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  • 2005 Archive

  • Vol. 7, No. 50 Whole #249 December 14, 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.

    * Introducing "Genealogy in a Nutshell" ...Online
    * eNews Changes
    * Subscribe to the Great Migration Newsletter
    * New Database on
    * Colonial Collegians Now Available From NEHGS
    * NGS Seeks Nominations for 2006 Genealogy Hall of Fame
    * D. Brenton Simons on WBNW’s Pages to People
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * Spotlight: Ontario Resources
    * There's still time to order Holiday Gifts from NEHGS
    * Research Recommendations
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    Introducing "Genealogy in a Nutshell" . . . Online

    While many NEHGS members and patrons are able to come to our library in Boston for research and seminars, the vast majority cannot. To be as helpful as possible to all who are interested, our expert genealogists and crackerjack technical staff are working hard to make many of our presentations available on

    These “Genealogy in a Nutshell” programs offer expert guidance to help you get the most out of genealogical sources and materials, and introduce professionals' strategies for tackling your toughest research challenges. Some will be introductory in nature, while others will offer deep background on topics of social and cultural history to help you gain greater understanding of the times in which your ancestors lived. This series will be a valuable resource for both the neophyte family history researcher and the more experienced genealogist.

    We’re pleased to unveil the first of these online programs, An Introduction to featuring our popular on-line genealogist David Lambert. You will find it at We hope that this new offering will be helpful for those planning to hunker down with your computer to continue your family history research after the holidays and into the early months of the new year.

    Watch eNews for announcements of additional “Genealogy in a Nutshell” programs as they become available.

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    eNews Changes

    To improve service to our subscribers, NEHGS eNews will be undergoing some changes in the way in which it is sent in the next few weeks. Sometimes changes trigger spam filters provided by your email service which might block the message. In order to minimize the chances of getting caught by a spam filter, please add the email address to the contact list or address book in your email program. This address is for outgoing mail only. If you have questions regarding eNews, please email us at

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    Subscribe to the Great Migration Newsletter

    The Great Migration Study Project, directed by Robert Charles Anderson, publishes a series of books that aims to summarize all that is known about New England's earliest settlers. The widely acclaimed Great Migration books provide in-depth biographical sketches of individuals. The Great Migration Newsletter complements those individual Great Migration sketches, and addresses the broad issues that are essential to understanding the lives and times of New England's first immigrants, who arrived between 1620 and 1643.

    The Great Migration Newsletter is published quarterly. Subscriptions to the print version are $20 and run on a calendar year basis. To subscribe to the print version of the Newsletter for 2006 (volume 15), please visit

    Online subscriptions to the Great Migration Newsletter are also available, at a cost of $10 for NEHGS members and $20 for non-members. Online subscriptions run for one year from the sign-up date. Subscribers can access a new copy of the Newsletter on the Great Migration website each quarter, plus view the Great Migration Newsletter Online Archive, which contains volumes 11, 12, 13, and 14, plus bonus sketches not yet available in print. To subscribe to the online version, please visit

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    New Database on

    Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910
    Just Added: Records for 1887-1888, Vols. 376-393

    The latest installment in this ongoing database includes actual records from 1887-1888 (Volumes 376-393). 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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    Colonial Collegians Now Available From NEHGS

    The Boston area has more institutions of higher learning per capita than anywhere else in America - and the northeast in general is home to a dizzying array of colleges and universities - so it seems fitting that the new searchable CD Colonial Collegians, edited by Conrad Edick Wright (Ford Editor of Publications at the Massachusetts Historical Society), was created in partnership by two venerable Boston based institutions: the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

    Colonial Collegians features biographies of those who attended American colleges before the American Revolution; the detail-rich profiles published about early students at Harvard, Princeton and Yale are brought together in one volume for the first time, and that invaluable data is supplemented by profiles of students who attended the other institutions of higher learning founded prior to the start of the American Revolution: the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania), the College of William and Mary, Dartmouth College, King’s College (now Columbia University), Rhode Island College (now Brown University), and Queen’s College (now Rutgers University), the medical schools at King’s College and the College of Philadelphia, and the Reverend William Tennent’s “Log College” in Pennsylvania for prospective Presbyterian clergymen.

