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  • 2006 Archive

  • Vol. 8, No. 31
    Whole #282
    August 2, 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
    * Coming Soon in the July 2006 Issue of the Register
    * New From NEHGS Books: New Englanders in the 1600s: A Guide to Genealogical Research Published Between 1980 and 2005
    * Name Origins
    * Used Book Sale
    * Hotel Discount Deadline for FGS/NEHGS 2006 Conference
    * Upcoming Education Program
    * Spotlight: Watertown and Concord, Mass. Free Public Libraries
    * Upcoming Public Lecture Series
    * Stories of Interest
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Research Recommendations: Searching the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 Database
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New On

    A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records

    Charles William Manwaring spent the last years of his life abstracting the early probate records from the Hartford, Connecticut, Probate District and publishing them in three volumes.

    Connecticut today is comprised of many different probate districts. Originally Connecticut Colony (as distinct from New Haven Colony) probate records were all kept by the colony as a whole. Then in 1666, after the union of the two colonies, probate matters were conducted by four newly formed counties: Hartford, New London, New Haven, and Fairfield. In May, 1719, the colony began splitting towns off of the Hartford district to form new districts starting with Windham, then Woodbury, and so on. Manwaring’s abstracts of Hartford District probates, which began in 1635, at first included the whole colony, but the district was considerably smaller by the time the third volume concluded in 1750.

    As explained in the preface, these abstracts do not include every detail. It is often worth checking the original documents for additional information. Thoroughly indexed and every-word searchable, these abstracts are an invaluable source for early Connecticut research. At the beginning of the first volume is a “List of Probate Districts and Towns” giving the date of formation and origin of each district. The third volume includes thirteen pages of Errata. Manwaring hoped to continue to 1800, but Lucius Barnes Barbour took up where he left off. Barbour’s abstracts, now at the Connecticut Historical Society, are being serially transcribed and indexed in The Connecticut Nutmegger.

    In this database, search results are presented as highlighted formatted text. Scans of the original pages may also be viewed, via the “Display Original Image” button at the bottom of each results page. PDF versions of the index of each of the three volumes may be downloaded from this page.

    These three volumes are also available in our research library in Boston, call number F93/M29/1904, V.1, V.2, & V.3.

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    Coming Soon in the July 2006 Issue of the Register

    Editorial, 179

    Ancestry of Lettice (Alger) Eliot of Nazeing, Essex,Mother of Seven Great Migration Immigrants to Massachusetts
    William Wyman Fiske, 181

    The Edmund Marshall Family of Chebacco, Essex County, Massachusetts
    Patricia Law Hatcher, 185

    Note on the Death of Jonathan Wade
    Mark Donnelly, 198

    The Ancestry of William1 Chittenden of Guilford, Connecticut
    Martha A. Lynes, 199

    Joseph and Sarah (Thurston) Turner of Newport, Rhode Island
    Helen Schatvet Ullmann, 215

    Comfort (Pearce) (Mathewson) Coggeshall and Her Children
    Cherry Fletcher Bamberg (continued from 160:98), 224

    New England Articles in Genealogical Journals in 2004
    Henry B. Hoff, 236

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    New From NEHGS Books: New Englanders in the 1600s: A Guide to Genealogical Research Published Between 1980 and 2005

    Martin Hollick’s New Englanders in the 1600s: A Guide to Genealogical Research Published Between 1980 and 2005 will help researchers find the best current genealogical writing in print about seventeenth-century New England families. All levels of researcher, from the beginner to the professional, will find the book helpful for finding articles, single- and multi-family genealogies, and other scholarly compendia covering New England immigrants born before the year 1700. Entries are alphabetized by surname; each entry contains enough information for you to locate the research that has been done on that particular person, and also indicates which publications mention other family members, ties to royalty, full-family genealogies, and/or DNA studies. Mr. Hollick, a professional genealogist, has included listings for over 3,600 families.

    Publication date: 2006, published by NEHGS; 272 pp.; 6 x 9 softcover, $19.95.

