American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogical Society - Founded 1845 N.E. Historic Genealogical Society Seal View Your Shopping Cart Join NEHGS
  • 2007 Archive

  • Vol. 9, No. 18
    Whole #320
    May 2, 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 From NEHGS Books: Early Families of Hull, Massachusetts
    * D. Brenton Simons to Speak at NYG&B
    * Rivalry Over Title Oldest House In New England is Settled
    * Name Origins
    * News from NERGC
    * Sales
    * Research Recommendations: Maia's Books: A Great Source for Social History
    * Spotlight: Norwegian Resources
    * 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 6 (1902)
    This week we are releasing the sixth 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 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.

    Social Security Death Index - Free Access
    Updated through March, 2007
    The SSDI, taken from the U.S. Social Security Administration's Death Master File, is one of the key resources available to genealogists today. It contains those individuals who were assigned Social Security numbers and whose death was reported to the SSA.
    Data is now current through March, 2007. Access to the SSDI is FREE to all who visit This database now contains the names of 78,055,546 individuals, most of whose deaths were recorded after 1965.

    The Diaries of the Rev. Thomas Cary of Newburyport, Massachusetts Just Added 1801
    The Rev. Thomas Cary (1745-1808) started his diary in Weston, Massachusetts, in 1762. He wrote his notes opposite the pages of An Astronomical diary: Or, Almanack for the Year of Our Lord CHRIST 1762 which he “bot at Mr. Philips.” His entries are sparse, but invaluable. He continued his diaries until 1806, two years before his death.

    Settlers of the Beekman Patent
    New Sketches added for the Cramer, Crandall, Crawford, Crego and Crepo 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 or more.

    Return to Table of Contents


    New From NEHGS Books: Early Families of Hull, Massachusetts

    Early Families of Hull, Massachusetts tells the story of the families who settled seventeenth-century Hull. The book gives a short history of the town — from its beginnings as a trading post known as Nan­tascot to its Revolutionary-era activities. It then profiles approximately thirty of the town’s early settlers: Baker, Bartlett, Benson, Bibble, Binney, Bosworth, Bunn, Camball, Chaffey, Chamberlain, Cole, Collier, Coomes, Goold, Green, Hett, Jones, Lincoln, Lobdell, Loring, Milton, Phippen, Prince, Shore, Soper, Squire, Steel, Stone, Stubbs, Vickery/Vickars, Ward, Wheaton, and Whitman.

    A descendant of Isaac Allerton, for whom Point Allerton in Hull is named, the late Ethel Farrington Smith consulted seventeenth-century land records, nineteenth-century transcriptions of church records, published books, and unpublished manuscripts, many of them in the Society’s R. Stanton Avery Special Collections Department. This book incorporates some material from Mrs. Smith’s series of articles in The Register.

    6 x 9 paperback. 268 pages plus photo insert. Contains index. $24.95. To order, phone 617-226-1212 (NEHGS Sales Department), fax 617-536-7307 (attn: Sales), or visit

    Return to Table of Contents


    D. Brenton Simons to Speak at NYG&B

    Please join us at the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society on Tuesday, May 8th for a special presentation by D. Brenton Simons, President and CEO of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Mr. Simons will discuss his most recent work of historical nonfiction, Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder and Mayhem in Boston, 1630-1775. This event will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the NYG&B Portrait Gallery. A book signing will follow the presentation.

    When most people think of Boston between its founding and the height of the American Revolution, they probably imagine a procession of Puritan ministers in black followed by patriots like Paul Revere on horseback. In his new book, Simons will change a few minds and shock a few others. Witches, Rakes, and Rogues demonstrates convincingly that the narrow, twisting streets of colonial Boston were crawling with suspected witches, murderers, impostors, con men, and other blackguards. Bostonians may have been prayerful, but they were also prurient and violent. Here are more than twenty true, but long forgotten, tales from Boston’s past.

    By digging deep into the city’s records, he reveals a veritable rogues’ gallery, and even uncovers the truth about Boston’s first documented serial murder in “Murder by Arsenic: The Ill-Fated Greenleaf Children.”

    There is no charge for this event, but reservations are requested, either by calling 212-755-8532, ext. 36, or via e-mail at

    Return to Table of Contents


    Rivalry Over Title Oldest House In New England is Settled

    A century-old debate between the Fairbanks House in Dedham and the Balch House in Beverly has come to a close. Each claimed the title of oldest house in New England. In both homes rested plaques with the purported year of construction: 1636. Advances in technology have now allowed the question to be settled. And the title goes to…

    The Fairbanks House, which had tests performed a few years ago on critical parts of the house. These tests analyze the tree rings in samples of the wood used in the construction. Major support beams, key parts of the construction of a house and among the first pieces assembled in any house, were sampled for the tests. These dated construction of the house to 1641, a few years later than the purported 1636 date.

