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  • 2005 Archive

  • Vol. 7, No. 40
    Whole #239
    October 5, 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.

    * Vital Records Access Bills Before Massachusetts Legislature
    * NEHGS Research Services
    * Careers at NEHGS
    * NEHGS Members Receive Special Family History Month Library Admissions
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * Spotlight: Barrington Area Library (Illinois)
    * New Titles and Special Sales
    * Upcoming “Genealogy in a Nutshell” Lectures
    * Favorite – and Black Sheep – Ancestors
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    Vital Records Access Bills Before Massachusetts Legislature

    Access to records is of extreme importance to genealogists. The Massachusetts legislature now has three bills before it regarding access to vital records in the Commonwealth. NEHGS, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Massachusetts Genealogical Council are supporting house bill H-3448, “An Act Relative to Birth, Marriage, and Death Records,” sponsored by Stephen P. LeDuc.

    This bill provides for birth records up to 1925 and marriage and death records through 1960 to be transferred to the Massachusetts Archives within three years of January 1, 2007, with additional transfers occurring every five years thereafter (currently the archives has records through 1915). All records and indexes would remain open to the public through the present time. It also provides for a “special certified copy” of records for general information, as opposed to legal purposes.

    Three other bills, H-3642, H-3643, and H-3644, are sponsored by Thomas O’Brien. These bills impose more difficult restrictions on access to the records, effectively closing all records less than fifty years old. These bills have little to no support in the genealogical community.

    House Bill H-3448 will be heard before the Committee on Public Health on Wednesday, October 19th in Room A1 at the State House in Boston. A strong showing from the genealogical community at the hearing will help the bill as it makes its way through the legislature. Please join us at this hearing if you are able.

    For more information about records access issues in your area, visit

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    NEHGS Research Services

    “Thank you so very much for all your helpful and enlightening discoveries. Our own attempts to find anything have been interesting but fruitless. I would very much appreciate it if you would continue with the suggestions you made in your conclusion.”
    (from a delighted patron for whom we did research)

    Are you having a hard time finding that elusive ancestor? Are you baffled by the genealogical information you are finding on the web? Let the NEHGS Research Services help you. Our team of professional librarians and scholars, with the extensive resources available to us here at the library and remotely at area repositories, can research a wide range of documents and sources on your behalf. Our manuscript collection, available to members of the Society for research, is extensive.

    Research requests range from simple document retrievals to extensive in-depth research projects. We also research lineages for patriotic, genealogical and heritage society applications. NEHGS members receive a discounted rate of $45.00 per hour, plus $3.50 shipping and handling. The non-member rate is $65.00 per hour, plus $3.50 shipping and handling. The fee includes 1-10 photocopies with additional copies charged at 35¢ per copy.

    The Photocopy Service provides you with copies from sources in the NEHGS Research Library. The fee schedules for this service are as follows. For 1-35 copies, Members: $5.00 plus $3.50 S&H, plus $.35 per copy; Non-members: $10.00 plus $3.50 S&H, plus $.35 per copy. Both Research Services and Photocopy Services may be ordered at our website, Other options are to download a form from our web site and mail it to us, or have us send you an order form and it can be filled out and returned to us via US Mail. Our Research Services team is looking forward to aiding you with your research challenges.

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    Careers at NEHGS

    The Society is seeking an energetic, well-spoken individual to join our Member Services staff. The position supports the front desk, membership, and other activities of NEHGS by providing informed and helpful responses to customer inquiries in person, on the phone, and via the Internet. Front desk duties include greeting visitors, processing sales from our book store, selling memberships and performing data entry. Other duties include providing tours and corresponding with members via phone and email. This is a part-time, entry-level position with some benefits. Work hours are from 10am to 3pm, Tuesday through Saturday.

    Find more information about this and other open positions at the Society at

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    NEHGS Members Receive Special Family History Month Library Admissions

    A few of the best libraries for genealogical research in New England are opening their doors to members of NEHGS next month in celebration of Family History Month. In return, NEHGS is inviting members of the following societies to visit our Research Library in Boston for free!

    - Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford,, October 1 –15
    - Maine Historical Society, Portland,, October 16 - 31
    - New Hampshire Historical Society, Concord,, October 1 –15
    - Vermont Historical Society, Barre,, October 1 –15

    Please make a note of which libraries are participating, the dates they are open for NEHGS members, and be sure to check their websites first, or call, to know their hours of operation. This reciprocal arrangement is only available between NEHGS and each society, and does not apply to visits between the other societies. You must show your membership card for free admission.

