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  • 2006 Archive

  • Vol. 8, No. 8
    Whole #259
    February 22, 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 Online Research Articles
    * World War II Oral History Project to Begin
    * New NEHGS Library Catalog Debuting Soon
    * NEHGS Used Book Sale
    * Corinth, Maine Historical Society Needs Assistance
    * Family Genealogy Day in Newbury, Massachusetts
    * Upcoming Education Program
    * Spotlight: Contra Costa County [California] Genealogical Society
    * Upcoming "Genealogy in a Nutshell" Lectures
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Research Recommendations: Spelling Variations for Names
    * Hoaxes and Scams
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New on

    Records of St. Paul's (P.E.) Church, Syracuse, New York, 1830-53

    The building that housed St. Paul's Church was home to the first Episcopal as well as the first Catholic church in the village of Syracuse. It held the St. Paul's Protestant Episcopalian Church from 1827 to 1842, when it was sold (minus the bell) to St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church for about $600.

    These 762 records were compiled by Minnie L.C. Coleman, and include heads of families with occupation and death and/or removal information; marriages; list of members of St. Paul's Sunday School with ages; and burials, including date, age at death, and occasionally, parents' names.

    The original volume is part of the R. Stanton Avery Collections, call number NY SYR 35.

    Pupils and Teachers at Mrs. Rowson’s Academy, Boston, Massachusetts, 1797-1822.

    This list of pupils known to have attended Mrs. Rowson’s Academy is intended to be of assistance to genealogists and social historians as well as to curators, collectors, and antiques dealers who seek to document the makers of various forms of schoolgirl art and to compare the work done at different schools.

    Mrs. Rowson’s biographer Elias Nason published in his A Memoir of Mrs. Susanna Rowson (Albany, N.Y.: 1870) a list of pupils with some biographical information. Nason realized that his list was incomplete, for he stated that “It would be impossible to give the names of all the ladies who had the benefit of her immediate instruction, but from the papers now before me I am enabled to make the following list.”

    The names published by Nason still constitute the basic list of those who attended the school and have been listed in bold type. Other names have been added to this list from documented embroideries, guardianship accounts, family papers, diaries, Mrs. Rowson’s own publications, and miscellaneous correspondence of former pupils.

    Early American Newspapers, Series I (1690 - 1876)

    Early American Newspapers has been updated with an additional 26, 000 issues. The database now contains 1.5 million pages of 690 newspapers published in this early timeframe. New titles added are:

    Alexandria Advertiser; Alexandria Expositor; Alexandria Times; American; American Beacon; American Star; American Telegraph; American Yeoman; Amerikanischer Beobachter; Anti-Monarchist; Bennington News-Letter; Burlington Gazette; Carey's United States' Recorder; Carlisle Republican; Carolina Gazette; Champlain Reporter; Charleston Evening Gazette; Charleston Morning Post; Chesnuthiller Wochenschrift; Christian Herald; Christian Messenger; Chronicle; Columbia Gazette; Columbian Advertiser; Columbian Herald; Columbian Patriot; Columbian Phenix; Commercial Register; Companion; Connecticut Mirror; Courier de l'Amerique; Daily Evening Gazette; Epitome of the World; Evening Courier; Farmers' Library; Fincastle Weekly; Advertiser; Franklin County Advertiser; Genius of Liberty; Gleaner; Green Mountain Patriot; Guardian of Liberty; Herald of the Valley; Herald of Vermont; Herald of Virginia; Independent Inquirer; Investigator; Manufacturers' & Farmers' Journal; Middlebury Mercury; Miller's Weekly Messenger; Mohawk Mercury; Mount Hope Eagle; National Gazette; National Standard; Newport Herald; Norfolk and Portsmouth Gazette; North Star; Observer; Palladium of Liberty; Palmyra Register; Patriot; Patrol; Patron of Industry; Pennsylvania Herald; Pennsylvania Ledger; Petersburg Daily Courier; Philadelphia Minerva; Political Censor; Political Mirror; Political Repository; Post-Boy; Providence Journal; Providence Phoenix; Register of the Times; Religious Reporter; Reporter; Republican; Republican Agriculturalist; Richmond Enquirer; Rochester Telegraph; Shamrock; South Carolina Gazette; South-Carolina Independent Gazette; South-Carolina Weekly Advertiser; South-Carolina Weekly Gazette; Southern Evangelical Intelligencer; Spirit of the Press; St. Albans Advisor; St. Lawrence Gazette; Star of Freedom; State Gazette; Staunton Observer; Staunton Spy; Strength of the People; Tablet of the Times; Telegraph; Tickler; Time Piece; True American (Leesburg, VA); True American (Bedford, PA); Vergennes Gazette; Vermont Centinel; Vermont Courier; Vermont Intelligencer; Vermont Mercury; Vermont Mirror; Vermont Precursor; Vermont State Paper; Village Record; Virgina Journal; Virginia Chronicle; Weekly Eagle; Weekly Inspector; Weekly Register; Weekly Wanderer; Welt Bothe; Western Star; Winyaw; Intelligencer; Woodstock Observer; World

