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  • 2007 Archive

  • Vol. 9, No. 12
    Whole #314
    March 21, 2007
    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
    * Nova Scotia Vital Records Now Online
    * A Message from NEHGS Member Services
    * Name Origins
    * Autographed Copies of Hartford County, Connecticut, County Court Minutes, Volumes 3 and 4, 1663-1687, 1697
    * Research Recommendations: Drouin Collection Online
    * Spotlight: Champaign County, Ohio Local History and Genealogy
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Public Lecture Series
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on New

    The Essex Antiquarian – Volume 5 (1901)
    This week we are releasing the fifth volume of The Essex Antiquarian, "An illustrated ... magazine devoted to the biography, genealogy, history, and antiquities of Essex County, Massachusetts," which was published and edited by Sidney Perley between 1897 and 1909. The journal was published monthly from January, 1897, to June, 1901, and then quarterly from July, 1901, to October, 1909. Each yearly volume contains 200-220 pages consisting of genealogical articles and a variety of photographs, maps, illustrations, gravestone inscriptions, all pertaining to Essex County.  The thirteen original volumes of The Essex Antiquarian are available in our Research Library, call number F72/E7/E74 1897-1909.

    Settlers of the Beekman Patent
    New sketches added March 15, 2007: Corbin, Cornell, Cory/Corey, Cousins and Covel Families.
    The Settlers of the Beekman Patent series, 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.

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    Nova Scotia Vital Records Now Online

    Nova Scotia kept provincial-wide vital records between 1864 and 1877, then started again in 1908 and continues to the present. The 1864–1877 records have been available on microfilm for years from Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management (NSARM) and the Family History Library. NSARM has been working for years on digitizing the provincial vital records, and previewed their website last fall at the FGS/NEHGS conference in Boston.

    Their long-anticipated website,, launched yesterday. In addition to the records long available on microfilm, they have added a great deal of previously-unreleased data. The website contains birth, marriage, and death records for the period 1864–1877. The marriages records from 1878 to 1930 are now available on the website, as well as death records from 1908 to 1955. (Marriages were the only record to be registered province-wide after 1877.)

    NEHGS Online Genealogist David Lambert saw invited to preview the site before it launched. He has more details about the site at

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    A Message from NEHGS Member Services

    Since announcing our new membership categories in the winter issue of New England Ancestors magazine members are already upgrading. These new levels of membership provide additional ways to support the Society’s goals.

    We also try to economize by emailing renewal notices. Also, beginning in April, members will receive a permanent membership card at the time they renew. This new permanent membership card will list the membership anniversary month.

    Members will continue to receive an annual renewal notice first by email, then a paper notice one month before renewal date and a second paper reminder one month after the renewal date. Members can help us in our cost-saving efforts by renewing on line and keeping us informed of any email as well as postal address changes.

    If you experience any problems renewing online please call us Monday-Friday from 9 to 5 Eastern Time at 1-888-296-3447.

    Pauline Cusson
    Director of Member Service

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    BETSEY, BETTY, BESS (f) – Nicknames derived from ELIZABETH.

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    Autographed Copies of Hartford County, Connecticut, County Court Minutes, Volumes 3 and 4, 1663-1687, 1697

    Interested in Connecticut genealogy? Planning on attending the NERGC Conference? Then you won’t want to miss this special offer! NEHGS is proud to announce autographed copies of Hartford County, Connecticut, County Court Minutes, Volumes 3 and 4, 1663-1687, 1697 by Helen Schatvet Ullmann. Mrs. Ullmann will be speaking at the upcoming NERGC conference on Friday morning in a talk entitled "Early Connecticut Court Records Illustrated: Locate Relationships and Local Color” and will be making references to this book.

    Hartford County, Connecticut, County Court Minutes, Volumes 3 and 4, 1663-1687, 1697 continues where the "Records of the Particular Court of Connecticut", published in 1928, left off in April 1663. At first the court is sometimes a "Particular Court", sometimes an Assistants Court, but mostly these are the records of the county court. This title will be a valuable resource for those investigating the people of this place and time period.

    Normally priced at $19.00, this title is available for $15.00 plus shipping (book rate shipping of $4.00 or UPS shipping of $7.50).

    To get your autographed copy, please call 1-617-226-1212. Offer good through April 1st, 2007, while supplies last.

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    Research Recommendations

    Drouin Collection Online
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Founded in 1899 by Québec lawyer Joseph Drouin, L’Institut Généalogique Drouin (The Drouin Institute) has been one of the major resources for French-Canadian research for over a century. Among his many activities, Drouin microfilmed records from areas in North America that were settled by the French, including Québec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Illinois and Michigan. He also microfilmed records from areas where French-Canadians later settled in the U.S., such as Massachusetts and upstate New York. All parish registers in the province of Québec, regardless of denomination, were microfilmed by Drouin. These records are the lynchpin for all French-Canadian research.

