American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogical Society - Founded 1845 N.E. Historic Genealogical Society Seal View Your Shopping Cart Join NEHGS
  • 2007 Archive

  • Vol. 9, No. 41
    Whole #343
    October 10, 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 England Ancestors and Register Post Author Guidelines
    * 60 Minutes Genealogy Story
    * Name Origins
    * Naked Quaker on Sale
    * Research Recommendations: Copy Editing
    * Spotlight: Update on Indexes Available at the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA)
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on New

    Vital Records of Yarmouth, Mass. to 1850

    The Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations granted permission to NEHGS to digitize and present this work in 2007. The original volume was published in 1975 and is now out of print.

    From the introduction:

    “Only five percent of the Yarmouth Vital Records have previously appeared in print. In preparing these two volumes, we transcribed the records from microfilm, comparing our first 43 pages with George E. Bowman's transcriptions in the Mayflower Descendant. The Yarmouth town books were destroyed in a fire about 1674. Records of only a few events prior to that date appear in the earliest book, book 3. Records from all town books containing vital records prior to 1850 were copied: books 3, 4, 7, 8, 18, 20, 21 and Register Vol. 1.

    “Names of persons and places have been copied exactly; other spellings have been modernized, and standard capitalization employed. Marriage intentions have been abstracted, but the word 'intentions' or the word 'published' is included with each, to avoid confusion with marriage records.”

    Inscriptions and Records of the Old Cemeteries of Boston

    These data were taken from the book Inscriptions and Records of the Old Cemeteries of Boston, by Robert J. Dunkle and Ann S. Lainhart. This book was published by NEHGS in 2000 and is now out of print. From the introduction:

    "The present book represents the first complete collection of all available records. While the compilers, Robert J. Dunkle and Ann S. Lainhart, were working on the enumeration of deaths in the Town of Boston from 1700 through 1799, (Deaths in Boston, 1700 to 1799, compiled by Robert J. Dunkle and Ann S. Lainhart (Boston: NEHGS, 1999) they were given the opportunity to access the card file prepared by Henry A. May, now at the Boston Parks Commission, Cemetery Archives Section. In the process of working with the many published cemetery inscriptions, it had become apparent that there was no central source where all of the extant records for all of the cemeteries had been compiled and compared. Many of the earlier sources contain epitaphs not found in later editions. Through the card file of the Cemetery Archives Section, many records not included in any printed material were located. It was decided, therefore, to publish all of the epitaphs, regardless of date and source.”

    This database contains 15,097 records. Images of the original pages may be viewed from the search results page for this database.

    Return to Table of Contents


    New England Ancestorsand Register Post Author Guidelines

    The editors of New England Ancestors and the Register have posted guidelines for potential authors on You can find the “Writer’s Guidelines for New England Ancestors Magazine” at Answers about writing for our journal can be found at “Are you thinking of submitting an article to the Register?” at

    Both guidelines describe the kinds of articles sought, suggested length of articles, and recommendations as to style. Both editors recommend sending them article proposals in advance — after studying current issues. Tips about preparation and content of articles are also included.

    Both publications welcome submissions from beginning writers as well as experienced writers

    Return to Table of Contents


    60 Minutes Genealogy Story

    CBS News correspondent Lesley Stahl did an interesting story on this week's 60 Minutes about genetic genealogy. As part of the story she spoke with Vy Higginson, director of the Mama Foundation for the Arts in Harlem, and Missouri cattle rancher Marion West, who discovered they were cousins after a DNA test. Vy is African-American while Marion is white. You can read more and watch the full story online at

    Return to Table of Contents


    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    RODERIC(K) (m) – Norman French.
    ROD (m) – Nickname derived from RODERIC(K).

    Return to Table of Contents


    Naked Quaker on Sale

    The Naked Quaker: True Crimes and Controversies from the Courts of Colonial New England
    By Diane Rapaport

    On court days in colonial New England, folks gathered from miles around to listen as local magistrates convened to hear cases. In the abundant records extant from these hearings, we experience the passions and concerns of ordinary people, often in their own words, more than three centuries after the emotion-charged events that brought them to court. Rapaport is a lawyer and historian who, by drawing on these court records, has created an award-winning column for New England Ancestors, the magazine of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Some of the twenty-five true stories in The Naked Quaker were previously published there; others are new to this volume. Rapaport’s topics include: “Witches and Wild Women,” “Coupling,” “Tavern Tales,” and “Sunday Meeting.” The title story concerns a Quaker woman who walked into Puritan Sunday meeting and dropped her dress in front of the gathering, to protest actions of the colonial authorities. The Naked Quaker takes us into the lives of our ancestors, revealing how they behaved and spoke. The word “Puritan” conjures up dour images of seventeenth-century New Englanders. We rarely think of Puritans as people who had fun – or sex. But while our ancestors used different words, human nature was not so different 350 years ago.

