American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogical Society - Founded 1845 N.E. Historic Genealogical Society Seal View Your Shopping Cart Join NEHGS
  • 2006 Archive

  • Vol. 8, No. 27
    Whole #278
    July 5, 2006

    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 On
    * NEHGS Welcomes Thomas Wilcox as New COO
    * From the Volunteer Coordinator
    * Updated Website for Researching Chinese Ancestors
    * Name Origins
    * Sale on Back Issues of the Register and New England Ancestors magazine
    * FGS/NEHGS 2006 Conference Workshops Filling Fast
    * Upcoming Education Program
    * Spotlight: Public Library Databases: Pennsylvania and Illinois
    * Upcoming Public Lecture Series
    * Stories of Interest
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Research Recommendations: Important Dates for US Passenger Lists
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New On

    Vital Records of Mansfield, Massachusetts to the Year 1849

    On April 26, 1770, part of Norton was made the district of Mansfield. On August 23, 1775, the district was made a town by general act.

    This addition to our Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 database contains 2,149 birth records; 2,217 marriage records; and 1,523 death records.

    Published by the Essex Institute, Salem, Mass., 1933. The original volume is available in our Research library, call number F74/M28/M26/1933.

    Return to Table of Contents


    NEHGS Welcomes Thomas Wilcox as New COO

    Thomas R. Wilcox, Jr., joins the staff of NEHGS today as Chief Operating Officer. Tom brings to the job more than a decade of experience as Executive Director and CEO of the Maine Maritime Museum ( in Bath, ME, and more than twenty years of experience in the financial services industry. Known for his hands-on leadership, team building skills, and planning and communications abilities, Tom will, I believe, make an excellent leader in our senior management group. On a day-to-day basis, he will oversee the Society’s business operations and will supervise the managers of Internet Services, Finance, Marketing, Membership, Library, and Scholarly Programs.

    During his eleven-year tenure at Maine Maritime Museum, Tom oversaw numerous operations, including a museum complex and library, as well as education, finance, development, publication, and marketing departments and other special initiatives. In addition, he has extensive experience in strategic planning and business development. He is a past president of the Council of American Maritime Museums and a past trustee of the Mystic Seaport Museum. – D. Brenton Simons

    Return to Table of Contents


    From the Volunteer Coordinator

    NEHGS volunteers are providing extra help to the Society, and the month of May was a record. Eighty-eight volunteers spent 1348 hours at a variety of tasks, both at the library on Newbury Street, in Framingham and at home. My grateful thanks to everyone.

    A volunteer "brown bag" lunch at the Framingham facility last week was very well attended. Our volunteer scanning and OCR work is finished, at least for the summer, and we hope to be able to continue with that work at the Framingham Public Library later this year. Thanks to all the volunteers dedicated enough to come in regularly over the year that we have been scanning and OCRing the text that provides our members with new databases on the NEHGS website.

    The work continues. We do need extra help from members who have some free time, a computer with Windows 2000 or XP, and are familiar with and have access to Excel. This work is reformatting files. Instructions are provided and the editor is available for any questions. If you can help with about 15 hours over the next few weeks, please contact me.

    I do hope many of you are thinking about the FGS conference in Boston later this summer. NEHGS is the host organization for this conference, and we need as many volunteers as possible to make the four days run smoothly.

    FGS offers a rebate to those who sign up in full for the conference. Volunteers will be reimbursed for part of their registration fee after the close of the conference at the following rates:

    15% for 4 hours of volunteer time
    30% for 8 hours
    45% for 12 hours
    60% for 16 hours

    Volunteers are needed in a number of areas, and you can even put in volunteer time while attending educational sessions.

    To volunteer for any of the above, please contact me at or 617-226-1276

    Thank you,
    Susan Rosefsky
    NEHGS Volunteer Coordinator

    Return to Table of Contents


    Updated Website for Researching Chinese Ancestors

    Those who have Chinese ancestry will be interested in the following announcement we recently received from Janet Tomkins at the Vancouver Public Library:

    On behalf of the Vancouver Public Library, I am pleased to announce the launch of the second phase of our popular Chinese-Canadian Genealogy website VPL's Chinese-Canadian Genealogy website provides a wide range of resources and information to assist those with an interest in Chinese-Canadian history and culture or in researching their Chinese-Canadian roots. Since its initial launch in November 2005, the site has received wide recognition.

    Sponsored in part by Library and Archives Canada, innovations and improvements to the site include new pages on topics like citizenship and naturalization, church records, land records, wills and estates, and much more. The Back to China section has been expanded and now includes more information about genealogical research and resources in China. (See

    On the recommendation of members of the local Chinese-Canadian community, the Library also added a new section on Chinese-American genealogy reflecting the large volume of historical Chinese transmigration between the U.S. and Canada. (See

    The expanded site also provides detailed information about head tax records maintained by the federal government, and information about other records that may provide clues in the search for Chinese head tax records.

