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  • 2005 Archive

  • Vol. 7, No. 49
    Whole #248
    December 7, 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.

    * Looking for an Unusual Holiday Gift?
    * Coming Soon in the Holiday 2005 Issue of New England Ancestors
    * FGS/NEHGS Conference Discount Deadline
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * Spotlight: Alaska's Digital Archive
    * Start Your Holiday Shopping with our Specially Priced NEHGS Holiday Bundles
    * Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures
    * Favorite – and Black Sheep – Ancestors
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    Looking for an Unusual Holiday Gift?

    Sweaters wear out and chocolates are too-soon gone, but a gift certificate for research by a knowledgeable NEHGS genealogist is a welcome and timeless gift for a family member or friend. Our highly experienced research staff can help burst through those trying brick walls, answer puzzling questions, suggest new directions for exploration, or provide complete reports for those who do not have time to do their own research. Research can be purchased in one-hour increments, and NEHGS members may purchase the hours at the discounted rate of $45 per hour. For details or to order a certificate, contact Ruth Wellner, our Research Services Coordinator, at Gift certificates are good for one year, and a gift card can be mailed to thoughtful givers who order soon!

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    Coming Soon in the Holiday 2005 Issue of New England Ancestors

    Diane Rapaport introduces her new book in "New England Court Records: Finding Your Ancestors in Justice of the Peace Files."

    Christopher Benedetto relates the story of New Hampshire’s first executions in “A Warning to All Others.”

    Conrad Edick Wright discusses the forthcoming collaborative digital publication, Colonial Collegians: Biographies of Those Who Attended American Colleges before the War for Independence.

    Henry B. Hoff shares his expertise in "Methods for Identifying the English Origins of American Colonists."

    Russell F. Shaw discusses and analyzes the history of "Irish Mill Workers in Nineteenth-Century New England."

    Gary Boyd Roberts discusses his beginnings in genealogy, illustrious career, and future plans in "Reminiscences of Gary Boyd Roberts."

    David Allen Lambert provides helpful answers to member questions in "New England Online."

    Also in this issue . . .
    • A New Executive Director for NEHGS
    • A Tribute to Ralph J. Crandall
    • Computer Genealogist: Scanning Your Ancestors
    • Genetics & Genealogy: Dancing with DNA: The Triumphs and Tribulations of a Y Chromosome Project
    • Manuscripts at NEHGS: The Hayes Collection
    • Bible Records at NEHGS: Mrs. Lucy Hearsey’s Book
    • Tales from the Courthouse: The Strange Case of Mary Rosse and Her “Enthusiastical Power”
    • Pilgrim Life: The Pilgrim’s Earball

    And, as always, news of NEHGS and the world of genealogy, upcoming NEHGS programs and tours, new publications, notices of family association events, genealogies in progress, and member queries.
    Subscription to New England Ancestors is a benefit of NEHGS membership. If you are not a member, you may join online at, or call toll-free 1-888-296-3447, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, Eastern time.

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    FGS/NEHGS 2006 Conference Registration Discount Deadline

    The 2006 Federation of Genealogical Societies conference will be held August 30-September 2, 2006 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. This exciting program will be the largest genealogical event ever held. Those who register by December 31, 2005 will receive the special extra-early discount rate of $135 for the entire conference. Starting January 1, 2006 the rate goes up to $155.

    For more information about the conference visit

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    A number of exciting programs are being planned for 2006, ranging from weeks in Boston and Washington, D.C., to a variety of day seminars. We hope that you will join us for one or more of these programs:

    Research Week in Washington, D.C.
    March 5-12, 2006

    Spring Weekend Research Getaway
    Interpreting and Preserving the Past
    March 23-25, 2006

    Your Family History: Plan Before You Write
    April 8, 2006

    English Family History for Americans
    April 22, 2006

    New England Heritage Series
    Three Centuries in Salem at the Peabody Essex Museum
    May 20, 2006

    Come Home to New England
    June 18-25, 2006

    For more information on these programs, please email Amanda Batey at

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    Spotlight: Alaska's Digital Archive

    The Alaska Virtual Library and Digital Archives is a collaborative project of the Rasmuson Library of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Consortium Library at the University of Alaska Anchorage and the Alaska State Library in Juneau. The Archive contains more than 10,000 items, including historical photographs, albums, oral histories, moving images, maps, and documents as well as images of physical objects from throughout the state. Click on the links in the introduction to access the collections.

    Photographic Collections
    There are two photographic collections on the web site – the Alaska Native History and Cultures collection and the Movement to Statehood collection. You can access them by clicking on the title links above the photographs on the main page. This action will bring you to a page with links to the photographs, which have been organized by topic. Take a guided tour through the photographic collections by clicking on the topic links.

