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  • 2005 Archive

  • Vol. 7, No. 43
    Whole #242
    October 26, 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 NEHGS eNews Feature: Research Recommendations
    * Edwin M. Knights Conducting DNA Testing Survey
    * Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair
    * New Officers and Trustees for the BCG
    * BCG Changes Certification Categories
    * Education News: The First “New England Heritage” Program
    * Spotlight: Researching Shipwrecked Ancestors
    * Irish Research Specials from NEHGS Sales
    * Upcoming “Genealogy in a Nutshell” Lectures
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New NEHGS eNews Feature: Research Recommendations

    The Society is constantly looking for new ways to help our members and provide access to the knowledge and advice of our talented staff of expert genealogists. This week we inaugurate a new feature for eNews: tips and advice from the experts at NEHGS. These tips will cover many areas of research, pointing out resources and materials of use to our members in their family history research. We hope that you find this feature helpful to you. As always, we welcome your feedback on this or any other aspect of NEHGS eNews. Please send us a message at

    Accessing Materials from Afar
    Michael J. Leclerc
    Trying to discover information about a county or township halfway across the country from you? Interlibrary loan is one of the most underutilized resources available to genealogists. Your local library can arrange to borrow books or other materials from libraries around the country and even from foreign libraries. The Online Computer Library Center has over 53,000 libraries from 96 countries as members. The odds are that your local library is a member. They can access the catalogs of the OCLC member libraries and arrange to have books brought in for you to use. Fees vary from library to library, but they are generally nominal. In addition to borrowing books, member libraries can send photocopies of articles from periodicals and other sources, which you can keep permanently. Visit your local library for more information about interlibrary loan.

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    Edwin M. Knights Conducting DNA Testing Survey

    Edwin M. Knights, Jr., MD, FASCP, FCAP, FACP, is a noted geneticist and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Society. He is interested in the experiences people have had with DNA testing, and would like to get feedback from readers of NEHGS eNews. Dr. Knights writes:

    More and more genealogists are supplementing classical means of tracing their family pedigrees with DNA studies, using this powerful and precise tool to confirm (or disprove) suspected relationships and frequently clarifying situations which could not be solved in any other manner. The Y-chromosome analyses, which mirror the traditional use of the male surname to define a familial relationship in many cultures, have proven of such value that their use has already had a great impact on genealogical research. Mitochondrial DNA (MtDNA) has helped to trace female lines of descent where written documentation of surnames had been omitted.

    DNA analysis is still an emerging technology, with methodology that is continually improving and becoming more efficient. At the same time, on-going research is providing new knowledge about loci (which genealogists call "markers"), which can be incorporated in panels to provide more precise information to genealogists. As the process has matured, many genealogists have had mixed experiences working with different laboratories conducting the DNA testing.

    Laboratories performing DNA analyses do not have to meet the legal requirements or strict standards established for blood banking, forensic pathology or DNA paternity testing, although some of them are also qualified to do these studies. Some laboratories offering DNA studies have ceased operation; others have merged. There is still much confusion in this field, which can be exacerbated when results from one lab are deemed unusable by another.

    I am interested in collecting information on the experiences genealogists have had in DNA testing:

    • Have you had any extremely positive or extremely negative experiences?
    • Were you satisfied with the number of markers analyzed and do you consider the charges were reasonable?
    • Did you receive written assurance concerning the confidentiality of your samples or their possible uses for medical or other research?
    • How is access to this data made available (e.g., for family members not involved with the original studies)?

    Thank you for your assistance.


    If you would like to share information on your experiences with DNA testing, please send your responses to Dr. Knights at

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    Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair

    The 29th Annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair will be held October 28-30, 2005 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. Rare booksellers and dealers will gather to exhibit and sell rare, collectible, and antiquarian books, modern first editions, manuscripts, autographs, maps, and a plethora of other literary ephemera. Dealers of fine and decorative prints will feature fine prints and drawings. Among the more exciting one of a kind offerings is an unpublished manuscript by Leonard Bernstein, and Henry David Thoreau's copy of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. Sponsored by the New England Chapter of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America and radio station WBUR, a portion of ticket sale proceeds benefits Boston Public Library and the American Antiquarian Society.

