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  • 2007 Archive

  • Vol. 9, No. 24
    Whole #326
    June 13, 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
    * Cambridge Cameos Author Reading
    * Coming Soon in the Summer 2007 Issue of New England Ancestors
    * Massachusetts Genealogical Council Annual Seminar
    * Name Origins
    * Limited Edition NEHGS Suncatcher
    * Research Recommendations: Genealogical Writing Tips: Emphasis
    * Spotlight: Kansas Death and Obituary Indexes
    * 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 2002

    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 156, published in 2002.

    Social Security Death Index - Free Access
    Updated through May, 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 May, 2007. Access to the SSDI is FREE to all who visit This database now contains the names of over 78,228,000 individuals, most of whose deaths were recorded after 1965.

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    Cambridge Cameos Author Reading

    Join Professor Roger Thompson at the Cambridge Historical Society’s Hooper-Lee-Nichols House at 159 Brattle Street in Cambridge, Wednesday, June 20 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Seating is limited. To insure a seat, RSVP to or call 617-547-4252. Parking is available on Brattle Street. If you wish to purchase the book, please bring cash or a check for $19.95.

    In Cambridge Cameos: Stories of Life in 17th Century New England, author and historian Roger Thompson covers the settlement and development of church, town government, farming trades and social status in Cambridge from 1631 to 1686. Using unpublished documents, such as the Middlesex County Court Records, which contain thousands of sworn testimonies, Thompson reconstructs a surprising range of personal stories, from the comic to the horrific.

    In his lecture, we will hear about the sensational witchcraft accusations against women in the Holman family, town grandees taken in by a smooth-talking young boat builder, and the doggerel verses lampooning the dignified Deputy-Governor Danforth. Thompson will even shed light on the character of Dr. Richard Hooper, first owner of the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House.

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    Coming Soon in the Summer 2007 Issue of New England Ancestors

    A Guide to Genealogical Research in Vermont
    by Scott Andrew Bartley

    Vermont and Beyond: A Kendall Family Migration Story
    by Lynn Betlock

    Popham Colony: The First English Colony in New England
    by Dr. Jeffrey Phipps Brain

    Samuel Morse, Great Migration Immigrant
    by Robert Charles Anderson, FASG

    “An Awful and Tragic Scene:” The Independence Day Accident at Fort Constitution in New Hampshire
    by Christopher Benedetto

    Writing a Family Sketch in Register Style
    by Helen Schatvet Ullmann, CG, FASG

    New England African American Resources: A Bibliography
    by Kenyatta D. Berry

    Also in this issue . . .

    • Computer Genealogist: Genealogical Analysis: Your Computer as Your Research Assistant
    • Computer Genealogist Spotlight: In the First Person: An Index to Letters, Diaries, Oral Histories, and Personal Narratives
    • Genetics & Genealogy: Locating DNA Study Participants
    • Manuscripts at NEHGS: Jonathan Buck Family Papers
    • Bible Records at NEHGS: The William Hall Bible
    • Tales from the Courthouse: “Breaking the King’s Peace”

    And, as always, news of NEHGS and the world of genealogy, upcoming NEHGS programs and tours, new publications, notices of family association events, genealogies in progress, and DNA studies in progress.

    Subscription to New England Ancestors is a benefit of NEHGS membership. If you are not a member, you may join online at, or call toll-free 1-888-296-3447, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, Eastern time.

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    Massachusetts Genealogical Council Annual Seminar

    The Massachusetts Genealogical Council will be holding its annual seminar on Saturday, July 14, 2007, at The Conference Center at Marlborough, Massachusetts. MGC recently announced that it has extended the early registration period to Sunday, July 1. The early registration period features a discounted entrance fee of $65. The fee includes a continental breakfast, a full buffet lunch, access to the vendor hall, and five concurrent lecture tracks. MGC welcomes to its annual seminar its own members, members of its supporting societies, and the general public. The complete program and registration form are online at

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    ZANDER (m) – Nickname for ALEXANDER.

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    Limited Edition NEHGS Suncatcher

    Hung in a window, this beautiful royal blue suncatcher "catches" shimmering rays of sunlight and reflects them throughout the room. They are individually hand pressed from molds that are engraved by traditional methods: freehand directly in the steel, with hammer and chisel.

