American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogical Society - Founded 1845 N.E. Historic Genealogical Society Seal View Your Shopping Cart Join NEHGS
  • 2005 Archive

  • Vol. 7, No. 2
    Whole #201
    January 12, 2005
    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 2005, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116


    * NEHGS eNews to Switch to Wednesday Delivery Starting January 26
    * New Databases on
    * New Research Article on
    * Coming Soon - NEHGS 2005 Education and Tours Bulletin
    * Ask a Genealogist - Your Research Questions Answered!
    * NEHGS CD-ROMs - Try Before You Buy!
    * Spotlight on State Archives: Oregon State Archives
    * Warm Up Your Research With NEHGS in Phoenix, Arizona
    * Free Genealogy Workshops at the National Archives-Northeast Region
    * Upcoming Genealogy in a Nutshell Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    * Favorite - and Black Sheep - Ancestor Feedback
    * NEHGS Contact Information

    NEHGS eNews to Switch to Wednesday Delivery Starting January 26

    Beginning on January 26, the NEHGS eNews will be sent on Wednesdays instead of Fridays. This change is being made, in part, to improve response time to customer emails and phone calls, which typically increase after the eNews is sent. The bulk of customer communications to NEHGS is currently received on the weekend, when our offices are closed. We hope that by sending the eNews earlier in the week, we will be able to improve our customer services to our valued readers.

    New Databases on

    Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910

    Added this week: Records for 1865

    The latest installment in this ongoing database includes actual records from 1865 (vols. 177-185). 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 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


    Civil War Tax List of Arlington (West Cambridge), Massachusetts, 1863

    This list of taxpayers of Arlington, Massachusetts, was compiled after the following vote, as written in the opening pages of this bound tax list.

    "Voted = That no assessment be made upon any person for less than two dollars. And that an amount be assessed upon each resident tax-payer equal to one-tenth part of the amount of said person's tax from State, County, and Town purposes for the year 1863. As a War Tax."

    The War Tax was assessed to "defray expenses incurred by the town's Selectmen in recruiting and the quota of troops assigned to West Cambridge."

    The database contains names of individuals taxed, amount assessed, amount paid, and remarks, such as, "mad & will not pay anything" (Amos Adams); "wishes to investigate the subject" (Lewis P. Bartlett); "son in the army" (Susan L. Crane); "alien but willing to help the cause" (Patrick Finton); and "go to hell" (Nathaniel Johnson).

    The original tax list is part of the R. Stanton Avery Collections, call number SL ARL 16.

    Search Civil War Tax List of Arlington (West Cambridge), Massachusetts, 1863 at

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

    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.

    Most Recent Addition:
    Vol. 15 - Deaths 1901-1910


    The entire series can be viewed at the NEHGS Research Library, call number F89/P9/P86/1879. Volumes 1 through 8, 10 through 14, 17, 18, and 20 through 22 may be loaned to NEHGS members through the Circulating Library.


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

    New Research Article on

    Genetic Genealogy: An Introduction

    By Alan Savin

    Free Access to Non-Members!

    Like any science, genealogy should be based on evidence. Whilst over the decades our access to records has improved, basic genealogical standards essentially remain unchanged; our primary sources continue to be in written form while oral tradition is treated with much caution. But with advances in genetic science a window has been opened to a new resource. It has been discovered that parts of our family history are also written in our DNA.

    About the author: Alan Savin has been a genealogist since 1986 and initiated the world's first DNA surname study in 1997. In the year 2000 he published the book DNA for Family Historians, which is available through the NEHGS Online Store at

    Members and non-members may read the full article at

    Coming Soon - NEHGS 2005 Education and Tours Bulletin

    We are very excited about the 2005 NEHGS education and tours schedule and we're confident that you will enjoy the lineup of great events and excursions on tap this year! Keep an eye on your email inbox for the NEHGS 2005 Education and Tours Bulletin, which will be sent in place of the regular eNews next week. This quarterly email bulletin features information on upcoming seminars, programs, and tours you won't want to miss! The bulletin will be sent in January, April, July, and October, to all NEHGS eNews subscribers.

    Included in the bulletin is information on education programs and tours as well as our ongoing Boston-based (and free!) programs: Getting Started in Genealogy, Introduction to Using, and the "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lecture Series. For additional information, visit our events calendar page at



    Ask a Genealogist - Your Research Questions Answered!

    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.

    Don't forget, NEHGS now offers a separate free service to both members and potential members - The Online Genealogist. David Allen Lambert will personally give prompt answers to your questions on preselected research topics. This month, we invite you to ask him questions about nineteenth-century Massachusetts research at

    Here are the questions for this installment of Ask a Genealogist:

    Sandra Wanamaker asks:

    My ancestor, Captain John Villet of Newport, Rhode Island, died in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, in 1797, according to the Newport Mercury of that year. What agency could I contact in St. Thomas to find out any further information?

