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  • 2004 Archive

  • Vol. 6, No. 39
    Whole #185
    September 24, 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 From NEHGS Books: Pilgrim Edward Winslow: New England's First International Diplomat
    * New England States Seminars at NEHGS
    * Online Genealogical Resources in Two New Hampshire Public Libraries
    * Upcoming Events in New England
    * Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    * Favorite - and Black Sheep - Ancestor Feedback
    * NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Vital Records of Swansea, Massachusetts to 1850

    The following was excerpted from the introduction to this volume, which is not a part of the official "1850" series:

    "The town of Swansea, founded in 1667, lies in a key geographical position at the head of Narragansett and Mount Hope Bays, originally encompassing land now in Somerset, Massachusetts, and Barrington and Warren, Rhode Island. Through it passed many Plymouth and Bristol County families, often Mayflower descendants, heading west into Rhode Island and beyond. Given this history, it is rather surprising that Swansea's vital records have not been published in full until now.

    "Unfortunately any attempt, however poor, at presenting information often deters subsequent, more thorough efforts, and the delay in this case was certainly due in part to the existence of some earlier, incomplete transcriptions which are described in detail in the introductions to each section.

    "Because of the persistence and dedication of the late H.L. Peter Rounds, NEHGS is able, finally, to publish these Vital Records of Swansea, Massachusetts to 1850. Mr. Rounds began transcribing them from microfilm in the early 1980s. While it was not his initial intent to provide a literal transcription, others from whom he sought advice convinced him to copy the original records as exactly as possible. He was for some time unsuccessful in finding a publisher. In the mid-1980s, however, the Society accepted his proposal and purchased the manuscript with funds provided by John Brooks Threlfall of Madison, Wisconsin."

    The original text is available at the NEHGS Library and through the NEHGS Circulating Library. The call number is REF F74/S995/R68/1992.


    Search Vital Records of Swansea, Massachusetts to 1850 at




    Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850
    New Town - Medfield

    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 Medfield in Norfolk 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 REF F74/M48/M54/1903.

    Search Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 at

    Records of Sterling, Massachusetts

    In 1942, Grace Olive Chapman transcribed and compiled inscriptions from the Leg Cemetery in Sterling in Worcester County, Massachusetts. These transcriptions recently became available in our Cemetery Transcriptions database ( In a separate chapter of this manuscript, Mrs. Chapman compiled additional genealogical information on the individuals buried in the cemetery found in other sources. Due to differences in formatting, the two sections could not be combined in the same database. We recommend that interested members open two browser windows to explore both related databases.

    Search Records of Sterling, Massachusetts, at

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    New this week: Transcription of the following cemeteries in Greenfield, Franklin County, Massachusetts:

    Calvary Cemetery; Cemetery near Old Sage Place; Federal Street Cemetery; Green River Cemetery; High Street Cemetery; Log Plain Cemetery; Lower Meadows Cemetery; Old Catholic Cemetery; and Upper Meadows Cemetery.


    Source: "Greenfield, Mass. Records," compiler unknown, no date.

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    Records of Marriages by Reverend Jesse Warren in Hollis, Maine

    The town of Hollis, in York County, was organized in 1798. This handwritten manuscript contains marriages performed by Rev. Jesse Warren in Hollis between 1849 and 1870. The manuscript was donated by Mrs. Carle O. Warren of Moravia, New York, in 1956.


    This book is part of the R. Stanton Avery Collections, call number MSS SL HOL 10j.

    Search Records of Marriages by Reverend Jesse Warren in Hollis, Maine at





    Master Search

    Master search all databases at


    New Research Article on

    New Column!

    Thinking Genealogically
    by Lora Pallatto

    Follow the Money

    When Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were chasing down Watergate information, "Deep Throat" suggested that they "follow the money." Turns out, that's very good advice for digging up information about your ancestors, too.

    When money changes hands, a record of the transaction is made. When someone owes money, there's a bill. Whether you have money or you don't, there are usually records to show it.

