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  • 2007 Archive

  • Vol. 9, No. 20
    Whole #322
    May 16, 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
    * The Great Migration Newsletter
    * New England Diaries Seminar
    * Nova Scotia Heritage Event in Boston
    * Name Origins
    * Address Change Reminder
    * Research Recommendations: The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife
    * Spotlight: Owen County, Indiana, Historical and Genealogical Society
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Public Lecture Series
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on New

    First Settlers of Albany, NY, 1630-1800

    In our ongoing effort to help track the westward migration of New England settlers, this week we are releasing a searchable database of names from the 1872 Jonathan Pearson Contributions for the Genealogies of the First Settlers of Albany of the Ancient County of Albany, from 1630 to 1800.

    From the introduction to the book:
    "The site of the present city of Albany was first occupied as a trading post in 1614. After the charter of the Privileged West India Company, in 1621, Fort Orange was built, around which clustered the little hamlet occupied by the servants and factors of the Company, who claimed and exercised the entire Indian trade.

    The early population of Fort Orange and Beverwyck, though almost pure Dutch at first, was changeable: after a few years spent in traffic with the Indians some returned to Patria; some retired to New Amsterdam (New York), whilst others passed beyond the limits of the Colonie and purchased lands at Kinderhook, Claverac, Catskill, Coxsackie, Niskayuna, Half Moon, and Schenectady.
    The conquest of the province by the English in 1664 introduced a new element into the population; the sheriff of the county, clerk of the village and city, and officers and soldiers of the garrison were mainly English or New Englanders: a few of these intermarried with Dutch maidens and became permanent citizens. Later another nationality was introduced: through the bounty of Queen Anne some thousands of Palatines were sent over in 1708-22; they settled at East and West Camps on the Hudson, and afterwards in the Schoharie valley, and at German Flats on the Mohawk."

    This database contains the names of 7,695 individuals and families. Descriptive information regarding these names is contained on images of the original pages, which may be viewed from the search results page.

    The original volume is available in our Boston Research Library, call number F127/A3/P3.

    First Settlers of Schenectady, NY 1662-1800

    In 1873, Professor Jonathan Pearson wrote Contributions for the Genealogies of the First Settlers of the Patent and City of Schenectady, from 1662 to 1800, as a companion to his earlier work on Albany, New York. As he states in his introduction:
    "The First Settlers of Schenectady were citizens of Beverwyck. In 1661 Arent Van Curler extinguished the Indian title to lands at this place, and the following spring, with a little company of pioneers, commenced the first settlement. Two years later the lands were surveyed, allotted and patented to fifteen persons, a portion of whom being non-residents sold out their rights to permanent settlers.
    The territory covered by this work is nearly that of the present county of Schenectady, extending about 22 miles along the Mohawk, and 4 miles on each side of that river. For the first hundred years after Schenectady was begun, the settlements were mainly confined to the river flats, gradually advancing westward, and consisted chiefly of descendants from the old Holland families of Albany and Schenectady, the Palatines being still farther west.

    But after the French war and more especially after the Revolutionary war, New Englanders and Scotchmen immigrated largely to the high lands lying back from the river, which had hitherto been regarded as of little or no value."

    This database contains the names of 5,904 individuals and families. Descriptive information regarding these names is contained on images of the original pages, which may be viewed from the search results page.

    The original volume is available in our Boston Research Library, call number F127/S27/P3.

    Social Security Death Index - Free Access
    Updated through April, 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 April, 2007. Access to the SSDI is FREE to all who visit This database now contains the names of 78,228,121 individuals, most of whose deaths were recorded after 1965.

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    The Great Migration Newsletter

    The April-June 2007 Great Migration Newsletter is now at the press and will soon be mailed to subscribers and posted online. This issue's fascinating lead story, "English as She Was Spoke," describes crucial differences in the meanings of several common words as interpreted by Great Migration immigrants and twenty-first century researchers. As Robert Charles Anderson writes, "If the modern researcher analyzes seventeenth-century documents with a twenty-first century understanding, misunderstanding and errors will abound."

    "Focus on Weymouth," the first installment of a multipart article, provides a parcel-by-parcel analysis of a typical series of land grants in a Great Migration-era town. As always, the issue contains a recent literature survey and Anderson's "Editor's Effusions."

    Consider subscribing to the Great Migration Newsletter, either in print or online. For $20, a professionally printed copy of the newsletter will be delivered to your home four times during the year. (Subscriptions purchased now will include the January-March 2007 issue.) Online subscribers will receive the four issues of Volume 16 (one posted each quarter), plus access to the Great Migration Newsletter Online Archive, which contains volumes 11 through 15 and bonus sketches not yet available in print. NEHGS members can subscribe to the online version at the discount rate of $10.

    To subscribe to either version, please visit If you have any questions about your Great Migration subscription, please contact Member Services at or by phone at 1-888-296-3447.

