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  • 2005 Archive

  • Vol. 7, No. 11
    Whole #210
    March 19, 2005
    Edited by Daniel L. d’Heilly and Valerie Beaudrault


    Greetings from the New England Historic Genealogical Society! This newsletter has been sent to people who asked to receive it. 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.


    * We're Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a Sale on All NEHGS Irish Merchandise!
    * New Databases on
    * Staff Ancestor Photo Montage Online for Women's History Month
    * Borrow or Buy: Women's History Month Selections
    * Answers from Our Online Genealogist
    * Research Article on
    * Spotlight on Library Websites, Part Five
    * New Titles for Sale at the NEHGS Online Store!
    * Upcoming Genealogy Events
    * Upcoming Genealogy in a Nutshell Lecture
    * Favorite - and Black Sheep - Ancestors
    * Register Now: Digging for Your Roots in Northern New England - May 14
    * New Reader Survey
    * NEHGS Contact Information



    We're Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a Sale on All Irish NEHGS Merchandise!
    Save On All Our Irish Titles!!!

    Save 50% on The Search For Missing Friends CD! Normally priced at $69.99, now $34.99!

    All Search for Missing Friends Books (Volumes 3-6) $5.00!

    All Irish County Maps $5.00 each!

    Save 10%* on all other Irish titles, including:
    - The 1831 Tithe Defaulters CD-ROM
    - Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Irish Ancestors
    - 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Irish American History
    - Irish Church Records
    - Resource County Roscommon Ireland CD-Rom
    - An Introduction to Irish Ancestry
    And many more!

    Sale prices good from March 16th until March 23rd, 2005.
    * 10% discount not applicable to any special order titles.


    New Databases on

    Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910, Vols 15 -33, 35, 38; 1844-1849 is now online.

    The latest installment in this ongoing database includes actual records from 1844-1849, (Vols.15-33, 35, 38). 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 include much more information.

    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. Here you will find a link to a chart displaying records currently available and those forthcoming.

    The Introduction contains information that will contribute greatly to the success of your searches. It answers common questions about these records and about our database. If you have questions that this article does not address, or if you are having difficulty, please email

    Search Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910



    Staff Ancestor Photo Montage Online for Women's History Month

    Employees at NEHGS are celebrating Women's History Month by honoring female ancestors of our staff members. A special photo montage, available on, features twenty-four photos, ranging from humorous to sentimental, from posed to candid, from mothers to great-great-great grandmothers.

    Visitors to the Boston Research Library on Newbury Street can view the montage in person. Marieke Van Damme, marketing assistant and the friendly face at the front desk, originated the idea and is responsible for creating this appealing display (to the right of the elevator).

    Enjoy the exhibit online, or in Boston, and celebrate Women's History Month with the NEHGS staff.



    Borrow or Buy: Women’s History Month Selections

    From "A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your Female Ancestors" by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, CS14/A73/1998

    Carmack talks about the special rewards and challenges in doing women’s genealogy, and about the special perspectives needed in doing this research, "Ordinary, everyday women- the ones who are our ancestors- led fascinating lives……(p.1)

    However, in researching females, we have to deal with name changes when they marry, multiple marriages resulting in multiple names, or different cultures whose women retained their maiden names in legal documents. In addition, many of our women ancestors did not leave much of a record of themselves….the vast majority of women were silent partners." (p.2)

    "An important and crucial source in your genealogical research on your female ancestors is women’s social history…social history will augment and supplement what you find in the historical documents on women." (p.3)

    The history of women cannot be written without attention to women’s relations with men in general and with ‘their’ men in particular, nor without attention to the other women of their society." Elizabeth Fox Genovese quoted on p.17

    - A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your Female Ancestors, CS14/A73/1998

    - A Midwife’s Tale: the life of Martha Ballard, based on her diary, F29/H15/U47/1990

    - American Jezebel: the Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, F67/H92/L37/2004