    L’Institut Drouin folded in the 1990s and the assets were sold to The American-French Genealogical Society in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and Jean-Pierre Pepin of Longeuil, Québec. Pepin spent several years digitizing the Drouin Collection with high-quality scans of the microfilm. The Generations Network has recently made these records available on their and websites. has separated the images into six databases:

    • Quebec Vital Records (Drouin Collection) 1621-1967;
    • Ontario French Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967
    • Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1695-1954;
    • Acadia French Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1670-1946;
    • Quebec Notarial Records (Drouin Collection), 1647-1942;
    • Miscellaneous French Records (Drouin Collection), 1651-1941.

    The records are not yet indexed, but are fully browseable. The various church records databases are organized by location, then by year. The notarial records database is organized by the name of the notary. The miscellaneous records are organized by the name of the record set.

    The Generations Network has teamed with the Programme de Recherche en Démographie Historique (PRDH) at l’Université de Montréal to index the records. The PRDH will ensure that the French names will not be mistranslated in the index. Work is also in progress for a French-language interface for the databases, to make it easier for Francophones to use.

    Browsing the database was very easy. In addition to browsing directly to a location, you can search for location names, church name, year, religion, or keyword. Because many of the names are in French, it may be easier for Anglophones unfamiliar with French spellings to browse down to the town. For example, one common problem for Anglophone beginners is that there are two words for saint in French, one for masculine and one for feminine. If the church was named for a male, the word is Saint; for females, the spelling is Sainte. Complicating the search process is the fact that they have used the short form of the words —St and Ste — in the titles of the databases (note that there is no period). Ancestry has also included hyphens between words in the names of the locations, as they apper in the original French. Despite my best efforts I was unable to find some locations using the search box. I browsed to the location and made sure I typed the name character for character as it appeared in their list, but the location still did not appear in search results. For the moment, it may be faster for you to browse to the location rather than search for it.

    All in all, this is an extremely valuable set of data for those of French-Canadian descent to have access to. Once it is fully indexed and searchable by name it will become the premier online resource for researching those ancestors. You can search it directly from the or homepages by clicking the Quebec Vital Records link. For more information on the Drouin Institute, read my article on

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    Spotlight: Champaign County, Ohio Local History and Genealogy
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    The Champaign County Library is located in Urbana, Ohio, which is approximately forty miles west of Columbus. Its web site contains a number of local history and genealogy resources, including the following:

    GAR War Sketch Book
    This volume was published in 1892. The stated purposed of the book is found in the Preface: “This Volume is designed to contain the record of the war services (1861-1865) of the living and deceased members of this post; the living to certify the statement of their services, and the facts relating to the dead to be certified by the Post Historian.” It contains the history of W. A. Brand Post No. 98 of Urbana, Ohio, personal sketches of the soldiers, a burial listing, and regiment listings for the soldiers. Because the book is in poor condition, the Champaign County Library undertook the War Sketch Project. These materials, plus scanned images of the book itself, have been transcribed and uploaded to the Library’s website. To access the personal sketches, click on the Index to Soldiers link. The burial listing is a partial list from the War Sketch Book. The data fields in the burial listing database include the soldier’s name, rank, company, arm of service, date of death, where buried and remarks. The Regiment Listings for Soldiers is specific to members of W. A. Brand Post No. 98. The data fields contain the soldier’s surname, first name, and options for up to three companies and regiments in which the soldier served.

    Obituary Index
    This database is an alphabetical index to obituaries found in Champaign County, Ohio, newspapers, covering the period from the late 1890s to the present. It does not contain a complete listing of obituaries appearing during the timeframe. The data fields include the name of the deceased, the date(s) on which the obituaries appeared in the newspapers, and, in some cases, an abbreviation for the title of the newspaper in which the obituary appeared. During some periods there was more than one newspaper in the Urbana area. Copies of obituaries can be ordered from the library for a small fee.

    Photos from our Past
    There is a collection of about thirty photographic postcards of scenes in Champaign County. The postcards — old and recent — are of churches, inns, businesses, the Champaign County Children’s Home, schools, and street scenes.

    Wills Index
    These databases are alphabetical indexes to four volumes of Champaign County Wills. One index contains Volumes M & N and cover the period from 1911–1921. The other contains Volumes O & P and covers the period from 1921–1928. The data fields include the name, volume designation, and page numbers. Copies of wills can be ordered from the library for a fee.

    Champaign County Ohio Children’s Home Inmates 1892–1910
    Champaign County Children’s Home Indenture & Death Records 1892–1907
    There are two databases that are indexes to records of the Champaign County Children’s Home. One is an index to inmates for the period from 1892–1910 and the other is an index to the Home’s Indenture and Death Records for the period from 1892–1907. In each case the data fields include the child’s full name and the page number on which the record appears. The Children’s Home records may be found on microfilm in the holdings of the Champaign County Library.