    The albums in the collection can be viewed as images or as descriptions and transcribed text, such as a photo album of the Schieffelin Brothers Yukon River prospecting trip, 1882 – 1883. Click on the thumbnail to view a full size image of the album.

    Oral Histories and Moving Images
    There are 4-5-minute-long sound recordings of oral histories where individuals recount their stories, including Alaskan folklore. The moving images collection documents the stories of Alaska and its people through short film clips showing events and activities such as women and children cleaning fish, men cutting wood, and the damage caused by the 1964 Good Friday earthquake. The oral histories and film clips are presented in standard audio and video player formats.

    Over 140 maps are available online, many of which date from the seventeenth and early-eighteenth centuries. Click on the thumbnails or titles to view the enlarged maps.

    Documents range from a speech given by William H. Seward at Sitka on August 12, 1869 to a publication titled Alaska Villages: Eskimo, Indian, Aleut, 1937. The latter is a book containing the descriptions of fifty-eight Alaskan villages written by students of the Eklutna Vocational School in 1937. Items in this category can be viewed as images or text. Click on the full text link to access the transcriptions.

    Physical objects
    Hundreds of physical objects in the collaborators’ collections have been photographed, digitized and uploaded to the archive, as well. For example, one can see a collection of bingles (or tokens) given to colonists at Palmer, Alaska as a stipend for relocation from the Midwest.

    You can search the Alaska Digital Archives site by performing a simple key word search or by using the advanced search feature, which gives you additional search options. Searches can be run on the entire collection or limited to the holdings of specific collections. You can also browse the collections. The browse feature can be accessed from the home page or navigation bar at the top of the page.

    If you are interested in Alaska’s past, visit the Alaska Virtual Library and Digital Archives at

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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 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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    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 Great-Great-Grandfather, John B. Hamlin
    by Pauline C. Merrick, Brookfield, Massachusetts

    John B. Hamlin was born December, 1825 at New Milford, Connecticut, grandson of Elisha Hamlin, a Revolutionary war veteran. When John was a young man his parents and brothers relocated to Great Bend, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. John remained in Connecticut long enough to marry a local girl, Mary Closson, then moved his new family to Carbondale, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, just south of the rest of the clan. By the 1860 census, he was comfortably settled with his wife Mary and six young children in his own home and blacksmith business.

    In January, 1864, Carbondale was the center of an outbreak of “Spotted Fever,” noted for its high rate of mortality. In the course of just three days John lost his wife and five of his children to the epidemic, leaving only himself and his eldest son, also named John.

    John married Martha Ellis, eighteen-year-old daughter of fellow blacksmith Luther Ellis. In June, 1864, he was selected in the draft for volunteers in the Union Army. Rather than waiting to be assigned to a unit, he collected a bounty for signing on with the 1st Regiment of the New York Veteran Cavalry, along with his brother, Charles, and his newly-acquired brother-in-law, Warren Ellis. At this time, the regiment was now engaged in mundane affairs at Camp Piatt, near Charleston, West Virginia. The duty was so quiet that Martha was able to join him in camp. She gave birth there to their daughter, Virginia, on April 14, 1865 – the night that President Lincoln was shot.

    Discharged in July, John returned to Carbondale with his family. The following year his only living son was killed by the cars on the No. 7 Plane – a victim of the gravity railroad that was vital to transporting local coal production. The stresses of personal loss, war service, depression of the local economy, and possibly declining health undoubtedly made him a hard man to live with. Although Martha gave birth to a second daughter, Lina, in 1868, the marriage crumbled and was eventually dissolved. By the time of the 1880 census, both were remarried. Martha was living in Wilkes Barre with her new husband Charles L. Peck and daughter Virginia, while John had relocated to the town of Archbald, married to the widow Harriet Bishop, with younger daughter Lina and stepson Harvey Bishop, who was taking over the blacksmith business.

    According to that census, John was in poor health and unable to work due to “dropsy.” His father, John B. Hamlin, Sr., had died in April, leaving his property divided equally among his five sons. John B., Jr., did not live long enough to enjoy it. He died December 22, 1880. He was buried not in Maplewood Cemetery in Carbondale, near his first wife and children, but in Woodlawn Cemetery in Great Bend, just outside the neat rows of the family plot where his brothers and their families eventually came to rest. No ornate granite headstone marks the spot, but rather an example of the simple stones that could be acquired from the government for free, which nobody bothered with until eight years after his death.

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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

    NEHGS eNews, like all of our programs, is made possible through the generous contributions of our members. For more information about giving to NEHGS visit Make your donation before the end of the calendar year and you could be eligible to take advantage of a special tax-break from the US government.

    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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