    Designed exclusively for NEHGS by Pairpoint, America's oldest glassworks, these beautiful suncatchers measure 4.25" across and feature the seal of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Colored in a rich, royal-blue jewel tone, these suncatchers are a perfect addition to any window!

    Suncatchers are $12.00 each. Shipping cost is $2.00 for the first and $1.50 for each additional suncatcher. They will be sent via USPS First Class mail. UPS shipping is available for an additional charge.

    To order, visit

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    Research Recommendations

    Genealogical Writing Tips: Creating Emphasis
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    This week starts out with a reference to last week’s column on phonetic interpretations. We received several comments about that one. Janice Locke wrote with a suggestion that I have often used, yet forgot to include in my suggestions. She writes:

    I believe that it helps to have the ancestor's name pronounced aloud by a fluent speaker of the ancestor's language, and interpreted in writing by an English speaker who does not know that language. I'm fortunate that my mother grew up bilingual in English and French and unfortunate (for most purposes, but not for this one) in that I'm totally monolingual. I have her pronounce our family names for me as she heard them in her family, and I write down what I hear without regard to what I know them to be. The results mimic those found in censuses and such, with "h"s and "s"s missing, "w" instead of "oe" or "oi", and "n"s incorrectly inserted because of the nasality of Canadian French. It might be even better if I hadn't seen the names. I think that if I pronounced them, or if one of my English-only friends did, we'd Anglicize them enough to disguise the difficulties they presented to early record-makers.

    Thank you Janice for this great suggestion.

    This week’s column is another genealogical writing tip. Authors will often find text that they wish to emphasize in certain passages. There are many ways of calling attention to text — not all of them good. Authors and designers must find creative ways of emphasizing certain portions of the text without causing them to get lost. All too often a non-professional will emphasize too much text because they feel that there are numerous important ideas to convey. It is better to have cleanly designed text that is understandable. You have a much better chance of getting your message across.

    The first guideline, and one of the most important, is to remember that just because your word processing program has 42 fonts installed doesn’t mean that you have to use every one of them in a single document. You should use no more than one or two fonts in a document. Typically one font will be used for the text, and possibly (although not necessarily) a second font for headers.

    Italics should be used very sparingly. Italics are difficult to read. This is especially true in electronic publications. Italics are even more difficult to read on a computer screen than on paper. Italics should be used to highlight at most a few words. They should never be used on entire paragraphs or passages. Italics should always be used for titles of published works (e.g., books, magazines, journals, websites).

    Words should seldom be written in all capital letters. Small caps work much better. Small caps have an initial, full-size, capital letter, with the remaining letters still capitals but at a smaller size. They are often used in compiled genealogies to highlight names. Would you prefer to read ROBERT CLAUNCH or would it be easier to read ROBERT CLAUNCH? Using all capitals in online publications is the equivalent of SHOUTING!

    Making text bold to stand out is another useful technique. It too, should be used sparingly however. For the most part it should be left in heads and sub-heads.

    Used in combination, italics, bold, and small caps can be very effective to emphasize text in long passages. Remember that they should be used sparingly to create maximum effect.

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    Spotlight: Kansas Death and Obituary Indexes
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Lincoln County, Kansas, Death Register

    Lincoln County is located in the central part of the state of Kansas. The city of Lincoln is the largest city as well as the county seat. It was originally named Lincoln Center. This database is an index to deaths recorded in Lincoln County, Kansas, between 1886 and 1989. The information found in death records was often provided by a doctor and was recorded in large volumes that are still kept in Lincoln City Hall. The data fields in the index include the surname and given name of the deceased; month, day and year of death; and book designation and page number.

    The information found in each record might include the deceased’s name, race, marital status, place of birth, cause of death, duration of disease, duration of complication, name of physician, sex, date of death, nationality, place of death, place of burial. The amount of information recorded in individual records varies.

    Due to the large size of the record books, the death records cannot be photocopied. You can, however, request transcriptions of up to five death records by sending a small donation and providing a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

    Midwest Historical and Genealogical Society, Wichita, Kansas

    Wichita, located in south central Kansas, is the largest city in the state. It serves as the county seat for Sedgwick County. The Midwest Historical and Genealogical Society has placed an alphabetical index on its website for a number of scrapbooks containing obituaries from The Wichita Eagle and Beacon. The index covers the period from 1955 through 2006. The data fields include surname, given name, and date on which the obituary appeared in the newspaper. You can request an abstract of the information in the obituary for a small fee.

