American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogical Society - Founded 1845 N.E. Historic Genealogical Society Seal View Your Shopping Cart Join NEHGS
  • 2004 Archive

  • Vol. 6, No. 31
    Whole #177
    July 30, 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
    * New Research Article on
    * New Arrivals at the Library Listed on
    * New EnglandAncestors Magazine Wants Your "Brick Wall" Stories!
    * New Website Survey: Lineage and Hereditary Society Memberships
    * NEHGS to Celebrate Forty Years on Newbury Street With Open House
    * Website: The State Library of Massachusetts
    * Staff Announcements at NEHGS
    * Careers at NEHGS
    * Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    * Change in Operating Hours for National Archives Waltham Branch
    * Favorite - and Black Sheep - Ancestor Feedback
    * NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850
    New Town Additions - Spencer and Westborough

    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 Spencer and Westborough, both located 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 these volumes are as follows:

    Spencer- REF F74/S77/S7/1909
    Westborough - REF F74/W65/W4/1903

    Search Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850

    Alphabetical Index of the Births, Marriages and Deaths Recorded in Providence, Rhode Island
    New Addition: Volume 10: Births 1881-90

    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.


    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    New this week: Transcriptions of the following cemeteries in San Francisco, California:

    Yerba Buena Cemetery
    Lone Mountain Cemetery
    Jewish Cemetery
    Mission Cemetery
    Mission Dolores
    Unidentified Cemetery
    City Cemetery


    Source: "San Francisco, California Epitaphs." Six volumes. Donated by B.M. Newcomb, 1921. Call number MSS C 5227 CALIF SAN 11.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    Members of the Church of Christ of Williamstown, Massachusetts

    The town of Williamstown was settled in 1753 and incorporated in 1765. At the time of incorporation, a church was gathered under Rev. Whitman Welch, who died in 1776. He was succeeded by the Rev. Seth Swift, who was ordained in 1779 and died in 1807. The Rev. Walter King was installed in 1813, died two years later, and was succeeded by Rev. Ralph Wells Gridley.

    This database lists the members of the church from the tenure of Rev. Swift (1779) up to the publication date of 1831. Abbreviations that accompany the names are as follows:

    * Individual was dead by 1832
    l - Individual came from a sister church
    d - Individual was dismissed
    w - Individual withdrew to a church of another denomination
    r - removed to distant parts
    x - excommunicated

    This original text is part of the R. Stanton Avery Collections, call number MSS MS WIL 435.

    Search Members of the Church of Christ of Williamstown, Massachusetts.



    New Research Article on

    A Genealogical Guide to Essential Printed Resources for Vermont

    by Scott A. Bartley

    Over the past five years of online Vermont articles, I have discussed many topics of interest to genealogists and listed published sources whenever possible. Here the goal is to discuss the sources in print for basic research. Each title is selected for its statewide coverage, although it should be noted that most records in Vermont are kept on the town level. Vermont researchers as well as libraries will find this guide to be useful when building a collection of essential printed resources on the state. Not all volumes given below are currently in print. This is not a comprehensive list; my goal is to identify the best resources and the most inexpensive versions of these resources.

    Access to the full article is available to NEHGS members here.


    New Arrivals at the Library Listed on

    The latest list of new titles added to the NEHGS Library has been posted on To view the list, go to this page and click on "July 2004." Here are some of this month's titles:

    * Chasing Newtons: a 21st century journey to New England and Nova Scotia with my 18th century ancestors and their relations.
    * Wakeman genealogy II: sequel to Wakeman genealogy.
    * The baptismal diary of the Revd. William Inglis of Dumfries.
    * Edinburgh monumental inscriptions (pre 1855).
    * Name index to tombstone inscriptions of County Louth, Ireland.
    * Vital records of Dixmont, Maine.
    * The early settlers of Hebron, NH 1761-1800: their genealogical histories and descendants.
    * Reinterpreting New England Indians and the colonial experience.
    * The history of Hopewell, Nova Scotia.

    New England Ancestors Magazine Wants Your "Brick Wall" Stories!

    What is the most challenging "brick wall" you have encountered through the course of your genealogical research?

    We seek stories of readers' most stubborn "brick walls" - solved or unsolved - for publication in New England Ancestors magazine. If you would like to contribute, please send your story to or New England Ancestors - Feedback, 101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116-3007. Please limit your submissions to two hundred words or less. Thank you to all past and future feedback contributors!

