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  • 2006 Archive

  • Vol. 8, No. 39
    Whole #290
    October 4, 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
    * FGS/NEHGS Conference Recordings Now Available
    * Name Origins
    * New Research Article on
    * The Online Genealogist Finds Oldest Living Baseball Player
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * Spotlight: Vigo County Public Library, Terre Haute, Indiana
    * Upcoming Public Lecture Series
    * Stories of Interest
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Research Recommendations: BYU Family History Archives Online
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Database on New

    Our goal is to update with at least one new database or database addition every week. With the large number of databases on the website, some of our earlier database releases may be overlooked. To remind users of the depth of interesting and unusual material available, we will highlight other databases by republishing a past database release notice in addition to listing new databases each week.

    Vital Records of Northborough, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1850

    From the Introduction:

    “The following pages present in print a complete list of Northborough Births, Marriages and Deaths which took place previous to January 1st, 1851, so far as it can be supplied from the Town and Church Records and the Gravestone Inscriptions. In transcribing the greater number of the names and dates from the Town Records I have used the copy made by Mr. Gilman B. Howe, and to him I am also indebted for copies of the Baptisms, Publishments of Marriage and Burial Ground data which are included in the book. Mr. F. M. Harrington, the present Town Clerk of Northborough, has kindly allowed me to consult and copy records in his office at my convenience. Franklin P. Rice.”

    “NORTHBOROUGH was included in that part of Marlborough which was set off in 1717 as Westborough, and was made the second precinct or parish within the last named township in 1744. There were settlers in this part as early as 1700, and the names of Brigham, Goodnow, Oakes, Fay, Howard, Ward, Tomblin, Beaman, Wheeler, Rice and Bartlett were prominent during the first half of the eighteenth century. On the 24th of June, 1766, the Second Precinct of Westborough was made the District of Northborough, and on the 23d of August, 1775, the Town was established with full powers and privileges as granted to other towns in the Commonwealth.”

    This latest addition to our “Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850” database includes the records of 2,118 births, 1,398 marriages, and 803 deaths. It was originally published by Franklin P. Rice in 1901. The original volume is available in our Research Library, call number F74/N9/N94 1901.


    Database Highlight
    Announced two years ago this week:

    Vital Records of Swansea, Massachusetts to 1850

    The following was excerpted from the introduction to this volume, which is not a part of the official "1850" series:

    "The town of Swansea, founded in 1667, lies in a key geographical position at the head of Narragansett and Mount Hope Bays, originally encompassing land now in Somerset, Massachusetts, and Barrington and Warren, Rhode Island. Through it passed many Plymouth and Bristol County families, often Mayflower descendants, heading west into Rhode Island and beyond. Given this history, it is rather surprising that Swansea's vital records have not been published in full until now.

    "Unfortunately any attempt, however poor, at presenting information often deters subsequent, more thorough efforts, and the delay in this case was certainly due in part to the existence of some earlier, incomplete transcriptions which are described in detail in the introductions to each section.

    "Because of the persistence and dedication of the late H.L. Peter Rounds, NEHGS is able, finally, to publish these Vital Records of Swansea, Massachusetts to 1850. Mr. Rounds began transcribing them from microfilm in the early 1980s. While it was not his initial intent to provide a literal transcription, others from whom he sought advice convinced him to copy the original records as exactly as possible. He was for some time unsuccessful in finding a publisher. In the mid-1980s, however, the Society accepted his proposal and purchased the manuscript with funds provided by John Brooks Threlfall of Madison, Wisconsin."

    The original text is available at the NEHGS Library. The call number is REF F74/S995/R68/1992.

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    FGS/NEHGS Conference Recordings Now Available

    Thousands of people attended the recent FGS/NEHGS conference in Boston and had the opportunity to see and hear first-rate presentations made by leading experts in the field from several countries. But with hundreds of sessions to choose from they weren’t able to hear every session in which they were interested. And many genealogists were unable to attend the conference and missed out on hearing these excellent presentations. Thanks to modern technology, genealogists everywhere can now hear most of the lectures presented at the conference.

    Many of the sessions were digitally recorded and are now available from the Federation of Genealogical Societies. More than 220 sessions from expert genealogists, including staff members of the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Archives of England and Wales, Library and Archives Canada, the Archives of the Archdiocese of Boston, and, of course, the staff genealogists at NEHGS. Family historians everywhere can now download these sessions and listen to them in their own homes.