    Samples from the Balch House were recently sent to the same lab for analysis, with the thought that it would prove them to be the older home. Unfortunately descendants of the Balch family were doomed to be disappointed. The analysis proved that the house was actually built in the winter of 1678/1679, almost four decades later than the Fairbanks House.

    Despite the test results, and the feelings of architectural historians, some members of the Balch family still insist that theirs is the older of the houses and hope to find some way to confirm their feelings.

    The news was released quietly in the pages of the newsletter of the Beverly Historical Society, which commissioned the study in an effort to settle the question permanently. The Boston Globe recently ran a more detailed article about the test, which you can read at Another article on the same subject appeared in the Norwood Daily News Transcript, which you can read at

    In 2003 NEHGS published a book on the Fairbanks House written by architectural historian Abbott Lowell Cummings. For more information on The Fairbanks House: A History of the Oldest Timber-Frame Building in New England, Second Edition, visit

    Return to Table of Contents


    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    THEODA (f) – Contains the Greek element theo- [God]. Often seen in families descended from William and Martha (Holgrave) Parke of Roxbury, Mass. and Stonington, Conn.

    Return to Table of Contents


    News From NERGC

    The ninth New England Regional Genealogical Conference in Hartford, Connecticut, last week was by all measures a resounding success. More than 700 participants joined the speakers and vendors at the Hartford Convention Center to hear dozens of lectures over three days. Dozens of exhibitors were there, including Eastman’s Online Genealogical Newsletter, Heritage Books, iConn, Jonathan Sheppard Books, Maia’s Books, the Photo Detective, and

    Headline speakers Patricia Law Hatcher, Cyndi Howells, and Henry Z “Hank” Jones were among the high points of the program. Participants left with their brains full of new information, their pockets bulging with contact information, and their arms full of purchases from the exhibit hall.

    A number of new products and updates to existing products were seen in the exhibit hall. Some of these will be discussed in coming issues of eNews. Jonathan Sheppard Books made the announcement that they will be closing their “bricks and mortar” location, Martlet Books, in Pittsfield this coming weekend. They are having a special sale discounting everything in the store on Friday and Saturday, May 4 and 5, 2007. Get more information about this sale at The sale includes only the books at the physical location in Pittsfield, not the materials on their website.

    Congratulations to everyone involved in the planning of the 2007 NERGC conference. Information about the 2009 conference, which will be held in Manchester, New Hampshire, April 23-27, 2009, will soon be available on their website at

    Return to Table of Contents


    Four Books by Carl Boyer III

    The NEHGS Sales Department is pleased to offer four titles by author Carl Boyer III at discounted prices, for a limited time.

    Medieval English Ancestors of Certain Americans
    Mr. Boyer treats the baronial ancestry, roughly 1050 to 1300, that is shared by most Americans of royal descent. The accounts of wars, captures, castles ransacked, offices held, and abbeys founded introduces the reader to the wide panorama of Norman/English history from the Conqueror until the reign of Edward I. Published in 2001, 327pp.
    Normally $35.00, Now $25.00

    Medieval Welsh Ancestors of Certain Americans
    This pioneering work responds to a tremendous need. So many genealogists trace lines to medieval England but give up on their Welsh lines. Unfamiliarity with the language, the naming system, the geography and history of Wales causes many to abandon the search. In addition to biographies and history, this book has a list of more than 95 key figures in Welsh history. Data cross references to the Medieval English Ancestors books. Published in 2004, 431pp.
    Normally $40.00, Now $27.50

    Ancestral Lines From Maine to Virginia
    Nine years of research culminates in this work, which covers fifty seven families in The Netherlands, England, Ireland, France, Germany, Ohio, Missouri, California and the Eastern seaboard. Published in 2003, 247pp.
    Normally $25.00, Now $17.50

    Ancestral Lines, Third Edition, 206 Families in England, Wales, the Netherlands, Germany, New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania
    This massive work deals primarily with families centered on Rehoboth, Massachusetts (50); Portsmouth and Block Island, Rhode Island (31); Albany and early New York City, New York (26); and Chester Co., Pennsylvania (19). Some of the covered families have been the subject of much new research. It includes extensive citations, a bibliography, and name and place indexes. Published in 1998, 960pp.
    Normally $70.00, Now $50.00.

