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  • 2007 Archive

  • Vol. 9, No. 35
    Whole #337
    August 29, 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
    * New Newspaper Database Through
    * New Research Service Rates
    * NEHGS Research Library Holiday Closure
    * Name Origins
    * New Great Migration Volume Now Available
    * Research Recommendations: Veterans History Project
    * Spotlight: Obituary Databases — Birmingham Public Library
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on New

    Massachusetts State Census Transcriptions for 1855 and 1865 – 101,000 Additional Records Added

    Between 1986 and 1992, Ann S. Lainhart transcribed the 1855 and 1865 census records of 75 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, E. Bridgewater, Essex, Georgetown, Groton, Groveland, Hamilton, Halifax, Hull, Hanover, Hanson, Hingham, Holliston, Hopkinton, Ipswich, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Lynnfield, Manchester, Marshfield, Mattpoisett (1865 only), Medford, Melrose, Middleboro, Middleton, Nahant, Newbury, North Andover, North Bridgewater, Pembroke, and Plympton were released earlier this year.

    This week, we are adding 101,000 additional records from 25 towns to this database.  The additional records are for the towns of: Natick, Rochester, Rockport, Saugus, Sherborn, Shirley, South Reading, Stoneham, Stow, Sudbury, Swampscott, Tewksbury, Topsfield, Townsend, Tyngsboro, W. Bridgewater, W. Cambridge, W. Newbury, Wareham, Watertown, Wenham, Westford, Weston, Wilmington, and Winchester.

    Data for the four remaining transcribed towns will be added to this database in the future.  The remaining transcribed towns are: Charlestown, Concord, Marlboro, and Wayland. The original census transcriptions are available in our Boston Research Library.

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    New Newspaper Database Through

    NEHGS is pleased to announce an exciting new newspaper database available to members through our website. Drawing on some of the country’s most significant holdings, including the Library of Congress, Boston Public Library, Wisconsin Historical Society, and Maryland State Archive, Gale’s 19th Century U.S. Newspapers provides access to approximately 1.7 million pages of primary-source newspaper content from throughout the 19th century. It features full text and images from hundreds of newspapers from every region in the U.S. A few of the New England and New York titles are: Boston Daily Advertiser, New Haven Palladium, Bangor Daily Whig and Courier, New Hampshire Statesman, Providence Patriot, Vermont Chronicle, and New York Herald. Users can perform full-text searches or search in pre-defined categories such as people (including obituaries), editorials, business news, the arts, and others. To access this database, please visit

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    New Research Service Rates

    The NEHGS Research Services Department conducts quality genealogical research for members of the Society and non-members. Using the immense resources of the NEHGS Research Library, NEHGS staff genealogists, and other Boston repositories, the department is readily available to assist you in your genealogical quests.

    As of September 1, 2007 the rates for research services will change. Research will be done at a rate of $50 per hour for members and $70 per hour for non-members. Photocopy service rates will be $5.00 for members and $12.00 non-members for 1-35 pages from up to 3 sources. For more information, visit or email

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    NEHGS Research Library Holiday Closure

    The Society's research library at 101 Newbury Street will be closed on Saturday, September 1, in observance of the Labor Day Holiday.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    EBEN (m) – Nickname for EBENEZER

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    New Great Migration Volume Now Available

    The NEHGS Sales Department is happy to announce that the new book, The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634–1635, Volume V, M-P, is now available for shipment. The book, normally priced at $59.95, is currently available for $54.95.

    Earlier volumes of the 1634–1635 series (A-B, C-F, G-H and I-L), normally priced at $59.95, are now available for $49.95. Also on sale are the three-volume Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, for $99.00, and The Pilgrim Migration: Immigrants to Plymouth Colony, 1620-1633, for $29.95.

    Prices are good through October 31, 2007. Prices do not include shipping. To order, please visit our website at, or call 1-617-226-1212.


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    Research Recommendations

    Veterans History Project
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    At the FGS/ACPL conference a couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking with Patricia Van Skaik from The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. She told me about an exciting project they were working on concerning veterans. They have joined the Veterans History Project, which is being coordinated by the Library of Congress.

    The team at the Cincinnati library has been conducting audio and video recordings of veterans who served in World War I and World War II, as well as the Korean, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf Wars. They are also interviewing civilians who provided support service to the military. In addition to the recording, they collect documentary materials, such as photographs, diaries, and letters, from the subjects.

    The Veterans History Project has a special place on the library’s website that provides summary information on the subjects, and call number information to access the collections. There is a searchable database with many options. You can search on the name of the veteran, high school, neighborhood, location, branch of service, service unit or ship, highest rank attained, medals/awards, affiliation, or collection number. You can limit your search by conflict or era, branch of service, gender, or prisoner of war.

