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  • 2006 Archive

  • Vol. 8, No. 49
    Whole #300
    December 13, 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 From Newbury Street Press: Elder Bethuel Riggs (1757–1835) of Morris County, New Jersey, and His Family Through Five Generations
    * Name Origins
    * NEHGS Sales Flyer Now Available Online
    * Newport Records Clarification
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * Spotlight: St. Clair County Genealogical Society (SCCGS), Illinois
    * Upcoming Public Lecture Series
    * Stories of Interest
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Research Recommendations: Congressional Records
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on New

    New England Historical and Genealogical Register - Just added 1999

    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 153, published in 1999.

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    New From Newbury Street Press: Elder Bethuel Riggs (1757–1835) of Morris County, New Jersey, and His Family Through Five Generations

    This new book, by Alvy Ray Smith, is devoted to Bethuel Riggs, a Revolutionary War veteran and Baptist preacher and church founder, and to five generations of his and his wife Nancy Lee’s family. The expression “Edwardian Riggses” refers to those in the same genetic family as Edward Riggs, immigrant to Roxbury, Massachusetts, in 1633.

    Bethuel Riggs was born in New Jersey, probably a sixth-generation descendant of Edward Riggs. He was stationed in the Revolution there, in western Pennsylvania, and in North Carolina, participating in the Battle of King’s Mountain. As an “elder,” or minister, of the Regular Baptist faith, he started several churches while moving west from North Carolina and Georgia to Kentucky and then Missouri. His movements mirrored those of Daniel Boone, an older contemporary, the two families living in the same locales and their histories intertwined.

    Bethuel and Nancy’s children populated early Cincinnati and environs (including northern Kentucky) via marriages to the Webb, Corbly, Armstrong, and Millspaugh families; the Lincoln County area of Missouri via marriages to the Smith, Sitton, and Turnbull families; parts of Texas via marriages to the Shaw, Gililland, and Webb families; and to Utah and adjoining states via migration and marriages to the Boren, Kerby, and Mortenson families. The book makes large genealogical contributions to 75 surnames and minor contributions to more than a thousand others.

    The book mentions 1,128 descendants. Additions, corrections, and additional illustrations and appendixescan be found at Includes 35 illustrations, some in color; 11 appendixes; bibliography; full name index. 794 pages, 7 x 10 hardcover, $60.00. Order from

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    JACOB (m) – Hebrew (‘Yaakov’), via Latin form JACOBUS. Equivalent to English JAMES, Spanish DIEGO, Italian IAGO.

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    NEHGS Sales Flyer Now Available Online

    Just in time for holiday shopping, the latest NEHGS Sales Flyer, mailed to members in November, is now available for viewing online at

    Please note that except for the Special Orders Catalog and all books in the Great Migration series, NEHGS books are distributed through Picton Press. To order any book online, go to More ordering options are available on the last page of the flyer.

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    Newport Records Clarification

    In last week's Research Recommendations mention was made of the records of Newport, Rhode Island. Noted genealogist and former Register editor Jane Fletcher Fiske is an expert on Newport research, and contacted us with additional information about the records:

    At the end of the occupation, the British took the records with them to New York, and the ship sank or ran aground in Hell Gate in New York Harbor. The records were in the water for two or three days, then through the efforts of Nathaniel Greene and George Washington, they were rescued. Attempts at restoration were made over a century ago, but many records were beyond help. Those that survive are at the Newport Historical Society, in large "scrapbooks," and they are a treasure of probate records and deeds, well worth checking. NHS has an index to them. There are many books of deeds and many of probate. The situation is far from hopeless for the researcher of early Newport.

    Best wishes,
    Jane Fiske

    Many thanks to Jane for providing this information to us.

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    Each year the Society presents 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 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 – November 4, 2007
    Lodging: Salt Lake Plaza Hotel

    For more information about NEHGS programs visit or email

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    Spotlight: St. Clair County Genealogical Society (SCCGS), Illinois
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    St. Clair County is located in southwestern Illinois, a part of the St. Louis Metropolitan Area, which straddles the Missouri/Illinois border. The county seat is Belleville. St. Clair County was one of two counties established in 1790 in the Northwest Territory. It predates the existence of the state of Illinois. The county was named for Arthur St. Clair, a Revolutionary War officer and governor of the Northwest Territory.

