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  • 2005 Archive

  • Vol. 7, No. 37
    Whole #236
    September 14, 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 on the link at the bottom of the email and follow the instructions provided.


    * New from NEHGS: The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume IV, I-L
    * New Databases on
    * Highest FGS Award Presented to David E. Rencher, A.G.
    * Newest Book by D. Brenton Simons, NEHGS COO
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * Spotlight: Idaho Sate Historical Society Library and Archives
    * Great Migration Sale to Celebrate the Latest Volume!
    * Upcoming “Genealogy in a Nutshell” Lectures
    * Favorite – and Black Sheep – Ancestors
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New from NEHGS: The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume IV, I-L

    by Robert Charles Anderson, FASG

    The award-winning Great Migration series continues with this eagerly anticipated volume. Between 1620 and 1643 about twenty thousand men, women, and children crossed the Atlantic to settle in New England. About thirteen hundred individuals or families are known to have come to New England in 1634 and 1635, amounting to twenty percent or more of the entire Great Migration. The first phase of the Great Migration Study Project identified and described all those Europeans who settled in New England prior to the end of 1633. The second phase carries out the same program for the following two years, 1634 and 1635. This fourth in a planned seven volumes includes more than 150 new genealogical sketches, beginning with Richard Ibrook and ending with Judith Lyvars.

    The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume IV, I-L, 475 pages.
    #S2-84436. Hardcover, Reg. $59.95. Sale price $54.95. Sale price valid until October 31, 2005.
    For more information or to purchase this title, visit call NEHGS toll-free at 1-888-296-3447.

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    New Databases

    Massachusetts Vital Records 1841–1910
    Vols. 277-294, 1876-1877

    The latest installment in this ongoing database includes actual records from 1876 (Volumes 277-285). The indexes, which were previously added to the database, include the 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.

    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

    The Settlers of the Beekman Patent

    This installment continues the sketches featured in Volume 3 of The Settlers of the Beekman Patent, Frank J. Doherty's multi-volume study of the settlers of the second largest patent in present-day Dutchess County, New York. The original text can be viewed at the NEHGS Library or borrowed by NEHGS members via the Circulating Library. The call number is F127/D8/D63. The following family sketches were added to the database this week: Butts, Buys, and Byer Families.

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    Highest FGS Award Presented to David E. Rencher, A.G.

    The Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Humanitarian Award was presented last week at the Federation of Genealogical Societies annual conference to David E. Rencher. The award, the highest recognition granted by the Federation, is presented only occasionally, and only to exceptional individuals whose lifetime contributions are monumental. The Stern Award recipient must, by acts, influence, and example, foster unity within the genealogical community, provide leadership to its members, and help make family history a vital force in the community at large.

    David E. Rencher was a driving force behind the project that transformed obscure Social Security computer files into the Social Security Death Index. He had an active leadership role in every significant FGS undertaking of the past 15 years, from the Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System to Records Preservation and Access, from the Federation’s Society Strategy Papers to Society Hall.

    He has served multiple terms as a board member, treasurer, national conference chair, program chair, and National Archives liaison. He was a two-term president of the Federation.

    Professionally, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has long recognized and used his talents. Since his days as a reference consultant in the British Isles collection at the Family History Library (FHL), he has filled ever more responsible positions.

    He served as the Director of the Family History Library and the thousands of family history centers worldwide. He has helped to manage many of the FHL improvements and had a role in the creation and management of the electronic tool kit known to every researcher as FamilySearch.

    Today he manages the operation for the LDS Church that determines how genealogical research will be done in the future and defines how the FHL network will preserve and deliver the records of our ancestors to researchers worldwide.

    David is still passionate about family history, still actively researching his own family and still teaching others how to find those elusive Irish ancestors. The list of those he educates, involves, and unifies is endless.

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    Newest Book by D. Brenton Simons, NEHGS COO

    Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in Boston, 1630-1775, by D. Brenton Simons, chief operating officer of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, is now available from Commonwealth Editions ( in a cloth edition with dust jacket for $24.95.

