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  • 2005 Archive

  • Vol. 7, No. 3
    Whole #202
    January 19, 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


    * New Databases on
    * New Research Article on
    * Changes to Master Search on
    * Possible Identify Theft Affects Heritage Creations Customers
    * Spotlight on State Archives: Maine State Archives
    * Borrow or Buy Scottish Resources from NEHGS
    * NEHGS Digging for Your Roots in New York Seminar
    * Genealogical Writing Lecture at Boston Public Library
    * Upcoming Genealogy in a Nutshell Lectures at the NEHGS Library
    * Favorite - and Black Sheep - Ancestor Feedback
    * NEHGS Contact Information

    New Databases on

    John Hayward's Gazetteer of the United States of America

    The title page of this immense reference book describes it as "a concise general view of the United States, and particular descriptions of the several states, territories, counties, districts, cities, towns, villages, their mountains, valleys, islands, capes, bays, harbors, lakes, rivers, canals, railroads, &c; with the governments and literary and other public institutions; also its mineral springs, waterfalls, caves, beaches, and other fashionable resorts; to which are added valuable statistical tables, and a map of the United States."

    It is an invaluable reference for place names and descriptions as well as for names of colleges, libraries, newspapers, railroads (with routes), state penetentiaries, and much more.

    The original text is part of the NEHGS Rare Book Collection, call number RareBook E154/H45/1853.

    Search John Hayward's Gazetteer of the United States of America at

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections

    New this week: Transcription of the cemetery at Roger Williams Park, Providence, Rhode Island

    Search Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections at

    List of the First Settlers of Woodbury, Connecticut

    The town of Woodbury, in Litchfield County, was established in 1673. This manuscript was compiled and donated to NEHGS by William Cothren of Woodbury in 1848. In addition to the names of the first settlers, this includes the dates of death of some individuals.

    The original manuscript is part of the R. Stanton Avery Collections. The call number is SL WOO 10.

    Search List of the First Settlers of Woodbury, Connecticut, at

    New Research Article on

    Rhode Island Biographical Resources

    By Maureen A. Taylor

    After you've verified the basic life dates and facts of your Rhode Island ancestor's life using vital records, censuses, city directories, and probate records, you may discover even more about their lives by searching biographical sources. It's about finding the person behind the name and dates. Here are some tips and sources to check when filling in the details of their everyday lives.

    NEHGS members may read the full article at

    Changes to Master Search on

    In an effort to improve the performance of the database searches on, we have removed three of our more popular databases from the home page Master Search. These databases are now accessible only through their individual database pages, which offer several search options not available in Master Search. We have already noticed a marked improvement in search speed since this change was implemented.

    The three databases are listed below, along with the url to each individual search page.

    Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910

    Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850

    Social Security Death Index

    Lee N. Meitzler, son of Heritage Creations owner Leland K. Meitzler, was arrested on Monday for alleged forgery activity. Heritage Creations is the Salt Lake City publisher of Heritage Quest Magazine and other genealogy products.

    Lee N. Meitzler was arrested after a Davis County (Utah), sheriff's deputy made a routine traffic stop of a car carrying two male occupants who were found to have warrants out for their arrest. Upon searching the car, the deputies found various drivers' licenses, Social Security numbers, passports, birth certificates, and a mobile methamphetamines lab.

    Upon further questioning, the two men led deputies to Lee N. Meitzler's RV trailer. According to Leland K. Meitzler, once there the deputies discovered drugs, files containing financial information, and receipts for some eBay sales completed last year by Heritage Creations, most of the latter having credit card numbers. Police also found much material about financial information apparently obtained from other companies. Because credit card information is involved, the FBI arrived on the scene shortly after the arrests were made. All three men are now in jail. One of Meitzler's associates was wanted as a fugitive on other drug-related arrests and is being held without bail.

    The FBI, the Davis County Sheriff's Office, the credit card companies, and Leland K. Meitzler have reviewed all credit card charges made recently. Meitzler, in a blog entry posted January 5 on the Heritage Creation website, wrote, "At this point, we have no reason to believe that anyone's credit card information was used fraudulently. It looked to me like there may have been a plan being put in place to try to do so, but it doesn't look to me like it happened yet." The full text of Leland Meitzler's blog entries may be found at

    Several people who have known the Meitzlers for years expressed shock at the possible security breach. NEHGS assistant executive director for technology Dick Eastman wrote on his blog that he had known Leland K. Meitzler for more than a decade. He also wrote, "I just spent a few minutes talking on the phone with Leland. ... I hung up the phone with a good feeling that this guy is going to take care of each and every one of his customers properly." Joe Garonzik of Genealogical Publishing Company said, "You can quote me as saying that I have known Leland for over twenty years. He's one of the nicest guys in the field, and his word is his bond."

