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  • 2005 Archive

  • Vol. 7, No. 48
    Whole #247
    November 30, 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
    * The Gift of Family History… Priceless and Enduring
    * New from Tales of the Manuscript Collection: The Robert Chapman Letter
    * Upcoming Education Program
    * Spotlight: Nevada State Archives: Genealogical Research Resources
    * Start Your Holiday Shopping with our Specially Priced NEHGS Holiday Bundles
    * Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures
    * Research Recommendations: Newfoundland Vital Records: Some FHL Resources
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on


    The latest installment in this ongoing database includes actual records from 1886 (Volumes 367-375). 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

    Social Security Death Index - Free Access
    Updated through October 1, 2005

    The SSDI, taken from the U.S. Social Security Administration's Death Master File, is one of the key resources available to genealogists today. It contains those individuals who were assigned Social Security numbers and whose death was reported to the SSA.

    Data is now current through October 1, 2005. Access to the SSDI is FREE to all who visit This database contains the names of 75.5 million individuals, most of whose deaths were recorded after 1965.

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    The Gift of Family History… Priceless and Enduring

    Give the gift your family and friends can use all year long - leading to a lifetime of exploration and discovery. As the oldest genealogical organization in America NEHGS offers unmatched membership benefits, including immediate access to our website with over 110 million names so new members can begin their search in the comfort of their home, subscriptions to our popular publications New England Ancestors and The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, and library privileges at our six-storey research library in Boston. Our expert genealogists, including online genealogist David Allen Lambert, are available to members for questions and assistance. Recipients will receive acknowledgement of your gift along with their membership card and welcome packet.

    For more information about giving a gift membership, please visit

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    New from Tales of the Manuscript Collection: The Robert Chapman Letter

    One of the gems of the R. Stanton Avery Collection is a letter written by Robert Chapman, one of the founders of Saybrook, Connecticut. Long considered lost by his descendants, the 18th century copy of his letter was donated to NEHGS by Miss Mary Chapman of Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1917.

    The letter, addressed to his children, was written in 1687 just prior to his death. Entitled “Capt. Robert Chapman’s Legacie”, Chapman provides details of his youth in England, his voyage to New England in 1635, and his arrival in Saybrook, Connecticut, in 1636.

    Our thanks to Judith Halseth, Ed.D, a trustee of NEHGS and a tenth-generation descendant of Robert Chapman, for her meticulous transcription of this letter.

    More on Robert Chapman and the transcribed letter can be found at

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    Upcoming Education Program

    Research Week in Washington, D.C. March 5 – 12, 2006
    The Library of Congress (LC) has been added to our upcoming tour to Washington D.C. Combined with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Library of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in Washington, D.C., we will visit three of the major genealogical repositories in the United States. NEHGS staff will be available at each site for a week of intensive genealogical research and consultation, and the staffs of the three libraries will review the rich resources available for program participants. We are pleased to add the Library of Congress for those who have recently visited Washington with NEHGS as well as for newcomers. There will undoubtedly be new and interesting accessions to consult at each repository. The LOC, NARA, and DAR libraries hold much unique content not available in Boston or Salt Lake City, and the trip to Washington, D.C., will offer participants a rewarding research experience.

    We will once again offer a limited number of rooms at the Hotel Washington, plus a commuter rate which does not include lodging.

    For more information on this program, please email Amanda Batey at

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    Spotlight: Nevada State Archives: Genealogical Research Resources

    The Nevada State Archives preserves records that “document the history of Nevada State government dating back to 1851.” The archives' holdings include a number of online resources that are of use to genealogists. A description of some of these resources follows.

    Online Census Database
    The Nevada State Archives Online Census Database is a useful tool to general historical researchers as well as genealogists. This comprehensive database includes 310,000 records from the federal manuscript censuses for the following years: 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920. To find an individual in the census, select the “Find People” option. Next, select the census year you want to search. This will bring you to a new page showing available search fields. The search fields vary based on the types of questions that were asked for a particular census year. Choose your search criteria and click the submit button. Using the "Find People" search function, you are not only able to find people living in Nevada during one of the census years; but you can also generate a list of all of the people in a particular town or county working in a certain occupation or having a condition such as deafness. Click on any name in the search results list to see a transcription of all of the information collected by the census taker on the individual.

