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  • 2004 Archive

  • Vol. 6, No. 34
    Whole #180
    August 20, 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
    * NEHGS Library Hours Change
    * Visit NEHGS in Western Massachusetts at the Big E
    * From the Volunteer Coordinator
    * Featured Website: Migrations
    * Events in New England
    * Careers at NEHGS
    * "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Takes a Vacation
    * Favorite - and Black Sheep - Ancestor Feedback
    * NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850
    New Town Additions - Washington

    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 Washington in Berkshire 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 this volume is as follows:

    Washington - REF F74/W31/W3/1904

    Search Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850.



    The Diaries of the Rev. Thomas Cary of Newburyport, Massachusetts - 1784

    The Rev. Thomas Cary (1745-1808) was one of the many ministers along the Merrimack River who encouraged the patriotism of their parishioners during the Revolutionary War. He started his diary in Weston, Massachusetts, in 1762 and continued writing entries until 1806, two years before his death. This installment covers the year 1784.

    The original diaries are part of the R. Stanton Avery Collections. The call number is MSS 640.

    Search the Thomas Cary Diaries.


    Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910

    Added this week:
    Indexes: 1891 to 1895
    Records: 1856

    The latest installment in this ongoing database includes the indexes to all Massachusetts birth, death, and marriage records from 1891 to 1895 and actual records from 1856 (vols. 96-104). 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.

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    New this week: Transcriptions of twenty-five cemeteries in Nova Scotia, Canada.

    Roman Catholic Church Cemetery (Annapolis); Old Garrison Cemetery (Annapolis Royal); Episcopal Church Cemetery, Methodist Church Cemetery (Clementsport); All Saints, English Episcopal Church Cemetery (Granville Center); Bellasle Cemetery, Stoney Beach Cemetery, Parker Cemetery, Troop Cemetery, Mills Cemetery (Granville Ferry); Church of England Cemetery (Lower Granville); Daniel's Cemetery (Union), Whitney Cemetery (Lawrencetown); Baptist and Methodist Cemetery (Paradise); Church of England Cemetery (Stewiacke); Greenville Cemetery (Westchester Station); Embree Cemetery (Baptist), Methodist Cemetery (Westchester Mountain); Union Cemetery, Church of England Cemetery (Barton); Baptist Cemetery, Baptist Methodist Advent and Union Cemetery (Smith's Cove); Roman Catholic Cemetery (Plympton); English Episcopal Church Yard (Marshaltown); Yarmouth County Cemetery (Ohio).

    Source: "Nova Scotia, Canada." Handwritten manuscript, compiler unknown. Call number MSS SL NOV1a.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections




    New Research Article on

    New England Articles in Genealogical Journals in 2002

    by Henry B. Hoff

    This annual feature in the Register indexes certain genealogical journals nineteen months after the close of the publication year. Not all articles in each journal are included. Some articles are not relevant to New England, some are too general, and others are insufficiently documented.

    Listed are the seventeen journals indexed (with abbreviations). Next is an index to surnames, places, and some subjects occurring in the titles of articles in these journals in 2002. The index is to the bibliography by author that follows; "a&c" is used to indicate additions and corrections, sometimes by a different author.

    Photocopies of articles for personal research can be obtained (for a fee) from libraries or from the NEHGS Research Services.

    NEHGS members may access the entire article at

    NEHGS Library Hours Change

    We wish to remind you that 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.

    Visit NEHGS in Western Massachusetts at the Big E

    NEHGS will be exhibiting at the Big E, September 17 through October 3, 2004. Formally known as the Eastern States Exposition, the Big E takes place in West Springfield, Massachusetts. It is the largest fair in the northeast, serving as a combined "state fair" for all six New England states.

    NEHGS staff members will be available to demonstrate the newly redesigned website and answer questions about NEHGS, New England research, and family history in general. We will have several books and other references available to browse through. More than one million visitors are expected at this year’s Big E event. We encourage members and non-members alike to stop by the NEHGS booth and meet our staff and volunteers.

    The NEHGS booth will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the New England Center on the Big E fairgrounds, adjacent to Storrowton Village. This location is near the center of the fairgrounds. The village is an authentic restoration of a nineteenth-century New England town complete with meeting house, tavern, and historic homes. Directions and information about the fair are online at or by calling the Big E Info Line at 413-205-5115.

