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  • 2006 Archive

  • Vol. 8, No. 40
    Whole #291
    October 11, 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.

    * eNews Subscription Information
    * New on
    * Name Origins
    * CEO D. Brenton Simons Speaking at Blackstone's of Beacon Hill
    * Television for Genealogists Available on the Internet
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * Spotlight: Spartanburg County Public Library, South Carolina
    * Upcoming Public Lecture Series
    * Stories of Interest
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Research Recommendations: Demystifying the Double Date
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    eNews Subscription Information

    We have had reports over the past few months of individuals not receiving their eNews. In order to ensure that everyone gets this free electronic newsletter, we have refreshed the mailing list with all NEHGS member email addresses. eNews contains the latest information on the website, upcoming issues of New England Ancestors magazine and the Register, and general news of interest to genealogists. David Allen Lambert, The Online Genealogist, also answers a question in every week’s issue, and we provide research tips from other NEHGS staff genealogists.

    If you wish to unsubscribe, please click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter to remove your address. Comments and questions can be directed to

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    New Database on New

    The New England Historical and Genealogical Register - Just added 1998

    The New England Historical and Genealogical Register database is one of the most frequently used databases on We are working to bring the database up to date to include the most current issues of the Register. This week, we add the four issues of Volume 152, published in 1998.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    SANDY (m) – Scottish nickname for ALEXANDER, from which form the surnames SANDERS, SANDERSON, etc. are also derived.

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    CEO D. Brenton Simons Speaking at Blackstone's of Beacon Hill

    NEHGS President and CEO D. Brenton Simons will be speaking about his book Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: Trues Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder and Mayhem in Boston, 1630-1775 at Blackstone's of Beacon Hill on Thursday, October 12 at 7:00 pm. He will be taking questions at the end of his talk and signing copies of his book. Blackstone's is located at 46 Charles Street in Boston.

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    Television for Genealogists Available on the Internet

    A new website has just launched giving The History Channel competition for the attention of genealogists. is a website that provides videos of interest to genealogists, historians, and others interested in the world of the past. The website currently offers several videos, including a five-part interview with Hank Jones, author of Psychic Roots, and the second Ancestors series from PBS. Viewers can also watch videos of the recent press conference in New York City about the discovery of Annie Moore, the first passenger welcomed at Ellis Island.

    Videos are currently available for free, although pay-per-view videos will be offered in the future. Find out more 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: Spartanburg County Public Library, South Carolina

    The Kennedy Room of the Spartanburg County Library houses the library’s collection of local and South Carolina history and genealogy resources. Some of these resources have been made available online.

    Spartanburg County Death and Obituary Notices
    The library has a number of obituary and death indexes on its web site. Each of the indexes is formatted as an alphabetical listing by year. They include the name of the deceased as it appeared in the obituary, age, place of death or residence, name of spouse, and date and page on which the obituary appeared. Researchers should be advised that only obituaries for individuals with clear local connections have been included in the index. You can browse through the alphabetical lists or use the ‘Find’ function of your web browser to search for a name. Copies of obituaries can be ordered from the library for a small fee.

    Spartanburg Herald and Herald Journal Death Index — 1930–1935, 1939 and 1940–June, 2006
    This particular index may be searched, as well as browsed through. To do so, click on the Search button at the top of the page and enter the last name of the deceased, the word “and”, followed by the year of death.

    Spartanburg Herald/Herald Journal Death Index — 1902–1909
    Spartanburg Herald/Herald Journal Death Index — 1910–1914
    These indexes contain obituaries from the 2 Spartanburg newspapers named above, as well as a few from a third newspaper, the Spartanburg Weekly Herald. In addition to the data fields listed above, there is a field indicating in which newspaper the obituary can be found. There are some gaps in dates in these indexes because some issues are missing from the library’s microfilm holdings.

    Carolina Spartan/Spartanburg Herald Death Index — roughly 1849–1893
    These indexes contain obituaries from the two Spartanburg newspapers named above. In addition to the data fields listed above, there is a field indicating in which newspaper the obituary can be found.

    Register of Deaths of Spartanburg, South Carolina
    This alphabetical index was compiled from the Register of Deaths of Spartanburg, which was an early attempt by the city to gather and keep public health records. The records in the Register begin October 1, 1895, stop in 1896, and start again in 1903, continuing through 1915. It contains death records for residents of the city of Spartanburg only. The data fields in the index include name of the deceased, sex, race, cause of death and date of death. The register itself contains the following additional information: city ward number, place of death, age at time of death, place of nativity, time spent at residence, name of attending physician, and place of interment.