    New Website Survey: Lineage and Hereditary Society Memberships

    If you are a member of a hereditary or lineage society, or have always wanted to be, we hope you'll take our new survey!

    Take the survey now at

    NEHGS to Celebrate Forty Years on Newbury Street With Open House

    NEHGS will hold an open house at 101 Newbury Street for members and the public on Thursday, September 23, 2004, from 2 to 6 p.m. The theme is "Celebrating Forty Years on Newbury Street," in recognition of the Society's move to its present location in the fall of 1964.

    A series of small events is being planned, including tours, remarks by staff representatives, light refreshments, and a special discount on books (at our Newbury Street location only). More details will be available shortly.

    Were you a member of NEHGS when the Society moved from Ashburton Place to Newbury Street? We're interested in receiving and sharing with our readers your memories to help us mark the occasion. We invite you to email these to or to Laura Prescott c/o NEHGS, 101 Newbury St., Boston, MA. 02116.

    We hope to see you at this very special event!

    Website: The State Library of Massachusetts

    The State Library of Massachusetts is a government and public affairs research library, which was established in 1826. The library is located in the Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon Street, Boston, Massachusetts. The Library comprises the Main Reading Room (Room 341), the Periodicals Area (Room 442), and Special Collections (Room 55). The library is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. while the Special Collections Department has more limited hours of operation from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    The State Library is also a place where you can find resources to assist you in your genealogical research. Clicking on the Genealogy link on the library's home page will bring you to an overview with descriptions of the genealogy resources and information about where they may be found. Holdings include annual reports of towns, local histories, probate and vital records, historical newspapers, city directories and voting lists, and tax valuation lists. There are also biographical resources such as regimental histories and legislative biographies, as well as resources related to organizations including histories of local academic institutions.

    Many genealogy resources may be found in Special Collections, which is located in the basement of the State House. The Special Collections home page provides a detailed description of the department's holdings and its use policies. Holdings include manuscripts, city directories and voting lists, architectural plans, books and pamphlets, historical newspapers and periodicals, broadsides, and maps and atlases. A few highlights follow.

    The manuscript collections include, but are not limited to, tax valuations up to 1792 and from 1793-1860, biographical material on legislators, Massachusetts House of Representatives journals from 1715-1864, Senate journals from 1780-1867, and personal papers and correspondence. Examples of items in the manuscript collections include Letters from London to Jabez Hatch of Boston, concerning property he left behind in Boston in 1776 when he had to leave because he was a Loyalist, 1777-1784, Records of the Boston Female Asylum (1800-1866), and William Bradford's hand-written account of the first years of the colony at Plymouth, which includes a copy of the Mayflower Compact.

    In the maps and atlases collection you will find lists of the panoramic maps, railroad maps, county atlases, topographic maps and Sanborn fire insurance maps found in the Special Collections. The Sanborn maps are of particular interest. These maps cover cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth for a variety of years. They were originally created for the fire insurance industry and show detailed information about buildings including size and shape, construction details, roof type, occupancy, street address and often the date when the building was built.

    It is noted on the Special Collections home page that searching the online catalog for special collection materials is not always intuitive. To assist the library user, there is an entire section devoted to search tips for finding special collections materials using the online catalog. I strongly advise you to read these tips carefully before beginning your search.

    If you are using newspapers in your research, you should also check out the Zimmer index. This is an in-house newspaper index, which was created by former library staff. It covers fourteen newspapers for the years 1878-1937. A complete list of the newspapers may be found on the library website. The newspapers indexed most regularly through the years are The Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and the Boston Journal. You will find the following types of items indexed: obituaries; political conventions, platforms, and events; speeches and letters of prominent persons, especially of Massachusetts; dedications of memorials and buildings; news of taxations, strikes, riots, wars, floods; and visits from foreign dignitaries. The Zimmer Index may be found in the Periodicals Area. A microform copy of the index may be found in Special Collections.

    If your research has a Massachusetts focus, you should plan a visit to the State Library of Massachusetts the next time you are in Boston.

    Staff Announcements at NEHGS

    Two positions were recently filled at the New England Historic Genealogical Society: Director of Membership and Director of Marketing.