    To order, please call 617-226-1212. Shipping is not included.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Research Recommendations

    Maia's Books: A Great Source for Social History
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    As family historians, it is incumbent upon us to learn about social history as well as general history. Social history allows us to place our ancestors in context. An understanding of your ancestor’s occupation may lead you to discover new record sources you never envisioned.

    One of the best sources of social history that pertains to genealogy was at the NERGC conference last week — Maia’s Books. Founded in 2003, this amazing supplier of genealogies, family histories, and social histories has been making appearances at major national and regional conferences around the country. Just stop by the booth and you will see Martha — the perky proprietor — standing by, ready to answer your questions or process your order (often accompanied by her equally friendly and eager-to-assist mother).

    Here is just a sample of titles that can be found at Maia’s Books:

    • Architecture and Rural Life in Central Delaware, 1700-1900
    • Consanguinity, Inbreeding, and Genetic Drift in Italy
    • The Czechs in Oklahoma
    • Eating Smoke: Fire in Urban America, 1800-1950
    • Good Americans: Italian and Jewish Immigrants During the First World War
    • The Lands of Partitioned Poland, 1795-1918
    • List of Emigrant Ministers to America 1690-1811
    • The Weaver's Craft: Cloth, Commerce, and Industry in Early Pennsylvania

    In addition to appearing at conferences, Maia’s Books are all available through the website, You can search the site for specific items, or browse through the books by category. Books are cross-referenced in hundreds of categories, by subject matter or location. Can’t find the title or subject you are looking for? The site has an easy-to-fill-in form to have Martha attempt to find the book for you. You can even buy gift cards for presents.

    Visit to see what might be there to help you in your research. And if you find yourself at a local or regional conference, stop by the booth and say hello to Martha. I can guarantee you will be glad you did.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Spotlight: Norwegian Resources
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Norwegian National Archives - Digitalarkivet (Digital Archives)

    Digitalarkivet is the digital archive of the Norwegian National Archives, where you will find images, transcribed texts and databases. The link above is to the English language version of the website. While some of the site’s descriptive text has not yet been translated into English, individuals who cannot read Norwegian can search the website with success. The database fields are written in English, as are instructions for navigating from page to page. Outside institutions, organizations and private persons can publish materials in Digitalpensjonatet (Digital Inn) portion of the website.

    Most of the resources in the Digital Archives are based on original sources located in the National and Regional State Archives of Norway. Other source materials are from local, regional government, private, and foreign archives. These resources are in the form of searchable databases and web pages with word for word transcriptions or digital images. There is a database selector through which the researcher can access both types of materials. Researchers can also search the individual databases. The databases found on this website include those related to citizenship, emigrants, paupers, censuses, church registers, the military, legal procedures, probate registers, and maps.

    I used this website when I was trying to locate the Swedish grandmother of my first cousin once removed, who married a Norwegian man and then immigrated to New York. I found her on the passenger list of a ship that left Kristiania in 1887. To further my research on this woman I visited the Norway-Heritage website below, where I found a photograph of the ship on which she left Kristiania.

    Norway-Heritage Hands Across the Sea

    If your ancestors emigrated from Norway during the nineteenth century you should visit the Norway-Heritage website. There are passenger lists, information about the ships that carried those passengers, an image gallery, a discussion forum, and links to external sites, as well as articles to help you learn about the Norwegian emigrant experience. This website is valuable for researchers to use in fleshing out the experience of their emigrant ancestors. The following is an overview of some of these resources.

    Passenger Lists 1825 -1873
    This database contains the records of 62,127 passengers on one of 425 ships departing from Norway between 1825 and 1873. While most of the names come from ships passenger lists, some of the information comes from newspaper announcements and accounts of various voyages. Each year of the database can be searched by first name, patronymic, or farm/surname. Patronymic is the father’s name plus the suffix –sen, -son, -datter or –dotter. Examples of this are Hanson or Hansdatter. There is a link to an article entitled, “Those Norwegian names, tips for the online researcher,” which is useful to the first-time researcher in Norwegian genealogy You can also browse through an index of ships by year by clicking on the Ship Index by year link at the bottom of the page. For ships for which passenger lists exist, just click on the passenger list icon to view the list.