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    New England Diaries Seminar

    The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife presents In Our Own Words: New England Diaries II, a three-day conference with related museum tours on the historical perspectives of diary writing and diary production in New England and contiguous areas of New York and Canada. The conference will be held June 15-17, 2007, at Deerfield, Massachusetts. Subject areas to be discussed include "Diaries of Men and Boys;" "Diaries and the Threshold of Womanhood;" "Variations of Truthfulness and Presentation of Self;" "Students, Apprentices, and Adult Learning;" "Siblings’ Diaries; Farmlife and Worklife;" "New England Diaries in Foreign Lands;" and "Diaries as Sources for American History." For more information, visit or email

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    Nova Scotia Heritage Event in Boston

    The Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, in cooperation with the Boston Parks Department, is introducing Connections, a kick-off event to this year’s ParkArts program. They will provide toe-tapping entertainment featuring Celtic music, highland dancing and a special feature where Bostonians can search online with the Nova Scotia Archives to discover their Nova Scotia roots. The festival will be held Friday, June 1, 2007, Noon to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, June 2, 2007, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Times are subject to change) at Copley Square, Boston.

    The Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia will have a booth at the event to discuss family history questions.

    This event is free and open to the public. For more information about Nova Scotia or the event, go to

    As part of the celebration, NEHGS is hosting a special lecture, The Nova Scotia - New England Connection from the 18th to the 20th Centuries, by Dr. Allan Marble of the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia, at 2:00 P.M. Saturday, June 2. The one-hour lecture will be held at the Society in the 2nd floor Sloan Education Center. Among the positions held by Dr. Marble were President, Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia; President, Genealogical Institute of the Maritimes; Board of Trustees, Public Archives of Nova Scotia; and President, Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society. He has written numerous articles and books on Nova Scotia history and genealogy, including Nova Scotians at Home and Abroad; The Descendants of James McCabe and Ann Pettigrew; Deaths, Burials, and Probate of Nova Scotians, 1749-1799, from Primary Sources; and Deaths, Burials, and Probate of Nova Scotians, 1800-1850, from Primary Sources.

    The lecture is free and open to the public; no registration is necessary. For more information, contact Marie Daly at or 617-226-1231.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    MANDANA, MANDANE (f) - Persian

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    Address Change Reminder

    As we approach the summer season, we would like to remind our members to notify the membership department of any seasonal change of address you may have. Early notification will ensure timely delivery of your mail and magazines from the Society. Please contact us at or by telephone at 1-888-296-3447 if you have an address change.

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    Research Recommendations

    The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Elsewhere in this issue of eNews you will find an announcement of this year’s Dublin Seminar. Seminar activities are run in conjunction with the program on American and New England Studies at Boston University. For three decades the Dublin Seminar has been a meeting place for scholars, students, and amateur historians. It was founded on the premise that traditional lore and material folk culture are rapidly disappearing in New England. A conference is held each year in June or July, with concurrent exhibitions at participating museums and art galleries.

    For genealogists, the seminar provides an incredible opportunity to learn more about the lives of our ancestors. After each year’s conference, a book is published containing the papers presented. Each year’s conference has an overarching theme, with individual speakers focusing on various parts of the theme. Presenters have included such well-known historians as Peter Benes and Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. A sampling of past conferences shows how valuable they are to genealogists.

    The 1982 seminar discussed American Speech: 1600 to the Present. Presentations included “Dialect Areas of the Atlantic Seaboard”; “Lost Vocabulary of Colonial Rhode Island”; “Household Vernacular in Concord, Massachusetts, Probate Inventories: 1655-1800”; and “Teague Talk; or How to Impersonate a Stage Irishman in Five Lessons.”

    House and Home was the subject in 1988. Among the presentations were “Provisions for Daughters: The Accounts of Samuel Lane”; “The Dilemmas of Domestic Service in New England, 1750-1850”; and “‘A great help to many families:’ Straw Braiding in Massachusetts before 1825.” The 1990 conference, Medicine and Healing, saw such papers as “ The ‘Hidden Ones:’ Women and Healing in Colonial New England”; “Traditional Folk Medicine in Vermont”; "Itinerant Physicians, Healers, and Surgeon-Dentists in New England and New York, 1720-1825”; and “Obstetrical Practice in South Central Massachusetts from 1834 to 1845.”

    The 1997 seminar theme was Textiles in Early New England: Design, Production, and Consumption. Papers included “Lace Schools and Lace Factories: Female Outwork in New England’s Machine-Lace Industry, 1818-1838”; “Industrial Opportunism: From Handweaving to Mill Production, 1700-1830”; and “Luther Edgerton’s ‘Cloathing Books:’ A Record of Men’s Ready-to-Wear from the Early Nineteenth Century.”

    These are just a few of the many topics covered through the years. Books from past conferences are available through the Dublin Seminar’s website, They are inexpensive, priced from $18 to $25. Many libraries, such as the NEHGS research library, have a complete set of these works.

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    Spotlight: Owen County, Indiana, Historical and Genealogical Society
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    The Owen County, Indiana, Historical and Genealogical Society website has a multitude of resources and a great deal of information to assist family history researchers in finding their ancestors who lived in Owen County. Located in the southern part of the state, the county was established in 1819. Spencer is the county seat.

