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  • 2006 Archive

  • Vol. 8, No. 42
    Whole #293
    October 25, 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
    * Essex County, Massachusetts, Registry of Deeds Launches New Website
    * Name Origins
    * CEO D. Brenton Simons Speaking at Waltham Public Library
    * Irish County Maps on Sale
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * Spotlight: Austin History Center of the Austin Public Library, Texas
    * Upcoming Public Lecture Series
    * Stories of Interest
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Research Recommendations: Timelines in Genealogy
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on New

    Wilmington Records of Births, Marriages and Deaths, from 1730 to 1898

    This record of Wilmington, Massachusetts, vital records was published in 1898 by James A. Kelley. It contains the records of 3,075 births, 2,306 marriages, and 1,430 deaths. This database also includes images of the original pages, which may be viewed via the search results page.

    The original volume is available in our Boston Research Library, call number F74/W83/W7.

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    Essex County, Massachusetts, Registry of Deeds Launches New Website

    The Southern Essex Registry of Deeds in Salem, Massachusetts, has launched a new website of tremendous historical significance. During the restoration of the seventeenth-century record books and the Ipswich Deeds, the records of land transfers between the Native American Indians and the English settlers stood out from other transactions. The registry started the Native American Deeds project to ensure their preservation and increase access.

    The result is an outstanding website with incredible amounts of historical information. The site is subdivided into seven sections. Introduction explains the background of the project. Narrative provides a narrative history. Deeds contains scanned images of the original deeds as well as textual transcription. Timelines provides a synopsis of historically significant events for Essex County, Europe, the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and Native Americans. Maps & Images provides quality maps and images of historic significance. Culture provides a learning experience about the Native Americans who lived in Essex County and their day-to-day lives. Tribes describes the issues around the cultural relationships of Native Americans living in Essex County and their tribal affiliations.

    A links section provides access to other websites and pages with information for those interested in the subject. The registry plans to add resources for teachers and students in the future.

    The Registry has clearly tried to be culturally sensitive to descendants of the Native Americans and to present a more balanced view.

    To find out more information about the project visit

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    EMERANSY, EMERGENCY (f) – Derived (as best can be determined) from ARAMANTHA and/or ARAMINTA, two closely related names from medieval and Renaissance romance.

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    CEO D. Brenton Simons Speaking at Waltham Public Library

    NEHGS President and CEO D. Brenton Simons will be speaking about his book Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder and Mayhem in Boston, 1630-1775 at the Waltham Public Library on Monday, October 30 at 7:30 pm. He will be taking questions at the end of his talk and signing copies of his book. The Waltham Public Library is located at 735 Main Street in Waltham.

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    Irish County Maps on Sale

    These highly detailed maps have been reprinted from a series originally produced in 1901. The county maps are divided into Baronies, Civil Parishes, and Roman Catholic Parishes. Each depicts castles, churches, cross roads, courthouses, junctions, lakes, barracks, bridges, harbors, Roman Catholic churches, chapels, convents, cemeteries, schools, stations, and many different geographical features. All towns, villages, market towns, roads, and even some factories are indicated. The maps are beautifully printed in black on high quality paper.

    $5.00 each with free 1st Class Shipping!

    The following counties are available: Antrim, Armagh, Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Down, Dublin, Fermanagh, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, King's, Leitrim, Limerick, Londonderry, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Queen's, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Tyrone, Waterford, West Meath, Wexford, Wicklow and all-Ireland. Maps are approximately 17" x 22" and are folded in quarters and shipped flat. A limited number of maps for each county are available, so orders will be filled in a first-come, first-served basis. To order, please call 1-617-226-1212 or 1-617-536-5740, ext. 212. Sale ends November 8th, 2006, while supplies last.

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    Winter Research Weekend Getaway, February 8 - 10, 2007
    Research Weekend Getaways in Boston have been one of our most popular programs in recent years. Escape the winter doldrums and join the NEHGS staff for guided research, one-on-one consultations, lectures, and special access to the collections. Bring your charts and count on making research breakthroughs! All serious genealogists should treat themselves to this special program and to the opportunity to share discoveries and swap stories with other avid researchers from all over the country. Whether you are a first-time participant or have enjoyed this program in the past, you are sure to further your research by visiting our library in Boston. Don’t miss this opportunity to take advantage of our exceptional resources and the research expertise of our outstanding library staff. For accommodations, we suggest the nearby Charlesmark Hotel.

