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  • 2006 Archive

  • Vol. 8, No. 33
    Whole #284
    August 16, 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
    * Register to Research at NEHGS During the FGS Conference
    * Guide to the New England Historic Genealogical Society Library
    * Name Origins
    * New Books and other Accessions in NEHGS Library Catalog
    * Conference Hotel Discount Deadline Extended
    * Upcoming Education Program
    * Spotlight: Potpourri
    * Upcoming Public Lecture Series
    * Stories of Interest
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Research Recommendations: Tips for Reading Microfilm
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    Salt Lake City Tour Staff

    Meet the NEHGS Staff Genealogists and Consultants on the Research Tour to Salt Lake City, October 29 – November 5, 2006

    In addition to general genealogical expertise, our staff and visiting consultants specialize in the following areas:

    Jerome E. Anderson
    Colonial U.S. (including New England, the South, and Mid-Atlantic) and Canada, origins in the British Isles

    Christopher C. Child
    General New England, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts research, 19th and 20th century research, census and other internet resources, genetics, matrilineal research

    Maryan Egan-Baker
    Resources of the Family History Library, Mid-West and Southern states, Pennsylvania, British Isles, Australia, and Scandinavia

    David Allen Lambert
    General New England and Atlantic Canada, military
    ( 17th – 21st centuries), English, Scottish and Native American research

    Scott C. Steward
    Colonial New England and New York, 19th and 20th century research, British and European nobility

    Ruth Quigley Wellner
    Probate, deed, census, city directory, cemetery and matrilineal line research, New England research with an emphasis on Massachusetts

    For more information visit

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    New On

    Vital Records of Carlisle, Massachusetts to the Year 1849

    Carlisle, Massachusetts, was first established as a district on April 19, 1754. On Oct. 6, 1756, that district was annexed to Concord. The second District of Carlisle was formed from parts of Acton, Billerica, Chelmsford and Concord and incorporated April 28, 1780. On Feb. 18, 1805, the District of Carlisle was made Town of Carlisle.

    This addition to our “Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850” database includes the records of 1,034 births, 1,036 marriages, and 418 deaths. It was published by the Essex Institute in 1918. The original volume is available in our Research Library, call number F74/C23/C2 1918.

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    Guide to the New England Historic Genealogical Society Library

    Are you coming to Boston for the FGS/NEHGS Conference? Planning on doing some research at the New England Historic Genealogical Library? Then you're sure to want a copy of the Guide to the New England Historic Genealogical Society Library

    The library of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, founded in 1845, is one of the finest and most extensive genealogical facilities in the country. To help visitors get the most from the library’s exceptional collection and offerings, Maureen Taylor and Henry Hoff have prepared and edited this informative library guide, which brings together essays by more than twenty noted librarians and expert researchers. The Guide allows readers and visitors to save time, better identify resources that could help to solve particular family history questions, and learn techniques to overcome research “brick walls.” The four main sections of the Guide are entitled “New England,” “Beyond the Northeast,” “Canada,” and “The British Isles and Ireland.” For each state, region, or country, the Guide provides information on the NEHGS library’s finding aids; periodicals; censuses; maps; atlases; town and county histories; and vital, church, cemetery, probate, land, town, tax, court, and military records. Other chapters contain valuable information on using photographs, manuscripts, rare books, and compiled genealogies; interpreting numbering systems; “finding foremothers”; and locating civil war ancestors at NEHGS.

    “This Guide provides a convenient and most helpful window into the rich resources of [NEHGS’s] library holdings. The book makes it easy for genealogists living near Boston — or elsewhere — to consider the published works that can assist in New England and New York family history research.”–National Genealogical Society Quarterly

    The price of the NEHGS Library Guide is $21.95 plus shipping and can be ordered at

    So get a jumpstart on your upcoming visit to NEHGS and order the Library Guide today!