    As Boston celebrates the 375th anniversary of its founding in 1630, D. Brenton Simons presents a new vision of the town’s early history. When most people think of Boston between its founding and the height of the American Revolution, they probably imagine a procession of Puritan ministers in black followed by patriots like Paul Revere on horseback. In his new book, Simons will change a few minds and shock a few others. “Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in Boston, 1630-1775,” demonstrates convincingly that the narrow, twisting streets of colonial Boston were crawling with suspected witches, murderers, impostors, con men, and other blackguards. Bostonians may have been prayerful, but they were also prurient and violent. Here are more than twenty true---but long forgotten---tales from Boston’s past.

    While the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692 are well-known to the public, few people realize that colonial Boston experienced a series of witchcraft trials and other demonic episodes throughout the seventeenth-century. Four local women---Ann Hibbins, Margaret Jones, Alice Lake, and Mary Glover---were tried in separate cases, convicted, and executed for the crime of witchcraft. Other women were charged with witchcraft and several narrowly escaped punishment. “Mary Hale and the Death of a Bewitched Mariner,” for example, tells the strange tale of a troublesome matron charged in 1680 with causing the agonizing death of her granddaughter’s former beau. Mrs. Hale, the matriarch of a family of witchcraft suspects, was eventually acquitted. Even less known today are tales of “diabolical possession” which plagued the town in its first hundred years. In 1693, for example, a group of reputable Bostonians swore that they had witnessed a young woman, Margaret Rule, levitate in midair during the throes of a satanic encounter. The last such episode occurred in 1741, when Martha Robinson alarmed the town with her frenzied diabolical outbursts.

    By digging deep into the city’s records, Simons also reveals a veritable rogues’ gallery, and even uncovers the truth about Boston’s first documented serial murder in “Murder by Arsenic: The Ill-Fated Greenleaf Children.” He gives accounts of brazen impostors who came to town plotting to swindle---or seduce---unwitting town folk. In separate incidents in 1699, three men arrived in Boston posing as ministers, only to be unmasked as con men. Some of the town’s most daring crimes were committed by women. In 1762 Miriam Fitch attempted to swindle---and possibly kill---three of the town’s leading merchants by promising to direct them to a horde of gold coins. Instead, she trapped them in the basement of a mill as a menacing tide flooded the dark compartment.

    Simons also reveals some family skeletons and other skirmishes in Boston’s colonial gentry: scandalous affairs, acrimonious divorces, the kidnapping of two wealthy heiresses in 1736, an extortion attempt against Governor William Shirley, and the successful defense by John Adams of a man widely believed to have murdered three men at sea. The little-known suicide by arsenic poisoning of Governor John Winthrop’s widow is examined and a deadly duel fought on the Boston Common in 1728 is given new life. In each of these stories and others, Simons provides insightful and well-documented narratives that will engage, surprise, and entertain any reader. 

    “Great stories, astonishing characters, dastardly (often quite amusing) deeds … the research is as deep as the stories are fascinating; in sum, a remarkable achievement!” --- John Demos, Samuel Knight Professor of History, Yale University 

    “What an astonishing cast of characters Brenton Simons has pulled out of prim and proper Boston!” --- Jane C. Nylander, author of “By Our Own Snug Fireside.” 

    “A fascinating set of tales, well told and based on extensive research. This book will please all readers interested in early New England” --- Mary Beth Norton, author of “In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692.” 

    D. Brenton Simons is chief operating officer of the New England Historic Genealogical Society ( in Boston. A graduate of Boston University, he is the author of two previous books and a fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He currently appears as a guest narrator on “The Boston Audissey, See the Sites: Hear the Legends,” an audio walking tour of Boston on CD.

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    Upcoming Education Programs
    Salt Lake City Tour
    October 30-November 6, 2005

    NEHGS invites you to join its twenty-seventh annual research tour to Salt Lake City. Participants will receive assistance in their research from our experienced staff genealogists and other recognized experts in the field. In addition, there will be orientations to our tour and to the Family History Library and its computer system, personal one-on-one consultations and guided research in the library with NEHGS staff, and group meals included in the weeklong program. Lodging will be at the Best Western Salt Lake City Plaza Hotel.