    - Royal Families: Americans of Royal and Noble Ancestry, Vol 2: Reverend Francis Marbury and Five Generations of the Descendants through Anne (Marbury) Hutchinson and Katherine (Marbury) Scott, CS55/W37/2002

    - My Wild Irish Rose: The Life of Rose (Norris)(O’Connor) Fitzhugh and her mother Delia (Gordon) Norris: A study in the lives of Irish Immigrant Women in America with a Summary of Matrilineal Generations, E184/I6/C37/2001

    - Finding A Wife’s Maiden Name – Video, CS14/D433/2002 video

    - Notable Kin: Vol 1 by Gary Boyd Roberts: [chapters on 19th century heroines and on notables such as Eleanor Roosevelt], CS69/R815/1998/v1

    - The Belles of New England: The Women of the Textile Mills and the Families Whose Wealth They Wove. HD73/T42/U46/2002

    - Women of Courage: Jewish and Italian Immigrants in New York. F118/C67/1999

    - The Captor’s Narrative: Catholic Women and their Puritan Men on the Early American Frontier

    - The Women of the American Revolution

    - Murdered by his Wife

    - Killed Strangely: The Death of Rebecca Cornell



    Answers from Our Online Genealogist

    1) Finding a Lost Grave
    My great grandfather died in Hingham, MA (1876) but was buried in Weymouth, MA. He was later transferred to a cemetery in Hingham. I’m trying to locate the original burial place which is not listed on the death certificate. I have called the town hall and several cemeteries in Weymouth. Do you have any idea where these records might be kept? I’m trying to find out if the original grave still exists.

    Online Genealogist: In the town of Weymouth there are over fifteen cemeteries. Most of which are small cemeteries. In my book A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries I list phone numbers for a few Weymouth Cemeteries that actually have offices.

    * Elmwood and Highland Cemetery Office: 781-331-2459
    * Fairmount Cemetery Office: 781-335-3223
    * Lakeview Cemetery Office: 781-335-0911
    * Village Cemetery Office: 781-337-4799
    Perhaps these offices have their old burial records. Each of the above cemeteries was in existence well before 1876.

    2) Wedding Bells in Connecticut
    How would I look up a marriage in Glastonbury, CT which occurred in about 1803?

    Online Genealogist: I would suggest checking the Conn. Vital Records via the Barbour collection, and the Conn. Church Records on microfilm at NEHGS. If you can not get to NEHGS, our Research Service Dept. can quickly search these for you.

    3) Whistling Dixie
    I looked for my African-American mother’s grandfather in Southern states like Virginia, and found him in the 1900 South Carolina census. He was a minister there. I have not been able to find him in any other census. Later he moved to Flushing, New York so I looked for him there, but no luck.

    How do I go about locating records for the South? I need some help with where to look for records prior to 1900.

    Online Genealogist: I notice that your ancestor in the 1900 Census was from Saluda County. Have you ever researched his marriage? This may aide you in determining the names of his parents. Also, have you searched any later Census for him 1910-1930? Since he was an African-American born in South Carolina before emancipation he may have been born a slave. In the 1880's, this name was very popular in South Carolina however I could not find a reference to his entry. The following address will help you look up his marriage if it occurred in Saluda County.

    South Carolina: Saluda County
    108 S. Rudolph Street
    County Courthouse
    Saluda, SC 29138-1744
    Phone: (864) 445-2635
    Fax: (864) 445-9405

    Also have you contacted a local historical society where he preached? Perhaps they have information on him, and perhaps a town newspaper archives may help.

    4) Are there Records about People Leaving Boston?
    I have no trouble finding incoming passengers/ships, but some ancestors came and went back. Where do I look for passengers leaving Boston between 1890 and 1910?

    Online Genealogist: I am sorry to say that the records you seek do not exist. I have confirmed this fact with Walter Hickey at the New England Regional Branch of the National Archives. For a short time around WWI departure records were kept, but they were later destroyed.

