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  • 2004 Archive

  • Vol. 6, No. 51
    Whole #197
    December 17, 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


    * Administrative Appointments at NEHGS
    * Introducing the NEHGS Online Genealogist!
    * New Databases on
    * New Research Article on
    * Holiday Hours at NEHGS
    * NEHGS eNews Holiday Schedule
    * Ask a Genealogist Answers Your Research Questions
    * Make Plans Now to Attend the New England Regional Genealogical Conference
    * Register for NEHGS Research Getaways!
    * Little-Known Facts About Santa and Friends
    * Upcoming Genealogy in a Nutshell Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    * Favorite - and Black Sheep - Ancestor Feedback
    * NEHGS Contact Information

    Administrative Appointments at NEHGS

    The following is an announcement from executive director Ralph J. Crandall on the creation of two new senior management positions at NEHGS:

    I am delighted to announce that D. Brenton Simons has been appointed the Society's first chief operating officer. In this position he will oversee all day-to-day operations of the Society and the senior staff will report directly to him. As many of you know, Brenton has been employed by the Society for the past eleven years, and during this time his responsibilities have steadily increased. Hired as the director of education, he was then asked to establish the Society's Newbury Street Press and New England Ancestors magazine. He later became our assistant executive director; first for content management, and later for resource development. Brenton is a seasoned and highly skilled administrator and a gifted fundraiser, as well as a published genealogist. He has a great understanding of our field and community, and is uniquely qualified to fill the role of COO for this organization.

    I would also like to mention one other staff change at the senior management level. Catherine A. Moore, who for the past three years has served as our director of finance, has been promoted to assistant executive director for finance and administration. Catherine will assume some of the responsibilities previously handled by Pamela Swain, who is retiring as deputy executive director at the end of the year. In addition to supervising the financial affairs of the Society, Catherine will manage the Society's other businesses based in Framingham, Massachusetts, including membership, sales, and the circulating library. Catherine has done an outstanding job for the Society in finance, including overseeing last year's implementation of a new accounting system for the Society. I am confident that under her direction all of our Framingham operations will be extremely well managed.

    Ralph J. Crandall
    Executive Director

    Introducing the NEHGS Online Genealogist!

    NEHGS is pleased to announce the new position of Online Genealogist. Longtime staff member David Allen Lambert has been appointed to this exciting new role. This position will offer a new way to serve members and potential members of NEHGS via email. He will be offering research guidance, orientation to online resources and library-based collections, and will facilitate referrals to specific NEHGS staff experts and departments when required.

    Research topic of the month: Nineteenth-Century Massachusetts

    Each month the Online Genealogist will answer your questions on a specific topic. In January 2005, he will be offering advice on nineteenth-century Massachusetts research. You are invited to submit research questions to David Allen Lambert at Please note that he will make every effort to reply to each message, but will respond on a first come, first-served basis. In some cases he may need to refer individuals to the NEHGS Research Service for more in-depth research services for a fee.

    General questions about NEHGS membership or requests for website technical support should be addressed to

    Background: David Allen Lambert

    David has been on the staff at NEHGS since 1993 and has published articles in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register; the New Hampshire Genealogical Record; Rhode Island Roots; The Mayflower Descendant; and New England Ancestors magazine. He has published a best-selling book on cemeteries in Massachusetts, entitled A Guide to Cemeteries in Massachusetts and a photographic history of his hometown, Images of Stoughton, Massachusetts.

    David’s genealogical expertise includes specialties in New England and Atlantic Canadian research, military records, and Native American and African American genealogical research. David has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including the PBS-TV show History Detectives. He is the host of a local public access television talk show, devoted to capturing the stories of the U.S. Military veterans of the town of Stoughton, Massachusetts. He is currently authoring a book on the vital, church, and cemetery records of Stoughton from 1726 to 1900.

    He looks forward to helping you in your genealogical research!

    New Databases on

    Social Security Death Index Update - Free Database!

    Added this week: September - November 2004

    The SSDI, taken from the U.S. Social Security Administration's Death Master File, is one of the key resources available to genealogists today. It contains those individuals who were assigned Social Security numbers and whose death was reported to the SSA. It contains the names of almost seventy million individuals, most of whose deaths were recorded after 1965.

    Search the SSDI at


    The Diaries of the Rev. Thomas Cary of Newburyport, Massachusetts - 1789

    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 1789.

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

    Search the Thomas Cary Diaries at

    Marriages and Intentions of Harrington, Maine

    The town of Harrington, in Washington County, was established in 1797. This transcription lists marriages and intentions between 1800 and 1889. The manuscript was donated to NEHGS by Mrs. Hale L. Colton of Rocky Hill, Connecticut, in 1953.