    Registration fees, $285 for the entire 3 days; $95 per day.
    To register contact Amanda Batey at

    For more information about NEHGS programs visit


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    Spotlight:Clarke-Oconee Genealogical Society, Georgia
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Clarke and Oconee counties are located in northeast Georgia. Clarke County was created in 1801 from part of Jackson County. Oconee County was created in 1875 from an area that was originally part of Clarke County. Click on the county map link to view a map of the area.

    The Clarke-Oconee Genealogical Society has made available a number of databases in the Online Resources on its website. Click on the C.O.G.S. Online Resources link to access the databases. A Soundex Converter is among the resources offered.

    Court Records
    This finding aid for the Probate Court records of Athens-Clarke County was developed under a Historical Repositories Grant from the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board. One of the outcomes of the project was a database, which was adapted for the web with the assistance of the genealogical society. The records can be viewed by box or by name. Data fields for the Box indexes are volume, title on spine, microfilm dates, box number, film number and LDS number. Using this chart, one can see at a glance whether the records have been microfilmed or not. The fields in the names index include full name, book designation, page number and will book. There is also an index to Clarke County Deed Book H, which covers the period 1807 – 1814. It was not included in the master 1801 – 1906 Direct and Indirect Index.

    There are two indexes to Clarke County Will books on the site. One index is for Books A – D (1803 – 1885) and includes the name of the testator, will book designation, and page number of the will. When possible additional information such as locations of the administration, inventory, appraisal, and sale of the estate are noted. There are also columns to indicate whether the files contain loose papers and another column, which indicates that a marriage is listed for the person. The second index is for Will Book E. The data fields for this index include the name of the testator, will book designation, and page number on which the will is located.

    Tax Records
    The database under Tax Records indexes property exemption requests in Clarke County for the period 1868 – 1881. The data fields include name, book designation and page number on which the record is found. The types of record usually found under Property Exemptions were administrations of estates, inventories, appraisements, estate returns, and guardianship returns. Click on the link to Timothy Hill’s Property Exemption Request to see an example of such a request.

    Militia Districts
    This section provides very useful information for anyone researching in this part of Georgia, as the area was divided into Militia Districts and each district was assigned a specific number. The numbers, however, were not used consistently until the 1850s. Prior to that time, the district was designated, or referred to by the captain’s name. Captains were elected on an annual basis, so the district names changed frequently. The data provided here matches up the assigned numbers with the name of the captain for the following years: 1811 – 1820 and 1848 – 1875, and current GMDs. There is also a list of Clarke County militia districts that became part of Oconee County on its creation in 1875.

    Slave Records
    This database is an alphabetical index to the slave owners listed in the 1850 US Census in the fourteen districts in Clarke County, Georgia. To view the slaveholders from a particular district, just click on the district name. Some of these individuals owned slaves in for than one district and will, therefore, appear on the list more than one time. The data fields in the index are the name of the slave owner, the number of slaves, page number on which the owner appears in the original census schedule, and the district name.

    Military Records
    Two local researchers contributed the information and records in this section. They have provided background information on two companies active as part of the Confederate States Army during the Civil War – Cobb’s Legion Calvary Battalion Company H – Georgia Troopers and Troup Artillery, and information about the soldiers in each company.

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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

    November 1, 2006, 10:00 AM
    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.


    Getting the Most from NEHGS Databases
    November 15, 2006, 10:00 AM
    With more than 110 million records in our databases, NEHGS is the place to search for your ancestors. Please join NEHGS Online Genealogist, David A. Lambert, as he explores the tremendous breadth of the NEHGS databases that are available to members online at


    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

    DNA tracing for blacks that would identify their family’s origins in Africa has been offered for about three years. Famous individuals such as Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. have had their African origins identified through DNA testing. Questions are now being raised, however, about the accuracy of these kinds of tests. Read the story in the Boston Globe at

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    From the Online Genealogist

    I was considering writing a book on the soldiers from my town in World War I. Have any such projects ever been undertaken in Massachusetts?

