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  • 2005 Archive

  • Vol. 7, No. 52
    Whole #251
    December 28, 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.

    * Bureau of Land Management Database Back Online
    * Year-end Charitable Giving
    * FGS/NEHGS Conference Discount Deadline
    * eNews Changes
    * New Online Nutshell Lecture
    * Upcoming Education Program
    * Spotlight: Obituary Indexes
    * Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures
    * Research Recommendations
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    Bureau of Land Management Database Back Online

    The Bureau of Land Management (a part of the US Department of the Interior) has once again made their database of land patent records available on their website. The site was shut down last April due to a lawsuit involving the security of information about the Indian Trust Fund.

    The database provides access to images of over two million Federal land record titles issued between 1820 and 1908. Charles P. Ingalls, the father of well-known Little House on the Prairie author Laura Ingalls Wilder filed a claim in New Ulm, Redwood County, Minnesota in 1879 which can be seen at

    To search the database visit

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    Year-end Charitable Giving

    At a time when many of you are considering your year-end charitable gifts, we are asking for your special support of the Society's Annual Fund. If you have not already received our most recent Annual Appeal, it will soon be arriving in your mailbox. Your tax-deductible donation can be made either by returning the reply card included with the letter; or by using our online giving form. We really do appreciate your generosity and wish you the best in the coming months.

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    FGS/NEHGS Conference Discount Deadline December 31

    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, including details about the program, or to register online visit

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    eNews Changes

    To improve service to our subscribers, NEHGS eNews will be undergoing some changes in the next few weeks to the way in which it is sent. 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.

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    New Online Nutshell Lecture

    Genealogical Tips from NEHGS: Transcribing Gravestones
    This week we unveil our latest “online nutshell”, this one by resident NEHGS cemetery expert David Allen Lambert. Transcribing Gravestones suggests techniques for properly transcribing a gravestone at Besides being our popular Online Genealogist, David (who started researching at the age of 7) is the author of the NEHGS best selling title A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries and several other prominent genealogical and historical publications.

    Future Online Nutshell presentations will cover a wide array of introductory and advanced topics of interest to genealogists. Watch eNews for launch dates.

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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. There will undoubtedly be new and interesting accessions to consult at each repository. The LC, 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 visit or email Amanda Batey at

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    Spotlight: Obituary Indexes

    Cook Memorial Library, Illinois
    The Cook Memorial Library is located in Libertyville, Illinois, which is north of Chicago in Lake County, not far from the shores of Lake Michigan. While the library has a number of online resources available to cardholders only, the genealogy holdings include an obituary index, which may be accessed by everyone. The creation of the obituary index is an ongoing project. Currently, the alphabetical database indexes death notices published in the Lake County Independent and Waukegan Weekly Sun 1894 – 1920. The information provided includes the name of the deceased, including maiden name, if known, the date of the obituary, and page location in the newspaper. Symbols indicate additional information, such as veteran status or death as a result of the influenza epidemic.

    Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center
    The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, Ohio, was the first United States presidential library, opening in 1916. One of President Hayes’ particular interests was genealogy. His original collection of genealogical information was been expanded over the years to create a valuable resource for northwest Ohio family history. Among the items in the collection is an online obituary index.

    The Hayes Presidential Center’s Obituary Index was started in the 1970s as a file card index of death notices and some marriage notices collected from local newspapers. Beginning in 1986 the index, which includes notices from 1830 to the present, was transferred from the file cards to a computer. By 2005 the index had grown from 50,000 names to nearly 500,000 names, with multiple entries for many of the individuals making it a 700,000 plus record database. The index is cross-indexed by maiden names and previous married names when they were included in the obituary. The database comprises about 90% newspapers citations. The remainder was drawn from a variety of sources, such as probate case files, funeral home records, society membership records, biographical files, manuscript collections, and references from local histories.

    The majority of the index covers Sandusky County, Ohio. Information from Erie, Ottawa, Seneca, Huron, and Wood counties is also included. Among the towns found in the index are Fremont and Clyde from the 1840s to the present, as well as Sandusky, Bellevue, and Tiffin for long periods of time and sporadic listings for Risingsun, Woodville, Gibsonburg, and Oak Harbor.

    To search the index you must enter at least the last name of the individual for whom you are looking. You may also enter the first and middle names and the year of death. There is also an advanced search option. There are links that will bring up the list of newspapers indexed and the list of other sources indexed, as well as instructions on how to order copies of the actual obituaries. Click on the details link to view the Record Detail. Information here includes other source information (newspaper or non-newspaper), and notes about the deceased.

    The data fields in the records include last name, first name, middle name, prefix/suffix, spouse last name, spouse first name, age at death, place of death, year, and month and day of death. Additional information may include items such as father’s name spouse’s name, and marriage date.

    Only a small percentage of the marriage notices found in the local newspapers and other resources have been indexed. Most of those that are included come from the Fremont Courier.

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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.

    January 4, 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.

    January 11, 10:00 a.m., David Allen Lambert
    Introduction to has grown to include access to over 110 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

    February 1, 10 a.m., Marie E.Daly
    New Visitor Welcome and Library Tour
    With the Getting Started in Genealogy program available on the NEHGS website, the on-site program will change. New visitors will be welcomed, given a chance to introduce themselves, meet other new visitors, describe their research and have knowledgeable staff advise them on how to proceed. The thirty-minute welcome will be followed by a tour of the library.

    February 8, 10 a.m., David AllenLambert
    Getting the Most from NEHGS Databases
    With over 110 million names in 2,200 databases, is the primary website for New England genealogy. This lecture will offer an exciting overview of the Society's online databases. A live demonstration of the website will offer you a chance to see how to best utilize the Society's resources from your home.

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    Research Recommendations

    Holiday Cards and Genealogy
    by David Allen Lambert
    (this article was originally published on

    As holiday greeting cards flow into your mailbox this season think twice before throwing them out in January. In these days of constant phone calls, and emails think of the limited times you hear from distant relatives throughout the year. Perhaps a short note is written inside or a holiday letter with the past year’s events is enclosed. Maybe you already save selective holiday cards.

    One option you might consider is scrap booking some of them. My wife’s late maternal grandmother saved every card over forty years. They are arranged in multiple magnetic photo albums, not archival by any means but the cards are still intact. These cards, from her parents, cousins, aunts and uncles, and friends, were not tossed out but cherished. They offer a glimpse into the family ties that remained strong even when miles separated them.

    When I open up the two boxes of the family Christmas cards I have kept, I search for a small bundle. Within these are cards that my mom and dad gave me. Since neither the sweater nor the toy is in my possession after all these years – the card and sentiment still remain. My folks passed away in the 1990’s – but their holiday spirit is still with me every time I read their cards at Christmas.

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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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