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  • 2006 Archive

  • Vol. 8, No. 5
    Whole #256
    February 1, 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
    * Time to Renew Your Great Migration Newsletter Subscription
    * New Online “Nutshell” Unveiled
    * NEHGS Bookstore Update
    * NEHGS On the Road to California
    * Lost Captives Found
    * Tell a Friend About eNews
    * Upcoming Education Program
    * Spotlight: Westchester County [New York] Virtual Archives
    * Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Research Recommendations:Finding Your Favorite Genealogical Book
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New on

    Estate Assessment Roll, Thurman, New York - 1806-1809, 1812
    This transcription of the real and personal estates of the residents of the town of Thurman, Washington Co., New York, includes the name of owner, description of real estate (infrequent), value of real estate, and value of personal estate. The compiler is unknown. This collection consists of 1,050 estate records. The typescript is part of the R. Stanton Avery Collections, call number NY THU 10.

    The Diaries of the Rev. Thomas Cary of Newburyport, Massachusetts, 1762-1806
    Just added: 1793
    The Rev. Thomas Cary (1745-1808) started his diary in Weston, Massachusetts, in 1762. He wrote his notes opposite the pages of An Astronomical diary: Or, Almanack for the Year of Our Lord CHRIST 1762 which he “bot at Mr. Philips.” His entries are sparse but invaluable. He continued his diaries until 1806, two years before his death.

    The original diaries are kept in the R. Stanton Avery Collections at NEHGS, call number MSS 640. The database contains transcriptions of Cary's notes, done by Marsha Hoffman Rising, CG, CGL, FASG, as well as images of the diaries. Additional years are added regularly.

    The Settlers of the Beekman Patent
    Just added: Cabry, Cadman, Calkins, and Campbell families
    This installment continues the sketches featured in Volume 3 of The Settlers of the Beekman Patent, Frank J. Doherty's multi-volume study of the settlers of the second largest patent in present-day Dutchess County, New York.

    The original text can be viewed at the NEHGS Library or borrowed by NEHGS members via the Circulating Library through April, 2006. The call number is F127/D8/D63.

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    Time to Renew Your Great Migration Newsletter Subscription

    Subscriptions to the Great Migration Newsletter expired on December 31, 2005, and we encourage you to renew - or subscribe - for 2006 now. For $20 a professionally printed newsletter will be delivered to your home four times during the year.

    Online subscriptions to the Great Migration Newsletter are also available, at a cost of $10 for NEHGS members and $20 for non-members. Online subscribers will have access to the four issues of Volume 15, one posted each quarter, plus the Great Migration Newsletter Online Archive, containing volumes 11, 12, 13, and bonus sketches not yet available in print.

    The first issue of 2006 (Volume 15, #1) will be mailed (and posted online) shortly. It features a study of early Ipswich, Massachusetts, town and land records, and a look at the early lists that survive for Ipswich. The articles are intended to help unravel the confusion caused by the disjointed and disordered nature of the surviving Ipswich records. Subscribe now to make sure that you receive this first issue of 2006.

    To subscribe to either version of the Newsletter, please visit

    Thank you for your support of the Great Migration Newsletter!

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    New Online “Nutshell” Unveiled

    Part 2 of Marie Daly’s online “Getting Started in Genealogy” tutorial, “Next Steps," debuts this week on at Like all of our new online classes, this short and detail-rich tutorial gives clear instructions on how to search databases, what to look for in census records, and much more. NEHGS members and patrons are finding these presentations invaluable. Here’s just one note we’ve received:

    “I just viewed step one for beginning genealogists. Although I am not a beginner, I was very impressed with the information and the slide presentation as presented. I look forward to viewing steps two and three. Thank you for making this available to everyone!”
    Kathleen A. Gregory

    Watch eNews for announcements of other online tutorials over the next several months.

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    NEHGS Bookstore Update

    February 1-8 is when much of the NEHGS Bookstore stock is being transferred to our new exclusive distributor, Picton Press of Rockland, Maine. Picton will be ready to accept your phone, mail, email and fax orders after February 8.

    Our sales staff has been working closely with Picton Press to ensure a seamless transition. We thank you for your patience while we enact this transfer, and look forward to serving our members better through this alliance.

    The contact information for Picton Press is:

    Picton Press
    PO Box 1347
    Rockland, ME 04841
    207.596.7767 fax

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    NEHGS On the Road to California

    NEHGS Executive Director D. Brenton Simons will be travelling to the San Francisco Bay area of California in late February to visit with NEHGS members and other interested genealogists. Plans are just being finalized, so look in next week's eNews for details on a special NEHGS luncheon at a Berkeley restaurant, a talk by Brenton about the Society, and a special reading of and booksigning for his latest book, Witches, Rakes and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder & Mayhem.

