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  • 2007 Archive

  • Vol. 9, No. 47
    Whole #349
    November 21, 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
    * Coming Soon in the Holiday 2007 Issue of New England Ancestors
    * New Books and Other Resources in NEHGS Library Catalog
    * Name Origins
    * Holiday Sales Specials
    * Research Recommendations: A Better World: Book by Book
    * Spotlight: Solano County [CA] Genealogical Society
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on New

    Vital Records of Middleborough, Mass. to 1845

    In 2007, The Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants granted permission to NEHGS to digitize and present this work. The originals were originally published in 1986 (Volume 1) and 1990 (Volume 2) and are now out of print. The years covered by this work include: Births to 1838; Deaths to 1836; Marriages to 1842; and Marriage Intentions to 1845.

    From the introduction:

    “Publication of the vital records of Middleborough, Massachusetts, was begun in 1900 when transcriptions by George Ernest Bowman were printed in the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants' quarterly, The Mayflower Descendant. Through 1937, when the original series of The Mayflower Descendant ceased publication, Bowman transcribed the volumes titled 'Early Records,' 'Book 1,' and 'Book 2.'

    "In addition, all but about fifty pages of 'Book 4, pt. 1' were printed. These transcriptions covered births and deaths in Middleborough to the 1790's, and marriages to the 1770's. Middleborough, Massachusetts, Vital Records reprints all of the material published in The Mayflower Descendant from 1900 to 1937 (with the addition of one page that was inadvertently omitted — page 241 of original Book 1, which is on page 77 of Volume One of this set). This reprinted material is contained in pages 1-242 of Volume One. Succeeding pages of Volume One and all of Volume Two consist of new transcriptions from the original vital records of the town of Middleborough.

    "Transcription Method
    "Material transcribed exclusively for this volume was interpreted from microfilm copies of the original records held by the town. Transcriptions then were proofread against the original books at the town hall in Middleborough, with the exception of pages 243 to 301 of Volume One that were taken from "Book 4, Part I," which was not located. The microfilm of this section, however, was clear enough to proofread. Transcriptions were made in as literal a manner as possible, exactly as the entries appear in the records. Because of the difficulty of transcribing handwritten material to typeset material, and the number of transcribers necessary to a project of this size, there may be some discrepancies regarding punctuation or spelling of names.

    "All of the vital records transcribed in Volume Two of Middleborough, Massachusetts, Vital Records (with the exception of pages 1-7 -- see page 307, Errata and Addenda) are transcribed from microfilm copies of the original records held by the Town Clerk of Middleborough. Transcriptions were then proofread against the original record books at the town hall. Transcriptions were made in as literal a manner as possible, exactly as the entries appear in the records (note exception below). Because of the difficulty of transcribing handwritten material to typeset material, and the number of transcribers necessary to a project of this size, there may be some discrepancies regarding punctuation or spelling of names. The records transcribed in volumes One and Two of Middleborough, Massachusetts, Vital Records constitute all records available on the microfilms of town records in the possession of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants.”

    This database contains 9,035 births, 15,322 marriages and marriage intentions, and 1,259 deaths.
    These volumes are also available in our Boston research library, call number: F74/M62/M6 1986.

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    Coming Soon in the Holiday 2007 Issue of New England Ancestors

    New England Moves West: Connecticut’s Pennsylvania “Colony” by Donna Bingham Munger
    Finding the Whole Truth: The Terry Family of the Wyoming Valley by Stephen C. Young
    Salem Witch Judge: The Life and Repentance of Samuel Sewall by Eve LaPlante
    Friendship Books: An Overlooked Source for Genealogists by Marjorie Hubbell Gibson
    Bring Your Ancestors to Life by James and Marianne Carbine
    Ten Further Notable American Cousins of Diana, Princess of Wales by Gary Boyd Roberts
    Ebenezer Knight Dexter’s Enduring Gift to Providence by Edwin M. Knights, Jr.

    Also in this issue . . .
    • Computer Genealogist: Computer Security
    • Computer Genealogist Spotlight: British History Online
    • Genetics & Genealogy: The Coddington DNA Study Project
    • Manuscripts at NEHGS: Update on the John Insley Coddington Papers
    • Bible Records at NEHGS: The Bush and Loomis Bible, Part Two
    • Tales from the Courthouse: The Case of the Stone-Throwing Devil

    And, as always, news of NEHGS and the world of genealogy, upcoming NEHGS programs and tours, new publications, notices of family association events, genealogies in progress, and DNA studies in progress.
    Subscription to New England Ancestors is a benefit of NEHGS membership. If you are not a member, you may join online at, or call toll-free 1-888-296-3447, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, Eastern time.

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    New Books and Other Resources in NEHGS Library Catalog

    NEHGS has posted the most recent list of new titles added to the library collections. It includes titles on such topics as the Frost family; the Voltaggio family; North American wills registered in London, 1611-1857; memorial inscriptions of Blackrock, Ireland; Henniker, New Hampshire, cemetery records; Catholic marriages of Burlington, Vermont; French and Belgian immigrants to northern Rhode Island; Danbury, Connecticut, cemetery inscriptions; and pioneers of Washington County, Oklahoma. To see if there is something relevant to your research on this August to September 2007 list, go directly to the New Books page at You can also access the list by going to the catalog’s main search page,, and clicking the “New Books” link beneath the search box. To view more details about any title on the list, simply click the title, which is hyperlinked (underlined), and you will be taken to the full catalog record. The list is sorted in call number order. If you would like to use any of these new resources, you may do so by visiting our Research Library in Boston or by contacting our Research Services department to have a researcher consult the resource for you.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    TED (m) – Nickname formed from THEODORE, EDWARD or EDMUND.

