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  • 2004 Archive

  • Vol. 6, No. 46
    Whole #192
    November 12, 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
    * All NEHGS Lecture Videos Now on Sale in Online Store
    * A Preview of the October Register
    * Tales from the Manuscript Collections
    * Obituary Websites
    * Register Now for NEHGS Research Week in Washington D.C.
    * Reminder: Take the New England Ancestors Magazine Survey Today!
    * Surgeon General Calls on Americans to Trace Family Health History
    * Family Tree Legends Offers "Amnesty Program" Upgrade to Users of Family Tree Maker
    * Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    * Favorite - and Black Sheep - Ancestor Feedback
    * NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    Tax List of Norridgewock, Maine - 1803

    The town of Norridgewock, in Somerset County, was established in 1788. This transcription of an 1803 school tax includes name of head of household; number of individuals in the residence required to pay tax (under the column "Poll"); number of individuals in household taxed for real estate followed by the amount taxed; number of individuals in household taxed for personal estate followed by the amount taxed; and total.

    The original transcription is part of the R. Stanton Avery Collections, call number SL NOR 8.


    Search the Tax List of Norridgewock, Maine - 1803 at

    Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910

    Added this week: Records for 1861

    The latest installment in this ongoing database includes actual records from 1861 (vols. 141-149). The indexes, which were previously added to the database, include name of individual, town or village of event, year of event, and volume and page number of the original record. The records themselves typically include far more details.

    For detailed information about this database, please refer to the link found on the database search page (see link below) titled "Introduction to the Massachusetts Vital Records 1841-1910 Database." A link to a chart displaying records currently available and those forthcoming is also available on this page.

    The "Introduction" contains information that will contribute greatly to the success of your searches and answers common questions 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 at

    Alphabetical Index of the Births, Marriages and Deaths Recorded in Providence, Rhode Island
    New Addition: Volume 13: Marriages, 1891-1900

    Published by the city in twenty-five volumes from 1879 to 1945, this series provides names, dates, and the volume and page numbers of the statistic in the city records. We will continue to add volumes from this series to over time.

    Search Alphabetical Index of the Births, Marriages and Deaths Recorded in Providence, Rhode Island at

    Don't forget to try our partner database, - the premier online resource for Irish research!
    Access is free for NEHGS members! Just log in and click on the link found on this page -

    Master Search

    Master search all databases at

    New Research Article on

    Military Research

    Introduction to Revolutionary War Research Resources in New England
    by John F. Lescher

    Many of us with New England roots have ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War. In order to help you locate your Revolutionary War ancestor, this article provides a brief introduction to resources located in New England including examples and web addresses. Some key records are also identified. When you visit or contact the locations discussed, don’t forget that the helpful and knowledgeable people you meet are the best resource of all.

    NEHGS members can read the entire article at

    All NEHGS Lecture Videos Now on Sale in Online Store

    Enjoy NEHGS lectures in the comfort of your own home with the NEHGS Lectures on Tape series! Each of the six videotapes in the series feature a staff genealogist lecturing on an area of expertise. This week only, all titles in the series are on sale in the NEHGS Online Store!

    Henry Hoff, editor of the Register, is featured in two of the videos. The first is Genealogical Writing: Style Guidelines and Practical Advice, which will guide you through the different choices you face when producing your genealogical work for publication.

    Henry returns in Genealogical Research in Upstate New York Research to discuss migration of New Englanders to this area following the Revolutionary War. He identifies key resources available for researching these pioneers and provides tips on how you can identify your ancestors.

    NEHGS senior research librarian David Dearborn presents an array of research options to help you find your female ancestors in Finding A Wife's Maiden Name. His wealth of experience will help you to focus in on those long lost relatives.

    Marie Daly, co-founder of the Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) and director of NEHGS library services guides you through the steps of tracing your Irish roots from the present back to Ireland in Getting Started in Irish Genealogy.

    Researching Your Union Civil War Ancestor, by NEHGS reference librarian David Lambert, will help you find clues from family stories and heirlooms, reveal where you can find resources, and show you how to use them. Vital, cemetery, probate, and land records that may help you find the elusive ancestor are also discussed.

    In Jewish Genealogy: A Common Sense Approach to Finding Your Ancestors, Alexander Woodle guides you through the basics of conducting Jewish research and spotlights a number of useful websites.

    Visit our Lectures on Tape web page at order.