    The St. Clair County Genealogical Society has made a number of indexes and research aids available on its website. Databases include the following:

    Church Records
    There are three church records indexes on the website. The records in the surname index to Belleville Methodist Church Registers can be found in Records of German Methodist–Jackson Street Methodist Church, 213 South Jackson Street; First Methodist Episcopal Church, 10 East Washington Street; [and] Union United Methodist Church, 721 East Main Street, Belleville, Illinois, 1840 – 1998. The Bethel Baptist Church Minutes and Membership Lists database is an index to Bethel Baptist Church Minutes 1806 - 1851, Excerpts from the Minutes 1851 - 1852, and Membership Lists 1809 – 1909. These volumes were published by and are available through the SCCGS. The index to Baptisms of St. John United Church of Christ, Smithton, Illinois, 1869–1986, is an alphabetical listing for the church’s baptismal records. There are individual entries for the baptized, the parents, and sponsors. The data fields include first name, last name with maiden name in parentheses, and one, which includes person’s role and page number in the original book of church records.

    Cemeteries, Death Records, Obituary and Tombstone Indexes
    The databases here include obituary indexes to the Belleville News Democrat, 1994–2001, 2003, and 2005. They are organized alphabetically. The data fields include surname, given name, age, newspaper issue, and page number and column. There is an alphabetical index to obituaries and death notices from the Freeburg Tribune, 1904–1939, with data fields that include the last, given and middle names of the deceased; date the obituary was published; page number and column; and age at death, if given. And, the Millstadt Enterprise Obituary Index, 1897 -1949, is an alphabetical index to obituaries and death notices from this weekly newspaper begun on May 14, 1897. The data fields include the name of the deceased; age or year of birth; name of spouse; usually maiden name; and page number and date the obituary was published. Photocopies of obituaries from all of these indexes can be requested from the Belleville Public Library for a small fee.

    Cemeteries of St. Clair County
    This is a compiled list of cemeteries located in and on the borders of St. Clair County. The data in the index includes cemetery name, location, section, township, road and remarks.

    Holy Cross, Mt. Evergreen, and St. Adalbert Polish Catholic Cemeteries Burial Index
    This database is an index to more than 3,000 different family names found on 7,800 tombstones in the above named cemeteries.

    Proof of Death Index, 1870–1880
    This index to the Proof of Death Records of St. Clair County, Illinois was originally compiled from Proof of Death, Book A, 1870-1879 and Proof of Death, Book B, 1879-1880; 1882 by Bob Buecher of the County Clerk's Office. There is only one death listed for 1882. The index includes many deaths before 1870 that were recorded by the county clerk between 1870 and 1880. The data fields for this index include the name of the deceased, age, death date, and page and affidavit numbers.

    Circuit Court Case Files, 1819–1840
    An extensive explanation of these records can be found on the webpage for this index. While the microfilm for the Circuit Court Case Files, 1819–1840, includes both a plaintiff and defendant index, the index found on the website is the Plaintiff Index only. It is organized alphabetically with cases in chronological order within each letter. To find Defendants search each index page individually using the Find feature, or use the Search Box at the bottom of the SCCGS homepage. Plaintiffs with no surname are indexed under the letter beginning their first name. The data fields in the online index include the case number, the first and last names of the plaintiff and defendant, kind of action, and the court term in which the case disposed.

    1870 Agricultural Schedule, St. Clair County
    Researchers will find an overview of the 1870 agricultural census for St. Clair County, including a complete list of the 52 questions asked of the farmers that year. Basic records for twenty communities have been indexed in five databases. The data fields include agent/owner/manager, number of improved acres, number of acres of woodland, dollar value of farmlands and the dollar value of the machinery. Photocopies of the original census pages may be requested from the Belleville Public Library or the Illinois State Archives.