    The original transcription is part of the R. Stanton Avery Collections, call number SL HAR 14.

    Search Marriages and Intentions of Harrington, Maine, at

    The Great Migration Newsletter Online
    New Family Sketches for GMNL Subscribers

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

    The following new sketches were added this week:

    Isaac Desborough, Robert Dibble, William Dinely, Thomas Dorman, Philip Drinker, Edmund Johnson, John Johnson, Thomas Jones, Thomas Kilbourn, and Robert Kinsman

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

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

    Subscribe to the Great Migration Newsletter Online at

    For more information about the Great Migration Study Project, visit




    New Research Article on

    New Topic! Researching Your Mayflower Ancestors

    by Alicia Crane Williams

    Part 1: The Society of Mayflower Descendants: Who they are, where to find them, how to apply.

    Of all the names of the many ships that came to the new world, Mayflower is easily the most recognized, and the Pilgrims who came to New England on the ship Mayflower are among the most celebrated of American immigrants. Descent from a Mayflower passenger - one of the "first comers" - has long been considered a matter of pride. Today there may be as many as twenty to thirty million descendants of these Pilgrims; 26,500 of whom are currently members of the Mayflower Society.


    NEHGS members can read the full article at

    About the author:

    Alicia Crane Williams is the editor of the Alden family volumes in the Mayflower Families Through Five Generations series. She was formerly state historian of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants and past editor of the scholarly genealogical magazine The Mayflower Descendant published by that organization. She has had more than twenty-five years' experience preparing and documenting Mayflower lineage papers and has also been genealogist of the Alden Kindred of America, for more than twenty years.

    Alicia has also edited numerous books, including the Vital Records of Middleborough, Massachusetts; genealogies of the Harlow and Jewett families; and "all-my-ancestor" treatments of several clients' families.

    She has been a professional genealogist since 1977, and is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

    Holiday Hours at NEHGS Library and Offices

    Please note the special holiday hours in the NEHGS Research Library and NEHGS offices:

    * Friday, December 24 - Christmas Eve Day - Closed

    * Saturday, December 25 - Christmas - Closed

    * Friday, December 31 - New Year's Eve - Closed

    * Saturday, January 1, 2005 - New Year's Day - Closed

    To see a full listing of operating hours and holiday closings go to

    NEHGS eNews Holiday Schedule

    Due to holiday schedules at NEHGS, next week's eNews will be sent Thursday, December 23, instead of the usual Friday delivery.

    Ask a Genealogist Answers Your Research Questions

    Our popular question/answer feature with staff genealogists, "Ask a Librarian," has been renamed "Ask a Genealogist." The email address has changed as well, and questions to staff genealogists can now be sent to

    A new selection of questions and answers is now available at Answers to questions in the Ask a Genealogist feature are available to NEHGS members only.

    Please note that questions about specific families and individuals, or requests for look-ups will not be answered in Ask a Genealogist. We encourage you to contact our Research Services department at for assistance with these types of queries.

    Here are the questions for this installment:

    Maggie Lemelin asks:
    I am trying to gather a list of women who owned property in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1879. Will I have to manually go through the census, or is there a faster, more technologically advanced way to do this?

    Judy asks:
    I have several ancestors who were "salters." Could you tell me what this occupation involves? Would it be evaporating sea water to make salt, or mining salt?

    Lisa Huckins asks:
    I was wondering if you would share your preference in source citations. I have 2 options:

    1. Source each birth, marriage or death certificate individually, or
    2. Source the State VR microfilm, but cite each certificate.

    I use The Master Genealogist and while both are acceptable, which is the most widely accepted way to cite a source? Could you please give an example?

    Janice Locke asks:
    I recently saw a picture of "The Tree of Jesse" in stone, carved about 1535 (in a French church) and it caused me to wonder: how long have family trees been physically depicted as trees, in carvings, drawings, needlework, etc.?


    Jane Maxson asks:
    Richard Magson, servant of James Everill, joined the First Church of Boston on October 2, 1634. I can find no other records of him or his family until 1638 in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. I've searched the Boston Church Records and Streets of Boston CDs with no luck. Where else can I look?


    NEHGS members can view all the answers at



    Make Plans Now to Attend the New England Regional Genealogical Conference

    Join NEHGS at the eighth New England Regional Genealogical Conference to be held March 31 to April 3, 2005 at the Holiday Inn By The Bay in Portland, Maine!