    Also, a limited supply of Charles Dickson's invaluable Scandinavian American Genealogical Resources have become available! This title has been out of print for some time, but our supplier found six copies that are now available for $12 each from the NEHGS Online Store. If you have Scandinavian roots, you do not want to miss out on this resource again! Due to the limited number, orders will be filled on a "first-come, first-served" basis. Item #B27695000.


    A Preview of the October Register

    This issue contains six articles about the English origins of New England families: five present new information, and the sixth refutes a claimed ancestry.

    For the lead article, The English Origin of Roger and Ann Shaw of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Hampton, New Hampshire, Edgar Joseph Shaw took entries in the IGI and developed them into a full article. Fortunately, Roger Shaw arrived in New England with four children, and the author was able to match four baptisms in Gawsworth, Cheshire, with these four children.

    A 1969 article in the Register gave the clues to The Ancestry of Charles Barnes of East Hampton, Long Island, New York. Author Craig Ashley’s research has resulted in a complete account of this Barnes family, taking the male line back to a man born about 1460. The family was of gentry status, and the paternal grandmother of Charles Barnes was Dorothy (Drury) Barnes whose royal ancestry has recently appeared in print.

    In Rebecca, Wife of Thomas1 Josselyn of Hingham and Lancaster, Massachusetts, author Roger Joslyn presents a 1613 deed from the Essex Record Office which is effectively a marriage settlement between Thomas1 Josselyn and Rebecca Jude. Despite substantial research, Rebecca’s parentage has not been determined, probably because she came from the parish of Radwinter, Essex, whose parish registers do not begin until 1638.

    Myrtle Stevens Hyde connects Henry1 Archer (whose immediate family appeared in the April 2004 Register) to the larger Archer family of Epping, Essex, in The William Archer Family in England. Fortunately, this family left many detailed wills.

    The Origins of Benjamin1 Nye: Examining the Sources, thoroughly disproves a claimed ancestral male line for Benjamin Nye in England (and earlier in Denmark). The line has all the marks of a fraud: none of the generations connects to each other, the sources cited are mostly non-existent or do not support the claimed ancestry, and there is too much geographical movement. Part 2 will present a documented account of Benjamin Nye and his children.

    John Wall of Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, Third Husband of Agnes (Wylley) (Denison) (Gace) Wall, was the stepfather of William1 Denison and the uncle by marriage of George1 Abbott. The fact that Agnes had a third marriage had not previously been noticed.

    Gale Harris concludes John2 Mighill of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut with two of John Mighill’s grandsons named Thomas Mighill. They were about the same age, both had wives named Mary, both lived in Windham County, Connecticut — and they had been hopelessly confused in prior compilations.

    We also include more Burial Records from the Account Book of Thomas Clap of Dorchester, Massachusetts, 1762–1797, and have received numerous Additions and Corrections.

    Henry B. Hoff, editor of the Register


    Tales from the Manuscript Collections

    The latest installment in our "Tales From the Manuscript Collections" online exhibit is a letter, dated 1675, written by then deputy governor of the colony of Rhode Island, John Easton to Josiah Winslow, governor of Plymouth Colony. NEHGS Archivist Timothy Salls provides some background on the letter with the following introduction.

    The letter was written by John Easton (ca. 1625-1705) of Newport, Rhode Island, to Josiah Winslow (1629-1680) of Plymouth Colony. Easton relates how Weetamo, sachem of the Pocassets, and her husband showed him a letter written by Constant Southworth dated April 30, 1675, by which the tribe feared English oppression. Easton requests that Winslow hear the tribe's case in Plymouth Colony's court to determine and officially record the boundary of the Pocasset's land.

    John Easton was born in Wales circa 1625. The Easton family was among the early settlers of Newport, Rhode Island. During the time this letter was written, Easton was the deputy-governor of the colony of Rhode Island (May 1674 until April 1676). Easton later became governor from 1690 to 1695. He died December 12 1705.

    Josiah Winslow was born in Plymouth circa 1629 and grew up in Marshfield. Winslow studied at Harvard but left without a degree. As stated in the letter, Josiah Winslow was governor of Plymouth Colony (1673-1680). In 1675, Winslow signed Plymouth Colony's declaration of war and issued a "famous statement denying any legitimate grievance to the Indians because the Pilgrims had honestly bought their land." Winslow was elected commander-in-chief of the forces of the United Colonies.

