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  • 2006 Archive

  • Vol. 8, No. 6
    Whole #257
    February 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.

    * NEHGS “On the Road” to Berkeley, California
    * New on
    * Picton Press Now Open Again for Business
    * Three Love Stories for Valentine’s Day
    * Coming Soon in the Register
    * National Archives Presents Free PDP Workshops for Teachers
    * Save 20% on all Great Migration books!
    * Upcoming Education Program
    * Spotlight: Obituary Databases
    * Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Research Recommendations:Getting Obituaries Through Interlibrary Loan
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    NEHGS “On the Road” to Berkeley, California

    Whenever possible we travel out of Boston to meet family historians across the country. NEHGS Executive Director D. Brenton Simons will be visiting with members and friends at a special event at Hs Lordship’s waterfront restaurant at 199 Seawall Drive in Berkeley, California on Thursday, February 23 from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm.

    Brenton will share news and insights about NEHGS and its extensive research resources in a talk entitled “What’s New in New England Genealogy.” An elegant buffet lunch will offer an opportunity for informal visiting, and after lunch Brenton will share stories about the “unusual and infamous” ancestors featured in his recent book Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem.

    Jane Knowles Lindsey, our hostess for the event, is an NEHGS councilor and president of the California Genealogical Society. Guests and non-members are welcome to attend this event. Tickets are $30 per person, which includes the luncheon. We request that attendees RSVP by February 15 to Jane by mail at 3380 Woodview Dr., Lafayette, California 94549-5349; by telephone at (925)284-7804; or by email at Checks are required to confirm a reservation and should be made payable to NEHGS. Walk-ins will be accommodated as space allows.

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    New On

    Births records of Castine, Maine, 1796-1817
    Grace Limeburner of Brooksville, Maine, transcribed these 493 town birth records in 1947. A note in the beginning of the manuscript reads: "Persons reading these records should also read the records of Penobscot and of Brooksville. A portion of the town of Penobscot was incorporated as Castine in 1796. Brooksville was incorporated in 1817 - and included that part of Castine east of the Bagaduce River." The original volume is part of the R. Stanton Avery Collections, call number ME CAS 11.

    Cemetery Transcriptions from the NEHGS Manuscript Collections
    Just added: Biddeford Pool Cemetery and Greenwood Cemetery in Biddeford, York County, Maine and South Berlin Cemetery in Berlin, Worcester County, Massachusetts.

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    Picton Press Now Open for Business

    During the first week in February the sales staffs at NEHGS and Picton Press were very busy packing, shipping, and reshelving almost 700 cases of books – approximately 20,000 lbs of stock. We've updated the store section of the NEHGS website to make it easier for you to find the books you need. We appreciate your patience while we effected this transfer and as we refine the changes. NEHGS is very pleased to be partnering with Picton Press, and hope you will be pleased with the wide array of books they offer.

    Do remember that NEHGS is still your bookseller for our seminal series of The Great Migration books and CD-Roms, and for reprints of the more than 10,000 titles in our Special Orders Catalog. Visit to order these books.

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    Love Stories for Valentine’s Day

    We asked eNews readers to share ancestral stories about love and/or Black Sheep Ancestors, and we have two for you to enjoy. The first was in response to our story of “love in the NEHGS library stacks” where member Phil Towne proposed to fellow researcher and member Margaret Lemelin. The first is from the proud parent of a creative man:

    Our son, John, was walking in downtown San Francisco with his girl friend when they stopped in front of the F.A.O. Schwarz toy store. As they peeked in the dark, closed door of the store the lights suddenly came on, a wooden soldier marched stiffly to the door and opened it. As they entered warily the escalator turned on. On the second floor a table was arranged with a bottle of champagne and two glasses. As they sat down the toy soldier handed his girl friend a Teddy Bear. Around the neck of the bear was an engagement ring. Our son dropped to one knee and proposed, and she accepted.
    - John Sr and wife in Atlanta

