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  • 2004 Archive

  • Vol. 6, No. 4
    Whole #150
    January 23, 2004
    Edited by Lynn Betlock and Rod D. Moody

    Greetings from the New England Historic Genealogical Society! This free 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
    • Ask a Librarian Answers Your Research Questions
    • NEHGS and Family Associations
    Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    From the Volunteer Coordinator Technical Difficulties Resolved
    • Reminder! NGS Gentech 2004 in St. Louis This Week
    Burke's Peerage & Gentry Offers Database Discount to NEHGS Members
    • Canadian Local History Website
    • Favorite — and Black Sheep — Ancestor Feedback
    • NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Marriages and Publishments of Gray, Maine, 1778–1892

    These abstracts of town records were compiled by Florence M. Nelson of New Gloucester, Maine. They contain marriages performed by various ministers and justices of the peace. The town of Gray, in Cumberland County, was organized in 1778.


    Search Marriages and Publishments of Gray, Maine, 1778–1892 at

    Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati Profiles

    The Society of the Cincinnati was established in 1783 by and for the officers in Continental Service. It was organized in fourteen constituent societies, one of which is the Massachusetts Society. 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.

    New sketches are now available for the following individuals:

    Andrew Peters, Joseph Pettengill, John Phelon, Patrick Phelon, Timothy Pickering, Benjamin Pierce, Frederick Pope, Nathaniel Stone, Peleg Turner, Thomas Turner, Elijah Vose, Joseph Vose, Thomas Vose, Robert Walker, Joseph Wardwell, James A.Wells, Haffield White, Henry White, Daniel Whiting, and John Whiting.

    Search the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati Profiles at

    Vital Records of Weybridge, Vermont, 1760–1884

    These records were transcribed and compiled by Francis F. Spies in 1952. The town of Weybridge is in Addison County.



    Search Vital Records of Weybridge, Vermont, 1760–1884 at

    Marriages in Dutchess County, New York, 1776–1805



    These marriage records were transcribed by Lester Card and compiled in 1949. Mr. Card's introduction to this transcription reads, in part:

    "These marriages are taken from some minister's personal record, entered in a small (5 x 8) memorandum book. It is endorsed as being the book of Rev. Andrew Judson, but they are not his marriages. They appear to be those of some Baptist minister, residing in Dutchess County, New York, at or near Bangall. The writing is terrific, and the spelling altogether phonetic. To add to the puzzle, the book has been for a long time in water, causing the ink to run. Therefore, in this copy, you will find numerous question marks. Where decipherable, I have followed his spelling. If vague, I have given the name in present spelling but questioned, Some were so poor they did not resemble any name, and are copied as they appear. "


    Search Marriages in Dutchess County, New York at


    Master Search

    Master search all databases at

    New Research Article on

    Royal Descents, Notable Kin, and Printed Sources
    Five Actresses: Notes on the New England Ancestry of Carole Lombard, Jane Wyman, Rhonda Fleming, Janet Leigh, and Jamie Lee Curtis
    By Gary Boyd Roberts

    My "Notable Kin" columns and the speed of Internet communication over the last decade have contributed, it seems, to a revival of "celebrity" genealogy. Rhonda McClure has a "Celebrity Roots" column in Biography Magazine; William Addams Reitweisner, Rob Martindale, Leo van de Pas, and various others have created websites on the subject (or covering the ancestry of various historical or contemporary figures) and Rhonda's own "Celebrity Trees" feature on contains much backup material for figures in her column. Earlier this year Rhonda kindly sent me copies of all her preceding columns and I was pleased to find that many of her entries were somehow derived from parts of my published work.

    Read the full article at

    Editor's Note: Due to a production error, last week's research article on the Melendy family was incomplete. To view the entire article, please visit We regret the error.

    "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 monthly feature that enables NEHGS members to ask staff librarians 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.

    Email your research question to

    Please note that we do not accept questions about specific families and individuals in this forum, nor do we perform "look-ups" — please visit our Research Services department page at for assistance with these types of queries.

    Due to the high volume of questions submitted, please allow two to three months for questions to be answered. Because of their busy schedules, NEHGS librarians are only able to answer a certain number of questions. You will be notified if your question has been selected for publication.

    Here are the questions for this month:

    Curt Sutliff asks:

    I have a book that says my ancestors came over in 1623 and 1630. Where can I find a list of ships by year of arrival, and, hopefully, passenger lists?

    Perry asks:

    Where would I find Flagstaff, Maine, vital records? (Flagstaff was "drowned" for a hydro project in the 1940s/50s.) I know I can find records after 1892 at the State Archives, but I'm looking for records prior to that.