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    Lost Captives Found

    The October 2005 issue of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register contained an article by NEHGS Director of Special Projects and eNews editor Michael J. Leclerc on an ancestor who was carried from Maine to Québec in a 1703 raid on Purpoodock. The editors of recently published an interview with Michael regarding his findings. Read their article at

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    Tell a friend about eNews

    If you know someone who might be interested in eNews, please forward them the contact information at the bottom of this issue. Also while most eNews subscribers are members of NEHGS, many of you are not. Membership brings many benefits, and we offer several different categories. Learn more at

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    Upcoming Education Program

    English Family History for Americans
    Saturday, April 22

    This one-day seminar at our library at 101 Newbury Street in Boston will answer many of your English family history questions. It will feature NEHGS Online Genealogist David Allen Lambert as well as Paul Milner, a professional genealogist and lecturer. A native of northern England, Mr. Milner is a specialist in British Isles genealogical research, and has been designing workshops and lecturing for more than thirty years. He holds an advanced degree in theology and is particularly knowledgeable about the church and its role in recordkeeping. Paul will discuss how to find out if your British Isles research has already been done, overcoming dead end doldrums, using maps and gazetteers - for British Isles research, and using parish records. David Allen Lambert will discuss researching your British ancestors using the Internet.

    More information on this seminar can be found here: Contact or 1-888-286-3447 with any further questions.

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    Spotlight: Westchester County [New York] Virtual Archives

    The Virtual Archives of the Westchester County Archives was created as a collaborative effort between Westchester County Archives and the Westchester County Historical Society. The Virtual Archives brings Westchester County’s history to life through government held and privately owned documents.

    If you have ancestors who lived in Westchester County during the Civil War, you may find the their first project, “Westchester County and the Civil War,” of particular interest. Through the use of text, photographs, and digitized documents, website visitors get a sense of what life was like in Westchester County during the 1860s, as well as a look at the lives of soldiers, African Americans, women, Abraham Lincoln, and veterans. Throughout the narrative, you will find links to items like newspapers, photographs, a diary, and official documents of the period.

    The Westchester County section provides historical context and background information, including a look at newspapers, the first volunteers (soldiers), draft riots, the bounty system, and the end of the war. The digitized documents include the records of the Westchester County Board of Supervisors showing petitions for war relief and the Cash Book for the Yonkers Volunteer Relief Fund. The latter lists payments to the wives of volunteers during the first half of 1862.

    As noted on the site, thousands of men from Westchester County fought in the Civil War. The lives of a few are profiled in the Virtual Archives. Through photographs, a variety of documents including censuses, and his own words in letters to his wife, visitors to the web site can see what life was like for Valentine Mott Hodgson during the war.

    The section on African Americans in Westchester County concentrates on a community of free blacks called the Hills and on men from the Hills who fought for the Union Army. The digitized documents in this section include manumission documents found in the Eastchester Book of the Colored People dating from the early 1800s and a map of the Hills from F.W. Beers’ 1867 atlas. This community existed into the 1930s. Simeon Tierce, whose story as a soldier is told in the section on Westchester County soldiers, was a resident of the Hills.

    The next section of “Westchester County and the Civil War” looks at the way in which women supported the war effort through their fundraising efforts and relief work. One can learn about the lives of women in the 1860s through The Elusive “Average” Woman, Women and the Civil War, and Women’s War Work. The final two sections of "Westchester and the Civil War" deal with Abraham Lincoln and the lives of veterans, including a look at local Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Posts and soldiers’ memorials.

    Another interesting project is the Historical Treasures of Westchester County. Here you will find a sampling of historical records from a variety of repositories throughout Westchester County. Documents come from municipal clerks' offices, historical societies, and public libraries. Currently five towns and one city are represented in the archives — Eastchester, Greenburgh, Rye, Scarsdale, Somers, and White Plains. The Virtual Archives intends to continue adding materials from the remaining Westchester County communities.