    Individual sessions can be downloaded for just $1.99. Special packages of 15 sessions are available for $25 – a discount of 17% off the usual price.

    Once you download the sessions you can listen to them on your computer, iPod or other MP3 player. Visit to download your sessions now. If you have any problems or questions about downloading, please contact the FGS office at

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    STATIRA, STATEIRA (f) – Greek renderings of Persian. A wife of Alexander the Great, [daughter] of Darius of Persia.

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    New Research Article on

    Coming Home to New England: Creating a Family History Itinerary
    by Maureen A. Taylor

    In 1899, New Hampshire Governor Frank West Rollins began a trend. He inaugurated “Old Home Week.” It was a reunion occasion billed to people as “an opportunity to come back to their old homes and meet once more their old friends and schoolmates.” Within a few years Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island all followed suit. An editorial in the New England Magazine explained the importance of the event, “If only a small percentage of New England’s absent natives can be induced to come back and settle down among us again, if merely in the capacity of summer visitors, something will have been accomplished toward counteracting the drain upon our resources that we are now feeling so seriously.” So many people left New England for other areas of the country that the region suffered economic consequences. Rollins idea was an attempt to reverse that trend. It was successful.

    NEHGS members can read the entire article at

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    The Online Genealogist Finds Oldest Living Baseball Player

    Last week The New York Times ran an article on Silas Simmons, the oldest living professional baseball player. Simmons was born October 14, 1895, and played in the black major leagues between 1912 and 1929. What the article doesn’t say is that the genealogist who located Mr. Simmons and brought him to the attention of historians of Negro League Baseball is NEHGS Online Genealogist David Allen Lambert.

    David, a baseball history buff and a member of the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR), discovered Mr. Simmons in the fall of 2005. The information quickly passed into the hands of members of the Center for Negro League Baseball Research near Dallas. Next week Si Simmons will celebrate his 111th birthday at the nursing home in St. Petersburg where he now resides, and David will be on hand to help celebrate his birthday with him.

    The Times article incorrectly identified David as a “genealogist near the nursing home” in St. Petersburg and we wanted to set the record straight. The New York Times article is now available online at

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    Witches, Sex, and Scandal in Colonial Boston Walking Tour
    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.

    Registration Fees:$10 adults/$8 children under 12.
    Fees double after October 21, 2006.

    Visit to register.

    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, Newbury Street Press genealogist, and Scott Steward, NEHGS director of scholarly programs. Guest consultants include 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 $1,750 single and $1,450 double. If you are sharing a room with someone not participating in the program the fee is $2,150. Commuters can register for $1,050.

    To register for the Salt Lake City Tour, visit

    For more information about NEHGS programs visit

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    Spotlight: Vigo County Public Library, Terre Haute, Indiana

    The Vigo County Public Library has a number of online resources available to anyone researching his or her family history. The Library is located in Terre Haute, which is in the central western part of Indiana. Terre Haute is also in the center of the Wabash Valley region. This region includes counties in two states — Indiana and Illinois.

    Wabash Valley Obituary Database
    The Wabash Valley Obituary Database is an index to obituaries published in Terre Haute, Indiana, newspapers for the periods 1900–1981, 1983–1989, 1992–1994, and 2000–2006. The primary newspaper used in developing this index is The Terre Haute Tribune, an evening newspaper. Obituaries indexed here also came from the Terre Haute Star, the city’s morning newspaper. While most of the obituary listings found in this database are for residents of Vigo County, the database also includes listings for those from the following Wabash Valley counties: Vermillion, Parke, Putnam, Clay, Owen, and Sullivan in Indiana, and Crawford, Clark, and Edgar in Illinois. The data fields in the index include the first, middle and last name of the deceased; title, age; and the newspaper name, page number, and date on which the obituary was published. Photocopies of the obituaries listed in the index may be ordered from the library for a small fee. Researchers can also browse through the original obituary index.

    Vigo County Marriage Record Project
    This database is an index to the marriage records in Vigo County. It is a work in progress. The records currently cover the period from February, 1914, to February, 1951. The database can be searched by bride’s last name or groom’s last name. The data fields include groom’s first, middle and last name; bride’s first, middle, and last name; month, day, and year of the marriage, and a link to the marriage license. Click on the link to view an image of the license in PDF format. You must have free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the marriage records.

