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  • 2004 Archive

  • Vol. 6, No. 33
    Whole #179
    August 13, 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


    * NEHGS Library Hours Change
    * New Databases on
    * New Research Article on
    * NEHGS Celebrates Forty Years on Newbury Street With Open House
    * The Upper St. John River Valley Website
    * History Hidden in a Courthouse Basement
    * Remains of Historic Cemetery Unearthed in Rhode Island
    * Register Now for the APG Professional Management Conference
    * Careers at NEHGS
    * NEHGS Research Tour to Salt Lake City
    * "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Takes a Vacation
    * Favorite - and Black Sheep - Ancestor Feedback
    * NEHGS Contact Information

    NEHGS Library Hours Change

    Starting September 1, 2004, the NEHGS Library will no longer be open to the public on Sundays. Although we were gratified initially by the response of members and visitors, we have found that very few members took advantage of this time frame, so we have decided to discontinue Sunday hours until further notice.

    In another change, effective Tuesday, September 7, 2004, the library will begin opening at 10 a.m. on weekdays. On Saturdays it will open at 9 a.m. as usual.

    The delayed weekday opening will permit our staff genealogists to offer more customized service to members by answering email inquiries, offering telephone consultations, or performing tutorials and contract research.

    New Research Library hours will be as follows:

    Tuesday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Wednesday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.*
    Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Closed Sunday and Monday
    *Winter hours: November 1 through March 31, Thursday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    New Databases on

    Bible Records of Greenfield, Massachusetts

    These transcriptions of the Bible records of residents of Greenfield were part of a larger effort to collect various records of the town. The original handwritten manuscript also includes transcriptions of cemeteries, probate records, and church records, all of which are available as individual databases on The manuscript was donated to NEHGS in 1915. The compiler is unknown.

    Transcriptions of the following family Bibles are included:

    Thomas Nims, Mrs. E.N. Wells (given by her father Thaddeus Coleman), Jesse Smead, Silvanus Allen (family register), William Henry Allen, Theodore Martindale, Levi Stiles, William Grinnell, Hervey C. Newton, Lucius Nims, Eliel Amadon, Henry Wells Clapp, Parkhurst, Franklin Ripley Allen, Thomas Rockwood.

    The manuscript is part of the R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, call number MSS MS 70 GRE 31.

    Search Bible Records of Greenfield, Massachusetts


    The Great Migration Newsletter Online

    New Family Sketches for GMNL Subscribers


    Subscribers to the Great Migration Newsletter Online may now access ten new unpublished Great Migration sketches by Robert Charles Anderson. The newest sketches are listed in bold on the master list of sketches, which may be accessed by subscribers by clicking the first link below, then clicking on the Bonus Online Biographical Sketches link on the page that opens.

    The following new sketches were added this week:

    John Cooper (Scituate), John Cooper (Lynn), Walter Desborough, Samuel Dunkin, Henry Elkins, William Franklin, Samuel Holly, Samuel Ireland, Henry Jackson, and Robert Lockwood.

    Note: You must be logged in to and be an active subscriber to the Great Migration Newsletter Online to access these sketches.

    Subscribers to the Great Migration Newsletter Online may view the new sketches.

    Subscribe to the Great Migration Newsletter Online.

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    New this week: Transcriptions of First Parish Cemetery, South Parish Cemetery, and Third Parish Cemetery, all located in Dedham, Massachusetts.

    Source: "Dedham, Mass. Epitaphs." Compiler unknown. Call number MSS MS 70 DED 1.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections



    New Research Article from the Archives

    Across the Border: Rhode Islanders and Pancho Villa

    by Maureen A. Taylor

    Immediately prior to World War I, a short-lived conflict called The Mexican Punitive Expedition of 1916-1917 occupied national attention. Lost in the shadow of the "Great War," the conflict has disappeared from most Rhode Island record books, even though the Rhode Island National Guard was called into national service to assist.

    In January 1916, Francisco "Pancho" Villa, a bandit who opposed the Mexican president, killed nineteen American rail passengers in Mexico. Then in March, he and approximately 500 followers attacked the small New Mexican community of Columbus. In this skirmish, at least fifteen American soldiers died, as did a few Mexican troops. This was just one of the many border conflicts in which Villa and his men participated.

    Following the attack on Columbus, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson directed Brigadier General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing to command 14,000 Army troops. Additionally 140,000 members of the army and National Guard protected the border between the United States and Mexico. Rhode Island members of the Light Battery A, Rhode Island Field Artillery, participated in this conflict.


    NEHGS members may access the entire article here.

    NEHGS Celebrates 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.

