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  • 2007 Archive

  • Vol. 9, No. 14
    Whole #316
    April 4, 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
    * From the Volunteer Coordinator
    * New Books and Other Resources in NEHGS Library Catalog
    * Name Origins
    * Classic Reprints Catalog Sale
    * Research Recommendations:
    * Spotlight: Historic Newspaper Indexing Project of the Washington County Free Library, Maryland
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Public Lecture Series
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on New

    Vital Records of the Town of Dorchester, Massachusetts to the end of the Year 1849

    This collection of the vital records of Dorchester was originally published in two volumes: A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston Containing Dorchester Births, Marriages, and Deaths to the End of 1825, and Vital Records of the Town of Dorchester from 1826 to 1849.

    Dorchester was first settled in 1630 and remained an independent town until 1870, when it was annexed to Boston. The original area of the town of Dorchester included the Boston neighborhoods of South Boston and Hyde Park, and the present towns of Milton, Wrentham, Stoughton, Dedham, Sharon, Foxboro, and Canton. The population of Dorchester was 1,550 in 1776; 1,722 in 1790; and 7,968 in 1850.

    From the introduction to the first volume:
    “This volume, being the Twenty-first Report of the Record Commissioners, contains, it is hoped, every entry of birth, marriage, and death recorded as happening in the town of Dorchester before the end of the year 1825, and now found in the office of the City Registrar of Boston. Of the earliest entries (pages 1-4, and 20), the original record no longer exists, and they are only known in a copy. The rest of the book is printed directly from the original records in three volumes of manuscript. The first contains births 1642-83, marriages 1663-83, deaths 1657-83; the second contains the years 1684-1744, and the third 1745-1825.”

    From introduction to the second volume:
    “The following records of Births, Marriages and Deaths, include all entries found in the books of record of the Town of Dorchester from 1826 to 1849, inclusive, and all records previous to 1826 not found in volume 21 of the Record Commissioners' Reports. In the records of deaths at the beginning of 1841 the following note appears: 'Buried the day set down to each person,' but in some cases two dates are given, presumably date of death and burial, and in such cases both dates are given. In 1844 the word 'died' appears before the date, which would indicate that the date of death was recorded.”

    The data from these two books are being added to our existing Massachusetts VR to 1850 database. Images of the original pages from these books may be viewed from the search results page of that database. These page images may also be browsed via the “Browse” function of that database.

    This database addition contains the records of 10,282 births, 6,837 marriages, and 5,970 deaths. The original volumes are available in our Boston research library, call numbers F73.1/B74 V.21 and F73.1/B74 V.36.

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    From the Volunteer Coordinator
    Susan Rosefsky

    NEHGS is once again participating in the New England Regional Genealogical Conference, which will be held this year in Hartford, Connecticut, April 26-29. No doubt many NEHGS members will be going to this conference, and I want to encourage members to contribute a few volunteer hours. This help is important. It makes the conference run more smoothly and efficiently for everyone, and it is a good way to meet other people interested genealogy — and it’s fun.

    If you are going to the conference, and can consider volunteering, please contact me at or by telephone at 617-226-1276.

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    New Books and Other Resources in NEHGS Library Catalog

    NEHGS has posted the most recent list of new titles added to the library collections. To see if there is something relevant to your research on this February to March 2007 list, go directly to the New Books page at You can also access the list by going to the catalog’s main search page,, and clicking the “New Books” link beneath the search box. To view more details about any title on the list, simply click the title, which is hyperlinked (underlined), and you will be taken to the full catalog record. The list is sorted in call number order. If you would like to use any of these new resources, you may do so by visiting our Research Library in Boston or by contacting our Research Services department to have a researcher consult the resource for you.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    NED (m) – Nickname formed from EDWARD or EDMUND.

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    Classic Reprints Catalog Sale

    Did you know that NEHGS offers a catalog of classic reprints of more than 10,000 hard-to-find or out-of-print books? The NEHGS Special Orders catalog includes high-quality reprints of books that have long been out of print or are hard-to-find. All special order books are printed on acid-free paper in hardback bindings and many are available in softcover. Find your family in our massive new catalog! We are so sure you will love this catalog that with its purchase you will receive a coupon towards $10 off your first order from it!

    Special Sale Price until April 18th: $9.00 + shipping. To order the catalog visit

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    Research Recommendations
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    My colleague Scott Steward recently alerted me to a wonderful website of images he has used called Shorpy is run in a blog format by the Juniper Gallery of Fairfax, Virginia. The gallery specializes in reproducing vintage photographs on archival French art paper.

    The images displayed on the site are high-resolution, and can be viewed as thumbnails or full-size. The site is organized like an old newspaper. The central section runs headlines with new images as well as stories from old newspapers.

    The site is searchable as well as browseable. A list of links on the right side of the page allows users to go directly to galleries based on different subject matters: At Home, Cities & Streetscapes, Factories, Men at Work, Mining, Railroads, Restaurants, Rural America, Sports & Recreation, and Urchins etc. Visitors can create a username and password and post messages to the site about each of the images.

