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  • 2006 Archive

  • Vol. 8, No. 47
    Whole #298
    November 29, 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
    * New Opportunity for Tax-deductible Gift to NEHGS
    * Name Origins
    * The Settlers of the Beekman Patent Books & CDs Now Available with FREE Shipping
    * NEHGS Library Inventory
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * Spotlight: Massillon Public Library, Ohio
    * Upcoming Public Lecture Series
    * Stories of Interest
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Research Recommendations: Verifying Information in Compiled Genealogies
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on New

    Boston Births 1700-1809

    From the database introduction:

    "This volume, the Twenty-fourth Report of the Record Commissioners, takes up the births in the town of Boston at the date reached in the Ninth Report, and contains all the births after 1699 recorded in two volumes of manuscript. It is needless to say that the record is approximately perfect only to 1745; after that date the number gradually diminishes till it becomes a small fraction of the births, which of course, took place."

    This database contains the records of 14,945 births and includes the scanned images of each page of the original volume. The original volume is available in the NEHGS Boston Research Library, call number F73.1 / B74 / V.24.


    Social Security Death Index - Free Access
    Updated through October, 2006

    The SSDI, taken from the U.S. Social Security Administration's Death Master File, is one of the key resources available to genealogists today. It contains those individuals who were assigned Social Security numbers and whose death was reported to the SSA.

    Data is now current through October, 2006. Access to the SSDI is FREE to all who visit This database now contains the names of over 77,290,178 million individuals, most of whose deaths were recorded after 1965.

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    New Opportunity for Tax-deductible Gift to NEHGS

    In August this year, a Federal law was passed creating a new tax incentive for charitable giving. For donors seventy-and-a-half years old or older, the Pension Protection Act of 2006 encourages financial contributions to charitable organizations in the United States, providing a unique opportunity to make a gift to the Society.

    Under the new provisions, you can make a gift using funds from your individual retirement account (IRA), Roth IRA, or rollover IRA without undesirable tax consequences. If you are interested in learning more about supporting the New England Historic Genealogical Society through your individual retirement account and can satisfy certain conditions, please visit or contact Claudia Woods in our development office at 617-226-1238.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    MIRIAM (f) – Derived from the same Hebrew word (mrm ‘’) that forms MARY.

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    The Settlers of the Beekman Patent Books & CDs Now Available with FREE Shipping

    The Settlers of the Beekman Patentseries, by Frank J. Doherty, contains data on over thirteen hundred families who settled in the Beekman Patent, an original land grant given to Col. Henry Beekman in 1697 by the English Crown and the second largest patent in present-day Dutchess County, New York. Many emigrants from New England lived in and passed through the Beekman Patent on their way west. Others, such as the Palatines and Quakers (almost all from New England), were early settlers and remained for several generations or more.

    To order any of the Beekman Patent books or cds, visit or call the NEHGS Sales Department toll free at 1-888-296-3447.

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    NEHGS Library Inventory

    NEHGS is planning inventory the library holdings during the week of January 29, 2007. The library will remain open during the inventory, but each library floor will be closed for a day or two while the collections are inventoried. On the day a floor is closed there will be no access to its materials. The schedule for floor closings is: Sixth floor, Jan. 30; Fifth floor, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1; Fourth floor Feb 2; and First floor Feb. 3. Library closures due to snow emergencies may change the closing schedule.

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    Each year the Society puts on a large number of lectures, seminars, and tours for genealogists. The following major programs will be held in 2007:

    Winter Weekend Research Getaway February 8 – 10, 2007
    Tutorial program with research consultations in Boston

    African American Genealogical Research February 10, 2007
    Seminar in Boston (February is Black History Month)

    Research Week in Washington, D.C. February 25 – March 4, 2007
    Lodging: Hotel Washington

    Writing Your Family History: Organizing Your Material and Getting Started March 31, 2007
    Seminar in Boston

    DNA and Genealogy Seminar April 21, 2007
    Seminar in Boston

    Research Day at NARA Northeast Region May 16, 2007
    Location: Waltham, MA

    Come Home to New England #1 June 18 – 23, 2007
    Tutorial program with consultations in Boston

    Come Home to New England #2 August 6 – 11, 2007
    Tutorial program with consultations in Boston

    English Family History Research Tour to London September 9 – 16, 2007
    Lodging: Bloomsbury Holiday Inn

    Research Tour to Salt Lake City October 28 – Nov. 4, 2007
    Lodging: Salt Lake Plaza Hotel

    For more information about NEHGS programs visit or email

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    Spotlight: Massillon Public Library, Ohio
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Massillon, Ohio is located in the western part of Stark County. Selected resources of the Massillon Public Library’s local history collection have been made available online via Massillon Memory. Of the four collections listed on the Massillon Memory main page, two have active links — the Obituary Index and the Rotch-Wales Papers.

