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  • 2005 Archive

  • Vol. 7, No. 38
    Whole #237
    September 21, 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 Databases on
    * Genealogical Research and Families Survey
    * Special Admission to Historical Societies for NEHGS Members
    * From the Volunteer Coordinator
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * ALA Creates 'Adopt a Library" Program to Assist Gulf Region Libraries
    * Spotlight: The Brantford Public Library (Ontario)
    * Great Migration Sale to Celebrate the Latest Volume!
    * Upcoming “Genealogy in a Nutshell” Lectures
    * Favorite – and Black Sheep – Ancestors
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on
    Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910
    Just Added: Records for 1878, Vols. 295-303

    The latest installment in this ongoing database includes actual records from 1878 (Volumes 295-303). 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 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 Diaries of the Rev. Thomas Cary of Newburyport, Massachusetts, 1762-1806
    Just Added: 1792

    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.

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    Genealogical Research and Families Survey

    NEHGS is working toward making family history research accessible to all ages. We've learned from experience that the best ideas come from our members so we really want your input! Please take the time to complete our online survey regarding genealogical research and families. There are only four questions and the results will help us improve our services to genealogists of all ages. You can find the survey at, or by linking from the Survey section of our homepage.

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    Special Admission to Historical Societies for NEHGS Members

    Have you wanted to visit a large historical society in New England to try it out before joining? Or are you already a member of another historical society and want to visit the NEHGS library for free? We're offering you a chance to visit a select number of repositories in New England for free in recognition of Family History Month.

    October is Family History Month and we want to celebrate by opening our library doors, free of charge, to members of a few historical societies in the New England area. In return, these societies (including the Vermont Historical Society library, the New Hampshire Historical Society library and museum, the Connecticut Historical Society, and the Maine Historical Society) will be offering NEHGS members complimentary admission to their libraries. All you'll need to do is show your member card from one of the participating organizations when visiting NEHGS, and likewise show your valid NEHGS membership ID when entering the other library. Our agreements cover a two-week time period so you'll have plenty of time to plan your visits.

    Watch for the full list of participating organizations and complete details in next week's NEHGS eNews. We'll also have a special page on the website, commemorating Family History Month 2005.

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    From the Volunteer Coordinator

    Members who have volunteered to scan documents at NEHGS Framingham are doing a wonderful job for the Society. We have a schedule that is almost full, volunteers have been diligent in coming in to the library at the expected time, and they have been filling in the "open" times when possible. We are very grateful to have this group of volunteers who have scanned 112 books to date, with 50 more in progress.

    We do need volunteers who can OCR our scanned books. Volunteers should have some experience in using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) programs or a strong interest in using data conversion software. Volunteers need to be able to come to 101 Newbury Street, Boston, or NEHGS at Framingham MA. Training will be provided for anyone who is able and interested.

    Some dedicated volunteers at 101 Newbury Street are also providing us with a solid collection of scanned documents from the manuscripts department. We do need a few more volunteers to help at this scanner, and members who live within commuting distance of Boston and would like to help should contact me at:

    My thanks to all of you,

    Susan Rosefsky
    NEHGS Volunteer Coordinator.

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    Upcoming Education Programs
    New England Heritage Series
    Plimoth Plantation – Saturday, October 8, 2005
    Historic Deerfield – Saturday, November 12, 2005

    NEHGS is offering two new one-day fall programs with a focus on daily life in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century New England. In October, Robert Charles Anderson, F.A.S.G., leads the first program at Plimoth Plantation, where we can experience the world our Pilgrim ancestors knew at the recreated 1627 Plymouth village and the nearby Wampanoag Indian settlement.

    For Europeans in North America, the year 1627 marked the beginning of international as well as inter-colonial trade and diplomacy along the Atlantic Coast. In that year, the colonists at Plymouth opened relations with the Dutch at Manhattan and hosted a number of Virginia-bound passengers who had been shipwrecked on Cape Cod. For all these reasons, the calendar always reads 1627 at Plimoth Plantation.

    Founded in 1669, the village of Deerfield was a frontier outpost in British North America. Today home to museums, working farms, and three schools, Deerfield is remembered in history books for its near-destruction by a French and Indian war party on February 29, 1704. Come experience the old houses along the town’s mile-long main street and the unspoiled meadows that surround them. During our one-day visit, Philip Zea will discuss the history of Deerfield and Laura G. Prescott give a presentation on placing your heritage in historical perspective. Lunch will be at the charming and historic 1884 Deerfield Inn. There will be guided tours of two houses and one tavern and a visit to the Flynt Center of Early New England Life, which houses changing exhibits and a visible storage attic of twenty-five hundred artifacts and antiques.

    Fall Research Weekend Getaway, October 20-22, 2005
    Treat yourself to Boston in October, and join fellow genealogists for a Research Weekend Getaway. This popular program gives researchers one-on-one consultations with the expert NEHGS staff, informative lectures, and special access to the society’s extensive collections. Past participants have made significant progress on their ancestral puzzles, and enjoyed the opportunity to share discoveries and exchange stories with researchers from across the country.

    Here is what one member said about her experience at a weekend research getaway:

    “The NEHGS programs are a very special experience for me. The Society is a double treasure for anyone with northeastern US ancestors. The collections are the most comprehensive to be found. Additionally, the open stack and self-photocopying privileges are almost unique in any repository and such a time saver while researching. An equally important treasure is the NEHGS staff! The resources that they add to your research are incalculable! Their ability to analyze your research problem and lead you to the relevant sources is amazing; in fact, they normally jump up from the desk and reappear from the stacks with all the applicable materials. The staff assistance and expertise makes your own research so much more effective. I can attest to numerous areas of research that I accomplished only because of the staff's expertise. I would encourage anyone who is considering attending a NEHGS research program to do it soon. It will be a memorable and rich research experience."