    The following are quotes from members who have participated in the Research Tour to Salt Lake City last year:
    “It was obvious that everyone worked hard to make the trip a safe, enjoyable, and productive week. I’ll see you next year for another round.”

    “Everyone was friendly and efficient. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire week. I enjoyed meeting fellow researchers. The whole experience was wonderful and I hope it won't be the last.”

    “The program exceeded my expectations. I hope to be able to participate in future years.”

    NEHGS staff genealogists (Christopher Child, Henry Hoff, and Ruth Quigley Wellner) as well as guest consultant and former staff person Jerome E. Anderson will be stationed on each floor of the Family History Library for scheduled personal research consultations. Participants will be able to sign up for consultations early in the program and there will be plenty of time in the course of the week to confer with our staff about research questions and concerns. An excellent way to prepare for a trip to Salt Lake City is to read Your Guide to the Family History Library by Paula Stuart Warren and James W. Warren. It is filled with tips for getting the most out of your trip, not only to the library, but to the city itself. There is also a companion video, The Video Guide to the Salt Lake City Family History Library. Registrants for the tour may purchase the book for $15.99 (normally $19.99) and the video for $12.95 (normally $15.95).

    For more information visit

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    Spotlight: Idaho State Historical Society Library and Archives (L & A)

    Individuals researching their family's history in Idaho should visit the Idaho State Historical Society Library and Archives (L & A) website, which contains a number of online name indexes.

    The On-line Name Indexes section of the historical society's web site is a work-in-progress. The databases are updated on a regular basis. Users are encouraged to check back periodically for new information. Most of the databases are downloadable Excel files. You must have the Excel program on your computer to access them. Contact the L & A if you are interested in obtaining a copy of the original record for a particular database entry. Click on the research request link for additional information about how to proceed. Please note that there is a fee for this service.

    Indexes currently available include the following:

    1870 and 1880 Agricultural, Industrial, Mortality and Other Special Census Schedules for Idaho

    The L & A has in its holdings the only original hard copies and one of the few microfilms copies in existence of these census schedules. The data in the index includes last name, personal names, Record (name of schedule in which the name was found), year for the record, and remarks. The 1870 Mortality Schedule, which lists persons who died between June 1, 1869 and May 31, 1870, is of particular interest to genealogical researchers. The mortality schedule itself contains name, place of birth and occupation of the deceased, birthplaces of the parents of the deceased, month, year and cause of death, length of residence at place of death, name of attending physician, location where the deceased contracted a fatal illness or had an accident if different from the place of death.

    Idaho, 1890: A Reconstructed Census

    This index was created from "federal, state and local government records, local newspapers and materials published in nationally distributed genealogical publications" covering the period from 1885 - 1894. Selected records from the following counties may be found in the current database: Ada, Alturas, Bear Lake, Boise, Cassia, Custer, Elmore, Idaho, Latah, Logan, Oneida, Owyhee, Shoshone, and Washington counties. This is a work-in-progress with additional counties being added soon. The data in the index includes last name, first and middle names, record type, date of the record, and remarks.

    Civil War Veterans in Idaho

    The records in this alphabetical index have been gathered from a number of sources. The database contains more than one thousand Civil War veterans who lived or died in Idaho. The data fields include last name, first name, middle name, birth and death year, when known, residence, state from which the veteran served, and remarks. The Remarks column generally contains source information for the record. Note: For many veterans, more than one record is included.

    Idaho Naturalization Records

    The naturalization records in the L & A holdings are primarily county records, although there are some state-level records. This index contains the names of individuals for whom the L & A has the original papers. Currently, the records from the following counties are indexed: Ada, Alturas, Canyon, Clearwater, Elmore, Oneida, Teton and Twin Falls, plus the Idaho Supreme Court. The data in each record includes Record Source, last name, first name, type of record, and the date of the record. Some of Idaho's naturalization records are also available through the Family History Library.

    Mother's Pension Records

    In 1913, Idaho established a program to provide a small monthly pension to mothers and orphans who met certain criteria. The data in the index was extracted from original records in the State Archives and material transferred to L & A from the following counties: Ada, Bannock, Blaine, Caribou, Clearwater, Minidoka, Oneida, Power, and Teton. The index includes the following data: last name, first name, relationship, and source information for the record.