    For more information about the "Chinese-Canadian Genealogy" website, please contact Janet Tomkins, Genealogy librarian, Vancouver Public Library, at

    Return to Table of Contents


    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    PARDON (m) – Puritan ‘virtue name’ which is virtually a ‘marker’ for the TILLINGHAST family of Rhode Island. The meaning of the name refers to pardon for sins offered by Christ to the believer.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Sale on Back Issues of the Register and New England Ancestors magazine

    Published quarterly since 1847, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register is the flagship journal of American genealogy and the oldest journal in the field. The Register has featured articles on a wide variety of topics since its inception, including vital records, church records, tax records, land and probate records, cemetery transcriptions, obituaries, and historical essays. Authoritative compiled genealogies have been the centerpiece of the Register for more than 150 years. Thousands of New England families have been treated in the pages of the journal and many more are referenced in incidental ways throughout. Articles range from short pieces correcting errors in print or solving unusual problems to larger treatments that reveal family origins or present multiple generations of a family.

    New England Ancestors magazine offers a vibrant and exciting new approach to genealogy in New England and throughout the United States, appropriate for family historians of every level.

    Normally priced at $9.00 per issue ($36 per year), we are now offering single issues of the Register for only $2.00 each (shipping included, while supplies last). Issues of New England Ancestors magazine (NEA), normally priced at $4.95, are now only $1.00.

    To order, send a list of the Register and/or New England Ancestors issues you would like along with your name, address and telephone number to, with Register/NEA Order in the subject line. For the Register, please include the month (January/April/July/October) and the year that you wish to purchase. To purchase an entire year, please indicate that the request is for the Whole Year. To order New England Ancestors please include the Issue (Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter/Holiday) and the Year. You may also use the volume and issue number (i.e., Volume 7, No. 2)

    Not all issues of the Register and NEA are still available. We will fulfill as much of your order as possible. We will send you the best copies we have on hand. Please note that the condition of older issues of the Register will reflect their great age.

    Please do not include your credit card number in your email. We will call you for your credit card number once we have your order ready. Price includes standard shipping to US addresses. We will adjust the shipping cost for international orders.

    Orders will be accepted through July 14th, 2006.

    Return to Table of Contents


    FGS/NEHGS 2006 Conference Workshops Filling Fast

    A number of hands-on workshops are being offered as part of the conference, and they are proving very popular. Two workshops on land-platting by Patricia Law Hatcher have sold out. Identifying and Preserving Family Photographs with Maureen Taylor and David Mishkin is also full. You can get on a waiting list to enter these sessions in the event someone cancels their registration.

    Other workshops are also available at the conference, but space is filling quickly so register for these sessions soon! Wendy Bebout Elliott and Shelia Benedict will give hands-on instruction, tips, and techniques for interviewing family members in Using Oral History to Enhance Your Genealogy. Noted Irish specialists John Grenham and George Handran are offering three workshops on Irish Valuation Records. These workshop will cover the information collected as the basis for Griffith’s Valuation such as Field Books, House (Rent) Books, Perambulation Books, and Griffith's Maps; Griffith’s Valuation Original Volumes and Amended or Corrected Volumes; Instructions to the Valuators; and Cancellation Books. The Valuation workshop on Wednesday is full, but the Friday and Saturday sessions still have room.

    If you have already registered for the conference you can add workshops at any time by following the link in your confirmation email or by calling the FGS office at 1-888-FGS-1500.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Upcoming Education Program

    Salt Lake City Research Tour
    October 29 - November 5, 2006

    NEHGS invites you to join its twenty-eighth annual research tour to Salt Lake City. Participants will receive assistance in their research from our experienced staff genealogists and other recognized experts in the field. In addition, there will be orientations to our tour and to the Family History Library and its computer system, personal one-on-one consultations and guided research in the library with NEHGS staff, and several group meals included in the weeklong program.

    NEHGS staff genealogists David Allen Lambert, online genealogist, and Ruth Quigley Wellner, research services coordinator, will serve as tour leaders. They will be joined by Christopher Child, NEHGS genealogist and Scott Steward, NEHGS director of scholarly programs. Guest consultants include former staff person Jerome E. Anderson and Maryan Egan-Baker. Staff will be stationed on each floor of the Family History Library for scheduled personal research consultations. Participants will be able to sign up for consultations early in the program and there will be plenty of time in the course of the week to confer with our staff about research questions and concerns.

    Lodging will be at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel. Participants who desire accommodations before and/or after the Research Tour to Salt Lake City are responsible for making those arrangements on their own. NEHGS secures lodging for the program and cannot serve as an intermediary in securing extra lodging. The Plaza can be reached at 1-800-366-3684.

    Registration is $1,450 single and $1,150 double. If you are sharing a room with someone not participating in the program the fee is $1,850. Commuters can register for $750.

    For more information visit

    Return to Table of Contents


    Spotlight: Public Library Databases: Pennsylvania and Illinois

    Erie County Public Library, Erie, Pennsylvania
    Obituary Listings (
    The library has compiled a paper obituary index for Erie County, Pennsylvania, that covers the period from 1822 to the present. The online version of this index currently covers 1960 through 2005. The index contains the last name and first name of the deceased, including nicknames and titles, and the date that the obituary appeared in the newspaper. The index is organized alphabetically by year, which you can browse year by year. The Obituary Listings can also be searched by entering information in the search box on the Obituary database page. It is important to note that you will be searching the entire site, not just the obituary index. For the best results you should enter just the last name or “last name, first name” (in quotes). The library is in the process of adding more years to the online database.

