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. 42
    Whole #344
    October 17, 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
    * Alvy Ray Smith Wins Jacobus Award
    * American Society of Genealogists Names New Fellows
    * Name Origins
    * From the Sales Department
    * Research Recommendations: The Photo Detective
    * Spotlight: Shelby County [Tennessee] Register's Office
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on New

    Abstracts of Wills, Administrations and Guardianships in NY State, 1787 – 1835. 55,020 additional records added.

    This week, an additional 48,429 records have been added to this database from the counties of Ontario, Orange, Tioga, and Washington.

    This compilation of Abstracts of New York Wills, Administrations and Guardianships was created by William Applebie Daniel Eardeley. The original materials are part of the Brooklyn Historical Society's manuscript collection. Eardeley abstracted original estate proceedings in the counties of this state. In addition he indexed on 3 x 5 cards all the names in his abstracts, i.e. those of the decedents, executors, administrators, petitioners, guardians, witnesses, named beneficiaries and minor children. The original abstracts were written in pencil on yellow legal pad paper. Although the original title of the collection refers to the years 1691 to 1860, the bulk of the material concerns the period 1787 to 1835. Also, while the abstracts generally end at 1835, it appears that in a few cases the dates were extended to fill a county's file folder. For estate proceedings of counties formed after 1835, the researcher should look under the names of the parent county.

    Currently, this database contains abstracts for the following counties: Albany, Allegheny, Broome, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Dutchess, Erie-Niagara, Essex, Franklin, Genesee, Greene, Herkimer, King’s, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, New York, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orange, Orleans, Otsego, Oswego, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, St. Lawrence, Schenectady, Seneca, Sullivan, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Warren, Washington, Wayne, and Yates.

    The remaining counties in the collection are in the process of being indexed by our volunteer team and will be released in the future as they become available.

    The New England Historic Genealogical Society wishes to thank both the Brooklyn Historical Society and Mr. Frank J. Doherty, whose support made this information available.

    Social Security Death Index - Free Access
    Updated through September, 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 September, 2007. Access to the SSDI is FREE to all who visit This database now contains the names of 79,007,669 individuals, most of whose deaths were recorded after 1965.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Alvy Ray Smith Wins Jacobus Award

    The American Society of Genealogists has awarded the Donald Lines Jacobus award to Alvy Ray Smith for Elder Bethuel Riggs of Morris County, New Jersey, and His Family, published by Newbury Street Press in 2006. This prestigious award was established in 1972 to encourage sound scholarship in genealogical writing. Nominations for the award are made by Fellows who edit journals containing book reviews, and it is not presented every year. NEHGS is proud to be the publisher of six Jacobus-award-winning books.

    Congratulations to Alvy Ray Smith on this remarkable achievement. For a complete list of past award winners visit

    Return to Table of Contents


    American Society of Genealogists Names New Fellows

    The American Society of Genealogists is an honorary society founded in 1946 to recognize significant achievement in genealogy based on published scholarship. Membership in ASG is limited to fifty fellows (FASG), who are elected for life. Four new fellows were elected at the annual meeting on October 13, 2007.

    Cherry Fletcher Bamberg; William Wyman Fiske; Frederick C. Hart, Jr.; and Thomas W. Jones became the latest members of this prestigious group. Among their other work, Cherry, Bill, and Fred have contributed numerous articles to The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Tom has been co-editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly for several years.

    NEHGS would like to extend congratulations to these individuals on receiving this honor for their outstanding work. You can find out more information about the American Society of Genealogists at

    Return to Table of Contents


    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    MITTIE (f) – Nickname for MEHITABEL and MARTHA.

    Return to Table of Contents


    From the Sales Department

    Great Migration Sale
    Sale pricing for The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume V: M-P ends on October 31, 2007. Normally priced at $59.95, we are offering a special sale price of $54.95.

    In addition, NEHGS is offering special discounted prices on all previous volumes of The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635 (normally priced at $59.95, now priced at $49.95).

    Pre-publication orders will also be taken for The Complete Great Migration Newsletter, Volumes 1-15 ($24.95) and for The Great Migration Newsletter, Volumes 11-15 ($11.95). These titles are due out in November 2007.

    More information on these new volumes can be found at Orders can also be made at our website or by calling 1-617-226-1212. Prices do not include shipping.

    Classic Reprints Catalog Sale
    Did you know that NEHGS offers a catalog of classic reprints of more than 10,000 hard-to-find or out-of-print books? The NEHGS Special Orders Catalog includes high-quality reprints of books that have long been out of print or are hard-to-find. Some recently ordered titles include:

    • History of the Town of Essex (Massachusetts) from 1634-1868
    • Records of the First Church at Dorchester (Massachusetts) in New England
    • Lebanon: Three Centuries in a Connecticut Hilltop Town
    • Records of the Town of Jamaica, Long Island, New York
    • The Early History of the Pease Family in America (1869)
    • Corwin Genealogy in the United States(1872)

    All special order books are printed on acid-free paper in hardback bindings and many are available in soft cover. Find your family in our massive new catalog! We are so sure you will love this catalog that with its purchase you will receive a coupon towards $10 off your first order from it!

    Special Sale Price until November 1st, 2007: $9.00 + shipping. To order the catalog visit

    Return to Table of Contents


    Research Recommendations: The Photo Detective
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Photographs can tell us so much about our ancestors. Unfortunately, all too often our photographs are unidentified, leaving us with unanswered questions and missing many clues for our research. When you can’t identify the photograph yourself, professional assistance can save the day for you.