    The Davis County (Utah) Sheriff's Department urges anyone who recently purchased items from Heritage Creations to call the Sheriff's Office at 801-451-4100, and to check their credit card statements carefully for unauthorized charges.

    Spotlight on State Archives, Part Three

    Maine State Archives

    The Maine State Archives has a number of online resources available to individuals researching their family history. Links to some of these resources may be found under the Online Services header on the home page. Click on the Archives Interactive link to open the database search page. Most of these databases are indexes to the records held by the Archives. They include legislation proposed or enacted between 1820 and 1860, early court cases from York, Washington, and Kennebec counties, the town and city microfilm collection, miscellaneous municipal records filed with the state, and maps. You will also find links to marriage and death databases under the Online Services header. The marriage database index covers the period January 1, 1892 to December 31, 1996, while the death database index covers the period from January 1, 1960 through December 31, 1996.

    A nice feature of this website is that there is more than one way to access and search the databases. You can utilize the website's search feature, as described above, or you can download the data files of selected vital records and indexes by clicking on the Databases for Downloading link on the home page. Most of the databases are in MS-Access file format. The vital records databases are an exception as they are text files. Instructions for downloading are found in the introductory material on the page. These downloadable databases include the vital records databases described above; the Courts 1696 - 1854 database, which is an index to early cases from the York County Court of Common Pleas (1696-1760), the Kennebec County Supreme Court (1799-1854), and the Washington County District Court (1839-1846); and a database of maps from 1674 to 1989.

    It should be noted that the Maine marriage and death databases and the courts database, as well as a number of other Maine databases, are available to members on the NEHGS website at

    Those of you with Maine ancestors who fought in the Civil War should explore the resources on the Archives' Civil War Page ( From this page you can access summary unit histories; regimental, municipal, and other related correspondence; and officers' photos. And, those of you with Revolutionary War ancestors can look for them in the Revolutionary War Land Grants and Pension Applications index (

    There are many useful resources for the family history researcher on the Maine State Archives website. Visit

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

    Borrow or Buy Scottish Resources from NEHGS

    This issue marks the debut of a new feature in eNews, where we will take various research topics featured in our publications and educational programs and guide you to related materials available through NEHGS.

    Our first topic is Scottish research, which was profiled in the most recent issue of New England Ancestors magazine. David Curtis Dearborn, in his article, "Resources for Scottish Genealogy at NEHGS," writes,

    "Tracing Scottish ancestry differs little from that of other Old World countries: first, we must identify the immigrant ancestor, and then determine his exact place of origin across the Atlantic. Unfortunately for many of us with ancestors bearing Scottish-sounding names, the immigrant ancestor likely will be Scots-Irish, rather than one who emigrated directly from Scotland. Tracing eighteenth-century immigrants is almost always difficult. For those who came to New England after the Revolution, there is at least the possibility of a naturalization record, though ship passenger arrival lists for this time are spotty at best. Even if you know the place of origin in Ulster, the Presbyterian parish registers often do not commence until the 1770s. Then, you have the chore of tracing the family back to the seventeenth century, and from Ulster to a specific place in Scotland itself — a daunting task indeed."

    The full article, "Resources for Scottish Genealogy at NEHGS," can be accessed by members at

    Other articles in New England Ancestors magazine that may be of interest to Scottish researchers include:

    Online Scottish Research using Original Records and Major Indexes

    Scots for Sale, Part II: Scottish Prisoners in Seventeenth-Century Maine and New Hampshire

    Scots for Sale: The Fate of Scottish Prisoners in Seventeenth-Century Massachusetts

    The Circulating Library has many books to aid in tracing your Scottish ancestry. For information on how NEHGS members can borrow books from the Circulating Library, please visit

    Your Scottish Ancestry: A Guide for North Americans (CS463 I78 1997)
    Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry (CS463 C67 1990)
    Directory of Scottish Settlers in North America (E184 S3D63)
    Scottish American Wills, 1650-1900 (E184S3D67 1991)
    Scottish-American Court Records, 1733-1783 (E184S3D67 1991)
    Directory of Scots Banished to the American Plantations, 1650-1775 (E184S3D6 1983)
    The Original Scots Colonists of Early America, 1612-1783 (E184S3D64 1989)
    Scottish-American Heirs, 1683-1883 (E184S3D65 1990)
    Scots in the USA and Canada, 1825-1875 (E184S3D647 1998)
    Scots in New England, 1623-1873(F15S3D63 2002)

    The NEHGS Online Store carries numerous Scottish resources as well, including:

    Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry (2nd edition)

    Scottish Colonial Schemes 1620-1686

    A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Scottish Ancestors

    Scottish Family History

    CD: Immigration Records: Scottish Immigrants to North America, 1600s-1800s

    CD: Scotch-Irish Settlers in America 1500s-1800s

    This is only a sampling of what you can find on Scottish resources in the libraries, publications, and the online store of NEHGS. Look for more topics in future issues of eNews!

