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  • 2007 Archive

  • Vol. 9, No. 16
    Whole #318
    April 18, 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
    * New Meaning to Extreme Genealogy
    * Roots Television Launches RootsTube
    * Name Origins
    * Spring in Boston
    * Research Recommendations: The Photo Detective
    * Spotlight: Online Genealogical Resources of the Westchester County, New York, Archives
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Public Lecture Series
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on New

    New England Historical and Genealogical Register - Just added Volume 155 - 2001
    The New England Historical and Genealogical Register database is one of the most frequently used databases on We are working to bring the database up to date to include the most current issues of the Register. This week, we add the four issues of Volume 155, published in 2001.

    Enhancements to the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 database

    Our ongoing project to add images and corrections to our "Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850" database continues this week. 

    This week, we are re-releasing the enhanced and corrected vital records of Arlington, Cambridge, Lawrence, Mansfield, and Shirley.  We will continue to release enhanced records on a town-by-town basis as our volunteer team completes the work.  When searching records of these towns, you’ll find an ‘image’ link on the search results page that will display the image of the original VR page.

    Also, be sure to try the “Browse” feature for the VR page images that is accessed via the “Browse” button on the Mass. Vital Records to 1850 page. Page images may be browsed by selecting a town and record type, and optionally entering a surname or page number. For instance, to browse for births for the surname “Smith” in the Arlington vital records, select ‘Arlington’, ‘Birth’, and type ‘smith’ in the ‘Last name or Page #’ field. Click the ‘Go’ button and you’ll see the first page of ‘Smith’ births. The ‘Previous page’ and ‘Next page’ buttons will move one page at a time, and the ‘First page’ and ‘Last page’ buttons will jump to the beginning or end of the current record type.

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    New Meaning to Extreme Genealogy

    The New York Times recently ran a story about genealogists who utilize DNA for their research. In addition to those who obtain genetic material through traditional means, the piece interviews people who are literally obsessed with obtaining the DNA of individuals for tracing, with or without their consent. The piece, entitled “Stalking Strangers’ DNA to Fill in the Family Tree,” demonstrates the extreme behavior and ethics of many individuals . The full story is likely to stir some interesting commentary in the genealogical community. You can read it at

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    Roots Television Launches RootsTube

    RootsTelevision, an online video service with genealogical programming, has launched a new feature. RootsTube allows individuals to upload their own videos, à la YouTube. To celebrate the launch, they are holding a Wild Roots! Contest. Users are invited to submit videos illustrating the craziest thing they have done in their family history research. The winner will receive $500. More details are available at

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    MINTA (f) – Probably a nickname for ARAMINTA, a name derived from medieval and Renaissance romance.

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    Spring in Boston

    There is nothing like springtime in the beautiful city of Boston! The NEHGS Sales Department is happy to offer several titles about Boston on sale for a limited time! For a full list and ordering information, please send an email to with the words “Boston Sale” in the title.

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    Research Recommendations

    The Photo Detective
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Photographs always add much to your family history. Unfortunately, all too many of us are familiar with the pile of unidentified images sitting in a box. We have no idea who the subjects are or when they were taken.

    Enter the Photo Detective. Maureen Taylor is a photo expert. She has written extensively on the topic, including Uncovering Your Ancestry Through Family Photographs, second edition (Family Tree Books, 2005), Preserving Your Family Photographs (Betterway, 2001) and Scrapbooking Your Family History (Betterway, 2003).

    Maureen lectures extensively throughout the country, discussing the identification and preservation of photographs among many other topics. Her audiences are always standing room only. Her workshops always sell out quickly at conferences.

    She runs a blog to give you tips and assistance with your photographs. is filled with useful information. In a recent posting Maureen discussed a new product from the Generations Network called SnapGenie, which allows you to add audio recording to your family photos.

    Maureen and NEHG Online Genealogist David Allen Lambert have embarked on a new project. Finding the Revolutionary War Generation is a project to identify all (or as many as possible) photographs of individuals who were living during the Revolution. You can read more about the project, and see some sample images at They are always looking for help in locating such images. Find out more about helping them at

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    Spotlight: Online Genealogical Resources of the Westchester County, New York, Archives
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    The Westchester County Archives serves as the repository for records of Westchester County, New York, for the period from 1680 to the present. If your ancestors lived in or passed through Westchester or the Bronx you should visit this web site to explore the Archives’ resources. Click on the Genealogical Assistance link to begin your research.