    The next counts as a “favorite ancestor” story too:

    In 1902, my grandmother was sent to Europe on a bicycle tour with an older couple and their daughter. Her father did not approve of the young man she had become enamored of in Galesburg, Illinois and hoped to break them up.  During the trip, they were in Cologne, Germany and the other girl suggested that she contact a young man that she knew was going to the University of Heidelberg and see if he could join them in Cologne and perhaps bring along another young man. One of these two young men who came to Cologne was to become my grandfather.  He was from New Hampshire, son of a farmer, who had put himself through MIT and received his  Masters degree there as well. He was in Germany studying for his PhD in metallurgy. After spending a day in each other's company, the young ladies continued their trip and the young men returned to school. My grandparents wrote to each other for the two years it took my grandfather to earn his doctorate. Then in 1904 grandpa traveled to Galesburg where he and grandma were married on what my grandfather called their "second date."  Needless to say, great-grandpa's plan worked.

    The year after their 50th anniversary, they returned to Germany for the first time and revisited the university and Cologne where they had met. Grandpa was one of the witnesses at my first marriage in Munich, Germany. Unfortunately, that marriage did not last as long as theirs. It was over after 28 years. However, I was fortunate in finding someone new and we are going on 22 years.
    - Terry Rostamo

    Stay tuned for additional stories in the near future.

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    Coming Soon in the Register

    How many of us remember fondly the times we opened a copy of the Register and found a definitive article on the English origins of one of our immigrant ancestors? This issue provides three such chances, namely, the Gates, Clarke-Stacy, and Post articles.

    In The English Origins of Stephen Gates, 1638 Immigrant to Massachusetts, the author based his careful research on the previous work of others, and also reviewed the indexes to local probate jurisdictions. There he found two key wills, one of which was for Stephen’s father, “Eustace Jaques,” laborer.

    An estate division may provide a needed identification, especially when a parent lives to old age. In Anna Stratton, Wife of Joseph Billing(s) of Concord, Massachusetts, Robert Rodgers shows that “Mrs. Anna Billing, widow, youngest daughter,” named in a 1762 division of the estate of Elizabeth Stratton, was the previously-unidentified wife of Joseph Billing(s).

    Clarke and Stacy Origins of Three Immigrants of Ipswich, Massachusetts: Simon and Elizabeth (Clarke) Stacy and Her Sister, Susanna (Clarke) Whipple, began with the serendipitous discovery of the 1621 marriage of John Whipple and Susanna Clarke. This explained how the wives of John1 Whipple and Simon1 Stacy were related, and it would have made a satisfactory short article. However, Bill Fiske has gone far beyond that point, and his extensive research has shown that Stacy was connected to his wife’s family and they were all related to other New England colonists.

    The third English origin article in this issue is English Ancestry of Stephen1 Post of Saybrook, Connecticut. No English wills were found for this family, but parish register entries were sufficient for the author to compile a good account.

    From the Azores to Cape Cod: Manuel Spindle and His Descendants traces the descendants of an immigrant of Portuguese ancestry who was on Cape Cod by 1797. Not surprisingly, his wife was from a local family of English origin, and their children’s spouses were from similar backgrounds. However, one great-granddaughter married a Native American man.

    In the last installment of George Lanphear of Westerly, Rhode Island, and His Descendants, author Scott Andrew Bartley completes the third generation of this large family. Not that the Lanphears had so many children, but rather they had very low infant mortality. The immigrant had at least eighteen Lanphear grandsons who married and left descendants; thus the surname is widespread.

    The Wrong James and Alice (_____) Ashton, Alas! warns descendants of James1 and Alice (_____) Ashton of Rhode Island of a contemporary couple in England with the same names.

    And finally we conclude Marriages Noted by the Rev. Cotton Mather and His Son, the Rev. Samuel Mather, Boston, Massachusetts, 1655–1737. There are some new identifications (including a hitherto-unknown sister of an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales) and some women whose multiple marriages had not previously been determined.