    Mr. Hollick will be signing copies of his new work at the NEHGS at the FGS/NEHGS 2006 Conference. The book is also available through Picton Press at

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    ALICE (f) – From Germanic adel-, ‘noble,’ via Latin forms such as ADELICIA and Norman-French ALIS. Researchers in New England should note that under the spelling ‘Alis’/‘Allis’ or ‘Elis’/‘Ellis’ this name is often confused with abbreviations of the unrelated, Hebrew-derived ELIZABETH, so that a seventeenth-century colonist may be given two wives (Alice and Elizabeth) when in reality he was married only once. Diminutives ALISON and ALYSON date from medieval England; rarely seen in colonial New England, they have revived with a vengeance in recent years.

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    Used Book Sale

    The NEHGS Sales department has an overstock of certain used book titles that have been priced to move. Most of these titles have been used in the NEHGS research library and have recently been replaced with newer copies. Others have been donated by local libraries and NEHGS patrons, and have been available only at the Family Treasures book store at our Boston facility.

    Prices have been cut by as much as 80% on over 150 separate titles, many of which have a limited quantity available. Orders will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. The sale price is good only for the titles we have in stock. For a full list of titles available during this sale, along with complete ordering information, please send an email with the words "USED BOOKS" in the subject line to

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    Hotel Discount Deadline for FGS/NEHGS 2006 Conference

    The Sheraton Hotel Boston at 39 Dalton Street in Boston is the conference hotel for the 2006 FGS/NEHGS Conference at the Hynes Convention Center, to be held August 30 – September 2, 2006. Anyone who has attended a national conference will tell you that one of the best things about the conference is the fun attendees have in the hotel afterwards. Those staying in the conference hotel relax in the lounge in the hotel lobby, bump into friends in the elevator, say hello to one of the speakers in the hall, and, best of all, have the ability to run up to their room to drop off all of their purchases from the exhibit hall and not carry them around all day.

    All luncheons, Thursday’s plenary session, Friday’s FGS Banquet, the Association of Professional Genealogists’ Professional Management Conference, and Librarians Day will all take place in the Sheraton. The hotel is conveniently attached to the Hynes Convention Center and to the Shops at the Prudential Center.

    The FGS/NEHGS Conference rate for the Sheraton is $159/night. In comparison, shows rooms in the same hotel during the conference at $279/night. The last date to make reservations with the discount is Tuesday, August 15. Reservations can be made by calling the Sheraton’s reservations line at 1-800-325-3535. More details about the conference are available at

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    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. Each fee category increases by $300 after September 16, 2006.

    For more information visit

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    Spotlight: Watertown and Concord, Mass., Free Public Libraries

    Watertown Free Public Library, Watertown, Massachusetts

    The online genealogy resources of the Watertown Free Public Library include collections of images, maps, and city directories.

    Online Image Collection
    The photographs in the library’s Online Image Collection are organized by subject areas, which include, but are not limited to, the Watertown Arsenal, cemeteries, churches, documents, grave markers, monuments and historical markers, and public celebrations. Click on the subject area link to access thumbnails of the images and image descriptions. Click on the thumbnail to view an enlargement of the image. There are forty-five photographs of Arsenal buildings, personnel and machinery; twenty-nine photographs of grave markers; and three digitized images of documents from the seventeenth century—a deed, a will, and a letter.

    Online Map Collection
    The earliest map in the Online Map Collection is the Plan of Watertown From Survey Made in June 1830. There are twenty maps in the Collection from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Click on the map number to view the map. Number 009 is the Plan of the Estate of Dr. Eliakim Morse in Watertown – 1858. Clicking on a specific grid on this map will enable you to view an enlargement of that section in a new browser window.

    Online City Directory Collection
    Watertown City Directories from 1869 through 1939 have been digitized and the page images have been uploaded the website. The directories are in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You must have Adobe Acrobat reader installed on your computer to read the directories.

    The Concord Free Public Library, Concord, Massachusetts
    The Special Collections department of the Concord Free Public Library offers a number of its resources online.

    Thoreau Surveys
    The Henry David Thoreau Land & Property Surveys Collection contains more than 200 plans drawn by Mr. Thoreau. In addition to the images, transcriptions of Thoreau’s manuscript captions have been included. A sampling of the surveys includes A. Bronson Alcott’s Estate, the Court House Grounds and Adjacent Lots, Burying Ground Street, and various woodlots and farms owned by Concord residents, as well as some maps of faraway locations that appear to have been traced by Thoreau.