    Weetamore or Wetamoe, sachem of the Pocassets, was married to Wamsutta (a.k.a. "Alexander"). The Pocassets lived in the area of modern Tiverton in northern Rhode Island. After Alexander's death, she married Petananuet, Petonowowett, or "Peter Nunnuit." Peter sided with the English while Wetamoe sided with Metacon (a.k.a. "Philip"), who had married her sister Wootonekanuske. Wetamoe drowned August 6, 1675, attempting to escape across a river in Swanzey (Swansea).

    Constant Southworth was born in 1615 in Leyden, Holland. He died in Duxbury, Massachusetts, March 10, 1678-9. He was treasurer of Plymouth Colony (1659-1678).

    View this and other installments to Tales From the Manuscript Collections at

    Obituary Websites

    This week we will explore a few of the several obituary websites specific to geographic region or religious affiliation. Here are a few such sites.

    American Friend Obituary Index

    The American Friend was published between 1894 and 1960. The paper was published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, until 1912, when the Five Years Meeting of Friends assumed ownership. The compilers of the database have attempted to index every death found in the American Friend, not just those found in obituary columns. Nearly all of the obituaries in this database are of members of the Five Years Meeting. It should be noted that obituaries of Conservative or Hicksite/Friends General Conference meetings may be found in the Philadelphia Friend, Friends' Intelligencer, or Friends Journal, which are indexed in Quaker Necrology (Boston, 1961).

    Each entry includes the name of the deceased and may also include parents, survivors, dates and places of birth and marriage, maiden names of women, meeting affiliation, and previous residences. You will also find a list of the abbreviations used in the index on the obituary index main page. You can browse the index alphabetically or you can search by any of the words that you might expect to find in a record. Contact information is provided so that you can request a photocopy of an individual obituary. There is a charge of $5 for each obituary requested.

    The following obituary databases are only a few of the many databases found on the JewishGen website ( Click on America in the menu bar to find them.

    [Editor's note: The links for all of theJewishGen websites became inoperable shortly before this newsletter was sent. We believe it is a temporary outage, and we encourage readers to try them again at a later time.]

    The Boston Jewish Advocate Obituary Database

    This database is an index of 23,741 obituary notices from the Boston Jewish Advocate. The index covers the entire run of the newspaper from 1905 to January 2004. Each entry in the index contains the name of the deceased, maiden name (if given), birthplace (if given), age, surnames of related family members named in the obituary, and the date that the obituary was published.

    Cleveland Jewish News Obituary Database

    This database contains 25,493 obituary notices that appeared in the Cleveland Jewish News between October 30, 1964 and July 30, 2004. Each entry contains the deceased's name, date of death, and the issue of the Cleveland Jewish News in which the obituary appeared. The deceased's age, birthplace, maiden name, and the name of the cemetery may also appear. Photocopy fees are $15 for up to three obituary requests made at one time. Contact information for the newspaper is on the website.

    Chicago Obituary Database

    This database contains 8,800 obituary notices for the Chicago, Illinois, area. This contemporary index covers the period from December 1994 through September 1998. Each entry contains the deceased's name and date of death. Entries may also contain such information as the deceased's age, birthplace, maiden name, and, at times, the name of the cemetery.

    American Jewish Year Book Cumulative Index of Obituaries

    The American Jewish Year Book began publication in 1899. The Year Book is "a review of the year's events relating to Jewish matters in America and other countries." Its current publisher has compiled a "Cumulative Index of Obituaries" from volumes 51 to 96. This index of over 3,000 notable Jews who died between 1948 and 1998 is now online. Each entry contains the deceased's surname, given name, year of death, and volume and page numbers. To view the full obituary you can consult the American Jewish Year Book, which may be found in many libraries around the country.

    Under Utilities on the main database page, you will find a link to several "calculators", which may prove useful in running searches, particularly the Daitch-Mokotoff and National Archives soundex calculators.


    This website is useful to anyone researching Amish and Mennonite families. The database currently contains 74,624 obituaries from the Herald of Truth (1864-1908), Gospel Witness (1905-1908), and Gospel Herald (1908-1998), the weekly newspapers of the Mennonite Church in North America. Obituaries from The Mennonite (to 2002) and Mennonite Weekly Review (partial) are also included in the database. The collection covers mostly members of the Mennonite Church (MC) and Amish or Amish-Mennonite groups.