    The Upper St. John River Valley Website

    This website will be of great interest to anyone with ancestors in northern Maine, particularly those with French Canadian ancestry. Geographically speaking, the majority of the materials on this site relate to the upper St. John River valley, which was also known as the Madawaska Settlement (Original Name: The Wulustuk), Northern Aroostook County, Maine, and Madawaska County, New Brunswick. There is also some material on the rest of Aroostook County, and the Gaspé and Kamouraska regions of Quebec. The types of records range from censuses, land grants and surveys, maps, town and regional histories, information about early settlers, and some family histories. With many of the resources on this site, you have the option of choosing to view the text in English or French.

    Because the upper St. John River valley was claimed by both Great Britain and the United States until 1842, the website’s materials include censuses and surveys taken by the State of Maine and the U.S. government for areas that are now a part of Canada and vice versa. To learn about the history of the border dispute, click on "The Border Dispute" link in the History of the Madawaska Region section of the home page.

    The census transcriptions for the area that appear on the site cover the period between 1820 and 1860. These censuses were conducted by the United States, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Maine. There are name indexes for most them and some have been annotated. These annotations can be viewed by placing your cursor over the name of an individual for whom additional information is known. The names of these individuals appear in blue in the census list. As your cursor hovers over the name, a small pop-up window appears containing additional information such as parents’ names, marriages, and maiden names, plus the relationships between the individual and other members of the household and other people in that year’s census. Source information for this data also appears in the pop-up box. A key to the sources has been provided in the descriptive information which may be found by clicking on the "Annotations: The pop-up boxes in the census transcriptions" link. This information is available in French as well as in English.

    Some of the censuses transcribed on this site are, in fact, missing from the microfilmed copies of the census. These include the 1820 US Census of Madawaska and the 1820 US Census of Houlton and New Limerick, Aroostook County, Maine. Why? Because they were apparently given by the United States in 1829 to the King of the Netherlands for his 1831 arbitration over the border dispute. The full story behind the whereabouts of the censuses for these areas may be found in the introductory materials related to the particular transcription.

    Land grant records and surveys found on the site include the following: Native Peoples of the Upper St. John River Valley, which has been updated with the 1841 report on Maleseets of Madawaska; 1787, 1790, and 1794 British Land Grants; and an 1827 list of American citizens in possession of lands in Madawaska compiled from information from the Justice of the Peace for the County of York, Province of New Brunswick. There are seven maps in the site’s collections. One map shows the disputed boundaries (1782-1842) where Britain and the United States staked their claims.

    There is a "What’s New" link near the end of the home page. Click on the link to find out what has been added recently, and to learn about new documents and data the site plans to add in the near future.

    This website is filled with information on the history of the area and the genealogy of its residents and their antecedents. If you have ancestors who lived in the upper St. John River valley area or ancestors who came from the Gaspé and Kamouraska regions of Quebec, this is a website that you should definitely check out.

    Visit the Upper St. John River Valley website at

    History Hidden in a Courthouse Basement

    Thanks to professional historian and archivist, Milli Knudsen, a slice of New Hampshire history is on its way to being preserved for the future. Ms. Knudsen went to the Cheshire County Courthouse in Keene, New Hampshire, earlier this year to do research for a book she is writing. Her quest for documents took her to a basement storage room in the courthouse. This room, filled with broken machinery and miscellaneous junk, also held documents dating back to the period before the current courthouse opened in 1858. Some of the documents date back to the 1770s.

    There were two hundred boxes filled with judges’ journals, old law books, photographs, and miscellaneous items in the storage room. The county clerk, who had begun to sort through these records, persuaded Ms. Knudsen to help organize the documents so that other researchers could use them more easily.

    Ms. Knudsen worked alone for four months and managed to sort through only two boxes. She now has the assistance of a group of volunteers who have helped her sort through another sixteen boxes in the past three weeks. Items they have found so far include the following: proclamations from the King of England; documents from cases involving Daniel Webster; an original proclamation declaring Thanksgiving a holiday, signed by Governor John Langdon; and even a document telling what a trial jury ate for lunch in the 1800s. Eventually, all documents more than one hundred years old will be housed in the New Hampshire State Archives. They still have a long way to go before the project is completed.

    The work that has been going on for the past few months—continuing into the future—is a significant step toward preserving the early Cheshire County Court records and making them available for future use by historians and genealogists alike. And, yes, Ms. Knudsen did find what she was looking for.