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    National Archives Presents Free PDP Workshops for Teachers

    The National Archives-Northeast Region in Waltham is offering free workshops for teachers. Participants will learn what types of information can be found in the records and how to use them in the classroom. These classes will be held on Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm at the National Archives at 380 Trapelo Road, Waltham. All workshops are free and open to the public.

    February 9, Archival Research & Document Analysis
    February 23, Local History in Federal Records
    March 9, Census Records
    March 23, Immigration and Naturalization
    April 6,World War II, America on the Homefront
    April 20, Application of Research Methods

    Teachers must attend a minimum of 5 of the 2-hour workshops, and the "Application of Research Methods" workshop is required

    To register and or get more details call (866) 406-2379. Space is limited to 20 participants for each lecture and each tour. Light refreshments and coffee will be served.

    The National Archives in Waltham has almost 30,000 cubic feet of archival material dating from 1789 to the 1970s, These records were created or received by the Federal courts and over 80 Federal agencies in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

    Hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 7:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., and the first and third Saturday of each month 7:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., excluding all Federal holidays.

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    Save 20% on all Great Migration books!

    The Great Migration Begins, 1620-1633 (3 volume set)
    Item S28443200, Was $125.00, now $100.00

    The Great Migration, 1634-1635
    Volume A-B, Item S28443300, Was $59.95, Now $47.96
    Volume C-F, Item S28443400, Was $59.95, Now $47.96
    Volume G-H, Item S28443500, Was $59.95, Now $47.96
    Volume I-L, Item S28443600, Was $59.95, Now $47.96

    Great Migration Newsletter, Volumes 1-10
    Item S28442000, Was $19.95, Now $15.96

    The Pilgrim Migration
    Item S28449000, Was $49.95, Now $39.96

    Prices good through February 17, 2006 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: Obituary Databases


    The City of Mountain View Public Library (

    The Mountain View Public Library’s History Center collection contains an online obituary index. Most of the obituaries date from 1967 to the present, but there are some from earlier dates. You can search the database by names, dates, and keywords. The data fields include name of the deceased, date and name of the newspaper in which the obituary was published, and the names of any individuals mentioned in the index. There is also a library call number for the clipping. The Mountain View History Center collections include the complete obituary files.

    Palo Alto City Library – Palo Alto Historical Association Obituary Index

    This obituary index contains over 20,000 names collected by the Palo Alto Historical Association, the earliest dating to the 1890s. It includes residents of Palo Alto at the time of their deaths, former long-time residents of the city, and non-residents with noteworthy connections to Palo Alto. To browse through the index, just click on the List OBIT Record link. Click on the Search link to find someone in the database. At present, the best way to search the database is by first and last name, even though newspaper name and date search options are available. The Historical Association is in the process of making the data more consistent in format to enable the newspaper name and date search functions. You can also run a keyword search. The data fields include the name of the deceased, date of the newspaper, name of the newspaper, and the link to newspaper’s web archive, if available. If you would like a copy of the obituary, you can contact the library’s reference desk by email or telephone.


    Stark County District Library Genealogy Services (Ohio)

    The Stark County District Library is located in Canton, Ohio. The Library’s Genealogy Division holdings include an index to vital notices in the Ohio (Canton) Repository newspaper (1815 – 1899) and an index to obituaries in the Canton Repository from 1900, as well as indexes to a number of volumes related to the history of Stark County. Select “Genealogy” from the dropdown list on the library’s home page and then click on the Stark County Online Indexes link from the Genealogy Services page to access these indexes. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the indexes as they are in PDF format. If you do not have it, you can download it from any one of a number of links on the Library’s web site.

