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  • 2007 Archive

  • Vol. 9, No. 39
    Whole #341
    September 26, 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 From NEHGS Books: New York Essays
    * Support Restoration of NARA Hours
    * Name Origins
    * Used and Remaindered Book Sale
    * Research Recommendations: Genealogical Writing: Prepostions
    * Spotlight: Digital Resources of The Delaware Public Archives
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on New

    Vital Records of Plymouth, Massachusetts to 1850
    The Society of Mayflower Descendents in the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations recently granted permission to NEHGS to digitize and present this work. The original was originally published by Picton Press in 1993 and is now out of print.

    From the introduction:
    "Only half of the vital records to 1850, from the Plymouth Town Clerk's books, have previously appeared in print. These records are from volume one and part of volume two and constitute the first 318 pages of this book; they were taken from literal transcriptions by the legendary George E. Bowman, in The Mayflower Descendant quarterly magazine. We have compared his work to the original records and found his accuracy impressive; few discrepancies were of enough significance to warrant correction. Dr. Lee D. van Antwerp transcribed the balance of the vital records through the year 1849 from microfilm prints of the Town Clerk's records to form pages 318-649. His work was meticulously compared with the films and corrected as needed. These additional records are from volumes two and three, and from the Register. The appendix contains a few records copied from the published Plymouth Colony Records, some of which are identified as belonging to Plymouth people."

    This database contains records of 10,047 births, 15,484 marriages, and 2,942 deaths. This volume is also available in our Boston research library, call number F74/P8/V35 1993.

    Social Security Death Index - Free Access
    Updated through August, 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 August, 2007. Access to the SSDI is FREE to all who visit This database now contains the names of 78,865,934 individuals, most of whose deaths were recorded after 1965.

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    New From NEHGS Books: New York Essays

    This book collects in one place a series of essays about New York that Marian S. Henry wrote for the NEHGS website, Updated for 2007, the 29 essays cover a wide range of genealogical and historical topics, such as finding primary sources and obtain vital records in New York State, summaries of land purchases and settlements, and the stories of specific people and places. The practical information about finding and obtaining records will help you find your upstate ancestors, and the historical information will help you understand the world in which they lived.

    Representative chapters:

    • The Vosburgh Collection of Congregational Church Records
    • A Genealogist’s Use of Eyewitness Accounts of History
    • Bounty Lands in the Military Tract in Post–Revolutionary War New York State
    • The Holland Purchase: Pioneer Settlements in Western New York State
    • Early Palatine Families of New York
    • The Oneida Community: A Utopian Experiment in Central New York State

    Marian S. Henry is a scientist by training; she received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Minnesota. She retired from the Research Laboratories of the Eastman Kodak Company in 1999 after working there for more than twenty years. She is especially interested in genealogical puzzles that involve “finding the ladies.” A freelance calligrapher and a longtime member of NEHGS, Dr. Henry lives with her husband in Rochester, New York.

    New York Essays by Marian Henry, 6 x 9 paperback, 324 pp. $17.95 is now available from the NEHGS sales department at or by telephone at 1-888-296-3447.

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    Support Restoration of NARA Hours

    The National Coalition for History made the following announcement this week:

    On July 12, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year 2008 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill (S. Rept 110-129). The bill includes $313.9 million for operating expenses of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). This funding level is $1.1 million above the President’s request, $1.1 million less than the House recently approved in its bill (H.R. 2829) and $34.6 million above fiscal year 2007 budget.

    The Electronic Records Archive program will receive $58 million, the same as the amount provided in the House bill and the President’s request. This is an increase of $12 million over FY ‘07.

    The Senate bill provides $25.1 million for the Archives’ repair and restoration account, which is $9 million more than the House-passed bill. The Senate’s allocation is $16 million more than provided in FY’ 07 and $16.5 million above the President’s FY ‘08 request for this account. $13.5 million of the increase would be earmarked for construction projects at the Johnson, Kennedy, Nixon and Franklin Roosevelt presidential libraries. $9.6 million would go to ongoing repairs and restoration, and $2 million would be allocated to the Anchorage, Alaska Regional Archives and Records Center.

    On June 28, 2007, the House of Representatives, by a vote of 240-179, approved the Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill (H.R. 2829) . The bill includes $315 million ($2.1 million above the President’s request, $1.1 million more than the Senate Appropriations Committee’s bill, and $35.7 million above fiscal year 2007) for operating expenses of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

    The Committee Report (H. Rept. 110-207) accompanying the bill directs that the $2.1 million in additional funding be designated to restore evening and weekend hours for public research at the Archives that were eliminated last October. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s report language is silent on restoring research room hours and mentions only “maintaining current service levels.”

    The Committee also mandates the hiring of additional archivists to help process public requests for access to historic documents (the archivist workforce has been cut back over recent years). Funding is also included for additional space to house archival documents.

    Funding History
    As the amount of records generated by the federal government has increased exponentially, the National Archives budget has remained stagnant for many years. Additional costs for staffing, infrastructure maintenance, and the impending addition of the Nixon and George W. Bush presidential libraries to the Archives’ responsibilities, have placed even more stress on NARA’s already lean budget.

    In October 2006, because of budget shortfalls, the Archives was forced to cut back on the hours that its facilities are available to researchers. In addition, the Archives enacted a hiring freeze. This is at a time that the Archives has a backlog of some 400-500 million pages of records that need to be processed.

    You can show your support for the house bill (H.R. 2829) and the resoration of evening and weekend hours provided for in the committee report (H.Rept. 110-207) by contacting your senators and representative at

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    JACK (m) – Nickname for JOHN.

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    Used and Remaindered 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 different 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

    Please note that this list will not be available until Thursday, September 27.