    Carson Appeal Newspaper Index
    The Carson Appeal Newspaper Index covers the following periods: 1865-66, 1879-80, 1881, and 1885-86. The newspapers were published in Carson City, Ormsby County, Nevada. There are three titles included in the index - the Nevada Daily Appeal, the Morning Appeal, and the Carson Daily Index (published under four different titles between 1880 and 1888, ending with the name Nevada Index-Union). The data in each record related to an individual includes the person’s surname, title, first name, code for the newspaper in which the mention appeared and the date on which it appeared. Other items, such as government acts (Salary Act, in CDI 03/11/1881), entities (Sacramento Public School, in CDI 12/25/1880); or locations (Salmon River, in CDA 07/29/1865), are also indexed.

    Nevada Appeal Obituaries
    This index to obituaries appearing in the Nevada Appeal covers the period from 1996 to 2004. The index includes the name of the deceased, the date that the obituary appeared in the newspaper and the number of the page on which the obituary appeared. The index can be searched using the Find function under the edit menu of your web browser.

    Nevada State Prison Inmate Case Files
    The Nevada State Prison Inmate database is the index to the prison inmate case files found in the Nevada State Archives. The cases in the index cover the period from 1863 to 1972. Case files for the nineteenth century may include correspondence as well as the records of the Board of Paroles and Pardons Commissioners. The Nevada State Police, established in 1908, introduced the “Bertillon system of physical description and photographs.” This resulted in more detailed inmate files for twentieth-century cases, including summaries of the crime, applications for parole or pardons, and correspondence with the Parole Board until the end of the sentence. Other data in the inmate case files may include information on arrests, convictions, and incarceration, received from the FBI (after 1908); personal correspondence received by the inmate; and, beginning in the 1970s, health records and psychological evaluations. Nevada State Prison Inmate Case Files are confidential. To learn more about the on confidentiality issues related to prison records, click on the Access to Confidential Records link.

    List of Nevada Newspaper Indexes
    You will also find a link to a list of Nevada Newspaper Indexes and where to find them. The Newspaper Index table includes the name of the newspaper, the date ranges of the indexes and the location of the index. The mailing address and telephone number of the repository may be found in a table on the same web page.

    Visit Nevada State Archives at to access their online genealogical research resources.

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    Start Your Holiday Shopping with our Specially Priced NEHGS Holiday Bundles

    The D. Brenton Simons Bundle (to celebrate our new Executive Director)
    Witches, Rakes and Rogues; The Art of Family; Boston Audissey: A Walking Tour of Boston CD
    Item HOL-DBS, $100.00 (save $20)

    The Gary Boyd Roberts Bundle (in honor of Mr. Roberts' retirement)
    Best Genealogical Sources in Print; Notable Kin, Volumes 1 and 2
    Item HOL-GBR, $95.00 (save $15)

    The NEHGS Resources Bundle
    Circulating Library Catalogs; Guide to the Manuscripts Collection; Guide to NEHGS Library
    Item HOL-NRB, $50.00 (save $12)

    The Mystery Bundle
    Murdered by His Wife; Killed Strangely; The Hanging of Ephraim Wheeler
    Item HOL-MYS, $59.00 (save $10)

    The Plymouth Bundle
    Plymouth County Court Records CD; Plymouth Church Records CD; Plymouth Colony Probate Records
    Item HOL-PLY, $95.00 (Save $20)

    The Watertown Bundle
    Bond's Genealogies and Families of the Early Settlers of Watertown book OR CD; Divided We Stand; Bond's Watertown map (folded)
    Item HOL-WATB (for bundle with Bond's book)
    Item HOL-WATC (for bundle with Bond's CD), each $80.00 (save $15)

    The Writing Bundle
    You Can Write Your Family History; Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800's; Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Colonial America
    Item HOL-WRI, $45.00 (save $10)

    The Boston Bundle
    Boston Audissey: A Walking Tour of Boston CD; A Short History of Boston; Boston: One Family
    Item HOL-BOS, $52.00 (Save $11)