    Our ancestors bought insurance. They paid taxes. They went to court to obtain judgments against people who owed them money. They staked claims for land or mineral or water rights. They stayed in hotels and used transportation. They invested in companies. They joined groups like the Masons or the Grange or the Elks or the Oddfellows. They donated to charities and helped to build hospitals and libraries. They bought cemetery plots and tombstones. They gave money to religious organizations. And as often as not, somebody made a record of these events as soon as a payment was made. If they didn't pay money they owed, there's a record of that, too!

    About the author: Lora Pallatto has had a keen interest in family history research for more than thirty years. She is the editor of the Livesay Bulletin for the Livesay Historical Society, a quarterly newsletter for members, and is a member of NEHGS, the National Genealogical Society, and the Connecticut Society of Genealogists. Personal research interests include English, Scottish, Irish, German, Dutch and French immigrants from 1620 to 1840, ancestors in Yorkshire and Lancashire England prior to 1830, Germany prior to 1750, as well as her husband's roots in southern Italy, Ireland, and Germany. She is currently working on a publishing project involving families in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and Muskingum County, Ohio.

    NEHGS members may access the entire article at

    New from NEHGS Books: Pilgrim Edward Winslow: New England's First International Diplomat

    Through the use of fascinating primary documents, author Jeremy Dupertius Bangs tells in compelling detail the story of America's first international diplomat, examining many aspects of his long career of public service. In 1633, as governor, Winslow supervised a revision of Plymouth Colony's laws, establishing clear, even-handed government. He returned to England several times to resolve the colonists' financial obligations, and in 1634 was imprisoned at the order of Archbishop William Laud because of the Pilgrims' non-Anglican innovations. Among the founders of the United Colonies of New England, Winslow moved back to London in 1646 to represent New England's interests in Cromwell's government. He became the first author to argue for independence for the American Colonies from parliamentary supervision. Edward Winslow died in 1655 at sea off Jamaica while serving as Cromwell's Civil Advisor to the English expedition against the Spanish in the Caribbean. A rich documentary portrait of an important early American figure, this book will appeal to anyone interested in Plymouth Colony and the early history of America.

    Pilgrim Edward Winslow: New England's First International Diplomat is available from the NEHGS Online Store at Hardcover copies are priced at $49.95; softcover, $34.95

    New England States Seminars at NEHGS

    October 23 - Digging for Your Roots in Massachusetts
    November 6 - Digging for Your Roots in Connecticut

    Digging for Your Roots in Massachusetts, the first program in our New England States Seminar Series, will take place Saturday, October 23, at the NEHGS Library in Boston. The series is designed to assist beginners and seasoned researchers alike. Massachusetts research has consistently been rated as the most desired research topic by our membership. This practical seminar will cover a host of topics: researching the families of Massachusetts from the earliest beginnings of Plymouth Colony; migration patterns within the Commonwealth and beyond; the extensive Corbin Collection of church, cemetery, vital records, and family records from seventy-six towns of western Massachusetts; an overview of the history and structure of the Massachusetts state court system and wills, naturalizations, and criminal and civil cases; and the extensive collection of newspapers dating from the 1700s at the Boston Public Library and how to use them. Join us for this very special event and advance your Massachusetts research goals!

    Lectures will include:

    The Pilgrim Migration: The Settlement of Plymouth Colony, 1620-1633
    Robert Charles Anderson, director of the Great Migration Study Project and co-editor of The American Genealogist.

    Massachusetts Migrations
    David Dearborn, NEHGS reference librarian.

    Researching Western Massachusetts Using the Corbin Collection
    Robert J. Dunkle, co-author of many books on colonial Boston and editor of several NEHGS CD-ROMs.

    An Overview of Massachusetts State and County Court Records
    Elizabeth Bouvier, head of archives at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

    Newspaper Research at the Boston Public Library
    Henry Scannell, curator of microtext and newspapers at the Boston Public Library.


    Digging for Your Roots in Connecticutwill address basic genealogical research as well as printed sources relevant to the geographical core of the state, probate records, and the resources of the Connecticut State Library. It will conclude with several interesting case studies. Join us to enhance your Connecticut research skills!

