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  • 2005 Archive

  • Vol. 7, No. 18
    Whole #217
    May 4, 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 here, and follow the instructions provided.


    * New Database
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * is Family Chronicle Editor’s Pick
    * Spotlight: Tennessee State Library and Archives
    * Online Sales Through May 11
    * Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures
    * Favorite – and Black Sheep - Ancestors
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Database
    The Diaries of the Rev. Thomas Cary of Newburyport, Massachusetts, 1762-1806
    Just added: 1790

    The Rev. Thomas Cary (1745-1808) started his diary in Weston, Massachusetts, in 1762. He wrote his notes opposite the pages of An Astronomical diary: Or, Almanack for the Year of Our Lord CHRIST 1762 which he “bot at Mr. Philips.” His entries are sparse, but invaluable. He continued his diaries until 1806, two years before his death.
    The original diaries are kept in the R. Stanton Avery Collections at NEHGS, call number MSS 640.


    Upcoming Education Programs
    Digging for your Roots in Northern New England
    Saturday, May 14
    "Digging for Your Roots in Northern New England" is part of our New England States Seminar Series which offers one-day seminars at the Research Library in Boston to 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 interactive opportunities for participants to ask questions about their own research. Click on for more information and join us for this special event!

    Introduction to at the NEHGS Library
    Wednesday, May 11, 11:30 a.m.

    Join us for an interactive tour of our website! In this free class, NEHGS content delivery specialist Darrin McGlinn will offer a step-by-step live demonstration of the Society's website, This class gives participants the opportunity to explore the site in depth, ask questions, and become more comfortable using a constantly growing number of online databases and research tools.
    This program will be held on Wednesday, May 11, 11:30 a.m. in the education center at 101 Newbury Street, Boston. Advance registration is not required.
    For more information, please call 617-226-1209 or email

    ********************************** is Family Chronicle Editor’s Pick

    The June 2005 issue of Family Chronicle reviews five websites in its regular column Genealogy Web Sites Worth Searching. was selected as this month’s Editor’s Pick. Our appreciation to the editors of Family Chronicle for recognizing the Society’s commitment to its distant members by providing greater access to the collections through the website.


    Spotlight: Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) (

    The Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) website offers a variety of online resources. To access them, click on the Tennessee History and Genealogy button on the library's home page. An overview of some of these indexes follows.

    Vital Records Indexes
    Index to Tennessee Death Records 1908 - 1912
    In 1908, the state of Tennessee began to register births and deaths. The 1908 - 1912 index contains 98,000 deaths. This represents all extant records for the period. The data in the index includes the name of the deceased, county, year of death and certificate number. Copies of the death certificates can be ordered from TSLA. Please be advised that parents' names are not listed on death certificates from that period.

    Statewide Index to Tennessee Death Records
    This statewide index is part of a long-term project to index all Tennessee death records from 1914 on. It currently covers the two-year period from 1914 to 1916. The data includes name of the deceased, county of death and volume and page number of the death certificate. This index will replace the more limited Partial Index to Tennessee Death Records 1914 - 1925, also found on the website. The Partial Index covers thirty-seven counties but it does not include the records of children under two years of age. It should be noted that, beginning in 1914, death records began to include parent names and date and place of death.

    Military Records
    Tennessee Confederate Pension Applications Index: Soldiers and Widows
    This alphabetical index includes individuals applying for pensions from three separate rolls that were maintained by the Board of Pension Examiners - soldiers' roll, widows' roll, and African American soldier's roll. The data may include name, pension number, county of residence at the time of application, and soldier's unit.

    Tennessee Confederate Soldier's Home Application Index
    The Tennessee Confederate Soldiers' Home opened in 1890. Aging confederate veterans living in Tennessee who wanted to be admitted to the Home had to submit an application to the review board. This database is an index to the applications. It is in alphabetical order by surname and may include the applicant's county of residence, military unit, and date of application. The applications themselves contain more information than this index. There were questions about the applicant's family, birth date, enlistment, wounds and occupation after the war.

    Tennessee Civil War Veterans' Questionnaires (Confederate Soldiers and Federal Soldiers)
    In 1914, Tennessee State Archivist Dr. Gus Dyer developed a questionnaire that was sent to all living Tennessee Civil War veterans in an effort to gather information about their experiences during the war and about their experiences before and after, as well. The indexes are arranged alphabetically and cover both Confederate and Federal soldiers' responses.

    Other Records Indexes
    Inmates of the Tennessee State Penitentiary 1831 - 1850
    The Tennessee State Penitentiary opened in 1831. This database is an index to ledger volume 43 of the penitentiary records. The index includes the inmate's name, crime committed, the country from which the inmate came and his age.

    Southern Claims Commission Index
    This index lists Tennesseans who filed claims with the Southern Claims Commission during the period from 1871 and 1873. These claims were filed by individuals regarding property taken by U. S. military personnel for use in the Civil War. Information found in the index includes the claimant's name, county and the status of the claim.

    If you are planning a visit to the Tennessee State Library and Archives, click on the Genealogical Fact Sheets About Tennessee Counties link to access fact sheets, which provide information about the genealogical research resources available at the TSLA on a county-by-county basis.

    Visit the Tennessee State Library and Archives online at

    Online Sale Through May 11
    Celebrate Native American Research, History and Culture!

    Indian Deeds: Land Transactions in Plymouth Colony, 1620-1691
    Item S28444100 Was $50.00 Now $40.00!