    From the Volunteer Coordinator

    Although I have not contributed to this newsletter for a while, volunteer work continues at an energetic pace. As described in the preceding article NEHGS will be operating a booth at the Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts, September 17 through October 3 between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Our call for volunteers to help with this event brought an immediate and gratifying response from members who live near the Big E fairgrounds. Over forty volunteers will be working with the staff at the booth, giving out information about NEHGS resources and answering visitors' questions. In June we attended an introductory meeting at the Big E grounds, where volunteers met staff members and one another. I anticipate a very good time to be had by all, and look forward to meeting many new volunteers.

    On Thursday, September 23, NEHGS will host an Open House from 2 to 6 p.m. Volunteers who live in the Boston area will be on hand to greet attendees and show interested visitors around the library. With the help of our volunteers, this should prove to be a very successful - and pleasant - afternoon.

    Our volunteer "brown bag" lunches continue at both 101 Newbury Street and One Watson Place in Framingham. The next lunch will be held at the Framingham facility on Thursday, September 9, 2004. The volunteers who work in Framingham are about to become quite busy with a variety of new tasks and they - and I - would welcome individuals interested in joining our volunteer group. I encourage any member living within driving distance of our Framingham facility who would enjoy being part of the group to contact me at: or 617-226-1276.

    Thank you,
    Susan Rosefsky
    NEHGS Volunteer Coordinator

    Featured Website: Migrations

    The primary mission of the Migrations Project is to develop a searchable international database of the migrations of persons and make it available to the public free of charge. Secondarily, the project maintains a National Migrations Links page, which provides links to state migration databases. All Migrations Project databases are built on information provided by individual researchers. Ownership of that data remains with the individual who provided it.

    You can perform a simple search of the database by either location or name. You can also perform an advanced search by using a combination of up to three search criteria chosen from dropdown lists. Search options from the dropdown lists include surname, originating location, any location, and submitter.

    It is important to note that the location search is case sensitive. To search by state, use the state’s postal abbreviation. You can also search by city and county. To search locations outside of United States use the full country name. You must remember to capitalize first letter of any location - other than state abbreviations where both letters must be capitalized – or your search will not generate any results. When you search by location, the results will include not only people whose place of origin is the location you are seeking, but also those who passed through that place on their way to their final destination.

    Search results include name, lifespan, and place of origin for everyone who matches the search criteria. Click on the name link to learn details about an individual and the path of his or her migration, including name, lifespan, place of birth, and year of arrival in each of the locations through which the individual passed. The information in the ‘Additional Notes’ field might include the names of spouses and children, other details pertinent to the individual’s family, and source citations for the data found in the record. Each record also contains an email link for the submitter. This is a nice feature, which is useful in helping you to try to determine whether a person is your relative.

    As noted on the site, users can help to build the website by adding information about their families to the database. There are very specific instructions for adding data. These instructions may be found on the homepage under the "NEW FAQ for Using Migrations! Please click here before submitting your relatives!" link. You can also help by becoming a host for a state or county. Information about becoming a host for a county or state may also be found under the "NEW FAQ" link.

    If some of your forebears have gotten lost or been temporarily misplaced, you should visit this website. They just might have been found by another researcher and added to the Migrations Project database.


    New England Events

    The Berkshires - Life in the Past Lane: A Daylong Genealogy Conference
    September 25, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

    The Friends of the Silvio O. Conte National Archives present a daylong genealogy conference on Saturday, September 25, 2004, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Speakers and lecture topics for "The Berkshires - Life in the Past Lane" program include:

    Kathy Reilly, Berkshire Athenaeum, "Pre-1850 Census and Beyond: How to Locate Your Early 18th Century Ancestors using Local, State and Federal Resources" (part 1)

    Jean Nudd, NARA Archivist, "Pre-1850 Census and Beyond: How to Locate Your Early 18th Century Ancestors using Local, State and Federal Resources" (part 2)

    Thomas & Virginia Howard, professional genealogists, "Bridging the Gap Between 1850-1900 - How to Locate and Utilize Those Elusive Personal Records"

    Bob Dunkle, editor of the NEHGS CD-ROM series The Corbin Collection, "Getting to Know the Corbin Collection"

    The program runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with registration beginning at 8 a.m. In addition, vendor tables offering a variety of genealogical reference materials will be set up in the conference area.