    For more information on any of these exciting programs, please visit email Amanda Batey at

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    ALA Creates 'Adopt a Library' Program to Assist Gulf Region Libraries

    While cleanup efforts begin in Louisiana and Mississippi, the American Library Association (ALA) continues its mission to lend support to devastated libraries in the Gulf Coast region. The ALA's Chapter Relations Office has established an "Adopt a Library" program to provide assistance to libraries damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The program will provide an opportunity for U.S. libraries of all types to adopt a library in the Gulf Coast. The ALA will collect information from libraries that need assistance, and will connect those libraries with others that can provide relief.

    Contributing libraries are asked to lend support in the way of books, computers, fundraising and volunteers. Libraries interested in adopting a library may visit ALA's Chapter Relations Office Web site at complete a participation form. ALA's Chapter Relations Office serves as the lead unit in ALA that gathers information on library disasters in the United States, and has been in constant contact with ALA chapters in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, and continues to gather information on damage to libraries in the region.

    Information inquires should be directed to Michael Dowling, director of ALA Chapter Relations Office at 312-280-3200 or For updates on the relief efforts for libraries affected by Hurricane Katrina please visit ALA's Hurricane Katrina Library Relief Web site at

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    Spotlight: The Brantford Public Library (Ontario)

    Brantford, Ontario is located just west of Lake Ontario, approximately one hour from Toronto and Niagara Falls, New York. The Brantford Public Library has a wide range of genealogy and local history resources focused primarily on the city of Brantford and Brant County. A number of these resources are available via the library's web site.

    Birth, Marriage, Death Search Index
    This searchable index contains names found in birth, marriage and death notices that have appeared in the Brantford Expositor newspaper for most years between 1852 and 2004. Some years are missing. In some instance there are also notices of anniversaries, divorces, birthdays, and naturalizations. Index users should be advised that the search results provide the date of the newspaper containing the notice, not the actual date of the event. Search fields include surname, which is required, first name, date limiters, and a drop down list with event type.

    Virtual War Memorial for Brantford and the County of Brant
    This memorial commemorates individuals from Brantford, the County of Brant, and the peoples of the Six Nations who lost their lives during World War II. More than 6,000 men and women from Brant County served in the armed forces between 1939 and 1945. Over 300 were casualties of war. You can browse through the photographs and biographies in the Virtual War Memorial, which is organized alphabetically by last name, or you can search the Memorial by last name and/or first name. The Album of Honor, which gives the names of the men and women from Brant County who served during World War II, may be found in the Digital Archives section of the web site. There are more than 3,500 photographs in this volume.

    Digital Archives
    The web site's Digital Archives contain a number of resources related to Brant County, its residents, and its history. The resource found here include History of the County of Brant, Ontario by Warner, Beers, & Co., published in 1883; a 2-volume History of the County of Brant by F. Douglas Reville, published in 1920; special editions of local newspapers from 1888, 1916 and 1927; a book of photographs of Brantford; calendars and commencement programs for the Brantford Young Ladies' College and Conservatory of Music from the late nineteenth century; and much more. All of these files are in PDF format. The library advises that you will need Adobe Acrobat 5 or higher to open them.

    There are also links to a number of web sites with genealogical resources relevant to the area, which may be accessed by clicking on the Genealogy Web Sites link.

    Library staff will answers requests from non-residents for specific information related to genealogy and local history in Brant County. They will check resources that have an index and copy the requested information. There is a fee for these services.

    Visit the Brantford Public Library's 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!

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    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 10:15 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!

    Black Sheep Nathaniel Eaton, by Mary Abbott

    My candidate for Black Sheep Ancestor is Nathaniel Eaton. He was the brother of my eighth-great-grandfather, Governor Theophilus Eaton of New Haven.

    Rev. Nathaniel Eaton arrived in Boston in 1637 on the "Hector" with his mother and brothers, Rev. Samuel and Sir Theophilus. Nathaniel had been appointed the first professor of the new Harvard School. This certainly sounds like genealogical finding to brag about but it is not.

    According to Rev. Cotton Mather, Uncle Nathaniel "was a Blade who marvelously deceived the Expectation of Good Men...and though his Avarice was notorious, yet his Cruelty was more Scandalous than his Avarice." At Harvard his pupils complained of bad food and ill treatment. Not only did he punish his students with 20-30 lashes, he also embezzled the school's money.

    In 1639 he was fined for beating his usher, Nathaniel Buscoe, "with a cudgel' and was removed from his post. He fled to Virginia leaving debts of about 1,000 pounds. John Winthrop wrote that "in Virginia he took upon himself to be a minister but was usually was the custom there." At some point Nathaniel also abused his wife by almost starving her to death. In 1645 he had completely worn out his welcome in the colonies so he had no choice but to return to England, where he served for a short period as parish minister in Biddeford, Devonshire. His old ways soon caught up with him and he and he was sentenced to debtors prison, where he died in 1674. Of his death Cotton Mather "he did at length pay One Debt, namely, that unto nature, by Death." (Quotes taken from Appleton's Encyclopedia, Copyright 2001 Virtualology)

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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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