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  • 2007 Archive

  • Vol. 9, No. 23
    Whole #325
    June 6, 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
    * Come Home to New England
    * Upcoming NEHGS Staff Speaking Engagements
    * Name Origins
    * Used Book Sale
    * Research Recommendations: Correcting Misspelled Names
    * Spotlight: Historic Congressional Cemetery (HCC), Washington, D.C.
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Public Lecture Series
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on New

    Massachusetts State Census Transcriptions for 1855 and 1865 – 120,000 Additional Records Added

    Between 1986 and 1992, Ann S. Lainhart transcribed the 1855 and 1865 census records of 71 towns in the Massachusetts counties of Essex, Middlesex, and Plymouth. Records for the towns of Acton, Bedford, Billerica, Boxboro, Boxford, Bridgewater, Brighton, Burlington, Bradford, Carlisle, Dracut, Dunstable, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, and Essex were released earlier this year.

    This week, we are adding 120,000 additional records from 29 towns to this database. The additional records are for the towns of: Georgetown, Groton, Groveland, Hamilton, Halifax, Hull, Hanover, Hanson, Hingham, Holliston, Hopkinton, Ipswich, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Lynnfield, Manchester, Marshfield, Mattapoisett (1865 only), Medford, Melrose, Middleboro, Middleton, Nahant, Newbury, North Andover, North Bridgewater, Pembroke, and Plympton.

    Data for the remaining transcribed towns, Natick, Rochester, Rockport, Saugus, Sherborn, Shirley, Stoneham, S. Reading, Stow, Sudbury, Swampscott, Tewksbury, Topsfield, Townsend, Tyngsboro, Wareham, Wenham, W. Bridgewater, W. Cambridge, Westford, W. Newbury, Weston, Wilmington, Winchester, and Watertown, will be added to this database in the future.

    The original census records (on microfilm) and Ms. Lainhart’s transcriptions are available in our Boston Research Library.

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    From the Volunteer Coordinator

    This week is the transition time for the Volunteer Coordinator. I have been a member and on staff here at NEHGS since the summer of 2000, and in that time many members, and some non-members, with a love of genealogy have volunteered to help with transcribing, indexing, proofreading under the supervision of Robert “Bob” Dunkle. It is heartwarming to know that the membership is so supportive, to say nothing of the invaluable help volunteers have given with material for the website.

    This work now continues under the able coordination of Helen Herzer. Helen is a member of NEHGS and a longtime volunteer doing the same kind of work that many of you are doing. She comes in with competent IT skills, a love of genealogy, and a wonderfully warm personality. She has the work of the Society at heart, and has already spent time with Sam Sturgis and Bob Dunkle, writing instructions and training some of the volunteers who come in to the Society each week. We are so lucky to have her.

    The “we” includes me. As Volunteer Coordinator, I have done some transcribing in order to familiarize myself with the files that are being sent out to volunteers. Although not as knowledgeable as many of you, I now join you as a transcribing volunteer.

    So the volunteer becomes the Coordinator, and the Coordinator becomes a volunteer. Our work continues, and the website databases continue to grow.

    I extend a very warm welcome to Helen,

    Susan Rosefsky
    Outgoing NEHGS Volunteer Coordinator

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    Come Home to New England

    The Society's Annual Come Home to New England program will be held twice this summer. In addition to special lectures available only to Come Home participants, each attendee will get personalized, one-on-one consultations with NEHGS staff experts. In addition, participants get access to the NEHGS research library during times when it is normally closed to the public. For more details about the programs, participating staff, fees, and other details, visit:

    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.