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    New Online Research Articles

    We have added three new articles to assist you in your genealogical research. These informative postings will give you new tools and techniques to add to your research arsenal.

    New DNA article:Mental and Neurological Diseases

    Researching Your Mayflower Ancestors: Part IV: Internet Research: Sorting the Good from the Bad by Alicia Crane Williams.

    African-American Marriage Records

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    World War II Oral History Project to Begin

    The Cambridge [Massachusetts] Historical Commission is beginning a citywide oral history project on World War II and the Home Front. The Commission is collaborating with the Veterans Oral History Project through the Library of Congress and the American Folklife Center to record the experiences of World War II veterans and city residents involved in the war effort at home.

    The project will interview World War II veterans who served overseas and at home. The only requirement is that the veteran must have been living in Cambridge when he/she enlisted or was drafted. The Historical Commission would like to interview veterans of the:

    • Army, Army Air Corps, the Women’s Army Corps (WACs) and the Women’s Air Service Pilots (WASPs)
    • the Navy and WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service)
    • the Marine Corps
    • the Coast Guard and Women’s Auxiliary Unit, SPARS, and
    • the Merchant Marine


    Defense workers, such as a “Rosie the Riveter” at the Charlestown Navy and Quincy shipyards; Red Cross personnel; spouses and siblings of service people; USO and civil defense volunteers; MIT and Harvard students in the V-12 programs and radar researchers; war reporters and photographers; mapmakers; conscientious objectors, and others will also be interviewed. The project aims to tell the story of World War II from many different perspectives.

    If you would like to be interviewed or can recommend someone to be interviewed, please call oral history project coordinator Sarah Boyer at the Cambridge Historical Commission (617 349-6171) or email her at

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    New NEHGS Library Catalog Debuting Soon

    We are bursting with excitement about the new NEHGS Library Catalog which will be debuting on the NewEnglandAncestors website sometime in March, and we couldn’t wait to share the news. The new catalog will offer many attractive features not available on the current catalog, including these: for each successful search you will see considerably more information about each result; and you will be able to save searches to a “cart,” from which you can then print the data, email it, or download it to your computer for later use. The NEHGS staff is starting to train to use the new system. We will soon let you know soon when the release date will be, so watch eNews for updates!

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    NEHGS Used Book Sale

    The NEHGS Sales department has an overstock of certain used book titles that have been priced to move. Most of these titles have been used in the NEHGS research library and have recently been replaced with newer copies. Others have been donated by other local libraries and NEHGS patrons and have been available only at the Family Treasures book store at our Boston facility. Prices have been cut by as much as 80% on over 150 separate titles. We have a very limited quantity of many of these titles and orders will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. The sale price is good only for the titles we already have in stock. For a full list of titles available during this Used Book Sale, along with information on how to order, please send an email with the words "USED BOOKS" in the subject line to

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    Corinth, Maine Historical Society Needs Assistance

    Corinth Historical Society of Corinth, Maine is busy researching and writing the history of the town, a job which has not been done since 1887. We are interested in collecting artifacts and data on the history of the town: old letters, farm journals and receipts, town reports, diaries, photos, school memorabilia, anecdotes you care to share. We are able to copy and return materials, if need be. We are also very interested in genealogical information on any present or former resident of the town. We are especially interested in hearing from descendants of some of the earlier settlers of the place, such as the Albion Paris Whitney who moved to the Petaluma area around 1862. If you have any information that you could contribute, you may contact us at or by mail at Corinth Historical Society, P. O. Box 541, Corinth, Maine 04427. We thank you for your invaluable aid.

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    Family Genealogy Day in Newbury, Massachusetts

    Historic New England's Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in Newbury, Mass. presents its first-ever Family Genealogy Day on Saturday, July 15, 2006. The town of Newbury, located on the Atlantic coast near the New Hampshire border, originally encompassed the present city of Newburyport and town of West Newbury. From the earliest days of its 17th-century settlement, Newbury has been a destination for those looking for family roots.