    One example is from a photograph donated by William W. Jarrell. The entry includes William’s name, his date of birth (April 15, 1919), place of birth (Burlington, Kentucky), neighborhoods of residence (Burlington, Kentucky), schools (Burlington Elementary), spouse’s name (Ruth Jarrell), parents’ names (Grover C. and Ella (Chowning) Jarrell), race (white), gender(male), war or conflict (World War II), dates of service (1943–1945), branch of service (U.S. Navy), unit of service (USS Cowpens), location of service (Pacific), highest rank (Seaman 1st Class), whether he was a prisoner of war (no), and whether he suffered a service related injury (no). He donated a photograph of the flight deck of the USS Cowpens during a December 1944 typhoon. The deck is pitched at a wild angle. The description notes that all planes were either lost or jettisoned.

    A number of the oral histories recorded by the library have been uploaded and made available on the Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress. This site is similarly searchable, and provides a great deal of the same biographical information as the Cincinnati site, but it contains histories of veterans from across the country.

    To find out more about the Cincinnati library’s Veterans History Project, visit Find more information about the national effort at

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    Spotlight: Birmingham Public Library, Alabama
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    The Birmingham Public Library provides a number of resources for family history researchers. These resources include databases, local history collections, and even an option to “Ask A Genealogy or Local History Question using Instant Messaging.” Researchers using AOL Instant Messenger or Yahoo! Messenger can ask questions of a librarian during a live chat session. Librarians are available Monday through Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., and may also be available at other times during the week. Click on the “instant message a genealogy or local history question” link on the library homepage to learn more about this service.

    You can access twenty online local history collections by clicking on the Digital Collections link. They include clippings of newspaper articles, souvenir pamphlets, photographs, and maps on a variety of subjects related to Birmingham’s history. The current featured collection is the Rucker Agee Map Collection, which contains maps and atlases from the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries. While the collection’s focus is on Alabama, it also includes historic maps of the larger region showing its development through the centuries.

    Select Genealogy from the ‘Go directly to” dropdown list to access the Library’s genealogy resources. The collections include six searchable online databases. Click on the databases line to access them. Researchers can run a Quick Search (last name and/or first name search) of all of the databases in the collection by clicking on the Local Database Quick Search link. The databases include:

    Alabama Coal Mine Fatalities, 1898–1938
    Between 1898 and 1938, mine inspectors in Alabama recorded the deaths of 2,188 individuals in coalmines. The Government Documents Department of the library has compiled this database, which contains information that identifies the individual miners, the mines in which they died, date of death, and the accidents where they were killed. There are some gaps in the years covered, which are noted on the database homepage. Search fields include last name, first name, year of report, mine, race, cause of death, and occupation. When selecting a report year, researchers can include a search of either the previous or the following five years.

    Alabama Episcopal Church Registers
    This database indexes confirmations, baptisms, marriages, and burials from sixteen Episcopal parishes in Alabama. There are more than 14,000 records in the database and it currently covers the period from 1837 to 1972. For parishes that are still active, the entries stop at 1950. The search fields include last name, first name, record year (+/- 5 years), record type, and parish name. The records contained in the database also include those of slaves. To view a list of all enslaved individuals in the database, you can click on the Limit to Slaves button and Submit.

    Alabama Inventor Database
    This database covers the period from 1821–1981 and includes inventors who were living in Alabama at the time they received their patents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The data was compiled by the library’s Government Documents Department and the individual records contain a link to the USPTO website where you will find scanned images of the original patent application documents. Records are being added to this database on a regular basis. Search fields include last name, first name, city, county, year of patent (+/- 5 years), and patent title keywords.

    Obituary Index: Birmingham Area Newspapers
    The database indexes obituaries from three Birmingham area newspapers: Birmingham News (began in 1894), Birmingham World, and the Methodist Christian Advocate/Alabama Christian Advocate (published 1881–1980). The Birmingham World was an African American newspaper, published from 1940 to 1996. The obituary database currently covers the period 1952–1976 and contains more than 130,000 records. Search fields include last name, first name, and year (+/- 5 years). Searches can be limited to a specific newspaper. The search results include name, newspaper, date on which the obituary appeared, edition, page, and notes. To request a copy of an obituary, click on the link to add the record to your “Cart.” When you have finished selecting obituaries that you would like to order, click on the “View Cart” link to finalize your request. There is a $5.00 charge per item.