    The research libraries at the Connecticut Historical Society, the New Hampshire Historical Society, and the Vermont Historical Society will welcome NEHGS members to use their libraries October 1 through 15. The research library at the Maine Historical Society will do the same from October 16 through 31. Take your NEHGS membership card with you!

    If you’re an NEHGS member, this is also a great opportunity to invite friends from these organizations to join you on a trip to Boston to explore their family histories and show them the outstanding resources NEHGS has to offer. If this partnership works well, we hope to expand it to historical societies around the country in the future.

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    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."

    New England Heritage Series
    Historic Deerfield – Saturday, November 12, 2005


    NEHGS is offering new one-day fall programs with a focus on daily life in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century New England. 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 will 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.

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

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    Spotlight: Barrington Area Library, Barrington, Illinois

    The Village of Barrington, Illinois, is located in Cook County, approximately 30 miles northwest of Chicago. Barrington's website notes that the village was settled by individuals who came "primarily from Vermont, upper New York State and Massachusetts, most notably from that state's Great Barrington in Berkshire County."

    The Local Information page on the Barrington Area Library's web site contains links to a number of genealogy and local history resources.

    Books about Barrington Area History: Here you will find links to three local histories that have been scanned, digitized and uploaded to the web site. Of particular value to individuals researching ancestors in Barrington is the town history, A History of Barrington, Illinois, by Arnett C. Lines. Mr. Lines was Barrington's town historian. He left his papers to the library upon his death in 1970.

    Barrington Area Cemetery Listings: Clicking on this link will bring you to a page with descriptions of and information about more than 25 area cemeteries. Between 1931 and 1964, Arnett Lines and his daughter transcribed the records of many cemeteries in and near Barrington. Their transcriptions and those compiled by others, such as the local DAR chapter, have been included. If a transcription is available for the cemetery, it will appear when you click on the cemetery's name. If gravestones have been photographed, clicking on the deceased's name will take you to the image.

    Barrington Area Digital Past
    A number of the Barrington Public Library's digital collections related to genealogy and local history have been grouped under the Digital Past link. These collections can be explored by using the Search, Advanced Search and Browse features. Click on this link to access the following:

    Barrington Cemeteries: This collection contains photographs of headstones in a number of cemeteries in the Barrington area.

    Barrington Telephone Directories: The library owns a collection of Barrington area telephone books from 1908 to 1956 (incomplete). Many of these have been digitized in their entirety and placed on the Digital Past web site.

    Historical Photographs: This collection includes historical photographs and postcards. Many of the items are from the personal collection of Arnett C. Lines.

    Barrington Review (Historical): January 1, 1914 - December 29, 1921 and April 23, 1925 - November 13, 1903
    Early issues of the Barrington Review have been digitized and uploaded to the web site. Images of the newspapers can be viewed by using the Search or Browse features.

    Index: Births, Marriages and Deaths - 1890 - 2003
    Library staff has created separate alphabetical indexes to births, marriages and deaths found in the local weekly newspaper, the Barrington Courier-Review. It should be noted that the information is incomplete for some years, particularly the period from 1922 through March 1925. In addition, the staff has also indexed articles from the Barrington Courier-Review for the years 1970 - 1978 and 1994 - 2003.

    In the Newspaper section, you will also find full-page reproductions of the Barrington Consolidated High School newspaper for the period from October 7, 1948 - December 20, 1962, commencement programs, and the program for the high school's dedication in 1949.

    Daily Herald Index 1901 - 1956
    There is also a link to the Daily Herald index for the years 1901 - 1956 on the library's Local Information page. The Daily Herald is an independent and locally owned newspaper, which has been published for over 120 years. You can search the index free of charge. If you are unable to locate the newspaper in a library, you can order copies of articles directly from the newspaper for a fee.

    Visit the Barrington Area Library at

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    New Titles and Special Sales

    Boston, All One Family, Item B26956900, $27.95
    County Longford Residents Prior to the Famine, Item B26265990, $49.95

    10 Super Specials! Huge Savings for a Limited Time!!!!

    Plymouth Colony Probate Records, Item B26750000, Was $35.00, Now $5.00

    Balliol Roll, Item S28630300, Was $25.00, Now $5.00

    Massachusetts Genealogical Research, Item B26651500, Was $25.00, Now $5.00

    Finding Aid for Rhode Island, Item B28354000, Was $4.00, Now $.50

    Official Guide to the Family Tree Maker, Version 11, Item B26221400, Was $21.99, Now $3.00

    Handybook for Genealogists (LIMITED QUANTITIES!), Item B26283750, Was $59.50, Now $34.50

    History of the Black Population of Amherst, MA, Item S28650800, Was $10.00, Now $2.00

    John Haven Dexter's Memoranda, Item S27674000, Was $75.00, Now $15.00

    Resource Book for Genealogists (LIMITED QUANTITIES!), Item B26289300, Was $29.99, Now $17.99

    Noble Pursuit: The Sesquicentennial History of NEHGS, Item S26375000, Was $25.00, Now $5.00

    Sale prices good through October 16th, 2005, while supplies last.

