidates by Gary Boyd Roberts on July 28 and 31

    There will be no Nutshell lectures during the month of August.

    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!

    My Favorite Ancestor
    By Carolyn Branch Leonard of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    My favorite ancestor is my great grandmother, Caroline Stribling. Caroline was a strong and beautiful woman, who overcame many obstacles in her brief life. I have a picture of her as a young wife and mother that hangs on my wall in one of those curved glass frames. She loved her first husband so much that when he died, she married his twin brother.

    Caroline was born to a circuit riding Methodist minister and his wife on the Illinois frontier in 1847. She was the youngest of at least six children. Caroline's father died before she was a year old. Her mother remarried and had two more children, but by the time Caroline was twelve, the stepfather died also. In those days widows and children were at the bottom of the social scale and survival was especially difficult on the frontier. I don't know how they made it, but somehow they did.

    At the age of eighteen Caroline married Samuel C. Branch, son of a Freewill Baptist minister. Samuel was thirty-one years old, a Civil War veteran, and a widower with a six-year-old son named Will. Samuel and his twin brother Stephen served together in the 62nd Illinois Infantry, and came home to tragedy. While they were off fighting, their patriarch had died, as had Samuel's young wife and two of his three children.

    Samuel and Caroline soon had four children of their own and Samuel was a successful carpenter. Then the mysterious deaths began. First a baby, John Logan, then Caroline's mother, then Samuel, and lastly, their little four-year-old daughter, Viola. In 1875 no one knew what caused "consumption" or "lung fever" which we now call tuberculosis, and even the doctors of the day felt hopeless and helpless when a patient presented symptoms. No one considered it a communicable disease, but rather assumed it was hereditary. They called it consumption, because the victim usually simply wasted away. Even if diagnosed, there was no treatment.

    Caroline, now a young widow with two children at age twenty-seven, may have been ill, but she managed to survive. In 1880, four years after Samuel's death, she married his twin brother Stephen. They had two children, one of whom died as a baby along with Caroline's fifteen-year-old daughter.

    She still had my grandfather and his half-sister Mable and the older half-brother, Will. My grandfather used to give us this puzzle that we could never understand. He had a brother (Will) and a sister (Mable) who were only cousins to each other. And so they were.

    Stephen and Caroline apparently decided to seek a healthier climate and moved to Missouri to be near Caroline's brothers and sisters, but it was too late. Caroline died within the year, at age thirty-eight. Mable never lived to adulthood. Of all Caroline's children, only my grandfather survived.

    Now when I think I have things rough, I remember Caroline, for whom I was named. She is my favorite ancestor.

    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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