    The Special Collections Department offers a number of other resources to the family history researcher. They include Local History Books Online and Wabash Valley Visions and Voices: A Digital Memory Project for West Central Indiana. You can access these resources from the Special Collections main web page at Local History Books Online is a work in progress, which contains 186 books and pamphlets from the library’s Special Collections Department and Community Archives. The items have been (or will be) scanned and uploaded to the site. Subject areas include general histories, pictorial histories, oral histories, periodicals, specialized materials and histories and school publications. The Wabash Valley Visions and Voices project is “dedicated to the documentation and preservation of the region’s history and heritage in print, pictures and sound.” You can explore the collections of 22 institutions through this web site. Also, as a participant in the Veteran’s History Project of the Library of Congress, the Vigo County Public Library’s Special Collections Department and Community Archives serves as a repository for oral histories of Wabash Valley Veterans.

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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.

    Getting Started in Genealogy
    October 7, 2006, 10 a.m.
    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.

    W.E.B. Du Bois and the Enyclopedia Africana
    October 18, 2006, 6 p.m.
    NEHGS is proud to co-sponsor a lecture by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, as part of the anniversary celebrations of Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, entitled "Facets of Mount Auburn Cemetery: Celebrating 175 Years of a Boston Jewel." The lecture "W.E.B. Du Bois and the Encylopedia Africana" will be offered at the Boston Public Library's main branch in Copley Square. Free and open to the public.

    For more information about lectures offered by New England Historic Genealogical Society please go to the Education homepage at or call 1-888-286-3447.

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    Stories of Interest

    Jewish genealogists will come from around the world to New York City on October 19 to celebrate the inaugural dinner of the Davidic Dynasty organization. This group is composed of individuals believed to be descendants of King David. Next May they will gather in Jerusalem for a full-scale reunion. Read more about this in the Jerusalem Post at

    Few genealogists can work on their families without consulting the Family History Library’s website The library is constantly working to improve service to genealogists. Salt Lake City newspaper Deseret News recently ran story discussing some of their planned changes for next year and in the future. Read the article at,1249,650194998,00.html.

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    From the Online Genealogist

    On a Massachusetts marriage from the late 1860’s lists “B. Prov.” as the birthplace of the bride. Does this stand for “Ward B” in Providence, Rhode Island?

    The abbreviation I believe is actually “B[ritish] Prov[inces]”. Do you have any indication from another record such as a death record (or birth of another child) that her birth took place in Canada or a British Province? You may also narrow this down by looking at the post-1870 U.S. Census.

    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

    BYU Family History Archives Online
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Brigham Young University has been working for several years to create a library of compiled genealogies and make it available for free over the internet. The BYU Family History Archives is a collaborative project between the Harold B. Lee library of BYU, LDS Business College, BYU Idaho, BYU Hawaii, the Church History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Family History Library.

    These groups have come together to make thousands of volumes available at The books are available as searchable PDF files, so you must have Adobe Acrobate Reader, Preview, or another PDF file viewer installed on your computer in order to read the books.

    Searching the books is a two-step process. First, you are brought to a page that searches the catalog of books available in the online library. You can search by surname, author, or title. You can also search all fields concurrently.

    This brings up a list of books that have been digitized by the library. The results fields are Title, Creator, Subject, and Description. Results can be sorted on any of these fields. The title and creator are linked to images of the book. Clicking on either of those links will open a new window.

    This window contains a table of contents pane on the left and a pane with images of the original pages on the right. The book should open to the search results, but doesn’t always. It is sometimes necessary to perform a search within this window for the name you are researching.

    Unfortunately the PDF search functionality to find a name within a page seems to be disabled. You must read through the page looking for the name. Other PDF functions are also disabled. For example, the “previous page” and “next page” arrows at the bottom of the window do not work. You can move through the book, however, by clicking on the page numbers in the table of contents pane on the left of the window. You can save images of pages or print them out.

    The results fields are the same fields you will find in the Family History Library Catalog. This was done intentionally as these books are now linked into the FHLC. When searching the catalog online, books that are in the Family History Archive show the following link in the catalog entry: To view a digital version of this book click here.

    The BYU Family History Archives is a great tool for genealogists, especially if you do not have ready access to a large genealogical library. Because you can search the books for names, the online versions may be even better than the paper originals, which sometimes had incomplete indexes or no index at all.

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    NEHGS Contact Information

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    To view the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, please visit

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

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