    The registration fee for the conference is $40, but you can save $5 if you register before August 25. Lunch is included in the price of the conference. Space is limited. To register for the conference or for more information, call 413-236-3600 or email

    The Crowne Plaza Hotel is located at One West Street in Pittsfield. A block of rooms have been reserved for conference attendees for the nights of September 23-25 at the hotel. To reserve a room at the special rate of $99.00 per night call 412-499-2000 and mention the event along with the following code: SCA.

    Boston Public Library Event: "Visualizing Boston Neighborhood History"

    The Boston Public Library presents a series of illustrated slide lectures on the past of four of Boston’s neighborhoods—South End, Back Bay, Fenway, and West End—by Anthony Sammarco, author and historian. Mr. Sammarco is the author of forty books on Boston history.

    The lectures will take place on four Thursdays during the month of September in the Rabb Lecture Hall at the Boston Public Library’s main branch, 700 Boylston Street, Boston. The schedule is as follows:

    Thursday, September 2, 6:30 p.m. – South End
    Thursday, September 9, 6:30 p.m. – Back Bay
    Thursday, September 23, 6:30 p.m. – Fenway
    Thursday, September 30, 6:30 p.m. – West End

    This program is free and open to all. For more information, call 617-536-5400 x2339 or visit the Boston Public Library website at

    Careers at NEHGS

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



    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 page. 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 Black Sheep Ancestor
    by Oliver Popenoe of Rye Brook, New York


    The area along the Monongahela River in western Virginia, which later became Morgantown, was first settled by people from tidewater Virginia in the late 1760s and early 1770s. Two of the leading settlers were Col. John Evans and Col. Charles Martin. Evans, a Quaker, was trained in the law by one of the most prestigious lawyers in Alexandria. When he moved to the frontier with his family he took along a tutor for his children. Evans became the county lieutenant of Monongalia County (the governor's representative), county clerk, delegate to the Virginia Assembly and constitutional convention, and he held other positions of honor and prestige. Thomas Jefferson's Secretary of Treasury, Albert Gallatin, a native of Switzerland, spent several years in the county and was naturalized by Col. Evans.

    Charles Martin led a group to the area, and built Martin's Fort, where many settlers holed up during the summers to avoid Indian attacks during the Revolutionary War. Martin's sister was married to Evans. Martin had another sister, Elizabeth, who was unmarried but had a small child. Martin persuaded her to come out to the Monongahela with the promise that he would get land for her baby, little Harry.

    Which brings us to my ancestor, Peter Popeno. He arrived in 1772 from Salem County, New Jersey, and apparently was persuaded that, by marrying Elizabeth Martin, he would also get a nice piece of land. He did, and over the next several years gave her three little Popeno children: James, Nancy, and Peter. He was a house carpenter and joiner by trade and he built his house on land that was to belong to his stepson, Harry Martin. Something of Peter's character is revealed by a deposition, in which he was asked why he only had a dirt floor in his house. He replied that it was because it wasn't on his own land.

    Between 1779 and 1781, Virginia appointed commissioners to adjudicate and confirm land claims. Peter Popeno, and Elizabeth Martin Popeno for Harry Martin, had their adjoining claims confirmed on the same day. With a clear title in his name, Peter Popeno soon sold his land to John Evans' son-in-law, and then abandoned his family to go to Kentucky. After fighting in the militia there and in Ohio, Peter moved on to Vincennes, Indiana, where he obtained two grants of land from the French who governed the town. The Virginians (like Peter) in Vincennes had a very bad reputation for their high-handed and rowdy behavior and they frequently stirred up trouble with the Indians. Peter Popeno, as far as we know, never went back to Morgantown, and he was killed by Indians in 1790. In 1798 Harry Martin brought suit against the owners of Peter Popeno's land, claiming that Peter had cheated him. Whether true or not, this indicates how the family felt about Peter.

    So, Peter Popeno was clearly a lousy father and doubtless a poor role model as well. And this was lucky for little James, Nancy, and Peter. Their mother moved the family over to Col. Evans' place and Evans became a surrogate father and his tutor taught the Popeno children. James and Nancy were later to name sons after Albert Gallatin, suggesting that he, too, may have been a significant formative influence in their childhood. There is still today a stream, called Popenoe Run, going through the former Evans land, where the children probably lived.

    As a descendant I am thankful that our family history was changed by the departure of Peter Popeno and his replacement by John Evans. For more of the story see "Frontier Family" on


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