    5) Sailing from Ireland
    My great-grandfather emigrated from Co. Kilkenny, Ire and arrived in New York on 22 June, 1842, finally settling in Brighton, MA. This information is derived from his application for citizenship and his citizenship papers.

    I have been unable to determine any ship arrivals on or about that date for the Port of New York. If he arrived at the Port of New York where would it likely to be and where could I obtain records of ship and passenger arrivals?

    It also occurred to me that there might be other places of entry on record for the State of New York, not just the port. How should I proceed with my research?

    Online Genealogist: Have you examined the index to Passenger lists of vessels arriving at New York, 1820-1897; or the passenger lists of vessels arriving in New York, 1820-1846? These are available from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. The ship manifests quite easy to use. The NEHGS Research Services Dept. can search for your ancestor in this series of microfilms if you can not come to Boston.

    6) Case of the Missing Soldier
    I have a photocopy of a land grant for a Soldier discharged from ?his Majesty's 60th Regiment of Foot. It is difficult to read but it appears that a council met 15 January, 1832 and decided to give him (or allow him the right to purchase?) 100 acres of yet unlocated land in the Township of Pickerey(?). It is dated 16 December, 1834.

    I know he was born in Haback, Sarrland, Germany in 1789, and that he and his family arrived in the District of New York, NY on the ship Elizabeth, 4 September, 1826 from Havre. They apparently went to Canada to live, as they are listed as early settlers in the book The Catholic Church in Waterloo County, Book I by the Rev. Throbald Spetz, C.R., D.D. 1916 (appendix C - St. Clements Early Settlers). He was also listed on the 1861 Census as a tavern keeper in the Township of Carrick, Bruce County, Canada. It is believed that he made a few trips between Germany and Canada/US before his family came with him, as another researcher I know found him traveling alone in another ship’s passenger records. I do not have that documentation. Also there is a very strong family legend that he served in Napoleon’s Army. To my knowledge, there is no actual proof of European service.

    I have three questions [see below].

    Online Genealogist: I am delighted to offer some assistance with the following questions:
    i. Are there better/other recourses to document his service in the Canadian Military?
    You will wish to order his military records on file at the Public Record Office:

    The Keeper of Public Records
    Public Record Office
    Ruskin Avenue
    Surrey TW9 4DU
    Telephone: 020-8876 3444
    Fax: 020-8878 8905

    ii. Where can I find out more about the 60th Regiment of Foot and their function?
    The following website will give you more information about the 60th. You will wish to see the section 1824 relating to his era of service.

    iii. Is there anything else I can do to follow up on the information in the land grant petition (such as when or if it was acquired, and it's location)?
    I would also ask; where did you obtain the photocopy? The archives in which the copy came from should have all other information for the grant. If you want to scan the section you are having trouble reading I will take a look at it.

    Please send your questions to


    Research Article on
    We featured this article when it was first published in 2002, and again by popular demand in 2003. However, we are reprinting the entire article in this issue for the first time for the benefit of all the eNews readers. Enjoy.

    Finding Your Civil War Ancestor at the NEHGS Research Library
    by David Allen Lambert, NEHGS Online Genealogist

    If you suspect an ancestor served in the Civil War, you can find a wealth of material at the NEHGS Research Library that may tell you more about him. For the scope of this article we will concentrate on Civil War soldiers from New England regiments. When examining the pedigree charts of NEHGS patrons I often inquire if their relative served in the Civil War. Generally a Civil War soldier’s year of birth would be between 1820 and 1847. Of course there are examples of veterans with earlier or later years of birth, but this seems to be the average range. While you may already know the residence of your ancestor, don’t be too surprised if he did not enlist in his hometown. Recruits would often seek out bounty being paid by communities looking to fill their state regimental quota. For instance, you might have a farm boy from Barnstead, New Hampshire, coming down to serve in a regiment being raised in Amesbury, Massachusetts.

    To begin your search for your Civil War ancestor at NEHGS, follow the steps outlined below. If you already know the regiment in which your ancestor served, then you can skip to step 2.