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    Research Recommendations: Genealogical Writing: Prepostions
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    When compiling your genealogical material, it is important to use your prepositions properly and, most importantly, consistently. Too often we receive manuscripts in the publications area of NEHGS that inconsistently apply prepositions. This results in a great amount of additional editorial work to prepare the manuscript for publication.

    When stating locations, NEHGS style is to use the preposition at for the place name. The preposition in is used for cemeteries. For example:

    ELIZABETH3 DAVENPORT (Sarah2 Franklin, Josiah1, ThomasA) was born at Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, about 1723, daughter of James and Sarah2 (Franklin) Davenport. She died at Brighton, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, 15 March 1809 and was buried at Boston in King’s Chapel Burying Ground.

    Using the preposition in for locations is also acceptable (i.e., born in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts). Prepositions should always be used in narrative text, such as that used for the subjects of a sketch. It is preferable to use them with the abbreviations in children’s lists (i.e., b. at Boston, not b. Boston).

    The major thing to remember is that whichever choice you make, you must be consistent in using the prepositions. If you choose to use in rather than at, review your document to make sure that you have done so in every instance. Use the Find feature of your word processor to look for every instance of the preposition you chose NOT to use. This will bring the inconsistencies to light very quickly.

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    Spotlight: Digital Resources of The Delaware Public Archives
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    The Delaware Public Archives was created in 1905. Its holdings include state government records, local government records, genealogical records, manuscript collections, and vital records. The genealogical records include such items as federal census schedules and family history collections, tombstone records and WPA-transcribed church records. The Archives also houses birth records that are more than 72 years old, and marriage and death records that are greater than 40 years old.

    The Delaware Public Archives has made a number of resources available on its website. To access them, click on the Digital Archives link in the Index on the left side of the homepage. This will open a new page with links to the various resources.

    There are a number of online exhibits. Click on the name links to access them. They include a 360o panoramic view of 17th century Delaware, a 360o panoramic view of the Mabel Lloyd Ridgley Research Room, "100 Stories: An Exhibit" that showcases a variety of documents and photographs that tell the story of the First State, and a photographic exhibit. Copies of photographs in this collection can be purchased for a fee. In addition there are historic audio clips that contain interviews and radio broadcasts on service in WWII, desegregation, recycling, and baseball as well as a historic maps collection.

    Click on the Documents link to access the following resources.

    Becoming the First State — Delaware’s Road to Ratification
    This section contains images of documents related to Delaware and its role as the first state. There are letters, petitions, resolutions, reports, and receipts for expenses at the Ratification Convention, as well as a copy of the ratification document. In addition, researcher can view portraits of Delaware’s delegates to the Ratification Convention.

    Joseph Barker’s Negro Ledger Book, 1801–1811
    Joseph Barker owned a store at Barkers Landing on the St. Jones River in Murkerkill Hundred. His ledger book has entries for purchases made by African American customers. Each entry contains the name of the customer, date of purchase, items purchased, cost of each item, date and amount paid, and how paid. Customers frequently paid their bills with grain, other items, and labor. The pages of the ledger have been digitized and the images have been uploaded to the website.

    Civil War Records
    This section contains records related to Delaware in the Civil War. They include muster-in rolls, muster and descriptive rolls, letters and other correspondence, proclamations, lists of sick, killed and wounded, and more. The documents have been digitized and the images have been uploaded.

    Coroner’s Reports
    This section contains digitized images of county coroners’ records of investigations into the deaths of individuals who died under that were violent, unnatural, or unknown circumstances. The records found here are from Essex and Kent counties.

    Kent County Pauper Books
    Pages from the register of the infirm and poor inmates of the Kent County almshouse for the years 1815, 1826, 1842, 1852, and 1854, have been digitized and uploaded to the website. Records of deaths and births are also included in the registers.

    New Castle County Naturalizations
    This section contains digitized images of original petitions and other legal documents related to applications for U.S. citizenship. The hard copy file for each individual may contain more documentation than has been digitized and uploaded to the website.

    Reverend Joseph Brown Turner Collection
    This digital collection consists of the genealogical notes and correspondence of Reverend Joseph Brown Turner on about three thousand Delmarva Peninsula families. Reverend Turner compiled his notes from a variety of sources and later donated them to the Delaware Archives. Delmarva comprises the entire state of Delaware and areas on the eastern shores of Maryland and Virginia.

    Slavery Papers
    This collection contains digitized images of legal documents related to slaves living in Delaware. The types of documents in the collection include birth certificates, manumissions, petitions for freedom, and at least one bill of sale. Most of the documents relate to slaves and manumitted individuals living in Kent County while a few relate to New Castle County

    Sussex County Orphans Court Case Files
    This section contains digitized images of documents filed for cases being heard by the Sussex County Orphans Court. Orphans Court had jurisdiction over the affairs of minors and administration of estates. The types of documents include freeholder's reports on intestate land, annual valuation of minor's land, guardianship of minors, the division of property among heirs, survey of property, widow's dower, and petition for sale of property. The documents are from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. The files for individual cases may contain more documentation than what has been digitized and uploaded to the website.

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    Stories of Interest

    Hawaii resident Georgia K. Bopp hit a roadblock with her New England research in 1820, trying to identify her Kinne ancestry. Five years and multiple cheek swabs later, DNA tests have helped tear down her brick wall. Read Megan Bard’s story “DNA Helps Get to the Roots of the Problem” in The Day at

    ComputerWorld columnist Mike Elgan penned an interesting article “Coming Soon: The Mother of All Genealogy Databases” which you can read 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 October–November 2007:

    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 or visit

    Boston Discovers Boston: 17th-Century Treasures
    October 13, 2007, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
    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, 6:30 p.m.
    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, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
    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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