    Butler Area Public Library, Butler, Pennsylvania
    Obituary Index Database (
    The Butler Area Public Library is located in Butler, Pennsylvania. The Library has an online obituary database abstracted from a number of Butler County newspapers for the period 1818- 2000. Library volunteers began to create a paper version of this index in 1980. The paper index has been converted to an online database of more than 100,000 obituaries in cooperation with The Computer Science Department of Slippery Rock University.

    There are two options for searching this database – basic and advanced. Fields for a basic search are last name, first name, and date. For the advanced search, search fields include last name, first name, middle name, maiden name, nickname, title, year of death, and year of birth. You can choose from a variety of options to limit (e.g., exact match) or open (e.g., Soundex for last name or ‘+/- 1’ for dates) your search. A last name must be entered to run a search. The data fields in the basic search results include name, title and date of the obituary. Click on the name of the deceased to view the full record. The fields in the full record include name, title, extension, nickname, age, date of birth, locality, newspaper title, date and page number, film number, and comments. Copies of obituaries can be ordered from the library for a fee.

    Easton Area Public Library, Easton, Pennsylvania
    Obituary Indexes (
    The library’s obituary indexes covers the period from 1920 through 2005. The obituaries were abstracted from the Easton Express/Express Times newspaper. The Obituary Index files are large and may take a while to download. The files are organized alphabetically by last name. Use the Find function to search the indexes. The data fields in the index include last name, first name, date on which the obituary appeared in the newspaper, and the page number.

    Skokie Public Library, Skokie, Illinois
    General Newspaper Index (
    Obituary Index (
    The data in the Newspaper and Obituary Indexes has been gathered from three Skokie newspapers: Skokie Review, Life: Skokie edition and The News. You can also browse through both of these databases. The Newspaper abstracts are indexed by author, name, and subject. The obituaries are indexed by last name and date. The Newspaper Index covers the period from 1982 to the present. The database is keyword searchable and can be limited by specifying the publication title and/or year to search. The Obituary Index covers the period from 1963 to the present. The database can be searched by name. Searches can be limited by publication and year. Search results include the full name of the deceased, publication title, page number, and the date on which the obituary appeared. If the obituary is available online, you will find a link from the record in the search results.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Upcoming Public Lecture Series

    Our 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.

    There are no public lectures scheduled for July and August. The series will start again in the fall.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Stories of Interest

    Associated Press writer Matt Crenson discusses the common ancestors of all humans alive on the planet today in his piece Roots of Human Family Tree Are Shallow. Read the piece in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer at

    The Associated Press has been busy with genealogy-related articles this week. Read Does your family have royal roots? at

    Return to Table of Contents


    From the Online Genealogist

    My ancestor is listed as a laborer the 1860 and 1870 U.S. Census for Boston. Can I find out where he was a laborer?

    Your best source to determine where he worked would be the Boston City Directories. NEHGS has these directories for 1789-1981. They are available on microfiche on the fourth floor in the Microtext Library. On occasion you can find more detail on your ancestors profession than the census listing of laborer. You may also obtain the address of his employer. I would also see if he had an obituary. This should offer you more insight into his profession. Keep in mind, however, that it is more common to see a death notice than a detailed obituary in a Boston paper.


    David Allen Lambert is the Society’s Online Genealogist. If you would like to ask him a question, contact him at or visit his blog at For more information about the Online Genealogist visit Please note that he will make every effort to reply to each message, but will respond on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Research Recommendations

    Important Dates for US Passenger Lists
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    1800-1819 Beginning of US Passenger Lists with keeping of Baggage Lists (mostly Philadelphia).
    1820-ca 1900 Customs Passenger Lists start being kept.
    1882 Administrative control of immigration placed under the Secretary of the Treasury.
    1893 First major changes to 1819 law. Information on passenger lists was now to include: Name, Age, Sex, Marital Status, Calling or Occupation, Ability to Read or Write, Nationality, Last Residence, Port of US Entry, Final Destination, Whether Possessing a Ticket to Final Destination, Whether Immigrant Paid Own Passage, Whether in Possession of Money, Whether Upwards of $30 or How Much if Less Than $30, Whether Going to Join a Relative and if so What Relative as well as Their Name and Address, Whether Immigrant had Ever Been in US Before and if so When and Where, Whether Ever in Prison, Almshouse, or on Charity, Whether a Polygamist, Whether Under Contract to Perform Labor in US, and Mental and Physical Health Status
    1903 Category of Race added.
    1906 Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization established. Manifests were now to carry a personal description of each immigrant and their birthplace, not just country of allegiance.
    1907 Name and address of the nearest relative in the country from which the immigrant came.


    Return to Table of Contents


    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

    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 2006, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

    Return to Table of Contents


New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

© 2010 - 2014 New England Historic Genealogical Society