    The one-day event invites all local history enthusiasts to tread in the footsteps of Newbury's early settlers and learn how to explore family history. In addition to customized house tours, visitors will receive resource materials that include Newbury research tips, a bibliography of local history sources, and custom-produced maps to local cemeteries and historic sites.

    The 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. event includes tours of the 1690 Spencer-Peirce-Little House and farm, Coffin House, and the Swett-Ilsley House, all in Newbury, plus the Rocky Hill Meeting House in Amesbury. The list of individuals related to these properties reads like a who's who of Newbury's earliest settlers. Visitors will also learn about the hired hands and tenant farmers whose lives and labors were just as vital as those of the deeded owners. The event aims to add valuable perspective for any family history enthusiast. Representatives from the New England Historic Genealogical Society will be on site to dispense research tips and provide guidance to their library resources. Local libraries and family associations will also have a presence at the event.

    Advance registration is required. The cost is $15 for members (children free); $25 for non-members (children $12). Visitors may register by phone(978-462-2634) or online at

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    Upcoming Education Program

    Spring Weekend Research Getaway
    March 23-25, 2006
    Join us for a fresh approach to the Research Weekend Research Getaway: a program devoted to old documents as well as guided research, one-on-one consultations, lectures, and special access to the collections. NEHGS staff Timothy G.X. Salls, archivist, and Deborah Rossi, collections maintenance assistant, will begin the program with a presentation about caring for old books and manuscripts. Guest lecturer Jerome E. Anderson will discuss handwriting analysis. Diane Rapaport will share her expertise on using court records and talk about her new book, New England Court Records: A Research Guide for Genealogists and Historians. Old unidentified family photographs often remain frustrating mysteries: NEHGS genealogist Julie Helen Otto will be available to analyze one such photo for each participant.

    Bring your charts and count on making major breakthroughs! All serious genealogists should treat themselves to this special program and 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 the library in Boston. For accommodations, we suggest the nearby Charlesmark Hote.

    Registration Fees: $285 for the entire three days, $95 per day. Open to members only, $75 membership fee.

    For more information on this program visit or email Amanda Batey at

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    On January 1, 2005, the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities launched the Mass Moments project—a daily almanac of Massachusetts history. Radio listeners throughout the Commonwealth will hear a different story every day about events and people in the recorded history of Massachusetts. These stories are also preserved on the project's website,

    Website visitors can learn more about the "Moments" presented on the radio, see images and illustrations, read a primary source document, and get suggestions of links to follow and places to visit. Additionally, they can view a timeline to see when a given "Moment" occurred, and where applicable, a map to see where it happened. Visitors are invited to comment or ask questions about a "Moment" on our message board, thus providing an on-line community where Bay State history enthusiasts can meet and discuss our past. They can sign up to receive Mass Moments daily in their email, and if they post a question to the message board, they can be notified when someone has responded.

    Today's moment discusses the Lynn Shoeworker's Strike held on February 22, 1860. By choosing to begin their protest on Washington's birthday, over 20,000 strikers were invoking the memory of their revolutionary forefathers. You can read more about the strike by visiting the site at

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    Spotlight: Contra Costa County [California] Genealogical Society

    The Contra Costa County Genealogical Society was founded in 1975. Since 1978 the Society has been involved with the Heritage collection at the Pleasant Hill Library. The Society also publishes a monthly newsletter, Diablo Descendants. There are a number of indexes on their web site.

    Contra Costa County Vital Records from the Contra Costa Gazette
    Theses indexes consist of vital records that were published in the Contra Costa Gazette prior to 1900. This is an ongoing project. There are indexes to births, marriage and deaths. The data fields in the births index includes surname, sex of the child, date of birth, place parent(s) names, and the date the announcement appeared in the newspaper. The marriage index can be viewed alphabetically by groom’s surname or by bride’s surname. The data fields include groom’s full name, bridge’s full name, date of the marriage and the date the announcement appeared in the newspaper. The data fields in the deaths index include full name, death date, place of death, and date that the announcement appeared in the newspaper. Copies of the notices can be obtained by contacting the Query Committee of the Contra Costa County Genealogical Society.

    1876 Voters Lists
    1898 Voters List
    The Contra Costa County History center has some typewritten voters lists in its holdings. Some of them have been placed on the web site. These include an 1876 Voters list for Nortonville & Somersville, which was probably compiled by historian Louis Stein, source unknown. These towns were in the Black Diamond Coal Mining Region of Contra Costa County. Most of the people here were miners. The data fields in this list include full name, age and country or state of origin. There is also a 1898 Voters list by precinct for Contra Costa County. The data fields in the index include names, occupations and nativity of the registrant. The list itself includes additional information such as a description, naturalization information, date of registration, literacy, and age. Should you find one of your ancestor’s on the list, the Query Committee can provide a copy of the page listing for a donation of $5. They will also provide you with a description of the precinct and a map.