    Captors and Captives: The 1704 French and Indian Raid on Deerfield
    Item B29113000 Was $29.95 Now $24.95!

    King Philip's War: The History and Legacy of America's Forgotten Conflict (softcover)
    Item B26474400 Was $18.95 Now $15.95!

    King Philip's War: Videotape
    Item VID-KPW1 Was $29.95 Now $24.95!

    North Country Captives: Selected Narratives of Indian Captivity from VT and NH
    Item B29112000 Was $17.95 Now $14.95!

    The Wampanoag Genealogical History of Martha's Vineyard (hardcover)
    Item B26475100 Was $85.00 Now $70.00!

    The Wampanoag Genealogical History of Martha's Vineyard (softcover)
    Item B26475050 Was $55.00 Now $42.50!

    Dawnland Encounters: Indians and Europeans in Northern New England
    Item B26474800 Was $22.95 Now $18.95!

    Indian New England Before the Mayflower
    Item B26474700 Was $19.95 Now $15.95!

    Biographies & Legends of the New England Indians - 5 Booklet Set
    (Quantities Limited!)
    Item B26474900 Was $28.00 Now $20.00!

    The Ransom of Mercy Carter
    Item B28018100 Was $5.50 Now $4.00!

    Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Immigrant and Ethnic Ancestors
    Item B26401000 Was $18.99 Now $15.99!

    Prices are good through Wednesday, May 11th.


    Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures
    Our "Nutshell" lectures explore a wide range of research skills and sources and are free and open to the public. Offered in the Richardson-Sloane Education Center at 101 Newbury Street on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:15 A.M. unless otherwise stated. Advance registration is not necessary.

    May 7 - Records from the Ivory Tower: Researching in Academic Institutions - Laura Prescott, NEHGS Staff
    New England is blessed with hundreds of colleges and universities that offer genealogically useful library collections. For those institutions that allow public access, their regular and special collections can be treasure troves of information for family historians. NEHGS Marketing Director, Laura Prescott, will discuss identifying these academic libraries, and will highlight the some of their materials of interest to genealogists.

    May 11 - Oral History - Verify It! - Richard Hite, Rhode Island State Records Coordinator
    One of the first steps in compiling a family history is to interview your relatives. But frequently family historians have been lead down the wrong path by the exaggerations, misconceptions and outright lies in their Aunt Tillie's version of the family history. Please join Richard Hite, State Records Coordinator at the Rhode Island State Archives, as he discusses the value and drawbacks of using oral history, and the need to verify the information we receive from relatives.

    May 18, 21 - Grandpa in Your Pocket: Using High-Tech Devices to Simplify Your Research - Dick Eastman, NEHGS Staff
    With the current explosion of portable computer devices, laptops, PDA's, Blackberries, and even cell phones, genealogists are finding that they can do much more than manage calendars. NEHGS computer expert, Dick Eastman, will discuss the use of these devices for genealogical research.

    May 25 - Walking Tour of the Massachusetts Transportation Library - TBA
    Unknown to many researchers, a state library open to the public lies within walking distance of NEHGS' doors. Devoted to maintaining information about the region's transportation systems, the Transportation Library houses many records and books of use to family historians. Whether you are a train aficionado, a genealogist wondering where some ancestors lived, or just plain curious about this unusual library, please join us in the NEHGS lobby at 10:15. We will walk 4-5 blocks to the State Transportation Building in Park Square to visit and tour this nearby facility.


    Favorite – and Black Sheep – Ancestors

    If you would like to contribute a short story on an interesting ancestor, please draft a piece that is 300 words or less, and send it to If your story is selected, it may be revised for length and clarity. Thank you to all past and future contributors!

    My Favorite Ancestor - Simeon Wood (ca. 1770-1848)

    By Donna J. Joyal, Melbourne, Florida

    My favorite ancestor is Simeon Wood, ca.1770-1848. He married first Pheobe Stockwell and raised eleven children. The family resided in Shoreham, Vermont. From Shoreham, they moved to Plattsburgh, New York. After the birth of child number seven, Pheobe was paralyzed from the waist down. The doctors in Plattsburgh recommended "clean air and fresh spring water." Because of his tracking abilities, Simeon had previously been hired to find lost livestock. He used these talents to find the perfect place for Pheobe. In March of 1800 they hacked their way through 15 miles of dense wilderness, with Simeon carrying Pheobe Indian style, on a "travois." They built a log cabin with a large fireplace at one end. The first acre was cleared by cutting the trees into logs and pulling them by horse through the front door, rolling them into the fireplace, and exiting the back. The first "white" family in Altona, Clinton Co. New York had arrived. Pheobe bore two more children before her death in 1808.

    About 1810, Simeon married second Sarah Smith, 1787-1867, my direct ancestor. They also had eleven children. Simeon built one of the first mills in the area. He and Sarah later ran an Inn on the new Military Turnpike. While President Munroe was staying there during his inspection of the road, one of his servants raised an alarm as he thought he had been poisoned. It turned out the cow had eaten wild garlic which had strongly flavored the fresh butter.

    Simeon's grandson reported that when asked why he had so many children, Simeon replied, "to populate the country and keep the chipmunks out of the cellar." His headstone lies next to Phoebe's in the Douglas Cemetery in Altona. This early pioneer had quite a sense of humor, which is why he is my favorite ancestor, even if I can't find his parents after 20 years of searching!


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    Copyright 2005, New England Historic Genealogical Society
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