    The images come from all over America. Many are early color photographs from the 1940s. Most images are from the early decades of the twentieth century. A large number of them were taken in the early 1900s by Lewis Wickes Hine a part of a decade-long field survey for the National Child Labor Committee.

    The images show buildings, people, trains, and cars among other things. Many times (but not always) the images include the names of the individuals pictured. In one case, a 1911 image of boys working in a factory in Indian Orchard (part of Springfield), Massachusetts identifies nobody in the picture, but does give the name of one who wasn’t photographed: “Hector Dubois, 24 Water St., doffer who crushed finger in pump.”

    Another great feature of the site is that you can order prints of the images that you like. Various sizes and papers are available.

    The site is named for Shorpy Higginbotham. There are several pictures of Shorpy, a greaser on the tipple at the Bessie Mine, part of the Sloss-Sheffield Steel Company in Alabama. Henry Shorp Higginbotham was born 23 October 1896 at Nauvoo, Alabama. He was the sixth of the ten children of P.M. and Nancy J. (_____) Higginbotham. On his 1917 WWI draft registration card he is said to be in “Good & Sound Health.” Perhaps he suffered from some infirmity from working in the mines, however, because in the 1920 census he is living with his family in Jefferson County, and has no occupation. He died in January 1928 at Jefferson County at the age of 31.

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    Spotlight: Historic Newspaper Indexing Project of the Washington County Free Library, Maryland
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Located in western Maryland, Washington County was named for the Revolutionary War general and President George Washington. Hagerstown is the county seat, and home to the Washington County Free Library.

    The Historic Newspaper Indexing Project was started in 1980. The goal of this project was a multi-volume subject and personal name index to weekly and semi-weekly newspapers published in Hagerstown between 1790 and 1890:An Index to Hagerstown Newspapers. To date, printed volumes covering the period 1790-1844 and 1860-62 are already completed. They may found in The Washington County Free Library (WCFL) in Hagerstown, as well as in other county library branches. Microfilm of the original newspapers is available at the Hagerstown WCFL.

    The online index covers the period 1860–1865. To access the database, click on the Hagerstown Newspaper Index, 1860–1865 link. The following newspapers have been indexed: Herald of Freedom and Torch Light (HF&TL), Herald and Torch Light (H&TL), Hagerstown Mail (HM), and Maryland Free Press (MFP). The geographic area covered in the articles found in the index include the present-day counties of Frederick, Washington, Allegany and Garrett in Maryland; Cumberland, Adams, Fulton and Franklin counties in Pennsylvania; and Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties in West Virginia.

    Article titles can be browsed by clicking on the “Show Article Titles by Date” link. Index users can look through lists of titles month by month for each of the five years. The data fields include the date on which the article appeared, newspaper abbreviation, page and column information, and the article title and summary.

    The index can also be searched by keyword (“Search Term”). Enter a keyword or phrase in the search box and click on the Start Search button. Click on the “Subject Term” in the search results to see the complete article title information.

    A Guide to Using the Index is provided to assist users in their searches of the database. The Guide also includes a list of issues of the four newspapers for the period 1863–65 missing from the database. Copies of up to five newspaper articles per month can be requested from the library. Photocopies cost 20 cents per page. Images sent via email are free of charge.

    There are also a number of articles about Hagerstown and Washington County during the Civil War, which may be accessed via links found on the Historic Newspaper Indexing Project webpage. These include the following:

    • Civil War in Hagerstown and Washington County
    • Hagerstown Newspapers During the Civil War with an Introduction to the Country Newspaper
    • Hagerstown and Washington County
    • WHILBR-Battle of Antietam and the Establishment of Antietam National Cemetery
    • Ransom of Hagerstown from Herald and Torch Light

    In addition, there is also a link to the Maryland State Archive — Guides to Maryland Newspapers page.

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    Stories of Interest

    The Xinhua News Agency recently reported that the largest genealogical database in the world is nearing completion. The Shanghai Library has been working on the project for six years. Read more details at

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    From the Online Genealogist

    I discovered a recently-deceased second cousin was an inventor while still living in Europe. I know of ways to search for American Patents via Google, however is there a registry of European Patents?

    This is a very interesting question, which took me a little time to answer for you. The English interface to search items in the European Patent Office can be found at One of the nice options of this database is the way you can search by keyword and the name of the patent applicant. You can go directly to the search screen 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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    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 at 10:00 A.M. unless otherwise stated. Advance registration is not necessary.

    Bringing Your Ancestors to Life: Using Diaries & Letters for Genealogical Research
    Judy Lucey, Saturday, April 14
    “August 26 1838. Yesterday my dear husband arrived in Fairhaven, today has again, met with his family and friends.” So writes Deidawia (Bowen) Swift on the return of her husband, Hallet Swift, master of a whaling ship, from a recent voyage. Diaries such as these not only offer a glimpse of the past but can bring life to our family histories. Please join NEHGS Assistant Archivist, Judy Lucey, as she presents some of the diaries, letters and journals found in our manuscript collection that can assist you in your genealogical research. The care and preservation of these treasures will also be discussed.

    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.

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

    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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