    Doris Scheetz asks:

    Do you have any information on the names of French men who fought in the Revolutionary War? I am trying to join the DAR and my immigrant ancestor and his son were among these men. They fought under George Washington. Can you help?

    Susan Hurlbut asks:

    I have traced one of my lines back to Robert Evans, who married Anne Davis of Freetown, Massachusetts, on January 29, 1723.On a visit to the Old Colony Historical Society archives, I found a list titled "Town Paupers of Freetown" that lists a Robert Evins in the right time period. The list also indicates that he "belonged" to the town of Berkley. Also, the Berkley Town Records state that Robert Evans of Berkley died December 5, 1783, age 95 (Town Pauper). The Register (Vol 20, p. 214, July 1866) states that there was a lawsuit between Freetown and Berkley concerning his support. I would like to determine if the town pauper is "my" Robert Evans.

    Can you please explain what the criteria were for becoming a town pauper in late eighteenth-century Massachusetts? Were court records created when a person was named a town pauper? If so, which court would be involved?

    Charles Howell asks:

    The Great Migration is fascinating material. I enjoy reading the tales and adventures very much. But after all these people arrived, their children began another migration, if not several, as they moved into the forest and lands to the west and northwest of the Massachusetts Atlantic shores.

    Alexander Gordon, Peter Pattee, Roger Eastman, and Israel Young's kinfolk all migrated north from either Massachusetts or southern New Hampshire, where, in Grafton County, some of them settled by the end of the eighteenth century. Others are found in Vermont and Maine.

    My question is why was it that families of Watertown and Bridgewater, Massachusetts, moved north rather than west in the mid 1700s? What resources discuss this migration to the north and the development of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine by "southern immigrants"?

    Shirley asks:

    Can you tell me where the court records of Bristol County, Massachusetts, for the late 1700s are located and can the public access them?

    NEHGS members can view all the answers at

    NEHGS CD-ROMs - Try Before You Buy!

    Have you wondered if there's information about your family on one of the CDs published by NEHGS? Perhaps a mention of an ancestor in the Corbin Collection? Or a transcription of the family Bible in the Bible Records from the Manuscript Collections of New England Historic Genealogical Society? If you would like to preview a CD before you purchase it, you can borrow it from the NEHGS Circulating Library for only $9 per title. Members of NEHGS can borrow books, videos, and even CDs, by mail. Your choices are sent to you for a three-week borrowing period. At the end of three weeks simply put your items back in the pouch and mail them back to us. We pay the return postage.

    A full list of CDs available in the Circulating Library are listed in the Circulating Library print catalog and on If you wish to order online, just visit the Circulating Library catalog page at and perform a title search on "electronic resource" (no quotes). Over a hundred CD titles are available for members to borrow.

    Spotlight on State Archives, Part Four

    Oregon State Archives

    In the genealogy section of the Oregon State Archives' website you will find the Oregon Historical Records index that provides access to a variety of records from throughout the state. The records are organized by county or other governmental units, such as the Oregon Health Division, Oregon State Hospital, and the Oregon State Penitentiary. To access a complete list of these entities, click on the "selected list" link on the main genealogy page.

    Clicking on the county, agency, or institution name will bring up a list of related databases. Click on the database title link to access a generic description of the database and the type of information that may be found in the records. The Death Registers for the Oregon State Hospital, for instance, include the date of death, patient name, age, nativity, county from which the patient was committed, month and year of commitment, cause of death, grave number, and remarks, which focus on the city and/or county to which the remains were sent

    The following is a sampling of the available databases.

    Clackamas County

    Coroner's Reports, 1860-1883
    Deaths, 1915-1948
    Delayed Births, 1869-1901
    Divorces, 1852-1920
    Insane Commitments, 1854-1889
    Marriages, 1848-1893, 1910-1921
    Naturalizations, 1887-1931
    Probates, 1844-1928
    Widow's Pensions, 1913-1930
    Women's Property Register, 1859-1909


    Oregon State Hospital Death Register, 1883-1936
    Hawthorne Asylum Register (statewide), 1863-1894
    Oregon State Penitentiary Inmate Registers, 1854-1932

    Provisional and Territorial Government

    Census, 1845-1859
    Divorces, 1844-1859
    Tax Rolls, 1846-1859

    The nearly 570,000 records can be searched via the site's global search feature. This can be accessed from the Oregon Historical Records Index link on the main genealogy page or from the Index Search Page link on the About the Oregon Historical Records Index page.

    The Archives' online resources also include a number of useful research guides. Consult these guides for background information related to county history and government, Oregon maps and county boundary changes and a glossary of terms, as well as an overview of all of the records available at the Oregon State Archives.

    Check out the online resources of the Oregon State Archives at

    Look for another state archives highlight in next week's issue of eNews.

    Warm Up Your Research With NEHGS in Phoenix, Arizona

    NEHGS will be exhibiting at the National Genealogical Society's (NGS) Warm Up Your Research conference in Phoenix, Arizona, January 20-22. It takes place at the Wyndham Phoenix Hotel, 50 East Adams Street.

