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  • 2007 Archive

  • Vol. 9, No. 43
    Whole #345
    October 24, 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
    * NEHGS and Partnership
    * Federation of Family History Societies Book Liquidation
    * Name Origins
    * From the Sales Department
    * Research Recommendations: The World Digital Library
    * Spotlight: In the First Person
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on New

    Vital Records of Truro, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849

    This new database presents Truro, Mass. birth, marriage intention, marriage, and death records transcribed by George Ernest Bowman and Truro baptism records compiled by John Harvey Treat.

    From the introduction to Vital Records of Truro, Massachusetts to the Year 1849:

    “The Town of Truro, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, lies between Provincetown, in whose harbor 'The Mayflower Compact' was signed, and the present town of Wellfleet, which was a part of the town of Eastham until 1763.

    "Truro was incorporated 27 July, 1709 (New Style), and in 1714 the bounds between that town and Provincetown were established. In 1813, in 1829 and again in 1836 parts of Truro were annexed to Provincetown.

    "The Vital Records of the Town of Truro, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849, are found in seven different volumes of the original town records. The 'Register' is the large folio for recording births, marriages and deaths which was issued to all cities and towns by the state, in 1844.

    "The following pages contain a literal copy of every record of a Birth, Intention (or Publishment) of Marriage, Marriage and Death, to the end of the year 1849, found in these volumes.”

    This database contains 5,045 births, 2,977 baptisms, 2,287 marriage intentions, 2,731 marriages, and 803 deaths. Images of the original book pages may be viewed from the search results page.

    These two volumes are also available in our Boston research library: Truro Baptisms, call number F74.T9.T72 1886; and Vital Records of Truro, Massachusetts to the Year 1849, call number F74.T9.T8 1933

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    NEHGS and Partnership

    As we stated in a message earlier this week, NEHGS and are collaborating to bring new benefits to our members, including discounts on Ancestry story products and subscriptions to For more details visit

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    Federation of Family History Societies Book Liquidation

    The Federation of Family History Societies [U.K.] is discontinuing their book publications. They are liquidating existing inventories, with titles discounted up to 75%. This is a great opportunity to increase your library of titles for U.K. research. Visit for more information.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    JENNY (f) – Nickname for JANE.

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    From the Sales Department

    Just in time for Halloween
    Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in Boston, 1630-1775, by NEHGS President and CEO D. Brenton Simons

    When most people think of Boston between its founding in 1630 and the height of the American Revolution, they probably imagine a procession of Puritan ministers in black followed by Revolutionaries like Paul Revere on horseback. Brenton Simons's Witches, Rakes, and Rogues will change a few minds and shock a few others.

    By scouring family records and public archives, Simons demonstrates convincingly that the narrow, twisting streets of colonial Boston were also crawling with murderers, con men, identity thieves, and other blackguards. Bostonians may have been prayerful, but they were also prurient—and violent. Added to his extraordinary rogues gallery are several misunderstood women who were tried and executed as witches. Simons even uncovers the truth about the first documented serial murder in Boston history.

    Here are just a few of Simons's tales of Witches, Rakes, and Rogues:

    • Jane Hawkins, Boston’s First Witchcraft Suspect
    • The Inheritance Scheme of Robert Palmer
    • The Kidnapping of the Misses Mackintosh
    • The Duel of Benjamin Woodbridge and Henry Phillips
    • Hanged for a Witch: The Turbulent Passions of Ann Hibbins
    • Murder by Arsenic
    • Bigamy in Boston/li

    To order:

    Hardcover, Normally $24.95, Now $20.00.

    Soft cover, Normally $14.95, Now $12.00.

    Books can also be ordered by calling 617-226-1212. Prices do not include shipping. Sale prices good until November 1, 2007.

    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:

    • The Story of Worcester, Massachusetts (1877)
    • Brewster Ship Masters [Massachusetts]
    • The History of Guilford, Connecticut
    • Iroquois Folk Lore, Gathered from the Six Nations of New York
    • Phelps Family of America & Their English Ancestry (1899)
    • Desc. of John Drake of Windsor, Connecticut (1933)

    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

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    Research Recommendations: The World Digital Library
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Google Books and Google Scholar have become well-known to genealogists looking to take advantage of the resources available electronically for their research. What many don’t know, however, is that Google is underwriting the planning process of a major international project — the World Digital Library Project.

    In a speech to the U.S. national commission for the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in June 2005, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington made the suggestion that a World Digital Library (WDL) should be established. Six months later, the Library of Congress hosted a meeting with UNESCO to discuss the project. A demonstration version of the WDL was presented to the press last week in Paris.

    In addition to LOC and UNESCO, the organizations participating in the creation of WDL are impressive: the Bibliotheca Alexandria, the National Library and Archives of Egypt, the National Library of Brazil, the Russian State Library and the National Library of Russia.

    The purpose of the library is to create a free repository for research, and to promote international and inter-cultural understanding and awareness. WDL will serve as a resource for educators and greatly expand the non-English and non-Western content available on the Internet.

    WDL uses the latest technologies to allow content to be presented in the original language, but also provide for instant translation (both visual and audio), into other languages. It will provide not only textual information, but images and streaming video as well.