    Lectures will include:

    An Overview of Genealogical Research in Connecticut
    Joyce S. Pendery, certified genealogist, NEHGS trustee, and contributor to the Connecticut research area of

    The Connecticut Core In Print - Updated
    Gary Boyd Roberts, senior research scholar at NEHGS.

    Negotiating the Maze of Connecticut Probate Records
    Barbara Mathews, certified genealogist specializing in colonial Connecticut research, contributor to the Connecticut research area of

    Resources of the Connecticut State Library
    Richard C. Roberts, head of the history and genealogy department of the Connecticut State Library.

    Some Connecticut Case Studies: Thinking Out of the Box
    Helen Schatvet Ullmann, CG, FASG, associate editor for the Register, author of several books relating to Connecticut research.

    Download a registration form for the Massachusetts conference at

    Download a registration form for the Connecticut conference at

    Online Genealogical Resources in Two New Hampshire Public Libraries

    One place you might not think to look for online genealogical resources is the website of the local public library for the town where your ancestors lived. You may be pleasantly surprised with what you find. Two of New Hampshire's public libraries with such information are located in Keene ( and Conway (

    On the Keene Public Library website, for instance, you will find transcriptions from the Vital Statistics of the Town of Keene, New Hampshire (1742-1881). More specifically, there are birth records for the years 1753 to 1878, marriages for 1762 to 1855, and deaths for 1742 to 1881. The original vital records for later years are in the process of being scanned, digitized, and uploaded in a table format. Currently, you will find births from 1887 to 1900, marriages from 1888 to 1915 and deaths from 1887 to 1915. Eventually, the library plans to add marriages and deaths for the period from 1888 to 1941 and births from 1887 to 1900. Due to confidentiality laws, New Hampshire births occurring after 1900 cannot be published. The library does not have records for the period from 1882 to 1886.

    To access the records, click on the Genealogy link on the Keene library's home page. This will bring you to a page giving an overview of the genealogy-related holdings, as well as links to other relevant websites. Once there, click on the Vital Statistics link.

    The Conway Public Library has a number of different types of family history-related materials on its website. Click on the Genealogical and Local History Resources link on the library's home page to access the resources, which include the vital statistics of Conway; cemetery records of Conway, Eaton, and Albany, New Hampshire; People of Conway; and Conway History. The records include transcriptions of Conway births from 1887 to 1899, deaths from 1887 to 2003, and marriages from 1887 to 1929. The cemetery records for Albany, Conway, and Eaton, New Hampshire, have been transcribed, and there is a link to a outside page that lists the geographic locations of Conway cemeteries as well.

    In the People of Conway, New Hampshire, section you will find links to biographical information, a (zipped) GEDCOM file of Conway settlers that you can download, the Eastman Family Index, a list of Kennett High School graduates, and obituaries for the years 1999 to 2001. They also provide a link so that you can email your historical and genealogical questions to the library staff.

    Don't overlook the smaller public libraries in your research efforts. While their online genealogy collections may not be large, they just might contain the people you are looking for.

    Upcoming Events in New England

    The Berkshires - Life in the Past Lane: A Daylong Genealogy Conference
    Saturday, 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:

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

    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"

    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. NEHGS will be offering items for sale and information about membership in the vendor area.

    The registration fee for the conference is $40. Lunch is included in the price of the conference.

    The Crowne Plaza Hotel is located at One West Street in Pittsfield.


    Morse Society Reunion

    October 22-24, 2004

    The twelfth annual Morse Society Reunion will be held October 22-24, 2004, at the Best Western Merry Manor Inn in South Portland, Maine.

    The reunion commences on Friday October 22, with registration and the Research Team's Open House. There will be a President's Reception in the Grand Ballroom on Friday night, where attendees will have a chance to meet each other and catch up with family from reunions past.

    Saturday starts with the actual reunion, followed by a buffet lunch, and then optional local tours or seminars at the reunion site. A farewell banquet will take place on Saturday evening, with Carl Morse, the Society's English researcher, as the keynote speaker.