    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.

    October 12, 10 a.m., David Lambert
    Introduction to
    Learn how to use the new NEHGS website to advance your research! In this free monthly class, NEHGS Online Genealogist David Lambert will offer a step-by-step live demonstration of

    October 13, 2005, 2 p.m., Boston Public Library staff
    Genealogy and Family History at the Boston Public Library
    The Boston Public Library has extended a special invitation to NEHGS members for a genealogical tour of this world-renown library in Copley Square. "Genealogy and Family History at the Boston Public Library" an orientation and tour of the Boston Public Library's resources, will be presented by Henry Scannell, Curator of Microtext, and Marta Pardee-King, Curator of Social Sciences. Participants can meet at NEHGS at 1:45 p.m., or proceed directly to the Dartmouth Street entrance to the McKim building at 2:00 p.m.

    October 19, 10 a.m., David C. Dearborn, FASG
    Strategies for Internet Research
    The Internet has profoundly changed the way we search for our ancestors. Despite the tremendous power of Internet search engines, genealogists must sift through mounds of unhelpful sites to find the genealogical gems. NEHGS genealogist, David Dearborn will call upon his years of experience in mining for ancestors, and guide patrons through his private collection of really useful Internet sites.

    October 21, 4:00 p.m., D. Brenton Simons
    Witches, Rakes and Rogues
    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. Come hear the author of Witches, Rakes and Rogues: Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in Boston, 1630-1775 – NEHGS Chief Operating Officer Brenton Simons – as he demonstrates convincingly that the narrow, twisting streets of colonial Boston were crawling with suspected witches, murderers, impostors, con men, and other blackguards. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing after the talk.

    October 29, 10:00 a.m., Marilynne Roach
    The Salem Witch Trials
    Marilynne Roach will present an overview of the Salem witch trial tragedy of 1692 with genealogical asides on the cast of characters. Ms. Roach - writer, illustrator, and member of NEHGS – investigated a sizeable part of the twenty-seven year project that became The Salem Witch Trials: a Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege in the Society’s library. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing after the talk.

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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!

    Saint or Sinner? by Roger Busdicker, Winona, Minnesota.

    Michael Dunning (1726-1813) is my fourth-great-grandfather. The Dunning family genealogy has been well researched and published. Michael was born in Fairfield, Connecticut, married Hannah Green, and raised a large family of at least 13 children. There is no information on his early adult life, but in about 1770, at the age 44, he moved with his family from Fairfield to Stillwater, New York. He was apparently a well-to-do man, because in 1773 he purchased a large tract of land, 1,127 acres, for £704-7s-71p. He became an important man in Albany County as a result of this purchase.

    Among other things, he founded a hamlet which became the present village of Malta and established a large public square. This square was subsequently used for military training in the Revolution, The War of 1812 and the Civil War. In June, 1778 he was commissioned Captain in 13th Regiment of New York Militia by Governor George Clinton. He was truly a great-granddad anyone would be proud of!!

    However, I recently stumbled onto a University of CT website titled "Colonial Connecticut Records", which consists primarily of early CT court records. ( There I found information not listed in any Dunning genealogies. In a 1770 court action, a Michael Dunning from Fairfield testifies that he was apprehended and charged with counterfeiting on April 28, 1770.

    In August of that year he was tried by a Grand Jury of the Superior Court and acquitted of all charges. The court had previously charged him costs of £7-1s-8d. He appealed to the court to be released from these fees, claiming "indigent and distressed conditions of his family" and the court released him from payment. Could this be my Michael Dunning?

    I was unable to find court records of his counterfeiting case, but with the help of a CT Genealogist, I secured a more detailed handwritten (perhaps his own) copy of his appeal for release from court charges. In it he speaks of the terrible time his wife had caring for his 13 or 14 children during his incarceration in jail. That certainly fits my Michael's family and I find no other Michael Dunning from Fairfield that would fit this picture. Also, this is the same year that my Michael moved from Connecticut to New York and three years later made the large land purchase. If this is my great-grampa Michael, I guess we can surmise that he was a successful counterfeiter and had a very good defense attorney.

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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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