    Pauline Cusson joined the staff of the Society in July as Director of Membership. She comes to NEHGS after fourteen years with the Boston Harbor Cleanup Project. Pauline is a genealogist with many years of leadership within the American-Canadian Genealogical Society in Manchester, New Hampshire. The ACGS focuses on helping Americans with French Canadian and Acadian roots trace their ancestry. It is one of the largest specialty research libraries in the country serving French-Canadian researchers with New England ties.

    Pauline has served as editor of the American-Canadian Genealogist, the official journal of the ACGS, since the fall of 2000. She served as president of the ACGS from 1990 to 1993, where, during her final term, she was instrumental in leading the board of directors in the purchase of a headquarters and research library building in Manchester. The facility opened in April 1994 in conjunction with the New England Regional Genealogical Conference. Pauline was also the society's recording secretary from 1988-89 and coordinated its Twenty-fifth Anniversary Conference in September of 1998. She is also a delegate to the New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC) where she participated in the planning and presenting of four past conferences.

    Laura Prescott is now Director of Marketing for NEHGS. Laura has worked for NEHGS for over five years in several positions including membership director, educational services coordinator, and, most recently, manager of the Society's new membership campaign. She will be responsible for marketing the Society's benefits and programs to its membership and the general public with the goal of increasing membership.

    Originally from Charleston, West Virginia, Laura received her B.A. in History in 1980 from Dartmouth College. She has a marketing and public relations background. She lectures and writes for national audiences on a variety of genealogical topics and is also a contributing editor for New England Ancestors magazine.

    Careers at NEHGS

    NEHGS is currently seeking to fill the position of Member Services Assistant. Please visit our careers page for further details.

    Upcoming Genealogy in a Nutshell Lectures at the NEHGS Library

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


    There are no Nutshell lectures scheduled for the month of August. Lectures will resume in September with

    * "Getting the Most from the Family History Library Resources" with David A. Lambert on September 8 and 11

    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 our Education pages. 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.

    Change in Operating Hours for National Archives Waltham Branch

    Effective Wednesday, September 1, 2004, the National Archives in Waltham will no longer be open Wednesday evenings after 4:30 p.m. The Archives will continue to offer evening hours every Thursday from 4:30 to 9:00 p.m., and will remain open on the first and third Saturday of every month. For more information, please contact the Archives Director by e-mail at or toll free at 866-406-2379.

    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 Black Sheep Ancestor
    By Patty Martinez of Long Beach, California

    My maternal great grandmother, Sarah Henrietta Miller Watson Longbottom Schneider, is my favorite black sheep family member. She stretched the truth about her name and working-class family background to suit her purposes, and those lies have driven the amateur genealogists in my family nuts trying to unravel her story.


    Henrietta immigrated to Canada from England when she was very young. She married my great grandfather, Sergeant-Major John Watson, a Scot who was twenty-seven years older and a widower. His adult children disapproved, but John and Henrietta made quite the handsome couple. Henrietta soon gave birth to six children, including my grandmother.


    The family moved to Wisconsin and lived with Alfred Longbottom, who would later father nine children with Henrietta. John returned to Canada without the family in 1905 and died. Henrietta then gave up almost all of her Watson children for adoption, and claimed, according to the documents, that her children's uncle was a duke. In 1906 Henrietta gave birth to her first child by Alfred Longbottom, but no marriage license has been located.


    In an attempt to regain custody of her children, Henrietta began writing very touching letters to the adoption agency, in which she noted her supposed highborn birth, and indicated that her father had been a governor in England. One child refused to return, and another's adoptive family gave him back. Alfred was a known alcoholic, and Henrietta left him when they lived in Flagstaff, Arizona. He was found dead on a snowy street in 1937. Henrietta then married Fred Schneider (no marriage documents) and died in 1949.


    The many lies, names, kids, and adoptions made research difficult. Before Henrietta died, she alluded to a secret about her life, but there were so many untruths we're not sure which one she meant. The challenges of overcoming Henrietta's stories have proven difficult but rewarding.

    NEHGS Contact Information

    We strongly encourage you to email this newsletter to others who might be interested.

    Subscribe or view back issues of eNews.

    View the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

    Become a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

    If you have questions, comments, or suggestions about the enewsletter, please contact Rod Moody at

New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

© 2010 - 2014 New England Historic Genealogical Society