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    RADULF (m) – Archaic Norman French form of RALPH.
    RAFE (m) – Phonetic spelling of RALPH. Seen (and heard) more often in England than in America (cf. actor Ralph Fiennes).
    RALPH (m) – Norman French.

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    New Books and other Accessions in NEHGS Library Catalog

    NEHGS has posted the most recent list of new titles added to the library collections. To see if there is something relevant to your research on this “May to July 2006” list, go directly to the New Books page at You can also access the list by going to the catalog’s main search page, and clicking the “New Books, etc.” link beneath the search box. To view more details about any title on the list, simply click the title, which is hyperlinked (underlined), and you will be taken to the full catalog record. The list is sorted in call number order.

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    Conference Hotel Discount Deadline Extended

    The Sheraton Boston Hotel, conference hotel for the 2006 FGS/NEHGS Conference in Boston, has graciously extended the discount deadline to Wednesday, August 22. The conference is proving so popular that the conference committee has added additional rooms to the block to accommodate the increased demand. Plenty of rooms are available. The Sheraton Boston is conveniently located at 39 Dalton Street, attached to the Shops at Prudential Center and the Hynes Convention Center. Rooms are $159.00 single/double and $40.00 for each additional person. To reserve a room at the Sheraton, contact the reservations line at 1-800-325-3535. Identify yourself as part of the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2006 Conference when calling.

    There is still time to register for the conference. Get details about the program, including all of the sessions by international speakers from Canada, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England, at

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    Witches, Sex, and Scandal in Colonial Boston Walking Tour
    September 23 and October 28, 2006
    This walking tour, led by Maureen Regan and based on Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in Boston, 1630–1775, by NEHGS president and CEO D. Brenton Simons, begins at Faneuil Hall at 10:30 a.m. and lasts for about ninety minutes. Walk in the footsteps of wayward colonial Bostonians — bigamists, accused witches, and assorted black sheep — whose exploits made the city streets tremble. Meet the author for a brief book talk and signing. (Rain date: November 11, 2006.) Pre-register to guarantee your participation. Registration is limited and will be available on the day of the walking tour on a space-available basis only. Please pay with exact change. Fees double after September 15, 2006, for the September 23 walking tour, and after October 21, 2006, for the October 28 walking tour.

    Registration Fee: $10 adults/$8 children under 12

    Research Day at the Massachusetts Archives
    Tuesday, September 26, 2006, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    The day will start with an “Introduction to the Genealogical Resources” by Janis P. Duffy, Massachusetts Archives reference supervisor. Spend the rest of the day on personal research with assistance of NEHGS genealogists David Allen Lambert, online genealogist; Scott C. Steward, director of Scholarly Programs; and Ruth Wellner, coordinator of Research Services. Each participant will be entitled to at least one twenty-minute consultation with an NEHGS staff genealogist, as well as assistance throughout the day. Parking is free and the Archives is accessible by public transportation on the Red Line. The Massachusetts State Archives is located in Columbia Point in Boston at 220 Morrissey Boulevard. Bring your own lunch, or visit the nearby JFK Library Café or the cafeteria on the University of Massachusetts campus.

    Pre-registration is required as this program is limited to twenty-five participants. Walk-ins will not be accepted.

    For more information visit

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    Spotlight: Potpourri

    Quinnipiac’s Digitized Connecticut History Books

    Quinnipiac University, located in Hamden, Connecticut, offers twenty-five volumes in its Digitized Connecticut History Books Collection. Subjects covered include the Civil War era, local histories, and biographies. If you have ancestors who lived in Connecticut you should visit this website.