    The records held by L & A include applications and court orders for payment. The information in the applications generally includes the following: "names of father and mother, names and ages (sometimes birth dates) of children, status of father (including cause of death, where appropriate), qualifications of the applicant, character references, and the dollar amount requested." They might also include the names of children over fifteen not qualified to receive payment and other family members who might also be able to provide some support for the family. They are valuable sources of information for genealogical researchers.

    Visit the Idaho State Historical Society Library and Archives (L & A) web site at

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    Great Migration Sale to Celebrate the Latest Volume!

    Here are some great savings on the Great Migration Begins, 1634-1635 series!

    Volume 4, I-L, Item S28443600, Was $59.95, now $54.95

    Volume 1, A-B, Item S28443300, Was $59.95, Now $49.95!
    Volume 2, C-F, Item S28443400, Was $59.95, Now $49.95!
    Volume 3, G-H, Item S28443500, Was $59.95, Now $49.95!

    Get all four of the above volumes for only $175.00! Item number S28443700

    Also on sale;

    Great Migration Begins, 1620-1633, 3-volume set, Item S28443200, Was $125.00, Now $99.00!!!
    Great Migration Newsletter, Volumes 1-5 (hardcover), Item S28440000, Was $19.50, Now $2.50! (Limited Quantity!)
    Great Migration Newsletter, Volumes 1-10 (softcover), Item S28442000, Was $19.95, Now $17.95!

    Prices Good thru October 31, 2005.

    To find further descriptions of these items or to make an order, please go to Orders can also be made by calling toll free at 1-888-296-3447.

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    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. They are offered in the Richardson-Sloane Education Center at 101 Newbury Street on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:00 A.M. unless otherwise stated. Advance registration is not necessary.

    September 28, 2005, David Lambert – Cemetery Tour: Old Granary and King’s Chapel
    10:00 a.m.
    NEHGS Online Genealogist and author of A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries David Lambert will lead a walking tour of the Old Granary Burial Ground and the Kings Chapel Burial Ground, both located on Tremont Street in downtown Boston. The Old Granary Burial Ground is the final resting place for Paul Revere, John Hancock and Samuel Adams. The Kings Chapel Burial Ground was the earliest burying place in Boston proper. The program is free and open to the public, and will begin at 10:00 a.m. in the plaza above the Park Street MBTA station.

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    Favorite – and Black Sheep – Ancestors

    This feature is very popular with our readers, and NEHGS eNews is always looking for stories of interesting 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!

    A Witch in the Family - Twice by Paul Winthrop Hutchins, Walnut, Iowa  (originally Hyannis, MA)

    When I first started researching the Cashes of Barnstable, MA back in the  early '70's, I would spend time at the library and court house, then bring my 'finds' home and have my mother (Janice Cash Hutchins) look over the names and see if she remembered any name that might be connected to our branch of Cashes. When I came across Nancy Ellis marrying into the Cash family, I made a note of that name simply because I went to school with a Nancy Ellis and thought that was interesting.

    Well, when I showed that find to my mother, she said, "See what you can find out about her," then she shared the following story with me: She said that there was this story that had been passed down in the family about a great-great-grandma Nancy who was a witch. Her husband was a mariner and because of his love for the sea, would often be gone for long periods at a time.  As the story goes, she soon got tired of this and warned him not to go out to sea anymore or else something would happen to him. He did continue and, so the story goes, as she was brewing up something on the stove, he jumped ship at sea, at the same time the brew boiled over. This story was confirmed by my mother's sister Betty Cash Francis. She remembered this Nancy Ellis' daughter also being known as an odd person who often cooked up home 'brews' and grew her own herbs and such.

    Well, I went back to the library to find out more information and I did find that James Cash, Nancy's husband, was a mariner. They were married for 9 years. His death was listed as "at sea."  And, even more interesting was another fact that I found: 7 months after his death, Nancy remarried - to a Cahoon, who ended up being on my grandmother (Maydalene Cahoon Cash)’s side of the family!

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    NEHGS Contact Information

    We 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

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

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