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  • 2006 Archive

  • Vol. 8, No. 45
    Whole #296
    November 8, 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 Register
    * Name Origins
    * The History Channel to Air Mayflower Special
    * NEHGS Receives Award from Massachusetts Cultural Council
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * Spotlight: Newspaper Databases
    * Upcoming Public Lecture Series
    * Stories of Interest
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Research Recommendations: Passenger Lists
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on New

    The Essex Antiquarian – Volume 3 (1899)

    This week we are releasing the third volume of The Essex Antiquarian, "An illustrated ... magazine devoted to the biography, genealogy, history, and antiquities of Essex County, Massachusetts," which was published and edited by Sidney Perley between 1897 and 1909. The journal was published monthly from January 1897 to June 1901, and then quarterly from July 1901 to October 1909. Each yearly volume contains 200-220 pages of genealogical articles and a variety of photographs, maps, illustrations, and gravestone inscriptions, all pertaining to Essex County. The thirteen original volumes of The Essex Antiquarian are available in our Research Library, call number F72/E7/E74 1897-1909.

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    Coming Soon in the Register

    Each issue of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register is packed with useful information for genealogists. Even if there are no articles about your own ancestors, reading these articles can illustrate how to conduct meticulous research and show you sources you might not have known about. Coming in the October, 2006 issue of the Register:

    Genealogist John Farmer Discovers His Ancestry: The Warwickshire Family of Edward1 Farmer, Isabel1 (Farmer) (Wyman) (Blood) Green, and Thomas1 Pollard, of Billerica, Massachusetts, Nathaniel Lane Taylor
    The Ancestry of Alice (Archer) Dummer, Wife of Stephen1 Dummer and Mother of Jane (Dummer) Sewall, Eben W. Graves
    An Eighteenth-Century Source for Families of New London County, Connecticut, David Kendall Martin
    The Edmund Marshall Family of Chebacco, Essex County, Massachusetts, Patricia Law Hatcher (concluded from 160:197)
    Edward Rose of Rochester, Massachusetts, and Bolton, Connecticut, and His Wife, Rebecca Burgess, Dudley Bishop Henderson
    Comfort (Pearce) (Mathewson) Coggeshall and Her Children, Cherry Fletcher Bamberg (concluded from 160:235)
    Additions and Corrections
    The Real Wife of Ephraim Fairbank of Lancaster and Bolton, Massachusetts, Joy F. Peach
    Probable Identification of John Studley of Newport, Rhode Island, Marya C. Myers
    Reviews of Books and CD-ROMs
    Index of Subjects in Volume 160
    Index of Persons in Volume 160

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    DOD (m) – This medieval or rural nickname for ROGER appears in surnames such as DODD(S), DODGE, DODSON, etc.

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    The History Channel to Air Mayflower Special
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Each year at this time our thoughts turn to the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving. From the time we are very young we are taught about the Mayflower’s journey to the New World. Often we think of those who arrived on the Mayflower as somber, older men who led the colony. The History Channel airs a new special that shows many were young, passionate rebels who disagreed vehemently with their king’s religion. Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower airs this Sunday, November 19, at 8 pm (ET/PT).

    Desperate Crossing follows the format of most History Channel documentaries, interspersing dramatization of the events and interviews with specialists in the field, from historians at Plimoth Plantation to college and university professors in the U.S. and Great Britain. The specialists’ commentary makes it easier to understand what the Pilgrims were doing and why. Especially rewarding is the commentary from members of the Wampanoag Indian tribe. These individuals tell the story from another perspective.

    No single work can follow every story at work during the voyage of the Mayflower and the early experiences of the settlers. Desperate Crossing does try to touch on as many significant facts as possible, illuminating many things that the average person might not know (for example, the fact that after creating a ruckus with the natives on Cape Cod, leaders felt they needed to look elsewhere to locate a long-term settlement, fortuitously coming on a place that had been abandoned by the Wampanoag after a plague wiped out all but a single member of the community).

    Desperate Crossing even touches on the Mayflower's own "Desperate Housewives," shedding some light on the plight of women in the adventure. The story of Dorothy Bradford is skillfully woven into a subplot without spending too much time or trying to posit any solution to the mystery of her death.

    The special digs deeper into the stories surrounding these brave men and women, painting them more as human beings. It examines the emotional underpinnings of events that shaped their future. Viewers leave with a better understanding of these courageous people who left everything familiar behind them in a quest to live by their own rules.

    A complete schedule of airdates for Desperate Crossing is available at

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    NEHGS Receives Award from Massachusetts Cultural Council

    The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), an agency which receives funding each year at the discretion of the Massachusetts state legislature to be used for the Commonwealth's arts and cultural institutions, has awarded NEHGS a one-year grant of $35,800 as part of a three-year grant cycle that began in fiscal year 2006. The Society has received continuous support from the MCC for the past decade, recognition meaningful due to the rigorous nature of the grant application. This award is most appreciated because it provides unrestricted operational dollars for the Society and helps to support our single largest source of operational funding, the Annual Fund.

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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-day program; $95 per day.
    To register for the program visit

    For more information about NEHGS programs visit


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    Spotlight: Newspaper Databases
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Burlington County (New Jersey) Library System - Bordentown Register Index

    The Burlington County Library’s headquarters, located in Westhampton, New Jersey, has seven branch locations. The Bordentown branch maintains the library’s online index to the Bordentown Register. This index, with more than 35,000 records to date, is a work in progress. A weekly newspaper, the Bordentown Register began publication in 1845 under the title Bordentown Palladium. In 1966 the name was changed to the Register-News. The newspaper contains news about events occurring in the Bordentown area, including the surrounding towns of Fieldsboro, Florence, Roebling, Columbus, Chesterfield, and Mansfield. The Bordentown region is located approximately six miles south of Trenton.