    World War II Photos of Camp Croft by Joseph Pizzimenti
    If someone in your family spent time at Camp Croft, a World War II training camp in the Delmar-Whitestone area of Spartanburg County, you might be interested in taking a look at this collection of photographs. Joseph Pizzimenti, a soldier from Detroit, Michigan, was stationed at Camp Croft from 1941 until early 1945 when he was deployed to the Pacific Theater. He was a jazz musician who played in marching bands at Camp Croft. Mr. Pizzimenti had permission to carry a camera on base and he took many photographs. His son has given electronic images of these photographs to the library, and a number of them have been uploaded to the web site. More of these photographs will be added to the web site in the future.

    The library also provides links to other web sites of interest to individuals researching their family’s history in South Carolina. The links can be found on Kennedy Room’s main page.

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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.

    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.

    DNA and Me: Adventures in Genetic Genealogy
    Saturday, October 21, 2006, 10–11 a.m.
    You’ve read about it in magazines and seen it on television, but can DNA help a frustrated genealogist
    find the answers to brick wall questions? Can it help you? Discover what all the buzz is about.
    Join Maureen Taylor, former librarian at NEHGS and now a professional genealogist and author, on
    her personal excursion into the world of genetics and family history. Free and open to the public.
    Location: NEHGS, 101 Newbury Street, Boston.

    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

    An ancient Roman cemetery was uncovered three years ago during construction by the Vatican for a parking lot. The cemetery is about to be opened to the public. Read the full story at

    A new movie has just been released based on the story of the ghost of Martha Keyes who died in 1789 in the shadow of Mt. Wachuset. Get the details at

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    From the Online Genealogist

    I live in Seattle, Washington. I believe I've found key information on my great grandfather, George Laurence O'Donnell (1864, Ireland – 1944, Woburn, Mass.). According to Archive records, the USCC at Boston, should be able to provide a copy of his naturalization records. Records show his Naturalization or Declaration of Intention certificate to be certificate number 172-86 and that it was issued February 16, 1887. How can I obtain a copy from the USCC at Boston?

    The Northeast Regional branch of the National Archives in Waltham, Mass. has the pre-1906 records for the USCC (United States Circuit Court) you are looking for. Copies of these documents are $10 per request. Make your check or money order payable to National Archives Trust Fund. They suggest sending a photocopy of the index page you found the reference on to speed up their search for you.

    You can contact them directly at:

    National Archives — Northeast Region
    Frederick C. Murphy Federal Center
    380 Trapelo Road
    Waltham, Massachusetts
    Phone: (781) 663-0130
    Toll free: (866)-406-2379
    Fax: (781) 663-0154

    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

    Demystifying the Double Date
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Those researching colonial-era ancestors will often find a double-date system for years, for example 12 Jan 1743/4, in their research. Many individuals, however, are unaware of the origins of this double dating and the rules for using (and not using) it. New researchers often make the mistake of thinking that the author of the work was unsure of the exact year, when exactly the opposite is true.

    The system for determining the start days for the new year and calculating leap years was in a terrible jumble by the sixteenth century. The Julian calendar, in use throughout most of Europe, calculated the length of leap year incorrectly, resulting in the vernal equinox drifting backwards in the calendar each year. Because the lunar calendar is used to calculate the date of Easter, this started to cause an obvious problem in Easter celebrations by the church.

    Another problem was the date of the start of the new year. In many countries the new year would start on January 1, but a large number of countries also celebrated the new year on March 25 (the Incarnation of Jesus).

    In 1563 the Council of Trent approved a plan to correct the calendar. Alexander Lilius put forth a plan to subtract 10 days from the calendar and correct the system of leap years so that there would be only 97 leap years in every 400 years. Pope Gregory XIII delivered a Papal Bull declaring that Thursday 4 Oct 1582 would be followed by Friday 15 Oct 1582. The term Gregorian Calendar comes from Pope Gregory.

    While the bull did not officially declare the start of the new year would occur on January 1, it included a list of saint’s days for the years 1582 and 1583. The 1582 list ended on December 31 and the 1583 list began on January 1, thus tacitly implying that the new year would now be set to start on January 1.

    Unfortunately, many of the Protestant countries (such as Great Britain) were upset at following a rule set forth by the leader of the Catholic church, and they maintained their use of the Julian Calendar. It would take 70 years before Britain would make the change to their calendar. By this time the calendar was off by 11 days, so Parliament passed a law decreeing that 2 Sep 1752 would be followed by 14 Sep 1752.

    Immediately after the Gregorian took effect in 1582, English speaking people starting using the double date, utilizing both the Old Style and New Style dates. Those in Catholic countries (such as Spain, France, and Portugal) never used double dating because they followed the Gregorian calendar the beginning.

    The double dating is appropriate only for those days that fall between January 1 (new style new year) and March 25 (old style new year). The rest of the year would always fall in the proper year. Double dates are appropriately written by using only a single digit after a slash mark at the end of the year (e.g., 1732/3 not 1732/33), unless the decade is changing (e.g.. 1739/40).

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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

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    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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