    The WDL is projected to be launched in late 2008 or early 2009, and will be an incredible addition to your arsenal of genealogical research tools. You can read more about the WDL prototype demonstration in the Washington Post at Visit the WDL website at and see a video demonstration of the project.

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    Spotlight: In the First Person
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    The “In the First Person” section of the Alexander Street Press website is an index to letters, diaries, and oral histories. The website indexes nearly 4,000 collections of “personal narratives in English from around the world.” They include letters, diaries, memoirs, autobiographies, and oral histories. They have indexed first-person narratives from published volumes, which are available both on the Web and in the holdings of repositories and archives. According to the description provided on the website, users can run keyword searches of the “more than 700,000 pages of full-text by more than 18,000 individuals from all walks of life.” It should be noted that about 25% of the materials indexed here are still under copyright. This includes all of the materials offered by the Alexander Street Press itself, which are available by subscription only. But this should not stop you from finding out what else is contained in the index.

    The table of contents can be viewed alphabetically by repository, collection, and document. The Table of Contents by Repository lists repositories in alphabetical order. The index data fields include details, which contains a link to a detailed record, a link to the repository’s website, and a link to documents, if they are indexed in this database. The Collections Table of Contents lists the collections in alphabetical order. There are two display options. The Brief Display gives the collection name, a link to collection details, estimated total number of documents, document details, text, audio, and video links. The full display gives detailed information about the collection in narrative form, with links to collection and repository details.

    Under the Table of Contents by Documents the data fields include speaker, date, collection name, type, details, text, audio, and video. With the exception of date, the fields are links to the items in a collection. The lists can be sorted by collection, speaker, and year. Click on the Details link to access the detailed record. For example, the Aaron Thomas Journal is freely available through the University of Miami, Otto G. Richter Library, Archives and Special Collections. It is a 56-page journal written by Aaron Thomas between 1798 and 1799. The locations discussed include North American and the West Indies. Topics include Christian saints, diaries, North America, religion, and the West Indies. Click on the URL in the record to go to the University of Miami website to read the journal.

    There is also a Table of Contents organized by date, through which one can see how many documents have been indexed for each decade from the 1550s through the 1990s. Links to the documents are provided from the Contents page. The Table of Contents by Place provides links to narratives by place discussed and place of birth. One can also view the Table of Contents by subject or by historical event. The data fields in most of these Tables include information about item types - fulltext, audio, or video. No information is provided at this level as to whether the entry is free or subscription based.

    The index can be searched by collections or by documents. In the collections search option users can exclude all “For Fee Products.” There are more than 20 search fields in Search Collections, which include speaker name, age at speaking; year of birth; place of birth; gender; occupation; race; years, places, and people discussed; historical events and organizations discussed; and date and place of interview/writing. Search fields in the Search Documents option include keyword(s), collection name, year spanned, city, state, country, broad subjects, narrow subjects, release date and repository name.

    The "In the First Person" index is updated on a quarterly basis. In a future release they plan to create a community space for individuals, scholars, and institutions to publish directly into the database.

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    From the Online Genealogist

    I've been researching the revolutionary war records of a couple of my ancestors and keep running across the term "bounty coat." Usually the records say something like "also, order for bounty coat or its equivalent in money dated Cambridge, Oct. 31, 1775." I've not been able to find a definition of what a bounty coat was, though it I assume that it was some way that a soldier was paid for service. Do you know the story behind the bounty coat?

    The reference is to an actual coat that was offered to the soldier in lieu of money in 1775. The following passage explains:

    "On the 5th of July, 1775, a resolve was passed to provide each of the non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the army authorized to be raised under resolve of April 23, 1775, with a coat, and 13,000 were ordered to be provided by the towns and districts, in accordance with a regular apportionment. This gift of a coat was considered in the nature of a bounty, and later, at the time of their distribution, the men in service were permitted to choose between acceptance of the coat or a sum of money in lieu thereof." [Source: Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War (Boston: Wright and Potter, 1896) 1:xvi].

    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

    A church built about 1350 in the village of Heuersdorf, Germany, is being relocated to the nearby of village of Borna. The church, which weighs 660 tons, is on a rolling wooden base. It is expected to reach Born next week. Read the BBC News report 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 November 2007:

    New Visitor Welcome & Library Tour
    Saturday, November 3, 2007 10 a.m.
    New visitors will participate in an introduction and orientation to the Society, including the opportunity to describe their research and have staff genealogists offer general advice on how to proceed. The free thirty-minute introductory lecture will be followed by a tour of the library.

    Dwelling Place of Dragons
    Saturday, November 10, 2007, 10 a.m.
    Author Marjorie Harshaw Robie, seen on The Today Show and PBS, will present a three-part discussion of her new book Dwelling Place of Dragons, a fascinating look at the dangers of religious tyranny in Ireland between 1830 and 1849.

    Getting the Most from NEHGS Databases
    Wednesday, November 14, 2007, 10 a.m.
    With over 110 million names in 2,200 databases, is the primary internet resource for New England genealogy. This free lecture will offer an overview of the Society’s website and online databases.


    For more information about NEHGS programs, visit or email

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    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

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