    The Best Western Merry Manor Inn is located on 700 Main Street, So Portland, Maine, 04106. For registration or other information on the Morse Society Reunion, please email the Society's Reunion Committee at or visit the website at


    Upcoming Genealogy in a Nutshell Lectures at the NEHGS Library

    Please note that due to new Research Library hours, all Nutshell lectures will now begin at 10:15 a.m.

    "Irish Immigration to New England: 1815-1845" with Marie Daly on September 25.

    Most people think of Irish immigration as occurring during the Great Famine period of 1845-1855. But an earlier, significant migration laid the foundation for the subsequent exodus from Ireland. NEHGS Irish expert Marie Daly will discuss the history of Irish immigration to New England and Eastern Canada in the early nineteenth century.


    "Taking a Bite Out of the Big Apple: New York City Research" with David Dearborn on September 29 and October 2.

    Due to its sheer size, New York City presents unique challenges to family historians. NEHGS genealogist and New York City expert, David Dearborn, will outline sources and strategies that will help researchers overcome the frustrating obstacles of finding ancestors in the Big Apple.

    All lectures take place at 10:15 a.m. at the NEHGS Library in Boston. Advance registration is not necessary.

    For more details about NEHGS education events, please visit our online Education Center at 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 Ancestor
    by Dan Atwell of Chicago, Illinois


    As someone who grew up with a love of history, I have always been interested in my New England roots. As a child I had heard stories of early Americans being whipped, put into stocks, and so on, but I never thought anyone in my own family had deserved to be treated like that.

    Peter Busecot, my seventh great grandfather, was born in England probably around 1610. He was married in Devonshire 20 Nov 1631 to Mary May. The source for the information below is primarily Austin's Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island.

    Peter and Mary were in Boston by 1636 where on September 6, Peter was ordered to be whipped and fined 5 pounds "for drunkenness." Peter then told the magistrates that they could only fine him, after which he was ordered "to have twenty stripes sharply inflicted" for insulting the magistrates and their punishments. The fine was reduced to 20 shillings. Whether he was still whipped or not, the records do not say.

    After this run-in with the law, Peter apparently did not learn his lesson. In 1638 he and Richard Geaves were referred to the court at Salem for quarrelling and fighting. Sometime after this, Peter removed to Hartford, Connecticut, where in 1643 he apparently challenged another blacksmith, Thomas Hurlbut, that he could make nails for the same price with "less loss." Whether Peter won the contest or not is unknown, but he was still in Hartford in 1647 when he was fined 20 shillings "for resisting the watch." Then on October 17, 1648, the court at Hartford ordered him to be kept in prison until the next sermon, then to stand the duration of the sermon "in the pillory. After the sermon he was to be "severely whipped." Peter had apparently spoken "profanely" of the members of the church.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, Peter moved to Warwick, Rhode Island, in 1648 where he was granted a six-acre house lot. In March 1651 he was chosen Town Sergeant (over a man who was displaced for misdemeanor) and was a Freeman in 1655. After this brief period of apparent good behavior, in 1657 he was sued by Ezekiel Holliman for debt, by Thomas Bradley for slander, and by Abigail Sweet for both trespass and slander. Peter, in turn, brought suit against Bradley for both debt and slander.

    Peter Busecot died sometime after 1692 when records show he and his wife deeded land in Warwick. As a blacksmith, and therefore a vital member of the community, it is possible that Peter was shown some leniency for his arrogance and rude tongue. However, the price for his behavior was considerable and the moves Peter made around New England were likely a result of his unruliness rather than business reasons or personal choice. Peter and Mary had three known children, Abigail, Peter, and Mary. Of these, Peter Jr. apparently shot himself accidentally, thereby ending the Busecot line in America.

    Far from being the proverbial "horse thief" in the family, Peter is a great example of the rebellious spirit of some of our early American ancestors. He somehow managed to continually confront the authorities and maintain his individuality while successfully raising a family (both daughters married and left descendants) and obtaining a fair amount of land for himself. And if he ruffled a few starched collars along the way, well, so be it.


    NEHGS Contact Information

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

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