    Many prominent national genealogists will be speaking at the conference, and the exhibit hall will be open on Friday, January 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturday, January 22 from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Laura Prescott, NEHGS director of marketing, and David Lambert, the NEHGS Online Genealogist, will be staffing the booth. We will have copies of many NEHGS titles to purchase or order, including the Guide to the Library of the New England Historic Genealogical Society by Maureen A. Taylor and Henry B. Hoff, The Pilgrim Migration: Immigrants to Plymouth Colony, 1620-1633, by Robert Charles Anderson, and The Best Genealogical Resources in Print: Essays by Gary Boyd Roberts.

    We hope you’ll stop by to browse the booth, meet representatives from the Society, and pick up your NEHGS member pin. The exhibit hall is free and open to the public. There is a registration fee for conference lectures, which can be paid on-site. Additional information about the event may be found at

    Free Genealogy Workshops at the National Archives-Northeast Region

    The following is an announcement from the National Archives-Northeast Region:

    The National Archives-Northeast Region is offering free workshops for teachers and genealogists during the winter and spring of 2005.

    The National Archives is registered with the Massachusetts Department of Education and can offer ten Professional Development Points (PDPs) to Massachusetts teachers. For more information about this program, please see the Educators' pages at

    The workshops will be offered at the Regional Archives building, located at 380 Trapelo Road in Waltham, MA, according to the following schedule. Workshops are open to anyone interested.

    Teacher Workshops
    Thursday January 27 - Archival Research - 6:30 p.m.
    Thursday February 17 - Customs House Records - 6:30 p.m.
    Saturday March 5 - Census - 9 a.m.
    Saturday March 5 - Immigration and Naturalization - 12 noon
    Thursday March 10 - Application of Research Methods - 6:30 p.m.
    Thursday March 24 - TBA - 6:30 p.m.
    Thursday April 28 - Revolutionary War (and later) Records - 6:30 p.m.
    Thursday May 12 - America on the Homefront, WW II - 6:30 p.m.
    Thursday May 26 - Local History in Federal Records - 6:30 p.m.
    Thursday June 16 - Application of Research Methods - 6:30 p.m.

    Genealogy Workshops
    Tuesday January 4 - Census, Naturalization & Passenger Lists - 1:30 p.m.
    Tuesday February 8 - Records Relating to African-American Research - 1:30 p.m.
    Tuesday March 8 - Documenting Our Mothers - 1:30 p.m.
    Tuesday April 12 - Census Records - 1:30 p.m.
    Tuesday May 3 - Immigration and Naturalization - 1:30 p.m.
    Tuesday June 7 - Military Censuses in the 20th Century - 1:30 p.m.

    Tours of the archives will be given at 1:30 prior to each genealogy workshop.

    Space is limited to twenty participants. Call 866-406-2379 to register and for more details. There is no fee.


    Upcoming Genealogy in a Nutshell Lectures at the NEHGS Library

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

    Whether you have been researching your family tree for several years or are 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.

    African American Mariners in the Age of Sail with Dr. Julie Winch on January 19 and 22, 2005

    University of Massachusetts history professor, Julie Winch, is a leading authority on African-American society. She has appeared on the PBS television series, Africans in America, and has written several books on African-American society in the pre-Civil War North. She will present a fascinating look into some lesser-known, maritime aspects of African-American history.

    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!

    My Favorite Ancestor
    by R.C. Underhill of Westfield, New Jersey

    Family lore has it that my great grandfather, Thomas Underhill, left London with his oldest child, Charles Lionel Underhill, age between ten and twelve, in the early 1880s. Thomas's wife, Emily Cawthorn Underhill (a beauty with red hair that fell to her knees), the rest of their family, and Thomas's mistress stayed behind as father and son headed for America. The two entered the U.S. via Mexico and/or Texas.

    It was in Texas that young Charles contracted yellow fever and was believed to be dying. In due course, Thomas entrusted the boy to the care of some Indians, giving them a goodly sum of money with instructions as to care and burial. He then set out for upstate New York where, he had learned, his mistress had come and found work.

    Charles, in the meantime, recovered, and once on his feet, set out on what was to become a two-year work and travel odyessy to Syracuse, New York, where he somehow found his father. The boy said he was hungry, and his father gave him money for food. Charles used the money to buy cupcakes which he ate, sitting on a sidewalk, until they turned his stomach.

    Nothing is known of father's or son's doings between their reunion in 1884 and Thomas's second coming to America in the summer of 1898 except that at some point Thomas returned to London, found himself divorced, and Emily now married to the second of what would be her three husbands - shocking in Victorian England! So it was back to the U.S. where Thomas joined his now married son in Somerville, Massachusetts, and learned the birth of my father was expected momentarily. With the child, space at Charles' was at a premium so Thomas took a "room to let" and moved in the day it had been painted ... only to die that night of lead poisoning, just ten days after my father's arrival on this earth.

    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

New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

© 2010 - 2014 New England Historic Genealogical Society