    Donald Smith asks:

    A second party researcher includes Sidney Perley, A History of Salem, Massachusetts, in source citations for some of my ancestors. I have not frequently seen this book listed as a source work. Is this publication generally accepted as viable information for genealogy?

    Martha Teten asks:

    I am researching an ancestor who was born in Boston in 1852 and orphaned with three siblings, who were separately adopted by families. Two of the siblings were adopted by families in Chicago, Illinois. She shows up in Chicago between 1860 and 1870. I have good information on this family, including her birth name, one sibling's name, occupations, etc. But I wonder if there is an institution in Boston that took in orphans during this period and placed them in homes that would have her family information on record.

    Dave Richardson asks:

    Where can I find an article on how to find naturalization records? Are they on the county, state, or federal level? When do they begin? What do I not know?

    Charmaine Bush asks:

    My ancestor was a fisherman in Ipswich during the early years of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (ca. 1640–1680). I was wondering if there are any books or articles describing what was involved in a fisherman's life at that time, such as the location of the fishing grounds, what kinds of fish were caught, etc.

    Sharon Fitzpatrick asks:

    I have a great grandfather who according to his granddaughter "remembers very clearly when a policeman came to our house and told my mother about finding her name and address in [her father's] pocket. He was found dead — I believe from alcoholism — on the street in Boston and I think it was either in 1934 or 1935."

    I have had two searches for a death record done at the state level which covered the years 1926 through 1940. No record of death could be found.

    Do you have suggestions about where else to look for a record of such a death or why the record may be missing? In case it matters, this was a father who placed some of his children in an orphanage or with neighbors. He and his wife went through numerous separations.

    Greg Scotten asks:

    I understand most of the distinctions between the Julian and Gregorian calendars regarding the interpretation of date notations. My problems are:

    1) Which Gregorian Calendar year is used when a pre-1750 Julian dated record has "Mo.1" (March)?
    2) Do all the days in the Julian Calendar month of March come under the same Gregorian year?

    NEHGS members may view the answers at You must be logged into the website to view the answers.



    NEHGS and Family Associations

    In a November issue of the eNews we announced intentions to publish information about family associations with New England roots in future editions of this newsletter. We received a hearty response from numerous organizations. Therefore, this will be the first in what we hope is a long series of articles highlighting different family groups. We look forward to creating a partnership between NEHGS and the large community of New England family associations through this endeavor. When we focus on a particular association, we ask it to provide space in its newsletter for information about NEHGS. We will explain how their members can benefit from the many resources we have on New England families in general and their family in particular.

    If you haven't been to the "Links" pages of the website lately (, you may be surprised by the large number of links we've accumulated in the family association section — over forty, with more to come! If your organization is not yet there, please read the instructions at the top of that page and send us your link. We hope, in return, you will place a link to NEHGS on your website. A quick review of some of the websites shows that several already have and some have even featured us on their websites. Thank you!

    The Morse Society

    The Morse Society recognizes five New England progenitors, but descent from any of them is not necessary for membership. The society welcomes anyone with an interest in Morse/Moss ancestry, regardless of origin. The original Morse Society was founded in 1892, dissolved in 1906, reorganized in 1973, and has a current membership of 740 people. Complete information about the history is available on its website at There you will also find information about each of the progenitors (Anthony, Joseph, Samuel, and William Morse, and John Moss), current projects (including DNA and gravestone projects), an upcoming reunion (October 22-24, 2004, in Maine), information on purchasing book reprints and CDs, and an active discussion forum.

    There are nearly seventeen thousand hits on the surname "Morse" in the NEHGS online databases including nearly three thousand in the Register alone, and over nine thousand in the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850. There are at least thirty items with Morse as a subject in the NEHGS manuscript collections, fifteen Circulating Library books available for loan (including Memorial of the Morses by Rev. Abner Morse, highlighted below), and over thirty titles relating to Morse in the Research Library stacks at 101 Newbury Street.

    The following piece is adapted from an article that appeared in the winter issue of the Morse Society Newsletter, including information and links to major references within the Register to Reverend Abner Morse, member of NEHGS and author of the Memorial of the Morses.

    Rev. Abner Morse, Popular Member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society

    References to Reverend Abner Morse appear frequently in issues of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Some are as brief as a footnote, declaring Rev. Morse "has succeeded in causing the Legislature of Massachusetts to restore to its true orthography the name of the town of Sherborn; it has been generally written and published Sherburne," (The New England Historical and Genealogical Register (NEHGR), 1853, Volume VII, p. 183) or a lengthy review of his colossal work Memorial of the Morses.