    Biographical subjects range from seminal figures in American history like James Madison to lesser known but more colorful personages like Nathan Prince, Harvard Class of 1718:

    "Much the most effusive of Prince's writings to be preserved is a letter to Thomas Turner (Class of 1733), who had, remembering his taste, sent him from Antigua a hogshead of rum and a box of lemons. The tutor joyfully described his intention " to unbend the Evening grateful Bowls." This unbending became a habit on such occasions as funerals…"

    Colonial Collegians combines the established resources for early academic biographies such as Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, Dexter’s Biographical Sketches, and Princetonians with profiles - culled from a wide variety of sources - for the students at colleges without formal biographical publications. Some entries are informative but brief while individuals who captured the attention of biographical editors are drawn in copious detail. For example, the 150 page entry on Boston minister Cotton Mather includes his life and a catalogue of his writings and sermons from his Harvard days in the 1670s up until his death in 1728. Offering illuminating information about specific individuals, this unique publication is also a compelling resource for those interested in a glimpse into academic life in colonial America.

    Priced at $79.95 ($50 for members of NEHGS and the Massachusetts Historical Society), Colonial Collegians is available now through the NEHGS store. Purchase this digital publication online at


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    NGS Seeks Nominations for 2006 Genealogy Hall of Fame

    The National Genealogical Society is seeking nominations from the entire genealogical community for persons whose achievements or contributions have made an impact on the field. Nominees must have been actively engaged in genealogy in the United States for at least ten years, must have been deceased for at least five years, and must have made contributions judged to be of lasting significance in ways that were unique, pioneering, or exemplary.

    Only one individual is elected to the Hall of Fame each year. Past winners have included Donald Lines Jacobus (1887-1970), Walter Goodwin Davis (1885-1966), John Farmer (1789-1838), George Ernest Bowman (1860-1941), James Dent Walker (1928-1993), Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern (1915-1994), Milton Rubincam (1909-1997), and Mary Campbell (Lovering) Holman (1868-1947).

    Nomination forms and instructions are available online at

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    D. Brenton Simons on WBNW's Pages to People

    Tune in to WBNW radio 1120 AM this Saturday December 17th at 6 PM when Pages to People host and interviewer Rob Mitchell features our multi-talented Executive Director D. Brenton Simons and his very informative and highly entertaining book Witches, Rakes and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in Boston, 1630-1775. Listen as Brenton turns the notion of Boston as a staid and stuffy community upside down.

    For those who cannot receive this station, WBNW streams their programs over the internet. Visit WBNW at

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    Upcoming Education Program

    Spring Weekend Research Getaway
    Interpreting and Preserving Our Past
    March 23-25, 2006
    Join us for a fresh approach to the Research Weekend Getaway: a program devoted to old documents as well as guided research, one-on-one consultations, lectures, and special access to the collections. NEHGS staff Timothy G.X. Salls, archivist, and Deborah Rossi, collections maintenance assistant, will begin the program with a presentation about caring for old books and manuscripts. Guest lecturer Jerome E. Anderson will discuss handwriting analysis. Diane Rapaport will share her expertise on using court records based upon her new book, New England Court Records: A Research Guide for Genealogists and Historians. Old unidentified family photographs often remain frustrating mysteries: NEHGS genealogist Julie Otto will be available to analyze one such photo for each participant.

    Bring your charts and count on making major breakthroughs! All serious genealogists should treat themselves to this special program and the opportunity to share discoveries and swap stories with other avid researchers from all over the country. Whether you are a first-time participant or have enjoyed this program in the past, you are sure to further your research by visiting the library in Boston. For accommodations, we suggest the nearby Charlesmark Hotel, which is holding a block of rooms, on a space-available basis, until February 1, 2006.

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

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    Spotlight: Ontario Resources

    Archives of Ontario

    The link found above will bring you to the homepage of the Archives of Ontario. Once there, you will have the option to choose to view the site in English or French. Click on the appropriate link to begin.

    On the Welcome page you will find updates and descriptions of the resources available at the Archives, in addition to links to virtual exhibits related to Ontario’s history. These include, but are not limited to, Papermaking in Ontario, Canadian Posters from the First World War, “French Ontario in the 17th and 18th Centuries,” The War of 1812, and The Great Toronto Fire. One particularly interesting online exhibit is part of the Archives’ celebration of “The Year of the Veteran: Celebrate, Honour, Remember.” Visitors are invited to read and listen to excerpts from the World War I diary of John Mould, a veteran of both world wars. The exhibit includes battlefield photographs, as well as scanned images, transcriptions and audio clips of diary entries.