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    Upcoming NEHGS Staff Speaking Engagements

    NEHGS staff members Michael J. Leclerc, Rhonda McClure, and D. Joshua Taylor will join President and CEO D. Brenton Simons at the Federation of Genealogical Societies annual conference August 15-18, 2007 at the Grand Wayne Convention Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Hosted by the Allen County Public Library, the conference features lectures, luncheons, and a vendor hall filled with the latest books, software, and other products for family historians. For details about the conference, visit

    Michael and Rhonda will also be appearing on the inaugural RootsMagic Cruise that will tour the Caribbean November 11–18, 2007. Other presenters include Dick Eastman, Leland K. Meitzler, Deborah A. Abbott, and Gary M. and Diana Crisman Smith. In between the lectures presented, participants will be able to enjoy the ports of Cococay, Bahamas; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Phillipsburg, St. Maarten. The cruise will be held on Mariner of the Seas, one of the largest ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet. Find more details at

    Michael will also be participating in the second annual Genealogy Seminar at Sea, October 27 – November 3, 2007. He will join John Philip Colletta, Stephen J. Danko, Paul Milner, George C. Morgan, Donna M. Moughty, Laura G. Prescott, and Paula Stuart-Warren for a week of presentations and fun on the Liberty of the Seas, the newest Royal Caribbean ship. The ship will stop at San Juan, Puerto Rico; Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; and Labadee, Haiti. Visit for more details.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    JNO (m) – Abbreviation for JOHN [from Latin JOHANNES].

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    Used Book Sale

    The NEHGS sales department has an overstock of certain used book titles that have been priced to move. Most of these titles have been used in the NEHGS research library and have recently been replaced with newer copies. Others have been donated by local libraries and NEHGS patrons, and have been available only at the Family Treasures book store at our Boston facility.

    Prices have been cut by as much as 80% on more than 150 separate titles, many of which have a limited quantity available. Orders will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. The sale price is good only for the titles we have in stock. For a full list of titles available during this sale, along with complete price and ordering information, please send an email with the words "USED BOOKS" in the subject line to

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    Research Recommendations

    Correcting Misspelled Names
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Many immigrants spoke languages other than English as their primary language. This would often continue to be the language spoken in the home for a generation or two until the family became totally assimilated. Tracing these non-English speakers can be all the more difficult because of the records they left behind.

    Most records we as family historians deal with (vital records, land, probate, and census) were recorded by native English speakers. Immigrants often were illiterate, or had difficulty communicating with native speakers. Therefore, the records they left behind were written based on what the recorder of the record heard, not necessarily what the correct name was.

    Trying to decipher these interpretations and determine what the original name was can present a potent challenge. With determination, however, the record can often be interpreted to show you the correct name.

    When faced with a name that you cannot recognize, try writing it out. Sometimes the act of writing the letters will make the name come to you. Your hand motions as you trace over the letters can sometimes trigger muscle memory that gives you the correct name.

    Phonetic interpretation can sometimes help. Try pronouncing the name out loud and see if it triggers anything. You can also try handing the name to a friend and ask them to pronounce it for you. The reverse sometimes works as well. Try pronouncing what you see in front of you and ask your friend to write down what they hear. Better yet, ask two friends to do it at the same time. You will be amazed at how different the results can sometimes be.

    Be aware the name may bear little resemblance to the original. Vowel sounds are often omitted. Cyrille Dubé becomes Saul Dubo. Adolph Lajoie becomes Duff Lashua. Celina L’Heureux can turn into Slina Larou. Consonants can be changed based on how they are pronounced (C becomes S, Ch become K, etc.).

    Finding as many records as possible for an individual can help also. By comparing the various spellings of a name, you can often discover what the true spelling is. Don’t give up too soon, and make sure you enlist the help your friends and colleagues as much as possible.

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    Spotlight: Historic Congressional Cemetery (HCC), Washington, D.C.
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    The Congressional Cemetery is located in Washington, D.C., on the banks of the Anacostia River. Established as a private cemetery in 1807, it later became Washington Parish Burial Ground and was the under the ownership of Christ Church. Over the last two hundred years more than 60,000 people have been buried there, many of them members of the United States Congress. Others buried there include early landowners, Native American diplomats, mayors of Washington, and Civil War veterans. The cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 23, 1969. The Congressional Cemetery is now privately owned and managed by a non-profit, the Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery.

    The Congressional Cemetery has many resources for genealogists on its website. Click on the History of HCC link under About Us to access newspaper clippings and other reports that tell us about the cemetery’s history.

    Of particular interest to family history are the Genealogy links. Some of the materials on this site have been digitized and converted to PDF format. You will need free Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to view these files.