    St. Clair County Village and Township Census Listings 1810–1930
    This is a list containing an overview of all censuses taken in St. Clair County from 1810 to 1930. It is a valuable resource for anyone researching in this area.

    Biographical Sketch Indexes
    The Biographical Sketch Index contains data gathered from over 2,600 biographical sketches of St. Clair County residents. The data fields include subject, year born, spouse’s name, year married, reference date, and page number. Photocopies can be requested from the SCCGS Reference committee for a small fee.

    History of St, Clair County, Volume 1, 1988, and Volume II, 1992
    These volumes contain more than 1,600 family, town, church, cemetery, and business history sketches that were compiled published by the SCCGS. This alphabetical index is a useful tool for the St. Clair County researcher. Data fields include Story Title and volume and page numbers. Use the “Find” feature on your web browser to search the index. Copies of sketches may be requested from the SCCGS for a small fee.

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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

    January 6, 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

    Noted professional genealogist Jim Beidler has a regular column in the Lebanon Daily News about family history. In today’s article he discusses one researcher’s thoughts about tackling collateral lines. Read the full story at

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    From the Online Genealogist

    Does NEHGS have vital records for Nova Scotia for the 1920s to the 1930s?

    NEHGS does not own microfilm or digital images of vital records that late into the twentieth century. In the near future Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management will be releasing twentieth-century records of deaths (1908-1955) and marriages (1912-1930) on their website. Birth records will be released after the passing of one hundred years (e.g., 1908 births will be released in 2008, etc.).

    NEHGS does have microfilm of Nova Scotia Births and Deaths 1864-1877, and marriages from 1864 to about 1912. We look forward to the release of the twentieth-century databases. To find out more go to For later vital records (Births after October 1, 1908; Marriages 1931 to the present; Deaths 1956 to the present), contact

    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

    Congressional Records
    by Michael J. Leclerc


    The legislative branch of the United States government has left miles of paper in its wake since 1789. While we usually think of this as governmental red tape, the information contained in those records is of incredible value to genealogists.

    U.S. Serial Set
    The U.S. Serial Set contains all of the numbered Congressional reports since 1817. The published version of the U.S. Serial Set numbers over 14,000 volumes. The Serial Set includes Congressional committee reports on bills before the legislature, but it does not include the actual floor debate or votes on such legislation.

    For example, it includes the annual statistical abstract of the United States from the Census Bureau from 1879 through 1976; patent decisions from 1925-1953; public health service reports 1913-1952; reports on rivers and harbors 1817-1982; and publications of federally chartered organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, Daughters of the American Revolution, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

    American State Papers
    The American State Papers is a series of thirty-eight volumes containing all of the legislative and executive documents of Congress for the period 1789-1838. The books are arranged by subject: Foreign Relations, Indian Affairs, Finances, Commerce and Navigation, Military Affairs, Naval Affairs, Post Office Department, Public Lands, Claims, and Miscellaneous.

    United States Statutes at Large
    Statutes at Large contains all bills and resolutions ever passed by Congress. Publication started in 1845. The laws are presented in order of their date of passage. Resolutions are laws, but may be limited to affect only Congress. Simple resolutions are limited to a single chamber. They pertain to either the operations of that chamber or to that chamber’s opinion on some aspect of public policy. Concurrent resolutions effect both chambers of Congress or express the opinion of the legislature as a whole on an aspect of public policy. Simple and concurrent resolutions do not require the approval of the President. Joint resolutions come from both chambers and have the same effect as laws and must be approved by the President.

    The American Memory project of the Library of Congress has now turned these publications, together with a number of other publications involving the legislature, into an online database at

    A search on the term alien produced 100 results. One of these was an application for citizenship and a patent made by Thomas Owen. The application stated that he was a manufacturer and mechanic, a native of Ireland. He had immigrated to Maryland in 1804, had married a woman native to that state, and had several children with her. He was attempting to patent his discoveries in manufacturing hemp and flax. The report goes on to detail why Mr. Owen was petitioning Congress for a special law on his naturalization, and the committee’s final resolution.

    Military records, naval records, land records, and a plethora of other genealogically significant information can be found in these records as well. Search the databases at

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

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