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  • 2005 Archive

  • Vol. 7, No. 20
    Whole #219
    May 18, 2005
    Edited by Michael J. Leclerc 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
    * Progress Towards A New Online Library Catalog
    * NEHGS Presents Early American Newspapers, 1690-1876
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * Spotlight: Essex County [Ontario] Library
    * On Sale Now: Learn About Objects as Part of Family History
    * What's Your Favorite Website for Researching Your New England Ancestors?
    * New Arrivals at the Library Listed on
    * Connecticut Society of Genealogists Literary Award Goes to Peter Haring Judd
    * Favorite – and Black Sheep – Ancestors
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Database
    Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910

    New this week: Records from Volumes 205 - 213, 1868

    The latest installment in this ongoing database includes actual records from 1868, (Volumes 205-213). 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


    Progress Towards A New Online Library Catalog

    We have raised one-third of the funding we need to acquire and implement a new catalog and now we are asking for your help to reach our goal.

    The current system was implemented two decades ago - a very long time in computer software years. Our staff is working on implementing a new system to make researching the Society’s collections even easier. The new system will utilize modern technology to provide more powerful searches of our holdings, thus increasing access to the vast research materials held in the collections. With an improved, easy-to-use display and the ability for members to personalize their searches, the new catalog is sure to pave the way for researchers to find the information they need to tear down their brick walls.

    Please help us bring this new tool to you through a tax-deductible donation to the Society's Library Catalog Project.

    Please visit for more information or call (617) 226-1217 or (617) 226-1238 to make a gift or pledge.


    The New England Historic Genealogical Society Presents Early American Newspapers, 1690-1876

    In an ongoing effort to add member benefits to its online research package, the Society is pleased to announce that members may now access a significant online newspaper collection: Early American Newspapers, 1690-1876.

    Explore your early American ancestors and the America of yesterday via this online database. Based largely on Clarence Brigham's "History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820," this collection offers a fully text-searchable database of over one million pages from newspapers published in that era, including cover-to-cover reproductions of historic newspapers. It contains a comprehensive listing of marriage, death, and court records found in early American periodicals such as the Boston Gazette, Gazette of the United States, Connecticut Courant, and many more. A wide variety of search options are available, including the ability to limit searches to marriage or death notices. For genealogists and scholars alike, Early American Newspapers, 1690-1876 offers an unprecedented look back into the extraordinary past of the United States.

    Visit Early American Newspapers, 1690-1876 by typing the following link into your browser address window:

    Please note that the database is still in the testing phase. All members of NEHGS with a Research Membership or higher have access to this valuable online research tool. Members must be logged into their account to gain full access.


    Upcoming Education Programs
    Come Home to New England

    June 19-26, 2005
    July 31-August 7, 2005

    NEHGS invites you to participate in our classic intensive weeklong program “Come Home to New England.” Research your roots with our help at the extensive NEHGS library, one of the finest facilities for genealogical research in the country. Whether you are a first-time participant or have enjoyed this program in the past, you are sure to benefit from a visit to our library. We hope you will come spend this time with our staff and librarians as they welcome you “home” to New England.

    Enjoy a week of guided research in our library, personal one-on-one research consultations, morning lectures, and special access to the library when it is normally closed to the public. The lectures will include a tour of NEHGS which introduces first-time researchers to the library and updates long-time participants on the latest resources. This year’s Come Homers can opt to take part in an optional tour and lecture at the Boston Public Library to learn about its vast genealogical resources.

    For more information visit


    Essex County County Library, County of Essex, Province of Ontario, Canada

    The County of Essex is located on the shores of Lake Erie in southwestern Ontario, just across the U.S. / Canadian border from Detroit, Michigan. The Essex County Library system comprises fourteen libraries in the towns of Amherstburg, Comber, Cottam, Essex, Harrow, Kingsville, Lakeshore, LaSalle, Leamington, McGregor, Ruthven, Stoney Point, Tecumseh, and Woodslee. The library's Digital Archive and Image Network contains four indexes that cover both historical and current events taking place in the county.

    Birth, Marriage, and Death (BMD) Index
    The BMD Index is a name index of birth, marriage and death announcements found in local newspapers in Essex County. To search this index, first choose the type of event (BMD Value) and then choose a newspaper from the dropdown lists. Next enter a first and/or last name in the search boxes. Searches can be limited by date, as well. Finally, click on the search button. Search results include name, maiden name, date published, name of the newspaper and the page on which the announcement appears.

    Census Index
    The Census Index covers censuses from 1851 through 1901. It is searchable by first and last name. Please note that the names in this index are recorded exactly as they are spelled in the census - right or wrong. To search the index, enter a first and/or last name and select a town from the dropdown list. Then, click on the search button. The search results include person's name, town and microfilm reel and page number.

    Newspaper Index
    The newspaper index is a subject index of articles from a number of area newspapers. The index is searchable by keyword. You must first select a newspaper from the dropdown list and then enter a keyword. Results can be returned by newspaper or by date. The results will tell you the issue or issues in which your keyword appears. The data fields in the search results include headlines, newspaper, date published, page number and keywords.

    Image Archive Index
    This index is a collection of images featuring local sites and artifacts. You can search the index by keyword, date and category. Categories found in the images index include architecture, landscapes, people, technology, and transportation. The search results will list all matches to the search criteria and will include a small scale image, a description (keywords and location) and date. Click on the image to enlarge it.