    Gravemarker Data
    In 1999 the Concord Public Works department undertook a Gravemarker Preservation Program. As a result a written and photographic record was created for all of the gravemarkers in the South Burying Ground and the Old Hill Burying Ground. The Gravemarker database was prepared from data gathered from these inventories. The database is a work in progress. Currently, it does not have a search page. In order to search this database you must use your web browser’s ‘Find in this page’ function found under the edit menu. The data fields include cemetery name, marker number, Tolman number, number of graves, marker type, footstone, FS markings, material, carver ID, physical description fields, marker notes, and inscription. The Tolman number refers to the headstone number assigned by George Tolman, a genealogist and researcher who transcribed the headstone inscriptions in these cemeteries during the summer of 1873. Tolman’s manuscript The Inscriptions from the Old Burying-Grounds in Concord, Mass. can be found viewed on microfilm at the Concord Free Public Library.

    A Brief History of Concord
    Click on this link to a ‘slightly edited’ version of “A Brief Visual History of Concord,” which was published in the Historic Resources Masterplan of Concord, Massachusetts (Concord: Concord Historical Commission, 2001), pages 13 – 22. It covers Concord’s history from Glaciation through the 20th Century.

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    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 the month of August. The Public Lecture Series will begin again in the fall.

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    Stories of Interest

    Chris Crombie made a phenomenal family history discovery in 2003 in the damp basement of his mother’s house in Burford, Ontario. Read the story in “80-year-old 'blog' Brings a Family to Life” by Rob Faulkner in The Hamilton Spectator at

    Battle of Gettysburg is a seminal event in American history. Learn about the latest battle being fought on this hallowed ground in Kate McGinty’s USA Today piece “The Battle at Gettysburg, 143 Years Later” at

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    From the Online Genealogist

    Perhaps you can answer a confusing family conflict. I have always heard that John Winthrop called Boston “a city upon a hill.” However my brother informed me that this is what the settlers called Winthrop, Mass. and it was settled before Boston.

    Neither of you is actually correct. In his 1630 sermon “A Modell of Christian Charity,” John Winthrop refers to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in warning the settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony that their colony would be “a city on a hill,” stating that their efforts would be watched by the entire world. Long thought to have been given aboard the Arbella just before landing, many scholars now believe it was delivered in England prior to setting sail. In either event, the sermon was delivered prior to Winthrop's arrival.

    The peninsula where Winthrop first settled was originally called Shawmut or "Trimountaine." The name Trimountaine came from the three hills that stood in the middle of the peninsula. On September 7, 1630 the region known as “Trimountaine,” also Shawmut, was first called Boston in the Mass. Bay Records (1:75). Of the original three hills in Boston, only Beacon Hill remains, and even that was drastically reduced in height during the nineteenth century. The settlement of Boston in the hills and surrounding area led to the literal reference of "a city on a hill."

    The town of Winthrop was incorporated March 27,1852 from a portion of North Chelsea. Chelsea itself was set off from the town of Boston in 1739. Originally called Pullen Point, John Winthrop did have land holdings there, but was not referring to the area specifically in his comments.


    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.

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    Research Recommendations

    Searching the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 Database
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    This database is an every-word searchable database of hundreds of towns in Massachusetts whose vital records where published in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. The names are not field coded, and searching the database will look for all records with the two names you enter in the first name and last name boxes. Try these tips to further refine your results.

    If you are looking for birth records of children of a known couple, try entering the mother’s first name in the keyword search box. This can be especially helpful if you are searching common surnames. If you have large gaps in the birth years of known children, there may be additional birth records in nearby towns, and this method should turn those up as well.

    After putting the bride’s or groom’s name in the first name and last name boxes, enter the first and last names of the other spouse in the keyword box. If you are looking for a marriage record to determine the bride’s maiden name, you can still enter her first name in the keyword box to refine your results.

    When looking for records of death for children of a couple, try putting the father’s first and last names and the mother’s first name in the keyword box. If you are trying to find the death of a woman, try putting her husband’s first name in the keyword box. This last technique will also work if you put the husband’s name in the first and last name boxes and the wife’s first name in the keyword search box. This will pick up records such as “Doe, Jane, consort of John.”

    For tips on searching later Massachusetts Vital Records, see Tricks For Searching the Massachusetts Vital Records 1841-1910 Database in the January 11, 2006 issue of NEHGS eNews.

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    NEHGS Contact Information

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    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

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