    To search through the index, type a word or phrase in the search box on the index’s search page. Choose ‘any occurrence’ or ‘exact phrase’ from the dropdown box, then click search button. One can also focus a search by making use of the following options: limiting the number of items returned, sorting the results by ascending or descending date order or by category; selecting the field in which to search (category, headline, section/page, summary); and limiting the search to a specific date range. The data fields in the results returned include category type (obituary, news of other days, crime), headline, date the article appeared, page and column number, and a summary of the contents of the article. A search for the keyword ‘fire’ and a range of dates in 1855 returned information about fires occurring across the country, from the “destruction of the steamer John Steven” in New York, to a report on an “[e]ntire village burned, a conflagration at Breedville, CA, destroyed the whole town,” and a report about Henry M. Tucker who was “charged with blowing up his father’s house on fire in Providence, R. I. on June 30 (1855),” to name a few.

    The library offers research and photocopy services for a fee. Contact information to request these services may be found on the index search page.

    Newport News (Virginia) Public Library System – Obituary Index

    The Newport News Public Library System offers an obituary index on its website. The index is a work in progress, currently covering the period from 1898 to 1949. A small number of obituaries from the 1950s to the 1990s may also be found in the index. The primary source for the obituaries is the Daily Press. Obituaries from the Times-Herald have also been included for the period from 1902 to 1915. Database users should be advised that there are gaps in the index due to the fact that several years of newspapers are missing and were never microfilmed. The Daily Press is missing issues from December 15, 1899, to January 7, 1905, while the Times-Herald is missing issues from July 1902 to January 2, 1908. The Daily Press has an online index of all articles from 1989 to the present, which can be accessed by visiting the newspaper’s website at

    Using the simple search function, the index can be searched by last name or maiden name. Click on the ‘more search options’ link to access the advanced search function. With advanced search one can search by first name, middle name, last name, maiden name, gender, and the date that the obituary was published. You can also browse through listings that are alphabetized by last name. The data fields include full name, including maiden name, gender, newspaper name, date and number of the page on which the obituary appears.

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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.

    Family Tree Maker® User Group Meeting
    November 18, 2006, 2:00 p.m.,
    If you have any version of Family Tree Maker,® and would like to meet other users and discuss how to use the genealogy program, how to get the most from its features, and generally gain support from your fellow genealogists, please come to our meeting. Experienced and beginning users welcome. Feel free to bring your laptop along, but you don’t have to have one to come. Meetings are held on the third Saturday of each month at 2:00 p.m.


    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

    Electronic communication such as email and text messaging has introduced new shortcuts for the English language, such as "lol" for laughing out loud or lots of love, and "txt" for text. New Zealand is now allowing students to use these shortcuts in class. Imagine genealogists of the future trying to understand "rofl" in a document. Read the full story at

    CNN is carrying an interesting story entitled "Viking ship to ply North Sea; no invasion planned," discussing the journey of the Havhingsten (Stallion of the Sea). Next summer the ship will set sail from Denmark to visit Dublin. Read the full story at

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    From the Online Genealogist

    During my recent trip to NEHGS I photocopied various pages from Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts (Salem, Mass.). You do not have these on microfilm. Do you know where the originals are? They are not at the Massachusetts State Archives.

    The original court files for Essex County 1636-1820 are on deposit with the Peabody-Essex Museum's Phillips Library in Salem, Mass. Research hours are limited, so it is best to contact them before planning a visit. You might wish to contact them at

    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

    Passenger Lists
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    The recent news of major additions to's immigration databases has put passenger lists in the spotlight. Passenger lists can provide a great deal of information about your family, but an understanding of their history will make it easier to use them. Following is a brief timeline of U.S. federal lists. Remember that in addition to the federal lists, individual states may have kept their own lists.

    US Federal Passenger Lists

    • 1800-1819 Beginning of U.S. Passenger Lists with keeping of Baggage Lists (mostly Philadelphia)
    • 1820-ca 1900 Customs Passenger Lists
    • 1882 Administrative control of immigration placed under the Secretary of the Treasury
    • 1893 First major changes to 1819 law. Information on passenger lists was now to include:
    • Name, Age, Sex, Marital Status, Calling or Occupation, Ability to Read or Write, Nationality, Last Residence, Port of U.S. Entry, Final Destination, Whether Possessing a Ticket to Final Destination, Whether Immigrant Paid Own Passage, Whether in Possession of Money, Whether Upwards of $30 or How Much if Less Than $30, Whether Going to Join a Relative and if so What Relative as well as Their Name and Address, Whether Immigrant had Ever Been in U.S. Before and if so When and Where, Whether Ever in Prison, Almshouse, or on Charity, Whether a Polygamist, Whether Under Contract to Perform Labor in U.S., and Mental and Physical Health Status
    • 1903 Category of Race added
    • 1906 Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization established (later Immigration and Naturalization Service). Manifests were now to carry a personal description of each immigrant and their birthplace, not just country of allegiance.
    • 1907 Name and address of the nearest relative in the country from which the immigrant came.
    • 2003 Immigration and Naturalization Service changed to U.S. Customs and Immigration Service and moved to the Department of Homeland Security.

    US/Canada Border Crossings
    Records started to be kept in 1895 after statistics showed that forty percent of passengers arriving in Canada were actually headed to the United States. Many of these immigrants would have been refused entry into U.S. ports because of quota laws.

    In 1909 all border crossings were covered by Montreal, but by 1924 separate districts were established. Montreal controlled the border from Maine to Sault St. Marie, Michigan. Headquarters were moved from Montreal to St. Albans, Vermont; thus the records are popularly known as the St. Albans Border Crossings. Records are in several sections and cover the time period 1895 to 1954.

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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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