    Ms. Rapaport will be giving a free lecture at NEHGS on Wednesday, October 17, 2007.

    Regularly $19.95, we are happy to offer it for one week at $17.00. Price does not include shipping (4.00 for book rate or $7.50 for UPS). Offer good through October 17, 2007. Buy your copy today by calling 617-226-1212.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Research Recommendations: Copy Editing
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    One of the major tasks in writing of any sort is copy editing. It never ceases to amaze me how many writers in the field of genealogy take personal offense when an editor makes changes to their work. One writer I know actually tracks every little change and fights with the editor about it. This is not conducive to good work. Frankly, I am amazed that the group that contracts with this person continues to purchase more material. I would have dumped someone like this a long time ago.

    The editor’s job is to make the writer look their best. As a writer you should be pleased to get feedback. The editor wants you to do a good job, and when they make comments and corrections it is to save you from making a major gaffe in print (or electrons, if you are publishing online). Use their talent and expertise. Everyone benefits from editing. Don’t believe me? Try this test. Write three paragraphs about your family in whatever style you wish. Save the document and do not look at it for at least 24 hours. Open the document back up and read it. How many times do you want to change a word, phrase, or sentence? Were there any typographical errors? Did you accidentally type “there” instead of “their” or vice versa?

    The best editors are those with practice. If you are writing for publication in a magazine or journal, the publication will have an editor assigned to work with you. He or she will review your article and make suggestions for corrections and changes. Some changes are a matter of house style and will be required. Other changes will be a matter of personal preference that you should discuss with the editor. You will also find some changes that will make you say to yourself “Thank [insert the deity of your choice here] that was caught before it hit print and I looked like an idiot!”

    While editors are indispensable to publishing your best work, please do not abuse them. As Cort Kirkwood says, “Editors are not word janitors.” Learning how to edit your own work is extremely beneficial. It will help you to understand the process better. But do not expect them to fix all of your work, and do not make the mistake of thinking that you can edit yourself. While you will find some things, an outside editor will always find things you miss.

    Read about editors and copyediting to better understand the work that they do. You can find many useful articles online, and your local library’s shelves will likely be bursting with books to help you in this area. While many of them will deal with specialized writing for magazines and newspapers, they will still help you understand the process. And many issues are the same, no matter what subject you are writing about. Here are some online resources you can check:

    Copy Edit Your Own Stories by Cort Kirkwood

    The Last Line of Defense ? Copy Editing Tips

    44 Tips for Greater Accuracy
    (pay special attention to numbers 5 and 9)

    Words about Words

    And if you need more reasons why you should always use an editor, check out University of New Hampshire journalism professor Jane T. Harrigan’s Top Ten Reasons Why Being a Copy Editor is so Cool at

    Return to Table of Contents


    Spotlight: Update on Indexes Available at the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA)
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    The Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) website has a variety of online resources. You can access them by clicking on the Tennessee History and Genealogy button on the home page. The list of resources at TSLA also serves as a comprehensive guide to its holdings for researchers planning a visit to the repository.

    Military Records
    Employment Rolls and Nonpayment Rolls of Negroes Employed in the Defenses of Nashville, Tennessee, 1862–1863.
    After Union forces captured Nashville in 1862, they began to fortify it by building a series of fortifications around the city’s borders using the labor of Union soldiers, impressed slaves, and free black workers. This database is an index to the laborers employed to build fortifications during the period from August 1, 1862 to April 1, 1863. The data fields in the index include the last and first name of the slave, name of the slave owner, and the file number.

    Acts of Tennessee, 1796–1850: Index to Names
    This index covers the first 50 volumes of the published Acts of Tennessee. It is a name index to Acts passed by the Tennessee legislature between 1796 and 1850. It is divided into two databases, with the first ending in 1830. The legislative acts ranged from “legitimizing children to those granting divorces, from authorizing turnpikes & ferries to compensating a citizen for services rendered the government.” The data fields include last name, first name, date (year), serial number, chapter and section, and a description of the act. A copy of an act can be ordered from TSLA for a fee.

    Index to Biographical Sketches in The History of Tennessee by Goodspeed
    During the early 1880s a Nashville publisher named Westin A. Goodspeed began to sell historical books. These regional volumes included state history, local history, and biographical sketches of well-known individuals. Goodspeed’s histories exist for 82 of Tennessee’s 95 counties. The individual biographical sketches are usually about one-half page long. This index contains the name of the person, the county in which the sketch can be found, and the beginning page number for the sketch. Photocopies can be ordered from TSLA for a fee.

    Tennessee Postcards
    Here you will find an index to TSLA’s Tennessee Postcard Collection. It is arranged alphabetically by location depicted in the postcard. Most of the cards are in color. Postcards of scenes other than locations are under a ‘Miscellaneous’ category.