    NEHGS Chief Operating Office D. Brenton Simons will be appearing at the fair signing his latest work Witches, Rakes and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in Boston, 1639-1775 on Sunday October 30 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.


    New Officers and Trustees for the Board of Certification of Genealogists (BCG)

    New officers and trustees for the Board of Certification of Genealogists took office at the conclusion of the Board’s Annual Meeting on October 16 in Salt Lake City.

    Incoming officers are Connie Lenzen, CG, of Oregon, president; Barbara Mathews, CG, of Massachusetts, vice-president; Beverly Rice, CG, of Oregon, secretary; Brian W. Hutchison , CG, of British Columbia, treasurer; and Executive Committee Member-at-Large Thomas W. Jones, CG, CGL, of Virginia. Claire Mire Bettag, CG, CGL, of Washington, DC continues as assistant secretary. Newly elected trustees are Rice, Hutchison, Laura DeGrazio, CG, of New York, and Helen S. Ullmann, FASG, CG, of Massachusetts.

    Kay Haviland Freilich, CG, CGL, of Pennsylvania, was appointed to complete the year remaining on the term of Helen F. M. Leary, Certified Genealogist Emeritus, who resigned from the board in September.

    Retiring trustees are Linda Woodward Geiger, CG, CGL, of Georgia; Kay Germain Ingalls, CG, of California; and Elizabeth Shown Mills, FASG, CG, CGL, of Alabama.

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    BCG Changes Certification Categories

    The Board for Certification of Genealogists recently announced changes in their certification program for genealogists. The current categories of Certified Genealogical Records Specialist, Certified Lineage Specialist, and Certified Genealogist have been combined into the designation of Certified Genealogist. The Board reached the decisions after extensive talks at the annual meeting of the Board of Trustees in Salt Lake City on October 16.

    Incoming board president Connie Miller Lenzen, CG, of Portland, Oregon, explained that the change has been made for two reasons. “First, regardless of the type of work they do, all genealogists have the same skills. Second, having three research categories was confusing to both the genealogical community and the general public. The categories were different, but the differences were not well understood. We expect that the public can now more easily hire a certified person without being concerned about the differences. The one thing that will not change is the Board’s commitment to excellence in genealogical work.”

    Complete details for each requirement will be posted on the BCG website,, by December 1 of this year. Beginning January 1, 2006, only applications using the new requirements will be accepted. The new BCG Application Guide will be available at the National Genealogical Society conference in Chicago in June, 2006.

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    Education News
    The First “New England Heritage” Program

    Almost two dozen NEHGS members took part recently in the “New England Heritage Series: Experiencing the Seventeenth Century at Plimoth Plantation” program, where they heard Dr. John Kemp (as “Master John Sibsey,” a Virginian visiting the 1627 Plymouth colony) and Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, who spoke about the Great Migration Study Project.

    The day-long program began with Dr. Kemp in character as Master Sibsey, reflecting on the differences between Plymouth and Jamestown: whole families of colonists instead of unmarried “planters” and their “servants,” the central importance of a congregation-based religion, and the intriguing possibilities – according to Sibsey – offered by imported African slaves. Mr. Anderson’s remarks were in part a response to the points John Sibsey had made, but they were always informed by his ongoing Great Migration series (as well as The Pilgrim Migration, an updated version of Plymouth sketches in The Great Migration Begins).

    After lunch – a modern recreation of the food eaten in 1627 Plymouth – some participants visited Plimoth Plantation, meeting some of the residents of whom Dr. Kemp spoke and Mr. Anderson wrote, and the nearby Wampanoag home-site, while others attended Bob Anderson’s book-signing in the Visitors’ Center.

    At 3:30 a number of participants reconvened for a question-and-answer session with John Kemp and Bob Anderson, which lasted until Plimoth Plantation closed at 5.

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    Spotlight: Researching Your Shipwrecked Ancestor
    Valerie Beaudrault

    Have you ever come across an ancestor who was involved in, or lost his or her life in a shipwreck, but had no idea of the name of the vessel or exact date of the ship's sinking? Recently, I read a letter in which the writer said that her father had died in a shipwreck off the coast of Nova Scotia in February 1860. My first question was: “How do I can I find out more about this?” I did a web search using the following terms: shipwrecks Nova Scotia 1860. The search results included the following web site: Shipwrecks of Nova Scotia ( This web page is maintained on a site that serves as "a web guide for divers and armchair adventurers."