    The Richard Schellens Collections of CA History
    After his retirement, San Mateo County resident Richard N. Schellens dedicated his life to collecting genealogical and historical information from throughout the state of California. The collection is housed in the Redwood City Main Library’s History Room. Genealogical societies from throughout the state are indexing the collection. The Contra Costa County Genealogical Society has been indexing the materials related to Contra Costa County. This alphabetical index is a work in progress. The data fields in the index include surname, first name, year, subject, page, and volume number. The items in the collection come from a variety of sources including city directories, local histories, newspaper obituaries, and other documents.

    Extractions from Antioch CA Sources
    Clicking on this link will bring you to a web page containing a number of databases related to Antioch and Brentwood, California. The data has been extracted from a variety of sources including the Assessment Book for the town of Antioch, 1917; a Record of Licenses Issued between April 1911 and July 1921; listing for the Rose Hill Cemetery, Black Diamond Mines; and Antioch, California Tax Lists for 1909 and 1920. There are also lists of graduates from Riverview Union High School Graduates, 1908-1918; and students and faculty from the Liberty Union High School Annual for the early twentieth century.

    McKenney’s District Directory of Contra Costa County 1879
    McKenney’s District Directory lists residents of Contra Costa County and their occupations in 1879. The directory states the number of acres owned for most farmers. The index is organized into alphabetical listings by locale. In many cases, there are descriptions of the cities and towns included in the directory.


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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

    “I have a family legend rumor that a cousin of my great-grandfather played professional baseball in the 19th century. How can I determine this fact about my family? All I have is a few names and when he lived. I would also like to find a picture of him in his uniform.”

    Before the internet your best option would have been to go to your local bookstore or library and look at the Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball. Today, however, there are also many websites that give the statistics of former and current baseball players. I would recommend going to and click on the first letter of the surname you are researching. Some of the more famous players are listed right on the homepage. Another good website is: Additional information may also be found at Google and search for relatives. I would suggest for example typing “John Andrew Smith” in quotes, and add the word "baseball" in the search field.

    For a collection of images of former and current Major League Baseball players contact the photo department at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. You might have a non-baseball photo of your relative in which they might also be interested.


    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

    Spelling Variations for Names
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Standardized spelling of names is somewhat of a late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century phenomenon. Prior to that time, wide variations of spelling can be found in the records of a single individual. Those who have immigrants who arrived from non-English-speaking countries have to deal with a communication issue that changed names widely. Anglophone clerks recorded what they heard, and immigrants (who often spoke little English and would have had a difficult time spelling their name in even their native language) had their names changed dramatically. This can make searching records generations later more of a challenging process. Even a move from location to location can cause Anglophones to have difficulty understanding each other. Did you know that there are seven different classifications of English in North America: African-American, American Indian, British, Canadian, Chicano, Northeast States, and Southeast States? While soundexing and wild card searches can help with electronic searching, they won't solve all problems. And they won't help at all with print or manuscript materials.

    When trying to find spelling variations the first step is to think of how many different letter combinations could make that sound. For example, the letters S and C can sound exactly the same. The letters B and P or M and N can be difficult to differentiate when spoken. Dipthong pairs, such as AE, AI, and AY, can sound similarly but be written quite differently. Depending on where they occur in a word, CH, SH, and TI can all sound the sound the same. Try writing down as many different combinations as you can think of and searching for those.

    Another technique that works very well is to talk to a friend and say the name to them, then ask them to spell it for you. Try this with several different people. You will be amazed at the number of variations you get, and hopefully will find some new ones to try.

    When looking through records trying to discover your ancestors, make sure to read names aloud. In the 1881 Canadian Census of Ontario the Anglophone census taker turned Ludger Brisebois into Roger Brisbaw. One of Ludger's brothers, Evangeliste, became Avangless. His sister Zepherine became Siferene.

    Spelling variations have the largest impact when the first letter of the name is changed. This can cause them to appear in a much different place in an index than where they belong. Using these tips and techniques will hopefully help you locate your ancestors in a miriad of spellings.

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    Hoaxes and Scams

    It’s sad to think that hoaxes would target the genealogy community, but it’s all too true. If you know someone starting out in genealogy, they may want to read this good article on the website on the various types of hoaxes that affect genealogy 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

    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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