    Documents from the City of White Plains include Capt. Jonathan Horton’s Company Payroll, Feb. – April, 1775; Two Quaker Marriage Certificates, 1830 and 1859; the 1845 State Census for White Plains; and The White Plains War Mothers’ Files ca. 1918. There are two items from the Westchester Temporary Home for Destitute Children. The Home was founded in 1880 by “concerned county citizens” in Pleasantville after “New York State had passed a law forbidding alms houses from keeping children over the age of two.” The home was moved to White Plains in 1885. There is an Album of Photographs covering the period 1907 – 1908 that was kept by Anna Sweet, one of the teachers at the home. The Home closed in August 1908. The other item consists of two volumes of the admission and discharge records for the period 1884 – 1892. These records document names, place of origin, race, age, and circumstances surrounding their arrival at or discharge from the home. In some cases information about their behavior or misbehavior has been included.

    Visit the Virtual Archives of the Westchester County Archives at

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    Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures

    Our "Nutshell" 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.

    February 8, 10 a.m., David Allen Lambert
    Getting the Most from NEHGS Databases
    With over 110 million names in 2,200 databases, is the primary website for New England genealogy. This lecture will offer an exciting overview of the Society's online databases. A live demonstration of the website will offer you a chance to see how to best utilize the Society's resources from your home.

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    From the Online Genealogist

    “My great grandfather died in New York City in the 1910’s. Is there a way I can locate an index to deaths in New York City online or do I need to write and hope the Vital Record office will look it up for me? I do not wish to pay a lot for this search, so an online index would be great.”

    You are in luck, as there is an index to NYC deaths on the internet already. Hard-working volunteers from the Italian Genealogical Group have produced a number of useful databases. The death index is complete for all the boroughs from 1898 to 1942. This database also includes earlier death indexes for the boroughs of Manhattan (1891-1897) and Brooklyn (1895-1897).

    Besides the deaths you can find indexes for:

    Marriages: New York City Groom Index 1909-1936; and NYC Bride indexes for the counties of Bronx 1891-1937, Kings 1891-1937, and Queens 1904-1937.

    Naturalizations: Eastern District (Kings, Richmond, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk counties)1865-1957; Southern District 1907-1959 (Manhattan, Bronx, and Westchester County); Nassau County Supreme Court 1899-1989; Suffolk County Supreme Court 1865-1981; Bronx County Supreme Court 1914-1952; and military naturalizations.

    The following databases are in progress: Manhattan Brides Index 1866-1937; Brooklyn Grooms Index 1866-1906; Queens County Naturalization Index 1906-1941; Veteran Discharges for Suffolk Co., NY 1890-2001; and Incoming Passenger Ship index for 1820-1897.

    You can access these materials 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

    Finding Your Favorite Genealogical Book
    by Marie E. Daly and Jean Maguire

    Perhaps you have discovered that a certain book contains your complete genealogy going back generations, but you cannot come to Boston to access the book in the NEHGS Research Library, and your local library does not have the book. Here are some of the options you can pursue:

    See if NEHGS has digitized this book and made it accessible to members as a database on our website, You can find out by looking at the Alphabetical Listing of All Databases on the Research area of our site or by searching for the book in our online library catalog to see if there is a link from the catalog record to the NEHGS database.

    The book may be included among the 25,000 genealogies and local histories available to NEHGS members through the HeritageQuestOnline database. Society members can access this site by visiting Once on the HeritageQuest site, choose “Search Books,” which features full-text searches as well as the option to browse all titles (to find a specific book), and you can view the actual page images online.

    Many local libraries are members of regional networks that allow patrons from one town to borrow books from another town at no charge. Ask your local librarian how to search the regional catalog.

    If you strike out with this option, you can ask the reference librarian at your local library to perform a search in the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) to locate a library that owns the book. The librarian could start by looking for the book in the area around your locale and, if that fails, widen the search to include the entire country. When you locate a library that has the book, you can either visit that library or ask your librarian to borrow the book for you via interlibrary loan. There may be a charge for the loan.

    You can also purchase a copy of the book. NEHGS sells many reproductions of old genealogies and local histories. Check the to see if the book is for sale. You may also find a used book for sale on the web by going to or Both of these sites allow you to search for copies of the books and find the best price.

    If you only want to access certain pages from the book, you can order photocopies of them online from the NEHGS Research Services department. Get more information about photocopy services at

    And finally, if you want to find your ancestors but don’t know in what books to search, you can contact NEHGS Research Services to have a full search done.

    Here is an example of one of the more popular genealogical books:

    Vital Record of Rehoboth, 1642-1896

    • Database version on
    • Included in HeritageQuest Online database
    • Held by 160 libraries, according to OCLC
    • Reprint available for purchase from online booksellers
    • Available at NEHGS Research Library – photocopies of required pages may be ordered from Research Services department.

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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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New England Historic Genealogical Society
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Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

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