    Online Indexes
    The Online Indexes were created from index books and other resources held by the Westchester County Archives by members of the Volunteers in Archives program. First click on the Online Indexes link and then on the Personal Names Indexes link to access the databases. They include the following:

    Cemetery Records, Veterans, ca. 1935-1939
    The source documents for this database are index cards compiled by the Works Projects Administration in the late 1930s. The cards contain biographical and service information for individuals who served in the military from the Revolutionary War through World War I, and who are buried in cemeteries located in Westchester County. The index cards may contain the following information: place and date of birth, record of service, commendations, hometown, cause and date of death, and burial site. The data fields in the alphabetical online index include last name; first name; birth and death years; and the war in which the veteran served.

    Commissioner of Forfeiture Records, 1784-1786
    A journal maintained by the Commissioners of Forfeiture, which sold lands confiscated from Loyalists after the Revolutionary War, is the source for these records. Each record includes the name of the buyer, the date of the instrument, the amount paid, and a brief property description, including acreage. The data fields in the alphabetical online index include last name, first name, date of the instrument, and page number. All of the records held by the Archives have been indexed.

    Court Records, 1768-1912
    The source for this index is filings made with the “Courts of Common Pleas, Oyer & Terminer, General Sessions, Sessions, and Justice, as well as Supreme Court, Circuit Court, and County Court.” Some of the names in the index have also been drawn from tavern “recognizances” and liquor licenses. The data fields in the alphabetical index include last name; first name; year of the record; town, if known; court (i.e. General Sessions, Commons Pleas, Supreme Count); type of record; and call number.

    Incorporation Records, 1876-1914
    This index includes the names of signatories for various types of business records. The records have been drawn from “statements of incorporation, amendments, and name changes for businesses, fraternal organizations, benevolent societies, and churches.” They cover the period from 1848 through 1926, with the bulk if the records coming from the period 1876-1926.

    To date, these records have only been partially indexed. There are approximately 1,500 records in the online database. The data fields in this alphabetical index include last name, first name, company name, business type, town, date, call number, and page number.

    Marriage Records, 1908-1930
    The Archives holdings include thirty-six volumes of indexes to marriage records. The records generally include separate entries for the bride and groom, and certificate number assigned to the license, affidavit and/or a certificate from County Clerk's office. In some cases the index includes the year of issuance of the record, the volume number and date of the marriage record.

    The online index containing nearly 13,000 records includes entries from book indexes covering the period 1908-1935. The index itself includes only the marriages through 1930. You should be advised that not all of the records for the period 1917–1926 have been included in the online index. The data fields in this alphabetical index include last name, first name, certificate number, and year.

    Naturalization Records, 1808-1927
    The sources for the more than 8,600 records indexed in this database are volume indexes and documents in the Archives holdings, which contain declarations and petitions documenting immigrants' applications for citizenship. Archives staff and volunteers have created this index. The index is organized alphabetically by last name. It contains a majority of the naturalization records dated between 1808 and 1927 held by the Archives. Some recently discovered records have not yet been added, including books covering the city of Yonkers. The Archives is working to add them to the index through 1927. Rejected Petitions have not yet been included in the index. The data fields in this alphabetical online index include last name, first name, record type, year, document number, and call number (“A” number).

    A link to tips for searching the Online Indexes has been provided on each page. Copies of records found in the indexes can be ordered from the Archives. In addition to the indexes, you can also access a digitized version of the 1867 Beers Westchester County Atlas, genealogical research guides, and off site genealogical research resources.

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    Stories of Interest

    The Livingston County Genealogical Society in Michigan has come up with a unique way to celebrate their twenty-fifth anniversary. They have created a year-long travelling clothesline display illustrating the families of their members. Read more about this intriguing project at

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    From the Online Genealogist

    I recently found some of the material I sent a cousin on a website that is selling it as a CD-Rom. This website is not just names and dates, but full narratives of letters, etc. The contact information I have for them does not work. Is there anyway to determine who owns or operates the website outside of their contact email on the site?

    You should have no problem finding out who is in charge, or the company handling the technical aspect of this site. Just go to the free website I hope that this can be resolved easily for you. Just a suggestion: the person may not realize it is your material so give them the benefit of the doubt. If you can offer images of the original letters you have proof of your argument.

    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.

    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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