    These studies are not as common as those on the veterans of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. We have in our library volumes for the following Massachusetts towns, not unlike what you have planned :

    Andover – Fuess, Claude Moore. Andover, Massachusetts, in the World War. (Andover, MA: The Andover Press, 1921) [F74/A6/F79/1921].

    Boston – Boston Edison Company, A War-time record: an illustrated account of the war-time activities of the Edison Electric Illuminating Company of Boston during the Great World War, 1914-1918. (Boston, MA: Privately printed for the Edison Electric Illuminating Company, 1922) [D570.85/M41/B62/1922].

    Brockton – Brockton’s Honor Roll of her sons who made the Supreme sacrifice in the World War. (Brockton, MA: Brockton World War Victory Association, 1919) [MS/BRO/6B]

    Newburyport – Atkinson, Minnie. Newburyport in the World War. (Newburyport, MA: News Publishing Co.,, 1938) [MS/NEW/939].

    Stoughton – The World War Veterans of Stoughton: a memorial to those who made the supreme sacrifice and a souvenir of the welcome home reception and celebration given by the Town of Stoughton, Massachusetts, to her returning sons, September 1, 1919. (Stoughton, MA: Town of Stoughton, 1919) [F74/S886/W67/1919]

    Westfield – Clark, Edward G., Westfield and the World War. (Westfield, MA: Westfield Times, 1919) [MS/WES/2125]

    Winchester - Winchester’s War Records: Civil, Spanish-American, World. (Andover, MA: Andover Press, 1935) [F74/W85/W8/1925].

    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

    Timelines in Genealogy
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Timelines are a very useful tools for genealogists, yet they are very underutilized. They can be used for everything from calculating the probability of events and relationships to adding historical context to your ancestors’ lives.

    For example, they can be very useful when trying to determine relationships. Laying out the dates for events can show you potential problems with purported relationships. For example, if you can see that the mother of the child would have been 67 years old at the time of the birth, or that the alleged father died 18 months prior to the birth, you can reexamine your evidence to determine where the error entered.

    Timelines can also be used to add historical context. I searched a website sponsored by Scope Systems called Any Day in History ( You can pick any day of the year to search and you will be provided a list of events that occurred on that day in history. I was born on July 13, the same day as Dave Garroway (original Today show host, 1913), Bob Crane (of Hogan’s Heroes, 1928), Patrick Stewart (of Star Trek: The Next Generation, 1940), Paul Prudhomme (Cajun chef, 1940), Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones, 1942), and Mark Mendoza (of the rock band Twisted Sister, 1956). Actor Lon Chaney, Jr. died on that day (1973). On that day in history the US Congress established the Northwest Territory (1789), P.T. Barnum’s Museum burned down (1865), Guglielmo Marconi patented the radio (1898) and the first Live Aid concert was held (1985). The Christian Festival of Our Lady of Fatima is celebrated that day. And in 1815 President John Adams wrote in a letter: 'The Hebrews have done more to civilizemen than any other nation. If I were an atheist,... I should still believe fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations.'

    Now, while all of this is interesting to me personally, most of it would be difficult to incorporate into a genealogical sketch of my life. After all, the Northwest Territory has little to do with my French-Canadian roots, and I’ve never been a huge circus fan. Genealogists should always refrain from putting extraneous material into their family histories. Putting ancestors into historical context does not mean creating artificial connections. Judicious use of information like this can make a biography more interesting, but there must be a tangible link to it. For example, one could write that “Michael shared a birthday with actor Patrick Stewart, who portrayed Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, a television series of which Michael was a lifelong fan.” Writing that “Michael’s birthday occurred on the anniversary of Guglielmo Marconi’s patent of the radio, an invention that Michael enjoyed immensely.” would be much more of a stretch, and doesn’t really make sense.

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    Copyright 2006, New England Historic Genealogical Society
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