    The New York Bundle
    New York State Censuses and Substitutes; New York State Towns, Villages & Cities; Genealogical Research in Upstate New York (video)
    Item HOL-NYS, $58.00 (save $11)

    The Witches Bundle
    The Salem Witch Trials (soft cover); Witches, Rakes & Rogues; The Devil Hath Been Raised
    Item HOL-WIT, $50.00 (save $15)

    The Scrapbooking Bundle
    Family Tree Page Ideas for Scrapbookers; Scrapbooking Your Family History; New Ideas for Crafting Heritage Albums
    Item HOL-SCR, $60.00 (Save $10)

    The Torrey Bundle
    Torrey's New England Marriages CD; Third Supplement to Torrey's New England Marriages
    Item HOL-TOR, $75.00 (Save $25)

    Order these bundles now at
    Prices are good through December 31, 2005.

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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.

    December 7, 10 a.m., Marie E. Daly
    Getting Started in Genealogy
    Whether you are just starting out in researching your ancestors or would like to brush up on your research methods and sources, this lecture give you a good beginning approach. NEHGS Library Director Marie Daly will present an informative lecture on beginning genealogy, and will follow with a tour of the NEHGS library.

    December 14, 10:00 a.m., David Allen Lambert
    Introduction to has grown to include access to over 109 million names in 2,200 databases! Discover the depth of material available on this genealogy megasite. With a site this extensive, it is easy to concentrate on the most popular feature - databases - and overlook the many other valuable resources available elsewhere in the site. All will be revealed in this informative lecture! 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

    There will be no programs December 15 - 31 because of the holidays. Lectures will resume in January with Getting Started in Genealogy on January 4 at 10 a.m.

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    Research Recommendations

    Newfoundland Vital Records: Some FHL Resources
    Judy Lucey

    Since civil registration did not begin in Newfoundland until 1891, researchers must rely on parish records and other sources to obtain birth, marriage and death information.

    There are four parish/vital statistic collections at the Provincial Archives in St. John’s. Two of these collections have been filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah and can be ordered through your local Family History Center (including NEHGS). The Registers of Vital Statistics Collection, 1753-1893, and Miscellaneous Delayed Birth Registrations for Newfoundland, 1840-1915, should not be overlooked by family researchers.

    Registers of Vital Statistics Collection, 1753-1893, are transcriptions of vital records submitted by churches in the 1940’s per the request of the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health and Welfare, Sir John Charles Puddester. It is Sir John who is credited with initiating this program to collect vital statistics from church records. Offering clergy ten cents a name, the government requested births and marriages prior to 1891. Some burial records were also submitted. Please note that this is not a complete collection of parish records as not all churches complied with the request.

    The earliest records (1753) are from the Anglican churches in Trinity and St. John’s. Dates do vary for each parish and while the records are predominately from Protestant churches, there are some Roman Catholic records. The collection contains a community index as well as a listing by volume number. You need to refer to the index first to find the parish and corresponding volume number. If you have internet access, I recommend using the online community index at the Provincial Archives website, .This will save you the step of ordering the filmed index.

    The index can also be found in the preface of E.R. Seary’s book Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland. This collection was one of the many sources Seary used in his research. Remember that these are transcribed copies, and as with all transcriptions errors were made. They are not a substitute for primary sources. For example, the baptisms and marriages in the Harbor Grace Roman Catholic records do not contain maiden names which are in the original parish registers.

    The second collection is commonly referred to as “All Newfoundland Births”. However, do not let the title deceive you. As the description states, the records are of individuals “who could not locate a record of their own baptism…or a civil registration and needed documentation...” These birth records consist of delayed registrations, lists including data from family bible records, sworn affidavits and extracts from parish registers. While you may find some duplication with other sources, particularly the baptismal records, there are many records in this collection that you will not find elsewhere. The filmed master index for this collection lists name, birth year and box number. Unlike the Vital Statistics Collection, there is no online index at the Provincial Archives website.

    For many of us with Newfoundland ancestry, all research roads will eventually lead to St. John’s, but resources such as these can be helpful when a trip to Newfoundland is not possible.

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    NEHGS Contact Information

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    To view the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, please visit

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

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    Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910
    Just Added: Records for 1886, Vols. 367-375

New England Historic Genealogical Society
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