    You will find Stagecoach and Tavern Days by Alice Morse Earle (1900), which has been transcribed with some digitized images from the book included. There are two regimental histories included here, History of the 13th Infantry Regiment of Connecticut Volunteers During the Great Rebellion, by Homer B. Sprague, Principal of the Connecticut State Normal School, New Britain, Connecticut (1867) and The Twenty-Seventh, A Regimental History, by Winthrop D. Sheldon, A.M. (1866). In addition you will find The Photographic History of the Civil War in Ten Volumes, edited by Francis Miller and Robert Lanier. Local histories include History of Wallingford, Conn: from its settlement in 1670 to the present time, including Meriden, which was one of its parishes until 1806, and Cheshire, which was incorporated in 1780, by Charles Henry Stanley Davis; A colonial history of the Parish of Mount Carmel, by John H. Dickerman (1904); History of the Colony of New Haven, by Edward Atwater (1881); and A History of Connecticut, by Benjamin Trumble. Biographies include Horace Bushnell, preacher and theologian, by Theodore T. Munger, and Silas Deane, A Connecticut leader in the American Revolution, by George L. Clark (1913).

    Historical Maps Online

    Historical Maps Online is a collaborative project between the University of Illinois Library and the University of Illinois Press. The purpose of the project is to “publish electronically the images of maps charting the last 400 years of historical development in Illinois and the Northwest Territory.” You can browse through the maps by topic areas or search through the collections using the collection’s search function. Topic areas include Topographical Maps of Illinois (290 items), North America (79), Northwest Territories (11), Canada (Nouvelle France) (5), Early Maps (49), Illinois (756), Indiana (32), Champaign County (213), and Warner & Beers Atlas (285). There are also 9 maps from the Newberry Library in the digital collection. The collection includes many maps from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Browsing by topic brings up a page with a thumbnail of the image, image title, subject areas, and a description of the map. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge the map and bring up more detailed information about the map that you are viewing.

    The Avalon Project at Yale Law School

    This is another website containing historical documents, in addition to documents from the fields of law, economics, politics, diplomacy and government. The documents included here cover a wide range of topics and are from pre-eighteenth century to the twenty-first century. A small sampling of the Document Collections in the Avalon Project include the American Revolution - A Documentary Record; Colonial Charters, Grants and Related Documents; Confederate States of America: Papers; Journals of the Continental Congress 1774-1789: Selected Documents; and World War II - Documents; 1940-1945. Documents in this collection may help to provide a context for the times in which your ancestors lived.

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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 September.

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    Stories of Interest

    Popular talk show host and comedienne Rodie O'Donnell and actress Bridget Moynahan, fiance of quarterback Tom Brady, turn out to have something else in common besides their show-biz talents - their grandparents were first cousins. See a chart detailing the ancestry of these third cousins at

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    From the Online Genealogist

    I know I have spoken to you on Civil War research before so I hope you can help. A few months ago I saw a magazine in the doctor’s office advertising a group preserving Civil War battlefields. I would like to make a donation to preserve the battlefield areas where my ancestor fought and died. Do you know if such an organization exists?


    The group you are referring to is no doubt the Civil War Preservation Trust. This group has been active for some time buying lands that were slated for construction. If you want to become a member you can contact them at or call 1-800-CWTRUST. Their mailing address is:

    11 Public Square, Suite 200
    Hagerstown, MD 21740


    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

    Tips for Reading Microfilm
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    While genealogy is moving into a digital world, most original records are still most easily available to us on microfilm. Unfortunately, the quality of microfilm varies from excellent to totally illegible. There are techniques, well-known to veteran researchers, that might help you decipher difficult-to-read writing.

    Most microfilm readers project the image onto a flat white surface. Laying a piece of colored paper onto the surface will change the contrast of the image. The change in contrast can bring out lines that were previously invisible or difficult to see. Try using different colored papers for different contrasts. Pastels and neon bright papers work best.

    Sometimes large parts of documents are readable, but you cannot make out individual words or stretches of letters because only parts of the strokes in the penmanship are visible. Make a printout of the section of the document you are having difficulty. The printout should be made so that the writing is the original size. Take a pen or pencil and start tracing out the legible letters, continuing over the illegible areas trying to move your hand over the visible strokes. Often your hand will subconsciously recognize the letter you are trying to make and it will pop right out.

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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

    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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