    Step 1:
    Begin by looking for your ancestor’s name in a series of books found on the sixth floor of our library titled The Roster of Union Soldiers 1861–1865 (Wilmington, N.C., Broadfoot Publications, 1997) [REF/E494/H49/1997]. The New England states are contained in the following volumes: Connecticut (vol. 4); Maine (vol. 1); Massachusetts (vols. 2-3); New Hampshire (vol. 1); Rhode Island (vol. 4); and Vermont (vol. 2). We also have the complete series for all other states of both the Union and Confederate armies. These volumes are arranged by state, and list the soldiers alphabetically. This is a quick way to determine if your ancestor served from a particular state. It will identify the soldier as: "Lambert, David A., 12th [Mass.] Inf., Co. A." You will then need to determine if this soldier is in fact your ancestor.

    Step 2:
    Look for a detailed listing of the soldiers in your ancestor’s regiment. For some states there are compiled lists of soldiers containing details such as age, residence, race, service dates, and occupation. This information should help you narrow down if you in fact have the correct veteran from the first step. The following is a listing of statewide compiled volumes of veterans.

    Connecticut Adjutant General’s Office, Catalogue of Connecticut Volunteer organizations (Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery) in the Service of the United States 1861–1865. (Hartford, CT: Brown Gross, 1869) [E499.3/C66/1869/also Loan].

    Massachusetts Adjutant General’s Office, Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War. (Norwood, MA., Norwood Press, 1931–35), 8 vols. and index [REF/E513/M32/1931/also Loan].

    New Hampshire:
    New Hampshire Adjutant General’s Office, Revised Register of Soldiers and Sailors of New Hampshire in the War of the Rebellion (Concord, N.H., State Printer, 1985) [REF/E520.3/N55/1895/also Loan].

    Rhode Island:
    ----, Names of Offices, Soldiers and Seamen in Rhode Island Regiments, of Belonging to the State of Rhode Island. (Providence, R.I., Providence Press, 1869) [RI/60/50].

    ----, Revised roster of Vermont Volunteers and lists of Vermonters who served in the Army and Navy of the United States during the War of the Rebellion (Montpeiler, Vt, Press of the Watchman Publishing Co., 1892) [VT/50/2].

    You can also use published regimental histories to find information. NEHGS maintains a collection of all New England Civil War regimental histories on microfiche in the microtext library on the fourth floor [M.T./E49/C58/1991]. These often include post-Civil War information on the veteran and occasionally photographs. There are also some Civil War-era adjutant general reports for the state of Maine with limited details.

    Step 3:
    If your ancestor died during the Civil War it should be indicated in either a compiled state list and/or a regimental history. Another source to determine this is the Roll of Honor, which could also reveal his last resting place. The printed version of this multi-volume set can be found at the sixth floor reference library [REF/E494/U558/1994], or you can view the CD-ROM [REF/E494/R64/1996] on the fourth floor. With this resource you can easily determine if your Union Civil War ancestor is interred in a National Cemetery. A grave number is often associated with each listing, which will allow you to find the location of the grave when you visit the cemetery. Sometimes the remains of the veteran were returned back to his hometown for burial in a family or military plot. Perhaps you will want to examine the extensive collection of gravestone transcriptions kept in the NEHGS Manuscript Department.

    Step 4:
    If your ancestor survived the Civil War, and/or left a widow or dependant, you might want to check to see if he had a pension file. At NEHGS we maintain Internet access to some of the databases at the website. You can easily search through the database and view an online image of the actual card from the NARA T-288 series for pensions (1861–1934). To order the original pension files you will need to request the NATF-85 form from the National Archives. You may contact them via email or by regular mail:

    The National Archives and Records Administration
    8th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW
    Washington, D.C. 20408

    The pension file of your ancestor will unlock a virtual time capsule of information on his life after the Civil War. It includes information on medical problems, employment history, and residences since the war. You will usually find original handwritten letters sent by your veteran ancestor, his widow, or individuals representing them. Sometimes letters are from immediate family, neighbors, co-workers, clergy, or employers. These letters usually deal with the verification of a medical problem of the pensioner or marital details of the widow.