    Red Mountain Cemetery Interments
    This database contains records of the interments of the paupers who were buried in Red Mountain Cemetery, which was created when Judge Alexander O. Lane purchased a plot of land on the south side of Red Mountain in 1888 as a burial site for Birmingham’s paupers. Between 1888 and 1906, 4,711 individuals were buried there. The Red Mountain Cemetery is now the site of Lane Park and the Birmingham Zoo. Search fields include last name, first name, year of interment (+/- 5 years), race, sex, physician, and cause of death.

    WPA Index to Alabama Biography
    This index was started under the Works Progress Administration funding in the 1930s. It was not completed before the program ended. However, ninety-seven titles have been indexed in the database. These include Who’s Who in America, biographical dictionaries and local histories and cover the period from 1840–1951. Name searches can be narrowed by book title.

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    From the Online Genealogist

    I have been searching for several Massachusetts marriages which might be Catholic — can they be found only in Diocesan records or are they also in the Massachusetts Archives records? I understand the Diocesan offices for research will close soon, so where else can I find these records?


    If the marriage took place between 1841 and 1910, you can determine who performed the marriage online at Your next step would be to consult a town or city directory for that community and year. This should give you the denomination and the place or worship with which the particular clergyman was associated. For smaller towns without directories consulting published town histories and contacting the respective town historians may pinpoint the same answer. The records for the Boston Catholic Archdiocese holdings are sometimes found within the surviving parishes; however, often the sole copy will be at the Archdiocesan archives.


    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

    The Birmingham Public Library had some interesting genealogists coming in to find their “peeps.” They have turned the story of this search into a short video, which you can view at For more information about the Birmingham Public library, see the Spotlight article above.

    A while back we brought you the story of a man searching for what happened to his father, a submarine commander whose vessel disappeared during World War II. This week family members of the 70-person crew of the USS Grunion were informed that the vessel had been found in the Bering Sea, off the coast of Kiska, Alaska. Read the story at

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    Each year the Society presents a number of dynamic lectures, seminars, and tours for genealogists and the general public. Programs are held at 101 Newbury Street unless otherwise indicated.
    The following programs will be held September–October 2007:

    A Celebration for the 250th Anniversary of the birth of the Marquis de Lafayette
    September 24, 2007, 6:30pm
    In conjunction with members of the French Heritage Society, Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati, the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Hampshire, and the Consulate General of France in Boston, NEHGS will co-host a talk by author James R. Gaines, former editor of Life, People, and Time magazines. Mr. Gaines will present his new book “For Liberty and Glory: Washington, Lafayette, and Their Revolutions.” The presentation will be followed by a book signing and reception. A minimum $25 donation is requested.
    To RSVP with your donation, please call Ryan Woods at 617-226-1226.

    NEHGS Comes West
    September 26, 2007
    Join NEHGS President and CEO D. Brenton Simons and California Genealogical Society (CGS) President Jane Lindsey, along with Online Genealogist David Allen Lambert, for a one-day conference devoted to helping you find your New England ancestors. The conference will take place at the historic Scottish Rite Center in Oakland, California. Learn more.

    What’s New in New England Research?
    October 4, 2007
    The Fiske Genealogical Library in Seattle, Washington will host a one-day seminar on New England resources featuring NEHGS President and CEO D. Brenton Simons and Genealogist of the Newbury Street Press Christopher C. Child. For more information, or to register, please contact the Fiske Library at 206-328-2716.

    Boston Discovers Boston: 17th-century Treasures
    October 13, 2007, 10:00am-2:00pm
    NEHGS and The Partnership of the Historic Bostons (PHB) will present a free one-day seminar featuring the history and treasures of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The seminar will include discussion and display of original books and documents from the officers of the Mass. Bay Colony; participants will also learn the unique historical connection between Boston, Massachusetts and Boston Lincolnshire, England. To register, please call Ryan Woods at 617-226-1226 for more information.

    The Naked Quaker
    October 17, 2007, 6:30pm
    Award-winning author and popular contributor to New England Ancestors Diane Rapaport will present an engaging look at her forthcoming book, The Naked Quaker: True Crimes and Controversies from the Courts of Colonial New England. As a lawyer and historian, Ms. Rapaport provides a unique and revealing perspective on the underside of Puritan life. The presentation will be followed by a book signing and reception.

    Great Migration Study Project One-Day Seminar
    October 20, 2007, 9:00am-5:00pm
    To mark the publication of The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England: 1634-1635, Volume V, M-P, NEHGS will host a one-day seminar with the director of the Great Migration Study Project, Robert Charles Anderson, who will speak on new developments in the project. Registration fee $95. Please call Ryan Woods at 617-226-1226 for more information.

    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

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    Copyright 2007, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

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