    The theme of the conference is "New England Crossroads 2005." Four of the country's best-known genealogists will be the lead speakers for this program:

    * Tony Burroughs will speak on "The Six Phases of African American Genealogy" and "The Digital Office"
    * Cyndi Howells will discuss "Evaluating Web Sites" and "Planting Family: Your Family Tree Online"
    * Elizabeth Shown Mills' topics are "The Identity Crisis: "Right Name, Wrong Man? Wrong Name, Right Man?" and "Finding Females: Wives, Mothers, Daughters, Sisters & Paramours"
    * Craig Scott will discuss "Settled Accounts: The New England Experience in Federal Records" and "Putting Ink on Paper: Getting Your Genealogical Material Published."

    In addition, Burroughs and Mills will be the speakers at the two conference banquets: Burroughs on "Becoming A Better Genealogist" and Mills on "Discovering Forgotten People: The Story Behind Isle of Canes."

    More than forty additional speakers will discuss a wide range of topics in tracks devoted to New England research, ethnic genealogy, federal records, libraries and records, writing and publishing, skills and methodology, DNA research, the Internet, and other topics. Complete program details can be found at

    NEHGS is a charter member and participating society in NERGC and will have several staff members speaking at the event including Dick Eastman, Laura Prescott, Michael Leclerc, Ruth Wellner, and George Sanborn. An email newsletter will provide up-to-the-minute information about conference happenings and planned activities, as well as more details about the lectures, special programs, exhibits and other news. To subscribe, visit and click on "NERGC E-zine."

    The conference will also feature:

    * Group gatherings for anyone interested in similar topics.
    * Opportunities for complimentary one-on-one consultations with experienced professional genealogists.
    * Small group "power lunches" with the lead speakers and other nationally known genealogists.
    * Genealogical societies from all over New England offering information about their resources and specialties.
    * Exhibitors from all over the U.S. and Canada demonstrating and selling genealogical products and services.

    The 2005 conference will be held at the award-winning Holiday Inn By the Bay in Portland, Maine, which offers views of Casco Bay and convenient access to the Old Port's shops, galleries and restaurants. Its website is The hotel offers special rates for conference attendees; call toll-free, 1-800-345-5070 for information.

    If you register before March 1, 2005, you only pay $99 for the full three-day conference (after March 1, you pay $125). You may also purchase single-day registrations at $75/$85 per day.

    To register for the conference, visit and download the pdf titled "NERGC 2005 Program Brochure." You will need to have Adobe Reader to view the file. It can be downloaded for free at

    Mail your completed registration form with a check to Gratia D. Mahony, NERGC Registration, 75 Franklin Street, Douglas MA 01516-2334.

    Register for NEHGS Research Getaways!

    Winter Getaway: February 24-26, 2005
    Spring Getaway: April 7-9, 2005

    NEHGS invites you to enjoy a research getaway at our library, one of the finest facilities for genealogical research in the country. Escape the winter doldrums by joining us for guided research, personal one-on-one consultations, morning lectures, and special access to the library, which will have extended hours just for you! Or you may choose to attend our spring research getaway, which will take place in April 2005.

    All serious genealogists should treat themselves to this special program and to the opportunity to share discoveries and swap stories with other avid researchers from all over the country. Whether you are a first-time participant or have enjoyed this program in the past, you are sure to further your research by visiting our library in Boston. Don't miss this opportunity to take advantage of our exceptional resources and the research expertise of our outstanding library staff.

    Since 1845 the NEHGS library has collected a vast number of compiled genealogies, local histories, census records, vital records, deeds, probates, and military records. The library has the latest in print, microtext, CD-ROM, and Internet resources. NEHGS also provides a highly trained research staff of professional librarians, who are eager to help you in your genealogical endeavors.

    For New England research from earliest colonial times to the twenty-first century, the library offers "one-stop shopping." Many resources are also available for New York, the mid-Atlantic, the South, the Midwest, Atlantic and French Canada, and elsewhere. England, Scotland, Ireland, and Germany are also strongly represented. The library collection is further strengthened by our unique manuscript collection and extensive CD-ROM holdings. Helpful reference librarians serve all four library floors. To help in preparing a research plan, all participants will receive a copy of the newly published A Guide to the Library of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

    For more information and a downloadable registration form, please visit



    Little-Known Facts About Santa and Friends

    We all know that Santa Claus makes his permanent residence in the North Pole with Mrs. Claus and the merry elves. We also know that once a year he and his pets take a "working vacation." Occasionally, though, Santa has stayed in his summer home long enough to be placed in a public record. For instance, the 1930 census has forty-two-year-old Santa Claus living in Marshall, Missouri. This entry is especially revealing as it not only gives Mrs. Claus's first name (Mabel), but the names of five sons and one daughter. If Santa were forty-two years old in 1930, he would not likely be living today, so it stands to reason that one of these sons took over the Santa duties after his death. Santa's occupation is given as farm laborer - ho, ho, ho - a toy farm, perhaps?