    Find a Ship
    Not only can you use this database to find ships that departed from Norwegian ports, but you can also locate other transatlantic ships that carried emigrants from Norway. Click on the first letter of the ship’s name to view the names of all those beginning with that letter, then click on a specific ship’s name link to view detailed information. You can also type the ship’s name into the search box to learn more about the ship on which your immigrant ancestor traveled. If it is the only ship by that name you will be taken directly to the detailed information page. The information in the database includes type of ship, ship’s name, ship owner or operator, year the ship was build, years of Norwegian departures and years of transatlantic voyages. If you only know the shipping line, you can search for or browse through lists of ships by shipping line. You can browse by shipyard, too.

    Image Gallery
    The Image Gallery contains more than 1,250 images in the following categories: Historic Documents, Pioneers & Settlements, Sailing Ships, The Voyage, Ports – Harbors, Steamship Companies, Yards & Construction, and Miscellaneous. In the Historic Documents category there are images of tickets and traveling contracts, newspaper advertisements, passenger lists and other miscellaneous documents and announcements.

    Articles found on this website include The Transatlantic Crossing, which tells the story of how the majority of emigrants going to America traveled, and Hunting Passenger Lists, which describe how to go about looking for passenger information about Norwegian emigrants.


    Return to Table of Contents


    Stories of Interest

    The search for birth parents for both medical and genealogical purposes is a common occurence for adoptees. In the United States there has long been a shroud of secrecy surrounding adoptions. Changes have come in the laws of many states to allow access to these records. The debate has now shifted to North Carolina, where those seeking their birth parents have opened a conversation in the state legislature. Read the story in The News & Observer at

    Return to Table of Contents


    From the Online Genealogist

    I’m trying to trace my paternal grandmother’s ancestors back to England. My grandmother was born in Ohio in 1878; her father and maternal grandfather (and possibly grandmother) were born in England. I know my great-grandfather’s name but I’m not certain of my great-grandmother’s maiden name. Anecdotally, I’ve heard that it was Heatherington and that her forebears were from Hull, England. No written records have been kept within the family.

    In the late 1880s and early 1900s there was an Albert Heatherington, born in England, living with my grandmother’s family. He was a much-younger cousin according to the census.

    I’m new to genealogy and am unsure how to proceed now that I’ve looked at the U.S. federal censuses

    Your question does not indicate how old your great-grandfather was or how long he was in this country. You could check the British Censuses to try to pick up the trail there. If he was born in England after 1837 you might find his birth record in the index at If he was born prior to 1837 you will need to look in English parish registers. Many of these have been abstracted and entered into the International Genealogical Index, available 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.

    Return to Table of Contents


    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.

    New Visitor Welcome and Library Tour, Marie Daly
    May 5, 10:00 AM (Saturday)
    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.

    Getting the Most from NEHGS Databases, David Allen Lambert
    May 9, 10:00 AM
    With more than 110 million records in our databases, NEHGS is the place to search for your ancestors. Please join NEHGS Online Genealogist, David A. Lambert, as he explores the tremendous breadth of the NEHGS databases that are available to members online on

    A Cornucopia of Records: Researching Essex County [MA] Ancestors, David C. Dearborn
    May 23, 10:00 AM

    Mystic River and the Boston Jewish Community, Prof. Ellen Smith
    May 31, 5:00 PM (Thursday)

    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.

    Return to Table of Contents


    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 May-November 2007:

    Research Day at NARA Northeast Region Wednesday, May 16, 2007
    Location: Waltham, MA
    Join NEHGS staff members Marie Daly and David Curtis Dearborn for a day at the National Archives in Waltham. Participants will receive a special introduciton to the collections of the archives, as well as hands-on assistance from NEHGS staff.

    Come Home to New England #1 Monday, June 18–Saturday, June 23, 2007
    Tutorial program with consultations in Boston, featuring Marie E. Daly, David Curtis Dearborn, F.A.S.G., Michael J. Leclerc, and D. Joshua Taylor.

    Come Home to New England #2 Monday, August 6–Saturday, August 11, 2007
    Tutorial program with consultations in Boston, featuring Marie Marie E. Daly, David Curtis Dearborn, F.A.S.G., Henry B. Hoff, C.G., F.A.S.G., and D. Joshua Taylor.

    English Family History Research Tour to London Sunday, September 9–Sunday, September 16, 2007
    Lodging: Holiday Inn Bloomsbury. Features Christopher Child and David Curtis Dearborn, F.A.S.G.

    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

    Return to Table of Contents


    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

    Return to Table of Contents

New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

© 2010 - 2014 New England Historic Genealogical Society