    You will also want to investigate the pensions of fellow veterans in your ancestor’s unit. You will often find that veterans wrote to the pension office after being queried about the service of a fellow soldier in their unit. This process can be rather costly if performed via the mail. So you might wish to attend a future NEHGS tour to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. to examine the documents first hand.

    Step 5:
    NEHGS also has a wealth of vital records extending into the twentieth century for all New England states. Our collection of deeds and probate records for most of the New England counties will also assist your search. Federal and state censuses for New England states are also valuable research tools. Especially valuable are the indexed 1890 Special Census of U.S. Veterans (which also lists veterans’ widows); the 1865 Rhode Island State Census; and the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. The 1910 U.S. Census indicated if a person was a Civil War veteran [Union/Confederate]. You should also check sources outside of NEHGS such as newspaper obituaries and records of the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic). Also check the local historical societies of the town in which your ancestor lived after the war for group photos of local veterans’ gatherings.

    NEHGS keeps a large collection of Civil War letters and diaries, some of which may relate to your ancestor’s regiment. If you have original Civil War letters or diaries, consider donating them to the NEHGS Manuscript Department for safekeeping. If you prefer to keep the original, we would be glad to receive a copy of the item. However, the careful preservation methods employed by our archival staff guarantee that your original treasures will be safely preserved for future generations to learn from.

    — This article was originally posted on on August 9, 2002. Over one hundred other articles are available to NEHGS members online at


    Spotlight on Library Websites, Part Five

    Springfield-Greene County Library, Springfield, Missouri

    The Springfield-Greene County Library in Springfield, Missouri, has an extensive digital collection that contains a number of online indexes with information, which may prove useful to individuals researching family in Greene County and the surrounding area. There are several indexes to Greene County Records on this site. They include:

    The Register of the Almshouse
    Citizens of Greene County, Missouri, who were indigent, as well as those who were poor and ill, were cared for in the Greene County Poor Farm for care. This facility opened in 1875 and became Sunshine Acres in 1955. It closed permanently in 1978. The records in this index have been abstracted from the admission books kept by the superintendents from 1875 to 1855. The entries include name, age, sex, date of admission, date of dismissal, date of death and brief remarks. The entries in the index also include the book and page number of the original record.

    Index to Coroner's Record Books
    The records included in this index have been abstracted from the coroner's record books for 1875 - 1972. The entries include name and age of the victim, book number, page and date of inquiry.

    Chronological Listing and Index to Divorce Records
    This database includes abstracts of divorce records in Greene County, Missouri, for from 1837 through 1950. The entries include the names of the plaintiff and defendant, record book number, page number, date of final decree and indication of who is the innocent and injured party. The records may also include the circumstance of the divorce, the amount of support awarded and the names of children.

    Index to the Justice of the Peace Docket Books
    This is an index to cases brought before justices of the peace in Green County, Missouri. It covers the period from 1835 through 1885.

    Index to Naturalization Records in the Greene County Circuit Court
    This is an index to naturalizations filed with the Greene County Circuit Court from 1868 through 1906. Each entry includes the name, country of origin, date of action, type of document being filed (Declaration of Intention or Certificate of Citizenship), and book and page number in the original circuit court record books.

    Greene County History
    This section of the library website contains transcriptions of histories of Greene County, Missouri. These documents are full-text searchable via the Keyword Search engine. A couple of the histories included here are:

    - History and Directory of Springfield and North Springfield This book gives a history of the first fifty years of Springfield, a history of North Springfield, and includes biographical sketches of prominent citizens and a directory of the inhabitants in 1878.

    - The Pictorial and Genealogical Record of Greene County, Missouri was compiled in 1893. It consists primarily of biographical profiles of citizens and some business profiles. The biographies found here are not limited to citizens of Greene County.