    Click on the link to the Index Pages on the home page to access the indexes. The Main Index is organized by alphabetically by surname. The dates in the index refer to the date of publication in the paper, not the date of death. Clicking on a linked date of death will bring you to the page on which the individual's obituary is located. There is also a Maiden Name Index and Year Indexes, which are subsets of the Main Index. From the Index Page you can also access off-site links to other Mennonite obituary indexes. One will take you to Bethel College, which has an index to obituaries from the Mennonite Weekly Review (1923-1999) and an index to a German newspaper. The other is a link to the Mennonite Genealogy Data Index for Canada.

    Register Now for NEHGS Research Week in Washington D.C.

    Join us for our popular trip to the nation’s capital, taking place March 13-20, 2005, which offers a wealth of research opportunities for genealogists. Enjoy the benefits of working with our expert staff at the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Library and at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). NEHGS staff genealogists Henry Hoff and David Allen Lambert will be available at these two repositories to offer individual assistance as well as scheduled personal consultations each day of the program. Early in the week the staff of both the DAR Library and NARA will offer on-site orientations to review the rich resources at each repository. Those already familiar with these collections will receive helpful updates. Participants may walk between their lodging and the repositories, take advantage of public transportation, or use local taxis. Two group dinners will allow participants to socialize and make new friends; all other meals will be on your own. Join us during this exciting week and advance your research!

    Hotel Accommodations

    A limited number of rooms are still available at the Hotel Washington at 515 15th Street, NW, which is also within walking distance of the two repositories. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Hotel Washington offers views of the monuments, the White House, and other landmarks of the capital city.


    Participants may take advantage of the research week by registering at the reduced "commuter rate" and making lodging accommodations of their own choosing. Refer to the Washington D.C. Tourist Bureau website at for a list of hotel options.

    Repository Highlights

    The DAR Library (, is located on 17th at D Street. The library is open Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and closed Sunday.

    The DAR Library has major collections of printed genealogies, local record abstracts, and town and county histories. It also has over 18,000 typescript volumes with family, church, cemetery, and town records from all over the United States, with an online index as a finding aid. DAR membership applications and supporting files contain millions of genealogical sources. There is a published guide to research at the DAR and an analytic index for books, periodicals, and for special materials.

    The National Archives ( is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 9th Street. It is open for research Monday and Wednesday, 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 8:45 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Saturday, 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. The National Archives holds the records of the Federal Government. Archives I holds records of genealogical interest including census records, passenger arrival records, public land records, and military records from the American Revolution through approximately 1912. Archives II, located in College Park, MD, holds photographs, maps, and nonpersonnel military records from World War I through Vietnam. Textual records are pulled at scheduled times.

    Repositories in Washington, D.C., require government-issued photo identification and all visitors are subject to a security screening. Program components are subject to change. For additional information contact or call toll-free 1-888-286-3447.

    Reminder: Take the New England Ancestors Magazine Survey Today!

    We invite readers of New England Ancestors to comment on articles and columns published in the magazine within the last year. You can access the survey by visiting where you will have a chance to rate your favorite features and weigh in with ideas for future issues.


    Surgeon General Calls on Americans to Trace Family Health History

    Family historians have made it a primary concern to find their ancestors place in history. What makes the genealogist’s countless hours of reading fading microfilm and difficult handwriting worthwhile is discovering that an ancestor was a Revolutionary soldier, royalty, a celebrity, a hero, or – admit it – a “black sheep.”

    Many of us focus so much on the names, dates, places, spouses, and other information so readily found in census and vital records, that less attention is placed on details such as the cause of death of an ancestor. The exception, of course, is if an ancestor died under unusual or sensational circumstances. Take my great-great uncle William, who drove his car under the wheels of a train after a lifetime of turbulence. Sure, that’s the story that is pulled out when comparing notes, but rarely mentioned is the fact that my maternal grandmother and her father both died of the same rare heart defect. Ignored is the fact that lung cancer ran rampant through nicotine-addicted ancestors. My grandmother was the first known case of alzheimers disease in the family, but how does one know if that will unexpectedly scamper down newly grown limbs of the family tree?

    U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona wants all Americans to know that family history and health conditions are inextricably linked. He also wants us to find out as much as possible about the health problems of our ancestors. Tracing this information can help physicians to anticipate potential problem areas and take preventative actions to keep you healthy.

    To this end, the Surgeon General has designated Thanksgiving 2004 as the first annual National Family History Day. He asks that Americans set aside some time after the turkey dinner to discuss – and document – health problems that are common in the family.