    The Index to Notices in the Ohio Repository 1815 – 1899 contains marriage, death, divorce and administration notices, as well as a few guardianships. Each record in this alphabetical index includes surname; given name; maiden name, if available; title (Mrs., Miss, Mr., Rev., Dr., Capt., etc.); date that the notice appeared; and where it appeared in the newspaper (page number and column). Any additional information could appear in the remarks column.

    The Index to Obituaries in the Canton Repository 1900 – covers the periods from 1900 to 1955, plus 1966, 1978-1979, and 2000-2005. Additional years will be added to the database as they are completed. Each record in this alphabetical index includes surname; given name; maiden name, if available; title; date that the notice appeared; and where it appeared in the newspaper (page number and column). Use the dropdown menu to access the indexes by year. You can browse through the listings or use the Adobe Acrobat search function to locate a specific record. Instructions have been provided for those of you who are not familiar with how to search in Adobe Acrobat Reader.

    You can order photocopies of the actual newspaper articles by clicking on the “Request for Stark County Records” link on the Indexes to Stark County Resources web page or by sending a written request to the Library’s Genealogy Division.

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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.

    March 4, 10 a.m., Marie E. Daly
    New Visitor Welcome and Library Tour
    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.

    March 18, 10 a.m., Marie E. Daly
    Getting Ready for Your Research Trip to Ireland
    So you are planning a visit to the Old Country, and you want to look up your Irish roots while you are there. NEHGS Irish expert Marie Daly will outline what you need to know before you leave, what Irish resources are available in the U.S., and where you should focus your research efforts in Ireland.

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    From the Online Genealogist

    “My great-grandfather supposedly 'left home one day and was never heard of again' so I am unable to locate his death record. I have found his marriage record, and the last census he appears on is the 1900 Fall River. Where should I go from here, when there is no death record available?”

    My first suggestion would be for you to checking the cemetery plot records of his grandparents, parents, and his siblings. He may have died out of state and the body was brought back for burial. Did he have any relatives living in 1900 such as his parents, siblings, etc? If they left a will, there may be a reference to his whereabouts.

    Sadly an individual may die from a terrible accident, such as drowning, where the body may never have been recovered. In many places a death record will not be issued unless there is a physical body. It is also very possible he may have moved to another state entirely. Have you tried looking for him on the 1910 Census outside Massachusetts? This census and more can be searched on your access to HeritageQuest Online through NEHGS.

    As more newspaper obituaries are scanned and made available you may eventually locate him. When he left town he may have changed his identity all together. Have you examined any local criminal court records for him? He may also be in jail in another state. And also separation support or divorce records may be worth examining. Obviously some of these examples are extreme. However you need to keep an open mind to the possibilities when searching for his date and place of death.

    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

    Getting Obituaries Through Interlibrary Loan
    by Christopher Challender Child

    The Social Security Death Index and several state death indexes available on,, and other databases make tracking down lost relatives born in the early twentieth century easier than before, although writing away for their death records can often take a long time and be expensive. Sometimes the last residence given in the Social Security Death Index is not the state in which the individual died. Then you really may have no idea where your subject’s death occurred. An easier and less expensive way is getting the person’s obituary, which usually occurs in the deceased person’s place of residence whether they died there or not.

    First, figure out what local newspapers exist for the person’s town of residence. You can usually find this online through search engines like Google or Yahoo. Then make an interlibrary loan request from your local library, usually for the first ten days after a person’s death. Some newspapers have a whole month microfilmed on one roll, while some have two or three reels for a month. Libraries may have different rules, but most allow up to three reels to be borrowed at a single time. In case of an older Social Security Death Index entry where only the month is mentioned and not the day, borrow that month, and the first few days of the next one, in case the deceased person died at the end of the month.

    This is often an easier and less expensive way to get the facts of the persons death than ordering offical death certificates. It also usually gives you a lot more information about the deceased person’s survivors that you may not have known about, especially if you are researching a distant relative. You can always write for the death certificate if you still need it after reviewing the obituary.

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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

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

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