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  • 2005 Archive

  • Vol. 7, No. 42
    Whole #241
    October 19, 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.

    * NEHGS Announces Remote Access to HeritageQuestOnline for Members
    * New Databases on
    * Last Chance to Register for Salt Lake City Tour
    * Spotlight: Online Resources Potpourri
    * Spooky Halloween Savings
    * Upcoming “Genealogy in a Nutshell” Lectures
    * Favorite – and Black Sheep – Ancestors
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    NEHGS Announces Remote Access to HeritageQuestOnline for Members

    As part of its commitment to providing access to significant, high-quality genealogical resources, NEHGS is pleased to announce that our members can now access HeritageQuestOnline from home. Best known for their images of the United States census records, also offers other databases of significant importance. HeritageQuestOnline regularly adds to the content of its databases, and users can subscribe to an email list to be notified when updates are made.

    HeritageQuestOnline offers images of all United States federal census records from 1790 through 1930. They have created a new index to the heads of household for the years 1790-1820, 1860-1870, and 1890-1930. The index for the year 1930 has not yet been completed, and only a few states are now available. In addition to the head-of-houshold index, every year is fully browsable by state, county, and town.

    In addition to the census records, HeritageQuestOnline's Genealogy and Local History Book Collection provides immediate access to almost 8,000 family histories, over 12,000 local histories, and over 250 primary sources. The Collection can be searched by name, place, or keyword and is also fully browsable.

    Another valuable database is the Periodical Source Index, also known as PERSI. Created and maintained by the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, PERSI contains over 1.6 million citations to articles in over 6,500 journals of importance to genealogists. In addition to finding full source citations to the original publication, the database provides information on repositories known to have copies of the original publication in their collection. PERSI does not contain the text of images of the original articles, only the citations to locate them.

    The Revolutionary War database contains information from selected secords from Revolutionary War pension and bounty land warrant applications. The original documents are part of Record Group 15 at the National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 1773-2001, and were originally published in NARA microfilm series M805. The database contains images of the original documents.

    To use HeritageQuestOnline members must access the site through at

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    New Databases on

    Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910
    Just Added: Records for 1881-1882, Vols. 322-339

    The latest installment in this ongoing database includes actual records from 1881-1882 (Volumes 321-339). 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

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    Last Chance to Register for Salt Lake City Tour
    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, David Allen Lambert, and Ruth Quigley Wellner) as well as guest consultants Jerome E. Anderson and Maryan Egan-Baker 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: Online Resources Potpourri

    This week's Spotlight article reviews the online resources of libraries located in three different states.

    Wheaton Public Library
    The Wheaton (Illinois) Public Library has made a vital records index available on its web site containing births, deaths and marriage compiled from early Wheaton newspapers. The index currently covers the period from January, 1885 through February 24, 1888. The records may include first and last name, type of event, place and date where the event occurred, source of the item, length, a notes section, and additional names. The name fields include not only the person who is the subject of the event, but also anyone who may have been a part of the event named in the newspaper article. The length field refers to length of the newspaper section describing the event. Short items or announcements may appear in their entirety in the Notes field. For longer pieces, an extract will appear in the Notes field. You can also run a Soundex search of the database. There are links to three Soundex Code Converters from the web site. The other online resource, of use to individuals doing family history research in this part of Illinois, is a list of Old Names of DuPage (County) Towns. This list gives the name of the town and a description of the locale.

    Oklahoma Department of Libraries
    Commissioner of Confederate Pensions-Applications, 1915-33
    This index includes the names of Confederate veterans (or their widows) who received pensions from the state of Oklahoma. The fields in the index include first, middle and last name of the pensioner, first name of spouse, death date, pension number, application number, and microfilm reel number. The index is a PDF document, which you can open to view or download to your computer. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view PDFs, which may be downloaded for free. If the name for which you are looking appears in the index, you may contact the Oklahoma State Archives for further information about the pensioner.

    Sonoma County Library
    The Sonoma County (California) Library's web site directs patrons to the Sonoma County Genealogical Society's publications page to access online indexes. The databases include an index to Early Sonoma County, California, Land Grants, 1846 -1850. It is a work in progress with about 550 early land records in the current database. You will find background information, an early map of the town of Sonoma, and information about the standard formats for land grant documents written in English. The Spanish language documents have not yet been transcribed.

    There are also indexes to 1890 Census Sonoma County, California, Reconstructed, which includes more than 18,000 records, and the 1890 Great Register of Voters, Sonoma County, California with 8,344 records. The column headings for these databases include surname, given name and age. The fourth database on this site is the Index to Sonoma County, California Death Records, 1873 - 1905. It contains an alphabetical list of more than 9,500 deaths occurring during that period. The column headings for this database include surname, given name, and age at death. Unfortunately, the online index does not provide the year of death. More information is provided in the published indexes: for example, the data in the Death Records Index gives the date of death, age of death, sex, marital status, nativity, and additional comments for many entries. The books may be purchased from the Sonoma County Genealogical Society.

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    Spooky Halloween Savings

    Save on books full of witches, rogues, murder and mayhem

    Witches, Rakes & Rogues
    Item B26958500; Was $24.95, Now $22.00

    Salem Witch Trials
    Item B26661600; Was $22.95, Now $19.00

    Killed Strangely
    Item B28019250; Was $24.95, Now $20.00

    Murdered By His Wife
    Item B28019200; Was $16.95, Now $13.00

    The Hanging of Ephraim Wheeler
    Item B28019275; Was $26.95, Now $21.00

    Sale prices good through 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.

    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 (and future Executive Director) D. 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!

    My Favorite Ancestor
    by Susan M. Hillier Roe, Seal Beach, California

    When I first started researching my family more than thirty years ago, I learned from other family members that my great-great-grandfather was Joseph Tipton Russell who died in Buchanan County, Missouri and was said to be Scots-Irish. During the course of many years of research, I discovered that he came to Missouri from Carter County, Tennessee. After contacting descendants of his brother Elijah, I learned that Joseph's father was Elijah Russell, Sr., who was born on January 10, 1782 in North Carolina. Elijah was married to Elizabeth Edens, whose mother was a Huguenot. They had nine children in Tennessee before moving to Missouri. Joseph Tipton was the youngest.

    Years of additional research later, I figured out that Elijah Russell came from Wilkes County, North Carolina, to Carter County, Tennessee. I have never been able to discover his parents. He is very different from my other ancestors. His is the only southern line that I have. It is the only one that is Scots-Irish and Huguenot. And he is far more elusive than all of the others. The rest are from England, New England, and The Netherlands and left nice tidy records that were easy to follow. He is my favorite because he is such a mystery! My eldest son is named Russell after this branch of my 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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