    Photo Detective Maureen Taylor has decades of experience researching and identifying photographs. Maureen was director of the library at NEHGS in the 1990s, and later formed her own company. From her home office in Westwood, Massachusetts, Maureen has identified countless images for her clients, using everything from tried-and-true processes to techniques borrowed from the Central Intelligence Agency.

    Last week, the front page of the Weekend Journal section of The Wall Street Journal carried a major story by Alexandra Walter on Maureen. Walter spent three months interviewing Maureen, her clients, and her colleagues, about Maureen’s work. The article is very interesting, and includes illustrations showing clues Maureen used to identify the photographs. If you do not subscribe to The Wall Street Journal, you can read the text of the article on Maureen’s blog at

    Maureen recently updated her blog and her website, You can learn much more about photographs, Maureen’s background and current activities. She has also added a small slideshow with narration that gives you three examples of how Maureen identified three photographs.

    Those who wish to hire Maureen for a consultation on their photographs can do so by uploading an image directly to her through her website as well as by email and snail mail. You can also learn more about her current project to locate and publish photographs of Revolutionary War-era ancestors.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Spotlight: Shelby County [Tennessee ] Register’s Office
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    The Shelby County Register’s Office has a wide variety of searchable databases on its website. They also provide a link to a free viewer that you can download, if you are having difficulty viewing the images of the records. The databases are divided into three areas.

    Tennessee Records
    The Tennessee-wide records include deaths, divorces, and marriages. The death records in this database cover the period 1949–2005. They can be searched by name and can be limited by county, date, gender, and race. The data fields include name, date of death / age, county of death, county / state of residence, marital status, gender, race, file number and a link to a form to request the record.

    The divorce and marriage records cover the period 1980–2005. The divorce records can be searched by full name of the husband and full name of the wife (first and maiden name) and can be limited by county and date. The data fields include husband’s full name, wife’s first name, wife’s maiden name, county, court, date of divorce, file number, and request form. The marriage records can be searched by groom’s full name and bride’s full name, and can be limited by county and date.

    Shelby County Records
    Births 1874–1906
    Researchers can search this database for the birth record of a child by the child’s name or the names of the parents. These records can be searched by full name and can be limited by date, gender and race. The data fields include name, date of birth, gender, race, file number, father / mother’s names, and a link to an image of the record.

    Chancery Court Divorce Records
    The records in the Chancery Court Divorce Records Index are arranged in alphabetical order by first letter of the last name roughly in order by date 1945–97. Choose a letter and click on the search button to bring up images of the record books pages.

    Circuit Court Indexes
    These indexes are arranged in alphabetical order by first letter of the last name of the defendant (1893–1970) and last name of the plaintiff (1873–1970). Choose the database and a letter and click on the search button to bring up images of the record books pages. There are three additional databases covering the period 1970–2000.

    Death Records 1848–1956
    The Death Records database covers the period 1848–1956. It can be searched by last name, first name or by file number. Name searches can be limited by date, gender and race. The file number search can be limited by date. The data fields in the search results include name, date of death/age, gender, race, file number, notes and digital image of the record.

    Marriage Records 1820–1910
    The search fields in the Marriage Records database include groom's last name, groom's first name, bride's last name and bride's first name. The search can be limited by year. The data fields in the search results include groom's name, bride's name, date of marriage, book/page numbers, and a link to the digitized image of the marriage record page if available.

    Naturalization Records 1856–1906
    This database can be searched by name or by book and page number. The search results for both types of searches contain the full name, book/page numbers, type of record, year, and a link to the digitized image of the page.

    Memphis Census 1865
    Researchers can search through the 1865 census of Memphis by last name and first name. The search results include last name, first name, page number and a link to a page image. They can also download the 86 MB file and browse through it at their leisure.

    There are four online exhibits, including the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Assassination Investigation; a digitized memory book about the Shelby County Schools 1922; Memphis Milk Supply 1920–1958; and materials from the West Tennessee Historical Society. The West Tennessee Historical Society has given the Shelby County Register’s Office permission to scan and upload to its website back issues of the West Tennessee Historical Society Papers.

    Return to Table of Contents


    From the Online Genealogist

    I am writing a paper on the old burying ground in Harvard Square, Cambridge. I am specifically interested in finding information on the lives of a few of the people buried there. I retrieved the names from headstones in the cemetery. I believe that your library would have information to help me with my project. Do I need to be a member to use your library?

    Our library can be used for $15.00 a day for a non-member. The research library has many compiled genealogies and local histories, as well as copies of original records (vital, land, probate, etc.) that may assist you. You may find additional information in the following published works.

    Harris, William Thaddeus, Epitaphs from the old burying-ground in Cambridge. (Cambridge, MA, J. Owen, 1845) – Call # F74.C1 H3 1845

    Farnum, Elizabeth, Christ Church record of graves in Old Burying Ground at Harvard Square, Cambridge. (S.l.: Farnum) – Call # F74.C1 F37

    Access to manuscript materials, such as Genealogical Records of Persons Buried in Cambridge Old Burying Ground at Harvard Square, Cambridge (MSS.A.350) is limited to NEHGS members only.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Stories of Interest

    Christopher Columbus is widely said to be the son of a Genoan weaver. Or perhaps he was the illegitimate son of a Portuguese prince. Or was he born to Jewish parents escaping the Spanish Inquisition? New York Times reporter Amy Harmon recently published an article on the DNA search for Columbus’ origins that holds promise for solving this riddle from the Age of Discovery.

    The Generations Network, parent company of, announced today that they will be acquired by Spectrum Equity Investors for $300 million. The investment should give additional capital to the company for continued growth.

    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:

    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