    Black Families of the Ozarks
    This section of the Springfield-Greene County Library website contains information about black families in Southwest Missouri and covers the period from the 1820s to the 1950s. The resources here include Slave Documentation in Probate Paper Records of Greene County; Jasper County Slave Records, Slave Hires and Misc. Expenses; Roster of the 1st and 2nd Regiments Colored Infantry of Kansas; and the 1936 and 1937 Negro City and Country Directory, which encompasses both Greene and Jasper counties. Some of these materials may be searched using the Keyword Search engine; others are not searchable via the site's search engine.

    Other resources included in the library's Digitized Collections are a collection of photographs and other materials relating to the O'Reilly General (Army) Hospital of Springfield, Missouri, Moser's Directory of Towns, Villages and Hamlets Past and Present of Missouri, and Virtually Missouri, a link to digitized collections for other Missouri areas.

    Visit the Digitized Collections of the Springfield-Greene County Library website


    New Titles for Sale at the NEHGS Online Store!

    Here are recently added titles available for purchase through the NEHGS Online Store:

    "The Great Migration Newsletter, Volumes 1-10", is back in print! (Item number S28442000, $19.95 plus shipping)

    2005 NEHGS Circulating Library Catalogs (Item L26202000, $15.00)

    Bond's Genealogies and History of Watertown, Massachusetts, Second Edition (S29000000, $49.95, $44.95 for NEHGS Members)

    The Best Genealogical Sources in Print: Essays by Gary Boyd Roberts (Item S26206060, $50.00)

    Descendants of William Ames of Braintree, Massachusetts (Item S42400000, $49.00)

    Guide to the Library of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (Item L50101000. $21.95, $18.95 for NEHGS Members)

    The Pilgrim Migration: Immigrants to Plymouth Colony, 1620-1633 (Item S28449000, $49.95)

    A Short History of Boston (Item B26890000, $14.95)

    Family History 101: A Beginner's Guide to Finding Your Ancestors (Item B26289100, $16.99)

    Family Tree Page Ideas for Scrapbookers: 150 Ways to Create a Scrapbook (Item B26295100, $19.99)

    Genealogist's Address Book on CD-ROM (Item CDGAB, $19.99)

    Gaining Ground: A History of Landmaking in Boston (Item B28880000, $49.95)

    Names and History: People, Places and Things by George Redmonds (Item B26247900, $29.95)

    Taverns and Drinking in Early America (Hardcover: Item B29700000, $42.00; Softcover: Item B29710000, $24.95)

    The Family Tree Problem Solver: Proven Methods for Scaling the Inevitable Brick Wall (Item B26289200, $19.99)

    The Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogists (Item B26289300, $29.99)

    Trace Your Roots with DNA (Item B26213800, $14.95)

    Orders can be placed on the NEHGS Online Store at or by calling tollfree 1-888-296-3447.

    By The Way: our CD Bundle Sale ends March 19th!


    Upcoming Genealogy Events

    "SCOTS FOR SALE" The Fate of the Scottish War Prisoners In Seventeenth-Century New England

    Diane Rapaport will give this lecture and slide presentation several times over the next month. Ms. Rapaport has spent years tracing the fate of the seventeenth-century Scottish war prisoners who were shipped to Boston, against their will. In these lectures she will focus on the stories of exiled Scotsmen in Essex County.

    Diane Rapaport is a former trial lawyer who has made a new career as a writer and historian. Her articles have appeared in New England Ancestors magazine and she is currently writing a book, New England Court Records: A Research Guide for Genealogists and Historians, to be published by NEHGS.

    March 22, 2005, 7:00 PM. - Memorial Hall Library, Elm Square, Andover, Massachusetts. Contact Norma Gammon, 978-623-8401, ext. 49, for further information.