    NEHGS Digging for Your Roots in New York Seminar

    Saturday, April 23, 2005, at NEHGS

    "Digging for Your Roots in New York" is part of our New England States Seminar Series, which offers one-day seminars at the NEHGS library in Boston to assist beginners and seasoned researchers alike. New York research has consistently been rated as one of the most desired research topics by our membership.

    This practical seminar will offer talks by three experienced genealogists on researching the families of New York from the earliest beginnings to the present day. After Register editor Henry Hoff provides an overview of colonial New York research, Roger Joslyn will talk about upstate New York — the area probably of greatest interest to seminar attendees. In the afternoon, the focus will be on statewide research sources and techniques: Leslie Corn will speak on finding marriage records, Roger Joslyn will describe how to find and use state censuses and tax lists, and Leslie Corn will conclude with using the Internet for New York research. Join us for this very special event!

    For more information and a downloadable registration form, please visit



    Genealogical Writing Lecture at Boston Public Library

    The Women's National Book Association, Boston Chapter, is sponsoring a free lecture on genealogical writing at the Mezzanine Conference Room of the Boston Public Library on Wednesday, January 12, at 6:30 p.m.

    The lecture, titled "Skeletons in the Closet: Writing About Ancestors Famous and Infamous," will feature the following speakers:

    Eve LaPlante, writer, teacher, and author of American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman who Defied the Puritans

    Christopher Hartman, director of book acquisition, Newbury Street Press, the special publications imprint of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and author of the forthcoming biography Advance Man: The Life and Times of Harry Hoagland

    Diane Rapaport, attorney, historian, genealogical researcher, and author of articles for New England Ancestors magazine. She is currently writing a book on researching family history in New England court records.

    This trio of writers and historians will explain the best ways to organize your research, dig for telling details, and record stories that will fascinate future generations.

    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 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!

    My Favorite Ancestor
    by Judith Gleason Claassen of Albuquerque, New Mexico

    The life of David Gleason was an adventurous one. He was a patriot, a pioneer, and a planter, and a bit of a black sheep as well. Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, to Phinehas Gleason and Eunice Chadwick Gleason in 1759, David was a descendant of Thomas Gleason who appeared in the Massachusetts Bay Colony about 1652.

    Orphaned at an early age, David was raised by his uncles, three of whom were Minutemen. At age sixteen, he became a matross in the Revolutionary War. Later he served in the Northern Department against Burgoyne, also at Peekskill and White Plains. Sometime during the war he contracted smallpox, but thankfully recovered. David returned to Worcester just long enough to sell his inherited lands and set off for a new life in Kentucky, where he soon was fighting Indians with Daniel Boone. He became the first constable of the newly formed Bourbon County but, when the Indian wars were over, David moved on. He continued down river and settled for a time in Spanish Natchez. There he met and married the daughter of French immigrants, Barbara deMoss.

    A new frontier was opening up to the west of the Mississippi, and the Spanish government was seeking settlers in order to control the threat from Indians there. About 1793, David and his family journeyed across the Mississippi and up the Ouachita to join a few settlers in the wilderness at Fort Miro (now Monroe, Louisiana). David became a member of the local militia as a "Spanish Dragoon."

    There are many tales of the exploits of this band of militia, and David became an important player. Frequently at odds with the Spanish, he was finally thrown into prison for sedition. He had been overheard boasting that with a few good men he could capture Fort Miro for the Americans, who by then controlled Natchez. David was freed soon after when the Louisiana Territory reverted to the French. In 1803, Louisiana was purchased by the United States and David concentrated on farming for the remainder of his life.

    When David Gleason died in 1823 he owned two plantations on the banks of the Bayou DeSaird. His wife, Barbara, and five of their ten children had been lost to disease over the years, but David lived to see the first steamboat that traveled up the Ouachita River.

    NEHGS Contact Information

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    Possible Identity Theft Affects Heritage Creations Customers

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