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  • 2007 Archive

  • Vol. 9, No. 21
    Whole #323
    May 23, 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
    * NEHGS Memorial Day Observance
    * New Research Article on
    * Nova Scotia Heritage Event in Boston
    * Name Origins
    * Address Change Reminder
    * Research Recommendations:
    * Spotlight: Welcome to Riggtown-West Chester, Pennsylvania
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Public Lecture Series
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on New

    Burials in Gloucester, Massachusetts Cemeteries

    In October, 2006, the Gloucester Historical Commission donated six volumes of Gloucester, Massachusetts Cemetery Records to NEHGS. They also provided an electronic copy of the records, which we present here as a searchable database. The database contains 1,482 records, which span the years 1720–2003. The records were collected from the following cemeteries: Bray, Cove Hill, Langsford St., Magnolia Point, Proctor, Prospect (High) St., Second Parish, Sumner St., and Universalist Burial Yard.

    The original volumes are available in our Boston Research Library, with the following call numbers:

    Cove Hill: F74.G5 C68 2004
    Langsford St.: F74.G5 L36 2005
    Magnolia Point: F74.G5 M34 2003
    Historic Cemeteries, West Gloucester: F74.G5 H57 2004
    Prospect (High) St.: F74.G5 P76 2005
    Sumner St.: F74.G5 S86 2004

    Vital Records of Buckland, Colrain, and Montague to the End of 1849

    The vital records of these three Franklin County towns were published in a single volume by the Essex Institute in 1934. These towns are being added to our existing Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 database. Buckland contains 1,446 birth; 1,146 marriage; 675 death; and 2,071 “Other” records. Colrain contains 1,129 birth; 2,045 marriage; 1,207 death; and 491 “Other” records. Montague contains 1,335 birth; 1,612 marriage; 848 death; and 367 “Other” records. In each town, the “Other” records are primarily 1790 census and 1798 direct tax records. In Buckland, the “Other” records also include Franklin County probate and land records.

    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.

    The original volume is available in our Boston Research Library, call number F74.B97 B94 1934.

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    NEHGS Memorial Day Observance

    The NEHGS administrative offices will be closed on Monday, May 28 in observance of Memorial Day. The Research Library will be closed on Saturday, May 26 in honor of the holiday.

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    New Research Article on

    Westward Ho
    by Maureen A. Taylor
    In an earlier column, “Rhode Islanders on the Move” I wrote about the reasons Rhode Islanders left their native state, but didn’t elaborate on where they went. Whether your great grandfather listed RI as his birthplace in a census or you found a reference to an ancestor moving west in a genealogy, you’ll want to learn how to discover more about their migration. The term “gone west” meant different places to different generations. For instance, if your ancestor migrated west in 1790 they probably went as far as New York, but if they went west in 1900 you might find them on the California coast or in Alaska. Stewart Holbrook’s The Yankee Exodus: An Account of Migration from New England (Macmillan, 1950; out of print) provides an excellent overview of the settlement of this country. He mentions many Rhode Island family names. It’s worth trying to find a copy of this book through used book dealers or your public library.

    NEHGS members can read the full article at

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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

    HEPSY (f) – Nickname for HEPSIBAH.

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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
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    French-Canadians are very lucky to have a plethora of information available to them for genealogical research. A new website has just become available that promises to be another valuable resource to genealogists. has partnered with the Eastern Townships Genealogical Society to provide access to a rich body of data from the province of Quebec. provides access to abstracted information contained in Catholic marriage records that took place in Quebec. Some of these marriages go well into the twentieth century. In French Catholic churches, marriage records contain the names of the parents of the bride and groom. If one of the parties was a widow or widower, the record contains the name of their previous spouse. Reviewing the record of the first marriage of the individual should reveal the names of the parents. The Your Folks database provides the name of the bride and groom, the names of their parents (or previous spouse), and the date and place of marriage.

    In addition to this information, Your Folks goes one step further. They link together family groupings, based on the names of the parents. Below the names of the parents of the bride and groom you will find a list of marriages for children of that couple. This allows you to click through from parents to children, generation after generation.

    In the initial release, the records are divided into 22 regions. is in the process of verifying every entry in the database. Once that process is completed, the regions will be joined into a single unit. For now, the families are only linked within a region. Once the regions are joined, family linkages will cross throughout the province.

    This linkage system is similar to the one employed in the Programme de Recherche en Démographie database. The difference is that the PRDH database focuses on pre-1800 records (with some death records for 1800-1850). Your Folks allows you to trace marriage records from the earliest settlement to the twentieth century.