    March 31, 7:30 PM - Ms. Rapaport will also attend a special-interest group about Scottish research. For information, see

    April 1 – 1:45 PM - Inn By the Bay at the New England Regional Genealogical Conference in Portland, Maine,

    April 14 – 7:30 PM - Wrentham Historical Society, Fiske Public Library, Randall Road, Wrentham, MA. For information, contact Jean Nall, 508-384-7151.


    Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures

    March 30 - George Sanborn - Researching New Brunswick Ancestors - From the 18th through the 20th centuries, Americans have been migrating back and forth over the New Brunswick border. NEHGS Canadian expert, George Sanborn, will discuss how to find your ancestors in New Brunswick, and what records are available in Canada and at NEHGS. Whether your ancestors were 18th century loyalists, westward migrants or Irish immigrants who stopped over in Saint John on their way to America, this lecture will guide you in your search for your New Brunswick roots.

    Note: there will be no lecture on April 2

    April 6 - NEHGS and BPL staff - Genealogical Walking Tour of the Boston Public Library
    With the arrival of spring (dare we hope?), its time to get our walking shoes on. This walking tour will leave from NEHGS at 10:15 a.m. and proceed on foot two blocks to the nearby Boston Public Library, corner of Boylston and Dartmouth Street. We will be escorted on a tour of this world-renowned institution that features many useful resources for genealogists, including newspapers, U.S. city directories, local histories and photographs. Please join us for this wonderful opportunity to see first-hand the vast collections and beautifully designed public library.

    April 13, 16 - Gary Boyd Roberts - The Best Genealogical Sources in Print
    Well-known NEHGS genealogical scholar, Gary Boyd Roberts, will discuss his latest book, The Best Genealogical Sources in Print, and be available to sign books after his lecture. His book is a compilation of his articles over the past thirty years, and his talk will cover the major publications in the genealogical field since 1960. Please join our inimitable Mr. Roberts for a lively discussion of genealogical articles and books in 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 Education Center online. 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 - Ancestors

    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 email us your story (300 words or less). Thank you to all past and future contributors!

    This week, The Marrying Squire of Aberdeen, by Doug Atherton, Oceanside, CA

    My favorite ancestor is Thomas Shelton, the Marrying Squire of Aberdeen, Ohio. He was an entrepreneurial wedding machine who claimed he married between 10,000 and 15,000 couples over 41 years.

    Shortly after receiving a political appointment in 1822, he determined that marrying people could be a lucrative sideline to politics. Shelton married couples from all over the South, and from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and New York too – many came to avoid restrictive laws. He even married slaves escaping through the Underground Railroad.

    The good squire had a morning ritual: he'd walk down to the wharf and greet the steamboats bringing the happy – or sometimes desperate – couples. He used to say, "The early squire gets the wedding."

    It is said that the Squire didn't bother to record the marriages in thousands of cases. Many of the 'lost marriages' involved Kentuckians, who came to Aberdeen to avoid a law that required couples to produce a bondsman - usually a family member with cattle or some other form of security - to assure that the marriage would hold together. Other times, the squire probably intended to file the marriage certificates in the courthouse, but he didn't go over to the county seat too often. Then when he did, he’d often forget to take the certificates.

    He charged twenty dollars for a wedding, but would barter when folks didn’t have the cash. The Squire was happy to trade for a pocketknife, or if they were poor, he'd accept payment in potatoes, apples, or other vegetables to stock his produce house. The produce house was another business he operated on the side, but that’s another story…


    Register Now: Digging for Your Roots in Northern New England - May 14

    Take a research trip to Boston on May 14, 2005… "Digging for Your Roots in Northern New England" is part of our New England States Seminar Series. These one-day seminars at the NEHGS library in Boston will assist beginners and seasoned researchers alike. This seminar will investigate many of the distinct genealogical challenges of northern New England by reviewing the history, migrations, records, and repositories of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. In addition to informative lectures, our panel of experts will present case studies illustrating research techniques and sources, and conduct a question and answer session. Join us for this very special event!

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