    Source: An Online Edition of The Keene Sentinel Tuesday, August 10, 2004

    Remains of Historic Cemetery Unearthed in Rhode Island

    If you are researching the surnames Blanchard, Thornton, Chace, or Fenner, you may be interested to know about a burial site recently unearthed by contractors preparing to build a storage facility in Johnston, Rhode Island. According the Providence Journal, as the contractors cleared the land for the building site, they discovered a human bone and pieces of four headstones, the oldest of which recorded the 1831 death of Lydia Thornton, age twenty-nine. The surnames Blanchard and Thornton were found on other fragments, as well as a possible Fenner family member (the grounds are located in an area called Fenner Hill). The future of the development site is now unclear, as the next of kin of the deceased must be notified if the remains are to be moved. If the family objects, the remains must stay on the land. The developers were ordered to cease all work on the site until archaeologists are able to define the graves.

    The Journal article notes that the previous owners of the land were the DiFazio family, who operated a greenhouse business on the site. In the 1990s, neighbor Joseph Carlino complained that the DiFazios bulldozed the historic cemetery in order to build their greenhouses, a charge the DiFazios have steadfastly denied. The DiFazios have claimed that they had heard stories about the gravesite, but were unable to locate it or find any proof that it existed. Carlino proceeded to collect evidence proving that the burial ground existed, including deeds that identified the Blanchard plot. A guide published in the 1930s titled "The Index of Rhode Island Grave Records" noted that the site was "almost destroyed, but undoubtedly once contained many more stones." It went on to list the gravestones of Joseph, Lucinda, and Mary Blanchard; Anna Chace; and Lydia Thornton, with dates of death ranging from 1831 to 1874. An entry in the Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries Database Index on describes the burial ground thusly:

    PLAINFIELD PIKE 14 burials with 10 inscriptions from 1831 to 1885 NOTE: James N Arnold 2:182, 24 May 1891. On top of Fenner's Hill on the Plainfield Turnpike in rear of house in open lot and not well protected a burial yard of the family. Note by Charles Benns 1935 #543: "this cemetery is almost destroyed but undoubtedly once contained many more gravestones." In 1987 this cemetery was totally destroyed and a greenhouse built on the site. The Attorney General's office was still investigating this in 1997. See 19 Feb 1900 deed in Johnston for transfer of this property from James Edwards to Michael Ionnotti with a reservation for a cemetery. This cemetery has been recorded but not checked.

    Source: The Providence Journal - Wednesday, August 4, 2004

    Register Now for the APG Professional Management Conference

    The seventh Annual Association of Professionial Genealogists' Professional Management Conference is less than a month away, but there is still time to register. Don't miss the chance to network with other professionals and hear from some of the best known genealogists in the business on Wednesday, September 8, 2004, in the Austin Convention Center, Austin, Texas. The PMC is being held in conjunction with Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and Texas State Genealogical Society's 2004 Conference taking place September 8 to 11.

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

    Six PMC lecturers will present in-depth coverage of the following topics: "Just a Few Ways to Get the Ink on the Paper" by Craig R. Scott, CGRS; "Effective Communications in the Age of Technology" by NEHGS director of electronic publications Michael J. Leclerc; "Quality, Time, and Completion: Developing a Research Plan" by J. Mark Lowe, CG; "College and Adult Education Level Teaching" by John W. Konvalinka, CGRS, CGL; and "Applying the Genealogical Proof Standard in Difficult Situations: Client Research with Unexpected Results" by Helen F. M. Leary, CG.

    Established twenty-five years ago in Utah, APG is the leading worldwide professional organization of genealogists and related professionals devoted to supporting high standards in the field. The group is based in Westminster, Colorado, and currently has twenty-one chapters and more than 1,400 members.

    For conference registration and program details visit the APG website, The professional conference fee includes a separate syllabus, continental breakfast, and networking luncheon. To register for the conference go to the FGS Conference website:

    For further information please email Eileen Polakoff at or John Konvalinka at

    Careers at NEHGS

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

    NEHGS Research Tour to Salt Lake City

    October 10-17, 2004

    NEHGS invites you to join its twenty-sixth annual research tour to Salt Lake City, taking place October 10-17, 2004! Let our experienced staff genealogists and other recognized experts in the field assist you with your research in the largest genealogical repository in the world - the Family History Library! Lectures on genealogical topics, personal one-on-one consultations with staff, computer tutorials on the Family History Library and online genealogical research, guided research in the library, and group meals are included in the weeklong program.

    NEHGS staff genealogists and guest consultants will be stationed on each floor of the Family History Library for scheduled personal research consultations. There will be plenty of time in the course of the week to confer with them about research questions and concerns.