    According to a recent survey, ninety-six percent of Americans think that knowledge of their family history is important; however, only a third of those surveyed have tried to trace their family’s health history. That level of interest may soon rise thanks to a new computer program created by the Surgeon General’s department, which will create family health history profiles with just a few clicks of the mouse. Individuals are encouraged to print out copies of their completed family health chart for their doctors and other members of the family.

    Surgeon General Carmona says, "Knowing your family's history can save your life.” Windows users can download the free My Family Health Portrait software today at

    Family Tree Legends Offers "Amnesty Program" Upgrade to Users of Family Tree Maker

    It happens all the time - just when you are comfortable using your genealogy software, a new version is released and you have to get used to a new look, new features, and new rules to follow. Usually we just have to grin and bear it, but for those who upgraded to the new version of Family Tree Maker, there is an alternative. The makers of Family Tree Legends - who have no affiliation with Family Tree Maker - have responded by creating the FTM Amnesty Program. The program allows users to purchase the full Family Tree Legends package for only $19.95 - a $60 discount from the list price! Why will this help? Consider the following excerpt of a review of Family Tree Legends by Dick Eastman:

    "I find it interesting to compare FTL to another popular genealogy program: Family Tree Maker. FTL has screens that look somewhat like those that have been used in past versions of Family Tree Maker. However, the latest Family Tree Maker 2005 changed those screens, much to the chagrin of many experienced users of the program. As a result, several people have pointed out to me that Family Tree Legends' user interface looks more like the traditional Family Tree Maker interface than does the latest version of Family Tree Maker!"

    The makers of Family Tree Legends, Pearl Street Software, promise that the switch will be seamless with Family Tree Legend's FTW Direct Import feature, which will brings all of the data from Family Tree Maker over to Family Tree Legends with one step - even all of your scrapbook items! To take a tour of Family Tree Legends, visit

    To take advantage of the FTM Amnesty Program, visit You must use this link to get the special rate.

    Upcoming Genealogy in a Nutshell Lectures at the NEHGS Library

    "Who Was Your Mother's Mother's Mother? Researching Matrilineal Lines" with Julie Helen Otto on November 13.

    Most genealogists start their family tree by researching their surname, i.e. their patrilineal lines. But what about the other half of our family tree? Researching our female ancestors can often be challenging since they were less likely to appear in records and publications. NEHGS staff genealogist, Julie H. Otto, will discuss non-DNA research strategies for finding our matrilineal ancestors.

    "Genealogy 102: The Next Step After Getting Started" with Christopher Child on November 17 and 20

    So you have been to the NEHGS Getting Started in Genealogy program, and have researched your ancestors in census records and vital records. What next? Come hear NEHGS staff genealogist, Chris Child, as he explores intermediate level records and strategies for finding your ancestors.

    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 Les Olson of Acton, Massachusetts

    My favorite ancestors are Ephraim Pray, born 1661, and Elizabeth Hayden, born 1663, both of Braintree, Massachusetts. In 1681, Ephraim and Elizabeth apparently had an illegitimate son, Ephraim, Jr., and left their parents' homes for what they hoped would be the sanctuary of Rhode Island. The Providence Council magistrates, however, apparently took a dim view of these "two Strangers, one Ephraim Prey and one Elizabeth Hoyden, purposing here sometime to make theire aboade, who both belong to Braintrey in ye Massachusetts Colloney, & for som misdemeanor, (as it is reported) have left theire being."

    The constable brought the couple to the June 17, 1682 Council meeting, where the magistrates "doe find yt ye said Ephraim and ye said Elizabeth Hoyden have transgressed ye law of the Massachusetts by Committing fornication Each with other & have with drawne themselves from ye Hand of Justice."

    The couple found both mercy and justice, however, as John Hayden was allowed to remove his daughter and Ephraim Prey was allowed to remove himself from the town and return to Braintree. The second of the couple's nine children was born there fourteen months later in August 1683.

    It is curious that the Providence Council expelled the two of violating "ye law of Massachusetts" and not Rhode Island law; Braintree (or at least the Haydens) may have requested that the couple be remanded back to Massachusetts. Rhode Island might not have had much of an issue with the couple, for they allowed them sufficient time to be "out of ye jurisdiction of our Towne by ye fift day of ye weeke next at Sun sett, the which will be ye 22nd of this instant."

    As there is no subsequent marriage record for the couple in Braintree, one also wonders if the couple had been quietly married in Rhode Island; it is unlikely that they would have been allowed to live together out of wedlock back home.

    NEHGS Contact Information

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