    The Shipwrecks of Nova Scotia database contains information about ships wrecked off the Nova Scotia "mainland" as well as those wrecked off Cape Breton Island in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. The complete list of vessels in the database appears on the Shipwrecks of Nova Scotia main page. To access the page with the historical and statistical data about a particular vessel, click on the vessel's name link. This will bring you to whatever information has been collected about that shipwreck. It will also include a Wreck Chart showing the location of that wreck as well as others in the area. Other items might include newspaper articles, photographs, and museums with maritime collections.

    The Marine Museum of the Atlantic ( has an online collection related to shipwrecks. It has an extensive database of about 5,000 wrecks, which you can access by clicking on the Find a Wreck porthole. Over four centuries of wrecks, dating from 1583 to 1999, can be browsed by vessel name or by the year of the wreck. Nearly half of the wrecks in the database date from the second half of nineteenth century. You can also search the database by vessel name, year of the wreck, the official number, type of vessel, location of the wreck and the nationality of the ship. Included in the description of the wreck is a silhouette of a typical ship of that type (e.g. brig, schooner, brigantine).

    Click on the Picture Gallery porthole to access pictures of historic shipwrecks that occurred between 1758 and 1979. Clicking on the Shipping News porthole will bring you to shipwreck pictures organized into thematic groups.

    The California State Lands Commission web site has a California Shipwrecks page ( The featured links from this page include the Online Database of California Shipwrecks, Articles and Stories about Various California Shipwrecks, and Video and Audio Clips Related to California Maritime History.

    The Shipwreck Database can be searched by ship name, type, county, latitude and longitude. If you do not know the name of the ship for which you are looking, click on the search button without entering a search term in the block. This will generate a list that includes names of all of the ships in the database.

    Articles and Stories about Various California Shipwrecks contains a section with research articles on several shipwrecks. There are also a number of video and audio clips about shipwrecks, which can be accessed using the Real Player program. There are also links from to the San Diego Maritime Museum, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, and the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

    What about the shipwreck in which the letter writer's father died? In browsing through the Wreck List on the homepage of the Shipwrecks of Nova Scotia web site, I found the Hungarian, which sank off Cape Sable on the night of February 20, 1860. I pinpointed the sinking on the Wreck map, read a couple of paragraphs of a newspaper article that appears on the site, and went to the Marine Museum of the Atlantic's web site, which has an engraving of the Hungarian wrecked near Cape Sable, which appeared in Harper's Weekly in March 1860. I then proceeded to search the New York Times to find out additional information about this disaster. Ultimately, I was able to find the individual's name listed in a newspaper as a passenger on the Hungarian. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic lists seventy-four wrecks as occurring at or off Cape Sable Island. According to information provided by the museum's website, the sinking of the Hungarian led directly to the establishment of the Cape Sable Lighthouse in 1861.

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    Irish Research Specials from NEHGS Sales

    Stock up on these specials for researching your ancestors from the Emerald Isle.

    New Book:
    Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors: The Essential Genealogical Guide to Early Modern Ulster, 1600-1800
    Item B26255500, $14.99!

    Other Irish Books, CDs and Maps on Sale:
    County Longford Residents Prior to the Famine
    Item B26265990, Was $49.95, Now $39.95

    Irish in New England
    Item S26250000, Was $3.95, Now $2.00 (Limited Quantities)

    The Search For Missing Friends, Volume 3
    Item S26256300, Was $45.00, Now $2.00

    The Search For Missing Friends, Volume 4
    Item S26256400, Was $45.00, Now $2.00

    The Search For Missing Friends, Volume 5
    Item S26256500, Was $45.00, Now $2.00

    The Search For Missing Friends, Volume 6
    Item S26256600, Was $45.00, Now $2.00

    The Search for Missing Friends CD-ROM
    Item SCD-SMF, Was $69.99, Now $39.99

    All Irish County Maps on sale
    Were $5.95, Now $4.00
    (For complete listing, type the word Maps in the Title Field and hit enter)

    Prices good through Sunday, November 6th, 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 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, a copy of which can be found in the Society’s library. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing after the talk.

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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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