    Owen County Boundary Data
    Scroll down on the website’s main page to locate the Owen County Boundary Data. This information is from Indiana Boundaries by Pence and Armstrong, which was published by the Indiana Historical Bureau in 1933. The descriptions are for 1818, 1821, 1822, and 1825. In addition there is descriptive information for 1861 through 1999, which comes from a volume from the County Commissioner’s Office. There is also a copy of the 1861 section map of Owen County on the website.

    A number of searchable databases are available, including the following:

    Assessor’s Lists
    These databases include the 1819 Lister’s Book (Assessor’s) and the 1820 Lister’s Book. The former contains two alphabetical lists of names, one comprised of the names of individuals who were assessed state property taxes and the other individuals who were assessed the county’s personal property tax. (Note that 1819 was the year that the county was formed.) The database with the index to the 1820 Lister’s Book contains additional information. It has been augmented to include the names of persons found only in the 1820 census, as well. The list has been annotated to identify individuals who appear in only one of those two lists. Individuals without a notation appear in both lists.

    Census Indexes
    There are links to online census indexes for Owen County. These include the 1830 and the 1870 federal census. In addition there is a link to a searchable all Indiana index for the 1820 federal census. Instructions for how to search these indexes can be found on the website.

    Vital Statistics Records
    The pre-1850 Marriages database is arranged as an alphabetical listing by surname of brides and grooms. It has been divided into two sections with surnames beginning with the letter J appearing in both sections. The data fields include name of spouse 1, name of spouse 2, date of the marriage, and name of the minister. Use the Find function of your browser to locate the name for which you are searching. Please be advised that the spelling of a particular surname may not be uniform, therefore, you might want to scroll through the lists. There is also an A- Z version of the database on the website. As noted, this might be more practical to use if you are searching on a minister’s name. You can also find a link to the Indiana State Library’s Pre-1850 Marriages in the State of Indiana database on the site.

    The Divorces in Owen County Database covers the period 1819–1871. The data fields include the plaintiff, defendant, Order Book (Bk) and page numbers, Complete Record (Bk) and page numbers, Common Pleas (Bk) and pages, Box, Date, and Remarks. Some of the lines are long and you may have to scroll to the right to view all of the information.

    Probate Court Records
    The first set of databases contains an alphabetical listing of cases extracted from the Owen County Probate Count records for a period of time prior to 1850. The data fields include last name, first name, relationship (RLN), year (CIRC), name on the folder and the location of the case. If you find a case about which you would like to learn more, you can contact the Genealogy Department of the Owen County Public Library via email. A link to the email address has been provided.

    There are also searchable indexes to the Complete Probate Record Books 1, 2, & 3: Names beginning [A – I] and [J – Z] for the period from 1829 through 1849. The Data fields in these indexes include last name, first name, book number, page number(s), cause, and year (circa).

    Owen County obituaries can be found in the Wabash Valley Obituary Index. There is a link from the Owen County website to the database. The website also contains information about the history and activities of the Owen County, Indiana, Historical and Genealogical Society, as well as links to a number of other external websites with genealogical and historical information related to Owen County.

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    From the Online Genealogist

    In the death records of a couple of eighteenth-century Boston relatives I find a comment that I believe says "dead palsy." I have tried online searches to identify this term and I come up with no match. Can you help me?

    According to the Oxford English Dictionary the term "dead palsy" refers to the "complete insensibility or immobility of the part affected " This term was commonly used in the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries. A similiar term is "lead palsy," referring to those who suffered from palsy caused by lead poisoning.

    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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    Stories of Interest

    Queen's University Professor Keith Jeffery has asked Edwin Poots, cultural minister of Ireland, to reinstate money for the Ulster Historical Foundation. Read the full story in the Belfast Telegraph at

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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.

    A Cornucopia of Records: Researching Essex County [MA] Ancestors, David C. Dearborn
    May 23, 10:00 AM
    First settled by Europeans in 1623, Essex County is one of the most historic parts of New England. More importantly, it was the home to large numbers of settlers, many of whose descendants later migrated West, as well as into southern New Hampshire, Maine, and the Canadian Maritime provinces. Arguably, Essex County has perhaps the most complete and genealogically useful records of any county in New England. To learn about these sources, join NEHGS staff genealogist and native Essex Countian David C. Dearborn.

    Mystic River and the Boston Jewish Community, Prof. Ellen Smith
    May 31, 5:00 PM (Thursday)
    Please join us for a reception and lecture by Ellen Smith, Brandeis professor and acclaimed author of The Boston Jews. In the early 20th century, the Mystic River communities of Chelsea, Malden, Everett, East Boston, and Revere had some of the largest populations of Jewish immigrants in the United States. The Boston Globe described them as the forgotten Jews of Greater Boston, who created “bustling, thriving enclaves near the mouth of the Mystic River.” Come hear about this fascinating history of Jewish immigrants in the Mystic River communities, as well as the Boston neighborhoods of the West End, Dorchester, and Roxbury.

    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 May-November 2007:

    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 C. 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. Features Jerome E. Anderson, Maryan Egan-Baker, Christopher C. Child, David Allen Lambert, and Rhonda McClure.

    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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