    Obituary Index
    The Obituary Index was begun in 1998 and is maintained for the Massillon Public Library by the Molo Regional Library system. The following newspapers have been indexed: Coshocton Tribune, Holmes County Journal, Loudonville Advocate, Loudonville Democrat, Loudonville Times, Massillon Independent (1863 – present), and The Holmes County Hub. There are three search options — Basic Search, Date Range Search, and Truncation Search. With Basic Search, the index can be searched by any combination of last name, first name, middle name, and date. To perform a Truncation Search, first choose the search field, then click on the ‘Begins with’ or ‘Ends with’ button, and enter a portion of the name for which you are searching. The data fields in the index include first, middle and last name; title; nickname; date on which the obituary appeared, page number, newspaper title and a link to a more detailed record. The detailed record includes the name of the deceased, nickname, maiden/alternative name, first publication date, page number second printing data and page number, and notes, which include age, cemetery, father, mother, and spouse’s name. In addition you will find the newspaper’s title and address and information on how to request a copy of the obituary from one of the libraries. Read the index search tips to make certain that you are getting the most out of this index. The Obituary Index can also be accessed directly via

    The following Ohio vital records websites can be accessed by clicking on the Links button: Cleveland Necrology File, Ohio Death Certificate Index, Ohio Medal of Honor Recipients, R. B. Hayes Presidential Center Obituary Index, and War of 1812 Roster of Ohio Soldiers.

    The Rotch-Wales Papers
    This online collection contains “personal and business correspondence, diaries, documents, accounts, ledgers, and daybooks of Thomas Rotch (1767-1823) and members of his family,” as well as the “the personal and business correspondence, documents, and business papers of Arvine Wales I (1785-1854), who accompanied Rotch from Hartford to Ohio in 1811, worked for him, and carried on Rotch's business interests after his death; also the papers of his son, Arvine C. Wales (1827-1882).”

    In 1811 Thomas Rotch arrived in Ohio where he was involved in the “laying out and settling of the town of Kendal (now Massillon) OH, and the establishment of farming, sheep-raising, and manufacturing.” Originally, he came from Nantucket and New Bedford, Mass. where he was involved in the whaling and shipping industry from 1790 and 1801. He spent the years between 1801 and 1811 in Hartford, Conn, where he was a farmer, raised sheep and was involved woolen manufacture prior to heading for Ohio. This collection also includes a significant quantity of Quaker and anti-slavery material. There is a more detailed biographical sketch of Thomas Rotch on the Rotch-Wales Papers main page.

    The website contains digital images of the documents in the collection. The images are accompanied by transcriptions that can be accessed by clicking on the Show Text link. You can print both the images and the transcriptions. You can search the database by “all elements” or any of the following call number, title, creator, description, subject, date, and document type. You can also browse through the collection.

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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

    December 2, 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.



    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

    The Guardian, one of Britain's major newspapers, has had an interesting bout of articles about genealogy recently. Zoe Williams' article entitled "Ancestor Worship" calls genealogy "pointless and self-regarding." (,,1941853,00.html ) Dan Waddell, author of the Who Do You Think You Are books that accompany the BBC television series of the same name, counters that "Researching our family histories can be humbling, and helps us understand the past." (,,1947086,00.html)

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    From the Online Genealogist

    I have long wanted to know about my great-grandmother’s sister. She was a grammar school teacher in the 19th century for a couple of towns down on Cape Cod. Would there be a record of where she taught?

    The first place I would look is the published Annual Town Reports. These reports are found in the public library, or the town halls. You can also access a collection of them at the Massachusetts State Library. Generally there is a chapter for the School Committee. A break down of each school house, and the teachers resident will be listed. You will often find a teacher might be in one school house, and then moved over to a neighboring school district within the same town. If you already know what she looks like you may be able to pick her out of a school class photo. Often you can find collections of these in the local historical societies, or historical collections of the public library. Official school employment records from the 19th century may, on occasion, be found as well. You may also wish to spend some time reviewing the weekly newspapers when school was in session for details about the school and it’s happenings that semester.

    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

    Verifying Information in Compiled Genealogies
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    A plethora of compiled genealogies were published in America in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries as interest in American history surged after the centennial celebration. Unfortunately, these genealogies vary widely in their accuracy and comparatively few of them contain citations to sources for the information included. A great deal of misinformation was published in these works (sometimes unintentionally, sometimes on purpose). The golden rule for using these works: trust after verification!

    Many scholarly journals (e.g., The American Genealogist, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, National Genealogical Society Quarterly) have been correcting these problems for decades. Use the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) and individual indexes to find articles on your family.

    NEHGS has a multivolume Book of Corrections, started in 1896, to correct mistakes and misinformation published in family genealogies. Look for citations to it in many older compiled genealogies. Many other societies may have similar compilations in their collections.

    Look for newer, revised editions of family genealogies that correct misinformation. Beware that just because one volume was published later than another one does not make the information in the later one more correct. Look for works that contain detailed source citations for all information, and beware those that cite earlier works with no citation to primary sources that corroborate the information.


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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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