    Santa also got into a spot of trouble when passing through the state of Arkansas. He is found in the Fort Smith Criminal Case Files on, which notes the jolly one was cited for a liquor violation in 1881. The database is described as "[consisting] of criminal court cases of such famous outlaws as Wyatt Earp and 'Cherokee Bill' Goldsby. Many of these 50,000 cases were heard by the famous 'hanging' Judge Isaac C. Parker, appointed by President Grant to bring law and order to the territory of Arkansas." Liquor violations were considered misdemeanors, resulting in a sentence of a year or less. It is not known how long Santa was in the clink, if at all, but it goes a long way toward explaining Rudolph's nose. Speaking of the red-nosed flying machine, a Rudolph Claus is listed in Tiger Fork, Missouri, a mere 120 miles from Santa's summer home in Marshall. Perhaps, after suffering so much humiliation from the other reindeers, he decided to run away from home for a spell.

    The Midwest, and specifically, Missouri, seemed to be a popular place for our friends. In the 1860 census Frosty Snow is found in the Show-Me State town of Granby, which is about four hours away from the "world's corncob pipe center," Washington, Missouri. Frosty was born in Kentucky in about 1814 but is not found on any censuses until 1860. As Kentucky does not offer the ideal climate for snowmen, it stands to reason that Frosty was packed in ice and moved up north shortly after his birth, staying there until he developed a permanent layer, before venturing to Missouri. Of course this is all theoretical and primary sources still must be checked (twice), but if I were you, I wouldn't spend too much time on it - the holidays are fast approaching!

    Happy holidays to all from NEHGS!

    Upcoming Genealogy in a Nutshell Lectures at the NEHGS Library

    "Bridging the Atlantic: Finding the English Origins of Your Ancestors" with David C. Dearborn on January 5 and 8, 2005

    Many Americans can trace their New England ancestors back to the immigrant from England, but stop at the water's edge. NEHGS genealogist David Dearborn will guide your quest across the ocean for English immigrants, from colonial times to the nineteenth century.

    "Writing Your Family History" with Barbara Mathews on January 12 and 15, 2005

    Whether you have been researching your family tree for several years or just starting out, sooner or later you will want to write about your ancestors. Barbara Jean Mathews, CG, research assistant for the Great Migration Project and verifying genealogist for the Massachusetts Chapter of the Colonial Dames of America, will discuss assembling your data and putting it into print.

    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 Jacqueline Sleeper Russell of McKinleyville, California

    My favorite male ancestor has to be my great grandfather, Francis "Frank" Henry Sleeper, descendant of emigrant Thomas Sleeper and Joanna, early settlers of Hampton, New Hampshire. Frank was born November 26, 1862, in Coaticook, Stanstead County, Quebec, Canada. He was the son of Wright Sleeper and Philinda Cole, who had six children, three of whom survived to adulthood.

    Frank possessed a photographic memory and early on became a noted inventor. At the age of seventeen he invented a very practical wire machine before tragedy struck at two years later, when he was blinded by powder from a misfiring toy cannon. He suffered for years before an operation restored partial sight to one eye. At age twenty-two he invented and patented a revolutionary jack that went on to be worth millions. He sold his patent to A. O. Norton of Coaticook, who in turn made a fortune manufacturing it.

    Frank went on to invent and patent five hundred machines, although his vision was never good enough to drive a car or draw a blueprint. His wife, Lillie 'Lilla' Ann Hopkinson, born June 1, 1864, in Sherbrooke, Quebec, learned to help with these tasks and did so for many years. The family eventually moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, where he worked for four years for The Morgan Spring Company before starting his own company in 1911. The company, Sleeper & Hartley, Inc., became known for his invention of the first automated spring machine. Frank H. and Lillie 'Lilla' Ann (Hopkinson) Sleeper, retired to St. Petersburg, Florida, where they both died - he in 1937, and she in 1958.

    Finding out about his achievements has been such an amazing adventure and I am still actively pursuing information about him. Most of all, his story is just such an inspiration because he was a person who refused to allow a disability destroy his inventing potential.

    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

    To view the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, please visit

    To become a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, please visit

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