    In the future, Your Folks plans to add baptismal and burial information as well. They are also looking for other genealogical organizations who may be interested in partnering with them to make records accessible. They are interested in all types of organizations, not just those with a French-Canadian focus.

    The site is a pay-per-view site. The fee is very reasonable, and goes down with the number of page views you purchase. The fees range from $.13/page for a 150-page subscription ($19.99) to $.04/page for a 5,000-page subscription ($199.99). Visit and try out their services today.

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    Spotlight: Welcome to Riggtown-West Chester, Pennsylvania
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Riggtown is located on the other side of the tracks and Goose Creek from West Chester, Pennsylvania, the county seat of Chester County. Chester was one of the three original counties in Pennsylvania, named by William Penn. It is bordered on the north by Montgomery County, on the west by Lancaster County, and on the east by Delaware County as well as the states of Delaware and Maryland.

    This website contains historical information about Riggtown, West Chester and the surrounding area. The information includes a variety of reports and other data. The website is maintained by Professor Jim Jones, Department of History, West Chester University, who, with the students in his HIS480 class, collected the data found here. The information on this website is useful to anyone researching families who lived in the Riggtown/West Center area.

    Reports include the following: Instructions on how to trace property owners in Chester County using deeds; The History of Riggtown; a report on the Chester County Prison in 1900, a history of the Keystone Tag Company; and genealogical data from the Yost Family Bible. The Yost Family Bible contains the family record of Philip Yost (1757–1832) of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and his descendants.

    The data section includes a chronological history of the West Chester railroad (1830–1997) and information on Chester County history related to education, religious activities, health conditions and more, as well as information of West Chester businesses. In addition you will find two West Chester borough directories. The 1857 West Chester Borough Directory database has been transcribed from the Directory of the Borough of West Chester, for 1857: containing a complete history of the borough from its first settlement to the present time . . . , by William Darlington. The data fields include last name, first name, profession, address, and note. The note field contains information such as whether a particular address is a home address or work address. The other directory is Polk’s 1932–33 West Chester Borough Directory. The information contained in this directory has been transcribed and uploaded to the website.

    Interviews of several Riggtown and West Chester residents have been transcribed and uploaded to the website. Most of them focus on the period from the Great Depression through World War II.

    Chester County Death Records
    Here you will find cemetery databases and descriptions of cemeteries, as well as reports on causes of death. There is a database of people buried in St. Mark’s Episcopal Church Cemetery, Honeybrook. The data fields include the full name of the deceased alphabetized by last name, age, death date and burial date. The other cemetery database is that of the Friends Burial Society Cemetery. The data fields for this alphabetical database include name, date of birth, date of death and age at death. There is also a description of this cemetery.

    Professor Jim Jones and his students have digitized three volumes of the Chester County Register of Deaths (1893–1907) for the website. The database contains more than 16,000 records. It is alphabetized by last and first name. There are fourteen pieces of data in each record in this database. They include last name; first name; race; gender; age at death; marital status; place of birth; profession, if known; date of death, place of death, cause of death, duration of last illness, volume and page number

    Other information found on this website includes maps of West Chester and the surrounding area and links to external local history resources.

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    From the Online Genealogist

    My New York Civil War ancestor's gravestone has an interesting emblem on it. However, I am not certain if it is fraternal in nature. The mark carved on his stone is a five pointed star with a crescent moon directly above it.

    This mark is the image of the Corps Badge for the Seventh Corps in the Union Army. For a good example of the Corps Badges of the Civil War go to If you would like to learn more about the Seventh Corps go to If you find that this
    image does not match the gravestone please feel free to send me a photo or a rubbing of the emblem.


    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

    It is very common to hear about buildings that no longer serve a useful purpose are going to be torn down and replaced. But how often does one hear about a building that was never completed but has dominated the skyline of a state capitol for more then three-quarters of a century being renovated and finally opened to the public? Read the story of the Providence Masonic Temple at

    Speaking of Providence, do you think you qualify to be a Rhode Islander? Providence Journal writer Mark Patinkon has a great test of your knowledge of the state at Take the test that inspired his at

    Across the country, overgrown, abandoned cemeteries are all too common. Harold Daniels of Petoskey, Michigan, is credited with discovering an abandoned cemetery in Emmet County and bringing it to the attention of the local genealogical society. They recently erected a sign to mark the cemetery and remember all of the individuals buried there. Read the story 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.

    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 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 R. 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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