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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 9, No. 3
    Whole #305
    January 17, 2007

    * New on
    * New United Kingdom Passenger List Website Launches
    * Name Origins
    * One Week Only: Get Autographed Copies of Four Titles by Gary Boyd Roberts
    * New Research Articles on
    * Research Recommendations:
    * Spotlight: Library Resources: Obituary Databases
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Public Lecture Series
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on New

    Enhancements to the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 database

    Our Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 database was first created in 2002, with many additions made since. This database provides the capability to search for given names and surnames on a statewide, countywide, or town-by-town basis. It is also possible to limit the range of years searched, to search records of a particular type, and to search within the actual text of each record.

    Many patrons have asked for the ability to view the original pages from the vital records volumes, and we are happy to announce that we have begun a project, staffed by our able volunteer team, to add this capability to the database. Because of the extremely large size of the database, the process of adding page images will take some time. A side benefit of adding original page information to the database it that it affords us the opportunity to correct transcription errors that were introduced in the original ‘digitization’ process.

    This week, we are re-releasing the enhanced and corrected vital records of Brookline, Boxford, Lynn, and New Salem. We will continue to make release enhanced records on a town-by-town basis as our volunteer team completes the work. When searching records of these towns, you’ll find an ‘image’ link on the search results page that will display the image of the original VR page.

    Want to volunteer to help in this effort? Please contact volunteer coordinator Susan Rosefsky at . To help, you’ll need a PC with Excel, a CD drive, the ability to send email, basic excel skills, and an penchant for detailed work. Please put ‘MA VR to 1850’ in the subject line of your email to Susan.

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    New United Kingdom Passenger List Website Launches and The National Archives U.K. have partnered to make available a new database of passenger lists for those departing British ports. This database was previewed by (formerly at the 2006 FGS/NEHGS Conference in Boston last September.

    The database will ultimately include passenger lists for vessels departing between the years 1890 and 1960. It currently has lists for the decade of the 1890s. Over 131,000 people emigrated from the U.K. between 1890 and 1914, and thousands more followed in later decades. It includes departures from over two dozen ports in England, Scotland, and Ireland.

    This project is so important that a new website has been created to support it: Searching the site is free. Viewing a transcript of the list costs £5. In addition to the transcripts, full-color scans have been made of each original list. These are available to view, print, and download for £10. The scans are very high-quality. The search boxes are on the home page, but you must scroll down the page in order to see them (a problem that will hopefully be fixed to make searching easier).

    This new venture will likely prove to be very valuable for those searching their late-nineteenth century immigrant ancestors from the UK.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    JINCEY (f) – Southern nickname for JANE. Seen in the ancestry of current First Lady Laura (Welch) Bush.

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    One Week Only: Get Autographed Copies of Four Titles by Gary Boyd Roberts

    The NEHGS Sales department is offering four titles by the renowned scholar Gary Boyd Roberts at discounted prices until January 25th, 2007. In addition, the author will personally inscribe any of his titles purchased during this special Winter sale! The following titles are now available:

    Notable Kin, Volume I, Now $30.00
    Notable Kin, Volume II, Now $30.00
    Best Genealogical Sources in Print, Now $45.00! Limited Quantities Available
    Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants, Now $70.00

    Special Offer: Purchase all four titles and receive an additional 10% off

    To order, please call 1-617-226-1212. For a description of the books listed above, please send an email to Prices good through January 25th, 2007, while supplies last.

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    New Research Articles on

    Two new articles from talented genealogists have been added to Maureen Taylor writes about manuscript collections dealing with Rhode Island in With Pen in Hand: Rhode Island Manuscripts at
    . Marie E. Daly, director of the library at NEHGS, discusses Researching Ancestors in Ireland from 1850 - 1901 at

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    Research Recommendations
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Those researching their New England ancestors usually discover quickly how tied the history of New England is to that of eastern Canada. Many New Englanders left as early as the eighteenth century to settle in parts of Canada such as Ontario, Québec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. In the nineteenth century, the descendants of many of these individuals, along with the descendants of other early Canadian families, left for better prospects working in the mills of New England. is a bilingual website that can assist you in researching your Canadian ancestors. The primary partners are Université Laval; University of Calgary; University of Toronto; Dalhousie University; Galileo Educational Network; Calgary Exhibition & Stampede; iXmédia; and Canadian Initiative on Digital Libraries/Initiative canadienne sur les bibliothèques numériques. Twenty other repositories from around Canada have also contributed to the website. It is generously supported by Canadian Culture Online and the partner organizations.