    Update to Available Vital Records Indexes
    Background on vital recordkeeping in Tennessee: Tennessee did not require the keeping of death records until 1908. The law expired at the end of 1912 and in 1913 a new law was passed, which called for keeping more detailed death certificates. The second vital records law went into effect in 1914. Because the new law left a period of one year during which such recordkeeping was not required, according to the TSLA website, “1913 is frequently referred to as a 'dead year' for death certificates in Tennessee.” Updated website records information follows:

    Davidson County Death Records 1900–1913
    Davidson County began keeping its death records in 1900 and continued through 1913. The data fields in this index include the following information: last name, first name, race, date of death, age, place of burial, and the volume and record number. Samples of Davidson County death certificates can be viewed on the TSLA website.

    Funeral Home Records at TSLA
    TSLA holdings include several collections of funeral home records. These records are important because they often include more information than is found in death records and obituaries. They may also be the only record of a person’s death during time periods when deaths were not registered with the state. For a fee, TSLA staff will search the microfilm of funeral home records that have been indexed and those that are arranged alphabetically. It should be noted that most of the microfilmed materials and books are available for interlibrary loan. Instructions for how to request information from these collections is included on the website.

    Nashville Obituaries & Death Notices for 1913
    As previously noted, locating information on a 1913 death can be difficult; a newspaper obituary or death notice might be the only source for information about an individual’s death. This index comprises some of the obituaries and death notices appearing in Nashville newspapers during 1913. It is not comprehensive. The names in this index are from the columns titled "Deaths of a Day" in The Nashville Banner and "Death Notices" or "Obituaries" in The Nashville Tennessean. Only individuals living in Nashville are included here. The data fields include last name, first name, date of obituary, and newspaper abbreviation. Copies of obituaries can be ordered from TSLA.

    Partial Index to Tennessee Death Records 1914–1925
    In 1990, the Cleveland (Tennessee) Public Library began a project to publish abstracts of Tennessee death records. The Library has allowed the Tennessee State Library and Archives to offer the project’s indexes on its web site. These indexes contain the records for thirty-seven counties covering the years 1914–1925. The data fields include the name, age, year of death, county and certificate number for each deceased individual. In some cases, the cause of death has been indicated on the records. Where age is not given, notes have been added stating the person's occupation or marital status. Researchers should note that the records of children under two years of age have been omitted from this project.

    Update to the Statewide Index to Tennessee Death Records
    As noted in a previous article, the statewide index is part of a long-term project to index all Tennessee death records from 1914 on. The TSLA website states that this index “will eventually replace the Partial Index to Tennessee Death Records 1914–1925, which covers only thirty-seven counties in Tennessee, and does not include children under two years of age.” The statewide index now includes the years 1914 through 1921. The data fields in the index are name of deceased, county of death, and volume and page number of the certificate. Copies can be ordered from TSLA for a fee.

    Return to Table of Contents


    From the Online Genealogist

    I am having trouble trying to locate a place called ‘Terness Falls’ in Massachusetts. I have looked at an atlas and searched online, but to no avail. An ancestor died there in 1782. I am not sure if he drowned in a river somewhere or if this is a town that no longer exists. Can you help?

    I believe that the location you are seeking is a place called Turner’s Falls, a part of the town of Montague in Franklin County. Montague (rhymes with glue) was incorporated in 1754 from the town of Sunderland. Montague vital records are included in our online Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 database.

    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.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Stories of Interest

    A private dive team has discovered the wreckage of an American ship that sank off the south-central Alaska coast 139 years ago. The Torrent sank in Cook Inlet in 1868 after tidal currents rammed it into a reef south of the Kenai Peninsula. Documents from the period show that all 155 people on board survived. Read more about this fascinating discovery at

    This week the Bluegrass State celebrates Kentucky Archives week. Find out more in the Cincinnati Post online at

    Return to Table of Contents


    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:

    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 Austro-Hungarian Empire: Conventional and Non-Conventional Resources
    October 14, 2007, 1:30pm-4:30pm
    Gann Academy, 333 Forest Street, Waltham, MA
    The Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston and NEHGS will co-sponsor a discussion on resources relating to the Austro-Hungarian Empire by Henry Wellisch. Mr. Wellisch escaped in 1940 from Vienna, where he was born. More than 20 years ago he began to investigate his family background; he has since concentrated his research on the Austro-Hungarian Empire, tracing his family back into the18th century. He has published numerous articles, lectured on various genealogical subjects and was the president of the Jewish Genealogical Societ of Canada from 1993 to 1998. 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

    Return to Table of Contents


    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

    Return to Table of Contents

New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

© 2010 - 2014 New England Historic Genealogical Society