    Born in Medway, Massachusetts, on September 5, 1793, to Abner and Mille Morse, he attended Day's Academy in Wrentham and then entered Brown University at the age of 19. After graduating in 1816, he studied theology at Andover and was ordained three years later. He took his first post at the Old Congregational Church in Nantucket, Massachusetts. The congregation at Nantucket remembered him 'fondly' and as an 'ardent and successful preacher. (NEHGR, 1865, Vol. XIX, p. 372)

    Leaving in 1822, Rev. Morse next settled in Boundbrook, New Jersey, where he married his first wife, Sarah Ann Voorhees, on October 1, 1832. Shortly after giving birth to their daughter, Lucretia, both mother and daughter died in September of 1833. Rev. Morse married his second wife, Hannah Peck (of Onondaga Valley, New York) on October 15, 1836. They had three sons, Abner Leland, Elijah Adams, and Albert Field. During this period, Rev. Morse and his family resided in South Bend, Indiana, where Rev. Morse procured the Charter of a College and was elected a Professor. The family did return to the Northeast years later.

    When Rev. Morse published Memorial of the Morses in 1850, it was one of the first books of genealogy published in this country. Recorded in the "Notices of New Publications" section of the Register, 1850, Volume IV, pp 94-95, is the following review:

    On this work, Professor Morse has bestowed unwearied pains. He has ransacked the country far and wide in person, and his success, judging from the array of his 'ten thousand' [In Memorial of the Morses, Mr. Morse traced ten thousand descendants from seven early American settlers] must have been equal to his enthusiasm… The numerous biographical sketches appended to the work, are exceedingly interesting, well and sprightly written…. It is, on the whole, a work of great merit, and will be an imperishable monument to its industrious author, and an honor to the name.

    Rev. Morse continued to publish and edit genealogical works after the publication of Memorial of the Morses. Featured in the NEHGS special publication, Memorial Biographies, Volume VI, 1864-1871 (1905), p 113, Rev. Morse's legacy is described:

    He was known far and wide as a lecturer of [geology], and took a great interest in scientific farming and horticulture. He was a man of commanding presence, a forcible preacher and lecturer, and had a remarkable personality, which led him to be remembered by all with whom he came in contact. His labors in preparing Memorial of the Morses brought him in contact with the family scattered throughout the whole country. In the preface of his book he says 'that the work has not been a pecuniary success, but that he has not been without reward, for in its preparation he had held sweet communion with departed worth.'

    He died in Sharon, Massachusetts, on May 16, 1865, at the age of 71. The cause was congestion of the lungs. He was buried in the "Morse Row" at Holliston, Massachusetts. Remarks made at the funeral by Rev. Jacob were published in the Milford Journal.

    In the announcement of Rev. Morse's death in the Register, 1865, Vol. XIX, pp 372-373, he is described in the following manner:

    He was a deep thinker; original in his views and their presentation; a man of great earnestness and perseverance; had a kind heart and was beloved by his associates… He abhorred bigotry…and was severe in his denunciations against all hypocrisy. Simple himself and plain in his manner and habits, he desired to see openness and sincerity in others, and was ever pleased with such manifestations.

    If you would like to view the pages of the Register containing mentions of Rev. Abner Morse, visit the Register online database at and scroll to the bottom of the page, where you may enter the volume and page number you wish to view.

    Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library

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

    • "Clues and Context: What Social History Can Tell You About Your Family History" by Jean Maguire on Saturday, January 24

    • "Passenger Arrivals Project at the Massachusetts State Archives" by Janis Duffy on Wednesday, January 28 and Saturday, January 31

    • "Naturalization Records as Immigration Sources" by Marie Daly on Wednesday, February 4 and Saturday, February 7

    All lectures take place at 10 a.m. 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.

    From the Volunteer Coordinator

    It has been a while since I have reported here but the volunteer group has been very busy as usual. We have a new group of members who have become CD-ROM "beta testers" and are awaiting contact from NEHGS assistant executive director for technology Dick Eastman. When these testers receive their assignments, I would ask that they please keep a note of the time they have spent doing this work as I document volunteer hours. You can contact me by email at: or phone 617-226-1276 and leave a message. These hours are important to the Society.

    I have a list of members who are willing to help with other projects and I will be contacting each one of you over the next few weeks. Our "at home" transcribers and proofreaders from all over the country are working away to help us produce CDs, and there are several new projects in the works. This is the work that benefits all our members — especially those at a distance who cannot easily visit Boston — and we are grateful for this volunteer help.

    Here in Boston, it has been all work and no play until now. The volunteers at Framingham will meet with me this week for one of our "brown bag" lunches, which will include discussion, the sharing of ideas, and meeting other volunteers with genealogical experience. I plan these lunches every second month for those volunteers who can attend. The next "brown bag" lunch at 101 Newbury Street will be Wednesday, February 25, 2004, at 12:30 p.m. I hope to see as many of you as possible.