    The site offers a large number of local histories from around the country. It adheres to strict scholarly standards, so that users can be assured that the content is dependable, and it posts these standards on the site:

    • Project will strive to create the most comprehensive collection of Canadian local histories possible.
    • Content will be reviewed and vetted by an Editorial Board.
    • The content policies will be clearly explained on the web site.
    • No item is digitized without written consent of the copyright holder unless the item resides within the public domain. The cleanest copy of each item available is digitized. If marginalia is present, it will be digitized as well.
    • All local history pages within a book, even those that are blank, are digitized to ensure clients know that nothing has been left out or edited.
    • Page edges will be digitized to ensure clients know that nothing has been left out or edited.
    • Local histories included in this project are those that have been published or reproduced in print previously.

    Users have access to hundreds of works from A brief history of Alliston: from the founding of the first settlement by William Fletcher in 1847 until the year of centennial, 1947 to Zorra boys at home and abroad: or, Success illustrated by example. The site is keyword searchable, as are the contents of each of the books. Users can also browse by title, author, or subject. Ever wondered what your great-great-great-aunt had to do when she joined the convent? Check out Constitutions des Sœurs de la Charité de la Congrégation de Québec.


    Each book has its own search page. An image of the title page is displayed, as well as the chapter titles, which are hotlinked to the first page in the chapter. The publication information is included on the page, as are links to similar works on the site.

    If you have ancestors in Canada, this is a must-use website. It will give you access to many materials that are just not readily available anywhere else. There is a link to a feedback form on the site, so please take a moment or two to share your thoughts with the site’s partner organizations.

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    Spotlight: Library Resources: Obituary Databases
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    McDonald County Area Obituaries, Missouri
    This database resides on the website of the McDonald County Library, which has branches in Pineville and Noel, Missouri. McDonald County is located in the southwest corner of the state, bordered by Oklahoma and Arkansas. Pineville is its county seat. The obituary database contains records from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Click on the first letter of the last name to browse through the lists. You can also search through the database by using your web browser’s Find function. Data fields include last name, first name, middle name, maiden name, nickname/miscellaneous information, date of death, newspaper title, cemetery name, cemetery city, and cemetery state. The nickname/miscellaneous information field contains information such as occupation and the names of the deceased’s parents, as well as a deceased individual’s nickname. Copies of original obituaries can be ordered from the library.

    Chattanooga Hamilton County Bicentennial Library Index to Local Obituaries, Tennessee (
    The Chattanooga Hamilton County Bicentennial Library is located in the city of Chattanooga. The database is an index to obituaries from Chattanooga newspapers for the period from 1897 through 2003. As noted on the website, records prior to 1951 were added on a “selective basis;” therefore, if you know the exact death date for an individual who died before 1951 and the record does not appear in the index, you can contact the library and a staff person will search for the obituary in the newspapers. Click on the ‘Search the Database’ link to access the search function. Enter a name in the search box. This will bring up a list of individuals with matching names. Click on the name link to access the detailed record. The data fields in the detailed record include the name of the deceased, newspaper title, and the date that the obituary appeared in the newspaper. Copies of obituaries can be requested from the Local History Department for a fee.

    Hendricks County, Indiana, Obituary Database and Card File
    The Indiana Obituary Database and Card File are in the holdings of the Local and Indiana Information Department of the Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library. The records found in the obituary database and card file were extracted from Plainfield and Hendricks County newspapers in the library’s collections. Records are being added to the database on a regular basis. The newspaper collection covers the period 1866–2005. Copies of obituaries (up to 5 per request) can be requested from the library. There is currently no charge for this service, but donations to the Library’s Gift Fund are gratefully accepted.

    First click on the ‘Search Database’ link and then on the Search button to access the database’s search function. The database can be searched by first, middle, and last name; date of death; birth date; spouse; survived by; other; and obituary source. Information found in the ‘Other’ field includes the deceased’s title, names of the parents of the deceased, and other identifying information. The data fields in the initial search results include last name, first name, middle name, and date of death. Click on the name link to view the detailed record, which includes all of the search fields noted above plus the date the obituary appeared in the newspaper, page and column numbers.