    The site also contains a searchable database of the index to four volumes of assisted immigration registers that were created by the Toronto Emigrant Office covering the period from 1865 to 1883. These registers contain a chronological listing of new immigrants who received assistance from the government to travel to various destinations in Southern Ontario. More than 29,000 register entries have been transcribed. The Archives also provides a brief history of the creation and development of the Emigrant Office through the years. You can search the database by last name, first name, nationality, trade, ship, destination, and year. There is a Browse button at the end of each search field with which you can bring up a list of all possible data options for that field. Using the Browse feature is particularly useful as you will be able to find both typical and unusual abbreviations. For example, the first name William might have been entered as Wm. or just the initial W., or the ship Nova Scotia as N. Scotia. A search for John Smith will bring up a list of immigrants by that name. Click on the Last Name to view the detail for that particular register entry. To view the records of several individuals, click on the check boxes in the left column and then click on the "Show Selected Records” button to see the detailed entries. See the Key to the Database Fields under “Search Help and Background” for a description of the information usually recorded in each of the fields.

    Ontario Cemetery Ancestor Index and Cemetery Locator of the Ontario Genealogical Society

    The Ontario Cemetery Ancestor Index is a database with names gathered from a number of sources including monument inscriptions and cemetery records. Search fields in the index include last name, first name, county/district, township, village/town/city/reserve, cemetery name, and cemetery ID. Information in the records may include last name; first name; death date, if known; stone reference (location of the stone or plot in the cemetery); county; township; and cemetery name, plus its ID. Click on the cemetery name to access the cemetery record.

    It should be noted that not all Ontario cemeteries have been transcribed. A transcription of the record may be purchased directly from the OGS branch library when available. A link to the branch library is found in the cemetery record. If you want to find a cemetery in Ontario, go back to the cemetery database main page and click on the Ontario Cemetery Locator link which brings you to a directory of cemeteries located in the province.

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    There's still time to order Holiday Gifts from NEHGS

    Giving a holiday gift from NEHGS:

    Membership, Research Hours Expert Tutorials Research Tours Holiday Bundles

    A great idea on three levels:

    • It allows you to give a present that is unusual and thoughtful.
    • It’s a meaningful and helpful gift for the recipient.
    • It supports NEHGS in its ongoing efforts to make genealogical information and services available to all who need them.
    For more information on any of these options, visit our website


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    Research Recommendations

    Locating Manuscript Collections on the Internet
    by Judy Lucey

    Can I find it online? That’s a question I frequently encounter when asked about locating manuscript collections. Certainly not everything is online but more and more repositories are making their collection records available on the internet. Here are some resources that may be helpful in your research:

    The National Union Catalog for Manuscript Collections (NUCMC) is a cooperative cataloging program maintained by the Library of Congress. Participating repositories contribute cataloging records of their collections. NUCMC has been publishing these collections since 1959. The printed volumes from 1959 to 1985 are not available online. The Library of Congress provides free access to two valuable databases, the RLG Union Catalog and OCLC. These databases combined provide access to over a million records from libraries worldwide. Users should use both RLG and OCLC for the most comprehensive search. Please note that NUCMC only allows for searching of manuscript and archival collections in these databases. Books and other materials cannot be accessed through NUCMC even if they have been catalogued.

    NUCMC can be accessed at

    ArchivesUSA is another valuable online resource. It serves as a directory of manuscript and archival collections. Users can access thousands of collection records and online finding aids, and it is the only database that makes all of NUCMC’s records available online. ArchivesUSA is only offered through subscription to institutions such as libraries, universities and archival repositories. Check out their website for more information ht

    A website I often use is Ready, ‘Net, Go!, published by Tulane University, which provides professional information to archivists - researchers will find it helpful as well. Two sections that genealogists should use are the Master List of Archives and the Archival Search Engine. The Master List provides links to archival repository websites around the world including the UNESCO Portal Archive [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization], a unique website where one can find repositories from Belarus to Uganda. The Archival Search Engine provides a comprehensive listing of links to online archival databases including resources for Canadian and British archives. I like Ready, Net, Go! because it serves as an online archival index where one can access archives and primary source material anywhere in the world.

    Ready, ‘Net, Go! can be found at

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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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