    If you would like a copy of a newspaper article or a census image, the Essex County Library - LaSalle Branch will provide photocopies for a fee. Contact information is provided on the Digital Archive and Image Network main page.

    Visit the Essex County Library website at


    On Sale Now: Learn About Objects as Part of Family History

    Many families have objects that have been passed down through the generations. Learn more about discovering the stories behind your artifacts and their histories with the books below. We also offer a sale on a family register and notecards containing samples of genealogical heirlooms.

    The Art of Family: Genealogical Artifacts in New England
    by D. Brenton Simons and Peter Benes
    Item S11010000, Was $75.00, Now $25.00

    The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth
    by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
    Hardcover: Item B22010100, Was $35.00, Now $30.00
    Softcover: Item B22010300, Was $16.00, Now $12.00

    Assorted Heritage Documents Cards, 4.25" x 5.5"
    (two each of four designs, eight cards per set)
    Item D11001000, Was $8.00, Now $5.00

    Classic Family Tree Cards, 5" x 7"
    (eight cards of one design)
    Item D11002000, Was $8.50, Now $5.50

    Decorative Full Color Family Register, 11" x17"
    Item C16410000, Was $4.00, Now $2.50

    Purchase these items online at


    What's Your Favorite Website for Researching Your New England Ancestors?

    The staff of New England Ancestors magazine would like your opinion for an upcoming article on the best websites for researching New England ancestors. You may list more than one website, and they can be either commercials sites or non-profit sites. Although you can simply email the URLs of your favorites, we'd also be interested in learning why you consider those websites the best. And if you have a story about a discovery you made online, we'd like to hear about it.

    Please send your submissions to by June 6. Thank you for sharing your opinions!


    New Arrivals at the Library Listed on

    The latest list of new titles added to the NEHGS library has been posted on Here are some of this month’s titles:

    • The ancestry of Calvin Robinson Mower (1840-1927): including the Berry,Bigelow, Bowen, Breck, Bullock, Butterworth, Chipman ... and related families.
    • The ancestry of Dorothy Genevieve Orcutt [electronic resource].
      A supplement to A Rhoads family history: the family and ancestry of Jay Roscoe Rhoads.
    • Baptêmes et sépultures de St-Pierre de Durham (L'Avenir), 1820-1876.
    • Some descendants of Patrick Skerry of Halifax and New Ross, Nova Scotia: including associated Nova Scotia families of Happolt / Hawbolt, Russell and Kiens.
    • A forgotten family: the Flemish roots of General George Washington Goethals (1858-1928), "Builder of the Panama Canal".
    • Glassmakers of Stourbridge and Dudley, 1612-2003: a biographical history of a once great industry.
    • Early Lynn families including Lynnfield, Nahant, Saugus and Swampscott: genealogical study from the earliest settlers through the Revolutionary War.

    To view the complete list, go to and click on “April 2005.” To navigate to New Arrivals from the home page: click on the Libraries tab, go to the Research Library page, and click on “New Titles Added to the Library,” or go straight to the Research Library page from the shortcut menu at the right side of the menu bar.


    Connecticut Society of Genealogists Literary Award Goes to Peter Haring Judd

    Peter Haring Judd has received the 2005 Grand Prize Award for New England Genealogy from the Connecticut Society of Genealogists for his work More Lasting Than Brass: A Thread of Family from Revolutionary War New York to Industrial Connecticut (Newbury Street Press and Northeastern University Press, 2004). In this well-crafted and meticulously researched work, Judd draws on a trove of letters, photographs, and other records to illuminate the lives and times of members of the Haring, Herring, Clark, Denton, Phelps, White, Griggs, and Judd families. Interweaving history and genealogy, he shows how individuals were affected and shaped by powerful social and economic forces and how the rising and falling fortunes of seven generations of a family can give us insight into the first two hundred years of the republic.

    More Lasting Than Brass is available for $50.00 from the NEHGS online store at


    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 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!

    by Margaret Fiske, Cortland, New York
    One of my favorite ancestors is a third great-grandfather, Jonas Brown, born at Concord, Massachusetts December 15, 1752. He married Hannah Heald and had eight children. Their third son Ephraim is my ancestor. Jonas died at Temple, New Hampshire July
    31, 1834.

    He enlisted as a minuteman under Captain Buttrick and fought at Concord Bridge April 19, 1775, pursuing the enemy to Menotomy (later West Cambridge, today the town of Arlington). He fought in several battles, including the battle of Bunker Hill. He was one of the troops who marched from Concord to Ticonderoga and was there until about the middle of December 1776.

    When Jonas fought at Concord Bridge he received a wound in his shoulder
    from a musket ball. On showing his wound to his mother she exclaimed "Oh, Jonas, if it had gone little more toward your neck, it would have killed you!" To which he responded, "Oh yes, but if it had gone a little further the other way, it wouldn't have touched me!"

    In later life he told his boys, referring to his experience at the "Bridge," "I had hot chocolate for breakfast, cold lead for dinner and sore feet for supper." Not much wonder about the sore feet - after the fight they chased the British nine miles!


    NEHGS Contact Information

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    Copyright 2005, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

New England Historic Genealogical Society
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Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

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