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    Stories of Interest

    Hartford Courant staff writer Joann Klimkiewicz discusses a new take on how to display your holiday photographs in Frame Your Life at,0,479740.story?coll=hc-headlines-life.

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    From the Online Genealogist

    I recently saw that you can search the Domesday Book online from the Public Record Office website. I remember finding another site that listed some of my ancestors who were landowners before the Norman Conquest. Have you ever found such a website? Why can’t I find more of my relatives in this volume?

    If you are using the Domesday Book for genealogy do not get discouraged. It is not a population census, but a listing of the land owners at the time of William the Conqueror.

    I am not sure if we bookmarked the same website but I previously used The feature I enjoyed with this site was the straightforward search for landowners. You might take a second look at the National Archives of the U.K. website, as you can search the Domesday Book by landowner and by place name there at The Domesday Book on the National Archives of the U.K. is free to search. There is a charge to download images.


    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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    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 and Saturdays at 10:00 A.M. unless otherwise stated. Advance registration is not necessary.

    Future programs for the first quarter of 2007 include:

    Feb. 7, Marie Daly, New Visitor Welcome and Library Tour
    Feb. 14, David Dearborn, A Cornucopia of Records: Researching Essex County [MA] Ancestors
    Feb. 21, Tom Wilcox, Down to the Sea: Steamboats to Maine
    March 3 (Saturday at 10:00 am), Marie Daly, New Visitor Welcome and Library Tour
    March 7, Joshua Taylor, Creating Your Personal Genealogical Website
    March 14, David Lambert, Getting the Most from NEHGS Databases
    March 17 (Saturdsy at 10:00 am), Shelley Barber & Marie Daly, Researching Immigrant Documents: The Prendergast Letters
    March 21, Martin Hollick, New Englanders in the 1600s
    March 28, Rhonda McClure, Using Your Computer for Genealogical Analysis


    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

    African American Genealogical Research Seminar
    Saturday, February 10, 2007
    This day-long seminar begins with tips on getting started on African American genealogical research, then progresses to lectures on southern slave ancestors and African Americans in pre-Civil War New England. There will also be an overview of pertinent manuscripts in the NEHGS Archives. Presenters include Kenyatta D. Berry, independent scholar; David Allen Lambert, NEHGS online genealogist; Judy Lucey, NEHGS assistant archivist; and Timothy Salls, NEHGS archivist. This program is co-sponsored by the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, New England Chapter.

    Registration fee: $75
    For additional information and to register please visit

    Winter Weekend Research Getaway
    Thursday, February 8 - Saturday, February 10, 2007
    Winter Weekend Research Getaway at the New England Historic Genealogical SocietyNEHGS invites you to enjoy a research getaway at our library, one of the finest facilities for genealogical research in the country. Escape the winter doldrums by joining us for guided research, personal one-on-one consultations, morning lectures, and special access to the library, which will have extended hours just for you! Sign up now at

    Research Week in Washington, D.C.
    Sunday, February 25 - Sunday, March 4, 2007
    Join us for our popular trip to the nation’s capital which offers a wealth of research opportunities for genealogists. Enjoy the benefits of working with our expert staff at the Library of Congress (LC), the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Library and at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
    Sign up now at

    Each year the Society presents a large number of lectures, seminars, and tours for genealogists. The following major programs will be held March-November 2007:

    Writing Your Family History: Organizing Your Material and Getting Started Saturday, March 31, 2007
    Seminar in Boston

    Genetics and Genealogy Saturday, April 21, 2007
    Seminar in Boston

    Research Day at NARA Northeast Region Wednesday, May 16, 2007
    Location: Waltham, MA

    Come Home to New England #1 Monday, June 18–Saturday, June 23, 2007
    Tutorial program with consultations in Boston

    Come Home to New England #2 Monday, August 6–Saturday, August 11, 2007
    Tutorial program with consultations in Boston

    English Family History Research Tour to London Sunday, September 9–Sunday, September 16, 2007
    Lodging: Holiday Inn Bloomsbury

    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


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    NEHGS Contact Information

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    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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