    W.A. Rankin Memorial Library Obituary Index, Neodesha, Kansas

    Neodesha is located in Wilson County, which is in the southeastern part of the state. Library volunteers are presently in the process of converting the obituary information found on eleven drawers full of cards to an electronic format index. The obituaries cover the period from approximately 1870 to the present. There are gaps in the card files from 1984 to 1994 and 1996 to1998. Information for these years is being collected and will be included in the database. The project is about halfway complete. There are just over 8,600 names to date.

    The data fields in this index include last name, given name(s), place, cemetery, death date, newspaper abbreviation, date on which the obituary was published, page number and additional notes. Notes include ages at death, place of birth, and other names in the obituary.

    The newspapers indexed in the database are the following: Evening Register, Neodesha Derrick, Daily Sun, Neodesha Daily Derrick, Neodesha Daily Sun, Neodesha Evening Register, Neodesha Free Press, Neodesha Register, Neodesha Sun, and Wilson County Sun.

    Obituary Index for the Great Bend Tribune, Great Bend, Kansas

    Great Bend, which is located in the center of the state, is the largest city in and county seat of Barton County, Kansas. The obituaries found in this alphabetical index are from the Great Bend Tribune. They cover the period from 1992 to the present. Researchers can access individual obituaries by name and the date the obituary appeared in the newspaper. Copies of obituaries may be requested for a fee. The data fields in the index include last name, given names, date on which the obituary appeared in the newspaper, additional date of obituary, and place of death.

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    From the Online Genealogist

    There are many families of interest to me who were in the part of Wrentham that became Franklin around 1778. Recently I’ve been making extensive use of the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 database, concentrating on towns in the western part of Norfolk County. The database is a wonderful tool, but it does not include the town of Franklin. As far as I can tell, the Vital Records to 1850 series of books never included Franklin. Can you tell me if they are available in a published form?

    The vital records for Franklin were not published as part of the official series of Massachusetts vital records. They were published in 1898 by the town and have not yet been prepared for our website, although we hope to add it in the future. The records covered in this run from 1778 until 1872. The full title for this book edited by Orestes T. Dow (Franklin Town Clerk) is The Record of Births, Marriages and Deaths in the Town of Franklin, from 1778 to 1872 (Franklin, Mass.: Printed at the office of the Franklin Sentinel, 1898). NEHGS Call Number F74.F9 F9 1898. If you need copies from this book our NEHGS Research Services can assist you

    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

    97-year-old John Maddocks of Colorado recently traveled to Seattle, Washington, where a family mystery over a century old was finally solved. The persistence of his daughter-in-law, combined with a Seattle genealogist’s hard work, uncovered the secret of what became of his uncle Edwin Maddocks, a Civil War soldier who left a wife and two sons and was never heard of again. Read the story at

    The Lost Colony Center for Science and Research is trying to use DNA to solve America’s oldest mystery: What happened to the colonists at Roanoke? Using genealogies, deeds, and other historical documents, researchers have identified 168 surnames that might be connected to Roanoke settlers. Read the full 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.

    The Golden Door Has Locks: The Detaining of Immigrants to the United States
    , Rhonda McClure
    June 27, 2007, 10:00 AM

    When our ancestors disembarked the ferry at Ellis Island, or were waiting for admission in one of the many other immigrant stations, including those at Boston, Philadelphia, and Key West, they were being examined. Questions were asked by officials and doctors watched as the immigrants walked from station to station—all in an attempt to weed out those considered undesirable. While Lady Liberty was beckoning for the tired, the poor, and the teeming masses, there were immigration laws, and officials to enforce them, designed to curtail the deluge of disadvantaged, some of whom were likely to become public charges because of health issues and infirmities and therefore were truly not wanted in the United States.

    Many of the detained immigrants were pulled out of line more to prove a point than anything else; a numer were eventually allowed to enter the country. However, for that brief time in detention they were at the mercy of the bureaucrats—both those officials in the trenches of the immigrant stations struggling to understand the latest immigration laws and other exclusionary policies, and those in the ivory towers of Washington, D.C., who were handing down said policies.

    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 August–November 2007:

    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, Christopher C. Child, Maryan Egan-Baker, 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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