    Champaign County Probate Court Guardianship Records Volumes 4–6
    This database is an index to three volumes of Champaign Court Guardianship Records. They cover the period 1888–1906. In each case the data fields include the child’s or guardian’s full name and the page number on which the record appears. The volume number does not appear in the index record. The Champaign Court Guardianship Records may be found on microfilm in the holdings of the Champaign County Library

    The Champaign County Cemeteries databases for a number of communities are currently under construction.

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    Stories of Interest

    Historian David Kahn, author of The Codebreakers, wrote an op-ed piece for The New York Times on Monday, March 19 describing the plight of the National Archives and Records Administration in obtaining the proper funding. He writes "Without the services of the archives, the nation risks amnesia and loses direction. . . America must not forget itself." Read the full piece at

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    From the Online Genealogist

    I cannot locate a death or burial that should have occurred in Massachusetts between 1875 and 1900. Her parents are buried at Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston. I have never been there but a cousin states there is no headstone so I am uncertain how to find her.


    Not every cemetery in Massachusetts has a central office, but the Forest Hills Cemetery does. Their office is located at 95 Forest Hills Ave in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. You may also reach them by telephone at (617) 524.0128 and by email at They can also be visited on the internet at Having consulted the records in their office, I know that they do have plot cards on all the lots going back to 1848. You can contact them regarding genealogical research requests and hours of operation if you wish to visit.


    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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    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.

    Using Your Computer for Genealogical Analysis
    Rhonda McClure, March 28
    Harness the power of your computer by taking advantage of its analytical abilities. Computers are designed to compare and analyze data after we put it in, and we should let them. Find out how your computer can aid you in seeing what research problems exist, where your research holes are, and even may be able to tell you what records might help you in your continued research. Stop treating your computer like a glorified three-by-five index card and instead hire it as your research assistant. Please join Rhonda R. McClure, an 18-year professional genealogist specializing in computerized genealogy. She is author of several books on computers and genealogy, including Digitizing Your Family History.

    Future programs for the first quarter of 2007 include:
    April 4, Marie Daly, New Visitor Welcome and Library Tour
    April 14, Saturday, Judy Lucey, Bringing Your Ancestors to Life: Using Diaries and Letters for Genealogical Research


    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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    Upcoming Education Programs

    Each year the Society presents a large number of lectures, seminars, and tours for genealogists. We recently received a lovely thank you from one of the participants in our Washington, D.C. tour:

    Post-Washington-Research-Trip Poem
    (without rhyme….but with much feeling)

    In the manner of the Irish Blessing that asks for the wind to be always at your back. Dedicated to those who went and those who might go in the future:

    May your mode of travel be incident-free and your luggage have a safe arrival along with you

    May your hotel room look out upon any of our capital’s classic buildings or gardens and arrangements for your stay beautifully coordinated by an Amanda & an Elise

    May the orientation at each research facility present just the information you require and the staff personnel remain helpful, patient and forbearing

    May the books you need be on a shelf at eye-level and the microfilms be never at the rear of a bottom drawer

    May you always have expert Finding Aides, a Henry or a David, to open a door or window on your ancestry

    May you be accompanied by a Claudia to show enthusiastic interest in your family story and by Washingtonians who know more than you about their city

    And may you feel included in the fellowship of folks who love to be able to say



    The following major programs will be held March-November 2007:

    Writing Your Family History: Organizing Your Material and Getting Started
    Saturday, March 31, 2007 (Seminar in Boston)
    It is a constant refrain: genealogists love the ancestral search but often find the distillation of their hard work unappealing -- and so they end up missing out on what can be the enjoyable experience of writing up their results. Join expert NEHGS consultants for a one-day seminar addressing how to organize your material, plan what to write based on that newly-organized material, and then how to "build" your family history step by step. Henry B. Hoff, editor of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, will speak on the progression from research notes to a written draft, and on what decisions must be made before starting to write. Rhonda R. McClure, NEHGS genealogist, will speak on organizing both paper and computer files. Helen Schatvet Ullmann, associate editor of the Register, will show how to use Microsoft Word to compose a family history, step by step.
    Registration fee: $95

    For more information, or to register, please visit

    Genetics and Genealogy Saturday, April 21, 2007
    Seminar in Boston
    Join us for this day-long seminar with noted genealogist Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, who will give four lectures. Her topics will include tracing your roots with DNA, exploring genetic genealogy options, challenging cases, and the struggle to find the real Annie Moore (the first immigrant to the United States via Ellis Island).

    For more information, or to register, please visit


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

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

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

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

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

    For more information about NEHGS programs visit or email

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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 2007, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

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