    Death Certificates
    HCC has a number of death certificates in its archives. These have been digitized and uploaded to the site. The majority of these certificates are for the period from 1884 through 1886. There are a few certificates for the early twentieth century. The certificates have been organized alphabetically. Click on the letter of the alphabet and then on the name link to view a certificate. If you would like to print the certificate you must use the PDF printer icons.

    Gravestone Photos
    The cemetery has a collection of 15,000 photographs of its gravestones. The photographs currently available on the site are of the Family Vaults and Ranges 1 through 49 and 100 through 164 (there are 164 Ranges in the cemetery).

    Interments Chronologically
    This section contains transcriptions of the Cemetery’s interment logs beginning with 1898. Prior to 1898 very little information about the deceased was contained in the logs. Beginning then and going forward the data found in the records began to include some of the information found on the death certificate, which is most definitely of use to genealogists. The transcriptions for the period from 1898 to 1903 have been uploaded to the website. The data fields in this database include volume, page and line number; death certificate number; name; sex; date of birth, if known; date of death; date of internment; age; range and site; birthplace, last residence; cause of death; fee; undertaker; and other comments.

    This is an alphabetical index to death notices and obituaries for most of the approximately 60,000 individuals buried in the cemetery. In some cases those individuals have been removed to other cemeteries. Click first on the first letter of the surname to access the database. Data fields include name, date of death, date of interment, range/site, and comments. In the comments field you will find information about removals to other cemeteries. Click on the surname link to access the death notice or obituary, if available. In addition to the narrative, name of the deceased, birth/death dates, age and range/site of burial are noted. In some cases additional information has been included, such as a transcription of a newspaper clipping or probate files regarding the deceased’s will.

    This database contains information from the Methodist Episcopal Log Book of burials in HCC. The data fields in this index include the name of the individual, the date interred, Range/Site location, and the name of the site owner.

    As noted earlier, many well known individuals have made the Historic Congressional Cemetery their final resting place. There are annotated lists grouping the famous and notorious by category. They include Artists & Photographers, Assassination & Murder Victims, Chinese Interments, D. C. Firemen, Explorers & Adventurers, Librarians of Congress, Native Americans, U. S. Congress, U. S. Marine Band, Veterans—Revolutionary War to Vietnam. Under the Assassination & Murder Victims link, there are thirty-five individuals listed related to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. They include doctors who attended Lincoln, the man who embalmed Lincoln’s body, his valet, a doorkeeper and a musician at Ford’s Theater, the Lincolns' “favorite spiritualists,” and the man who owned the livery stable where Booth rented his horse. Under U.S. Congress you will find John Quincy Adams who was buried in HCC for a few days before being removed to his final resting place in Quincy, Mass.

    The HCC Archives includes a bibliography, descriptive materials about “Grand Funerals,” History of HCC, and Then and Now Photographs. The photographs in this section show old and new images of a number of monuments, vaults, the Chapel and Gate House.

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    From the Online Genealogist

    My grandmother attended the Roger Wolcott School in Boston in the early 20th century. Do you know where I can find the location and/or a photo of the school?

    I would suggest examining Boston City Directories to find the location of the school. The Roger Wolcott School was located in Dorchester (a neighborhood of Boston). There is a postcard of the school and a partial history at The City of Boston Archives has the surviving records of the school. You can find out more about the archives 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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    Stories of Interest

    On May 9, 2007 The Times Record News in Wichita Falls ran a story about a child who fell down a well in Burkburnett, Texas, in 1918 (available online at
    ). The story intrigued genealogists Julie Coley and Lynn Wright. They met online during the course of their independent searches, and together discovered the background to the mystery of the child in the well. Less than a month later, they had unearthed the story of Andrew Fleming “Jack” Key. The story of their search is available at,1891,TRN_5784_5568009,00.html. You can read the full story of the boy in the well 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.

    New Visitor Welcome & Library Tour, Marie Daly
    Wednesday June 6, 10:00 AM
    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.

    Boston Streets: City Directories, Maps and Photographs Online, Connie Reik
    Saturday, June 9, 10:00 AM
    Please join Tufts University librarian Connie Reik as she takes us on a virtual journey through historic Boston streets. She will identify online sources for historic city directories, maps and atlases, and photographs. The lecture is free and open to the public. No reservations 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 June-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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