    Susan Rosefsky, Volunteer Coordinator Technical Difficulties Resolved

    For the past few weeks has experienced technical difficulties due to a virtual memory problem which affected the efficiency of our website and databases. We are very pleased to say that the root of this problem has been uncovered and the site is now running smoothly. We apologize for the inconvenience that this has caused and thank you for your patience while we worked to fix it.

    Reminder! NGS Gentech 2004 in St. Louis This Week

    If you reading this from St. Louis, Missouri, or nearby, you can attend the Gentech conference today and tomorrow at the Millennium Hotel in downtown St. Louis. NEHGS will have a booth in the exhibit hall with a collection of our best-selling CDs and live demonstrations of our website. You can also attend lectures given by NEHGS staff members Dick Eastman and Laura Prescott. Visit or for more information. Single day registration fee is $100 and two day registration fee is $190.

    Burke's Peerage & Gentry Offers Database Discount to NEHGS Members

    Burke's Peerage & Gentry, the definitive source for authentic genealogical records of Britain's titled and landed families throughout the centuries, is now offering members of the New England Historical and Genealogy Society a £20 (about $36) discount on an annual subscription to their online database. This offer expires on February 28, 2004, so do not delay! Annual subscriptions to this highly-regarded database normally are £64.95 (about $118) , but NEHGS members can now explore over one million names in over seven thousand genealogies of titled and landed families of the U.K. and Ireland for only £44.95 (about $82) a year. The genealogies, which have been carefully researched and updated by some of the most preeminent genealogists in the world, are gathered from the following collections:

    Burke’s Peerage & Baronetage 106th Edition
    Burke’s Landed Gentry Scotland 19th Edition
    Burke’s Landed Gentry Ireland 19th Edition
    Burke’s Landed Gentry England & Wales 18th Edition
    American families with British ancestry 19th Edition
    American Presidential Families
    British Prime Ministers
    ATAVUS (Burke's quarterly e-magazine)

    Also included with each subscription are four issues of ATAVUS, Burke's quarterly e-magazine. Each issue contains an abundance of interesting and informative articles on genealogy, British history, and related topics.

    To claim your discount:
    1. Go to
    2. Enter the voucher code 'NEHGS'
    3. Complete your personal details and payment information.
    4. You will receive an email with your username and password.

    More about the database can be found at:

    Canadian Local History Website

    The Our Roots Nos Racines website ( may be of interest to anyone with Canadian ancestry — no matter where in Canada those ancestors lived. This digital archive of Canadian local histories is the result of a nationwide collaboration among more than thirty partner institutions. Project partners include libraries, universities, archives, historical societies, and businesses from throughout Canada. The group is dedicated to providing universal access to the most complete collection of French and English Canadian local histories possible by offering them online in a digital format and, thereby, preserving them for future generations.

    The Our Roots Nos Racines website is quite easy to navigate. You can view the site in English or French. It should be noted, however, that, since you are viewing images of the actual works, many of the volumes are in French. You can search the collection for a specific title, author, or subject or access works simply by browsing through alphabetical lists, which are also organized by title, author, or subject. With the advanced search function, one can make use of the site's full text search capability. Just click on the title link to view a complete cover-to-cover digitized version of a selected book. A full text search may be initiated from this page, or you may browse the book either page by page or via links to each chapter. In the near future, the site's organizers plan to add visual searching using maps and timelines.

    The project's partners are hopeful that the Our Roots Nos Racines website will help to spark popular interest in Canada's local histories. And, while the site has a strong focus on exploring Canada's identity, its contents can prove quite interesting to a much broader audience, particularly those of you who are exploring the lives and times of your Canadian ancestors.

    Visit Our Roots Nos Racines at


    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 Lynn Betlock at Thank you to all past and future contributors!

    My Black Sheep Ancestor
    by Abby Lumsden of New Gloucester, Maine

    My favorite black sheep ancestor is Samuel Endicott, grandson of Masschusetts Bay Colony governor John Endicott. Samuel testified at the witch trial of Mary Bradbury (another of my favorites) at about age thirty-one. He reported he had been in a great storm at sea some eleven years before when his captain later saw a pair of legs appear in the waves, then a woman in a white cap and a neck scarf from the middle up. He went on to say that since Mary Bradbury had sold the captain two firkins of moldy butter and only a witch would do such a thing, the apparition must have been her. Tradition says that "he went away" in 1692, directly after the trials, leaving his wife and four young children. Most sources give him a death date of 1694. However, there is a document signed on March 15, 1692, issued to him as the master of the schooner Active. In June of the same year guardianship of his children was given to his wife and another probate document was filed. The few available facts give ample room to imagine. I suspect the participants did not care to do much talking.


    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

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    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 Lynn Betlock at

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