    Lectures during the week include:

    * "Library Orientation and Guided Tour of Joseph Smith Memorial Building" by Jane Knowles Lindsey
    * "Urban Research" by David Dearborn, FASG
    * "Dissecting A Probate Packet" by Ruth Quigley Wellner
    * "Your Roots in the British Isles: Finding, Tending, Mending" by Jerome E. Anderson
    * "Genetics and Genealogy" by Christopher Child

    Computer classes (Monday and Tuesday) include:

    * "FHL Computer Orientation: Accessing the Card Catalog, the IGI, and the Pedigree Resource File" by Jane Knowles Lindsey and Ruth Quigley Wellner
    * "Researching on the Web: Using and Other Online Resources" by Ruth Quigley Wellner and Jane Knowles Lindsey

    The Family History Library is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Monday, 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and is closed on Sunday.

    Get more information or download a registration form.



    Genealogy in a Nutshell Takes a Vacation

    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.

    Favorite - and Black Sheep - Ancestor Feedback

    Each week we ask the questions "Who is your favorite ancestor? Who is your favorite black sheep ancestor? Why?" If you would like to contribute information on your favorite and/or black sheep ancestor, please send your story in 300 words or less to Rod Moody at Thank you to all past and future contributors!

    Please note that NEHGS does not verify responses.

    My Favorite Ancestors
    by Peter A. Hutchinson of Phippsburg, Maine

    My favorite ancestors are two, and because their lives were intertwined I keep them together in respect and research. They are two of the most fascinating men in early American history, yet we still don't know much about either, despite books written about each. Both remain genealogical mysteries in their antecedents and early lives. Both were much maligned by their contemporaries and rudely treated by historians of their era and after; neither, despite their considerable impact on colonial settlement, has received modern biographical treatment.

    Rev. Stephen Bachiler (1561-1656) is the better known of the two, thanks to numerous interested descendants and sympathetic annotation by Robert Anderson, who summed him up with the accolade, "Among many remarkable lives lived by early New Englanders, Bachiler's is the most remarkable." (The Great Migration Begins, 68.) There are both genealogical and historical mysteries about the man: who his parents were and from where, who took him in as an orphan and put him through St. John's at Oxford; his connections to Thomas West (Lord de la Warre), the Winthrops, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and John Mason (he married Helena Mason). And what was his nonconformist theology that cost him his living as vicar of Wherwell and led him to immigrate to New England in 1632, only to be at odds with Puritans there? He was to be minister to colonists of the Plough Company of Husbandmen, "Familists" of London, and was supposed to settle on Gorges' Lygonia grant in Maine but didn't. We think of Bachiler as an early Puritan, but in Massachusetts Bay he was harassed from Saugus to Newbury to Hampton (which he founded) and finally to Strawberry Bank (Portsmouth), accused throughout of "scandals" both theological and (absurdly) sexual. He lost his house, library, and papers to fire in Hampton; his sermons and most of his letters, which would tell us much more about his thought and character, seem not to have survived.

    George Cleeve (ca. 1586- aft. 1666) invited Bachiler to be minister to the Province of Lygonia at Casco, Maine, in 1644. The two probably first met in 1641, when Bachiler served as umpire in a land dispute and arbitration between Cleeve and John Winter at Thomas Gorges' court in Saco, Province of Maine. Of Cleeve's background we know little; he came to America in 1630, settled at Spurwink near what is now Portland, and is considered founder of that city. When Colonel Alexander Rigby bought the Lygonia patent from Bachiler's erstwhile Plough Company partner Richard Dummer in 1643, Cleeve was named deputy president of the new province, and must have thought Bachiler to have compatible views. (Bachiler chose instead to accept a call to Ipswich, only to have that church denied by Massachusetts.) As for Cleeve, he administered a province even larger than Gorges' Maine for more than a decade, and was a last holdout to Massachusetts jurisdiction until finally submitting in 1658. We still seek more on the man and his thought, the documents that might confirm an early try at constitutional government in Maine. Cleeve's career, like Bachiler's, was stormy and litigatious, almost always in confrontation with both neighbors and the theocratic Massachusetts Bay authorities. James P. Baxter concluded that Cleeve was "of great energy and perseverance," that while "ambitious and selfish" he "stood morally above the average of the people about him." (George Cleeve and His Times, 210-11) What these two pioneers shared was their outspoken lust for freedom: Bachiler seems to have been an early instigator for separation of church and state, Cleeve for independence of local government. Worthy progenitors of me and mine, here and now!

    Peter A. Hutchinson is a student of history and archaeology who lives in Phippsburg, Maine. He is writing a history of Lygonia, and welcomes correspondence from interested persons at


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