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    Holiday Sales Specials

    The NEHGS Sales Department is happy to offer holiday sale pricing on a number of our most popular titles, just in time for your holiday shopping! Find out more about our specials at

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    Research Recommendations: A Better World: Book by Book
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Like most genealogists I have a voracious appetite for books. I am always on the lookout for good places to get a deal, and when I find them I like to share them. This week I stumbled upon a terrific source for used books that also lets you help the planet.

    Based in Mishawaka, Indiana, Better World Books is the leader in converting donated books into funding that supports world literacy efforts. The company was founded by three college friends and roommates: Xavier Helgesen, Chris “Kreece” Fuchs, and Jeff Kurtzman. They started by holding a book drive to support the Robinson Community Learning Center. They got fellow Notre Dame students to donate more than 2,000 textbooks and raised more than $8,000 to support the center. The three set up BetterWorld to rescue books from landfills and to promote a better world.

    In addition to its college and university textbook drives, Better World Books now works with libraries and other book sources with the goal of promoting literacy. They partner with more than 70 literacy organizations, including Room to Read, Worldfund, and the National Center for Family Literacy. Every book they sell includes a contribution to one of their literacy partners.

    As if that weren’t a great enough reason to use their services, they also have a strong commitment to the environment. As they say on their website: “In a perfect world, we'd package your books in indestructible hemp pouches and load them into Willie Nelson's BioDiesel bus, where he'd hand deliver them and sing you a song or two. We aren't quite there yet, but we've got a few things we think you'll like.”

    They have built a carbon-neutral shopping cart. They collect a few cents on every purchase, and this carbon offset is used to purchase renewable energy credits and support reforestation through

    They have almost two million books, plus 500,000 new titles on their site. You can search by title, author, or ISBN, or you can browse by categories. The site is easy to use. And shipping is free within the United States.

    I was looking for a work written about a widely-reported divorce in the early twentieth century for my book on the family of Josiah Franklin (father of Benjamin Franklin). I found what I was looking for in minutes, ordered the book quickly, and received confirmation of my order instantaneously. I was notified when the book was shipped, and it arrived in a week. All of this for the princely sum of $1.98.

    Since they started a few years ago, BetterWorld has collected more than 10 million books, from book drives at 1,200 colleges and universities and from 750 libraries. They have raised more than $2.2 million for literacy. They have saved 5,250 tons of books from landfills,and have reclaimed 628,000 pounds of metal shelving from libraries. They have created 775 tons of carbon offset through their sales, and have created more than 130 full-time jobs (with benefits).

    Excellent prices, great customer service, and you are helping to make a better world with every penny. Can you think of a better reason to spend your book dollars somewhere? Check out today.

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    Spotlight: Solano County [CA] Genealogical Society
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Solano County is one of the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties, located about halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento. The county seat is Fairfield. Solano County was one of the original counties of California, created in 1850 at the time of statehood. Click on the Databases link to access the database collection of the Solano County Genealogical Society. There are more than fifty individual databases on the website. Copies of these records can be requested from the research department of the Society. There is a fee for this service. Below are descriptions of some of the indexes.

    Death Database 1850–Present
    This database is organized alphabetically by first letter of the surname. The sources from which it was compiled include obituaries, death notices, church registers, will abstracts, probate notices, funeral records, death records, and Bible records. The data fields in the index include full name and year.

    Passalacqua Funeral Home Records
    This database covers the period 1914–2000. It is an alphabetical index to the records of the Passalacqua Funeral Home, located in Benicia, California. The original records include name, birth date, death date, age, burial, parents’ names, and birthplace, when available. The data fields in the index include full name, record number, and sheet number.

    Cemetery Databases
    There are four cemetery indexes in the database collection. They include the Dixon Silveyville Cemetery District Index, Rockville Cemetery Index, Sunrise Memorial Cemetery Index, and the Vacaville and Elmira Cemetery Index. These alphabetical indexes provide researchers with the full name and years of birth and death.

    GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) Solano County
    This database is an index to the membership lists of two GAR posts — Farragut Post No. 4 in Vallejo and the John W. Geary Post No. 113 in Dixon. The data fields include full name, company, service, address, and post number.

    Annual Muster Rolls
    More than half of the databases on the Society’s website are annual muster rolls for various military companies in Solano County during the 1860s and 1870s. The data fields for these indexes include full name, rank, date mustered in, and unit.

    Passenger List for the Ship Richmond
    This database would be of particular interest to the descendants of New Englanders who sailed west around Cape Horn in 1849 with Benicia, California, as their final destination. The Richmond sailed out of Boston on October 31, 1849, with 170 persons on board, including Captain Edward Winn, his wife and 2 daughters from Salem, Mass., the 1st mate from Quincy, Mass., the 3rd mate from Rindge, New Hampshire, and the carpenter from Boston, Mass. The information in this database was extracted from entries in the diary of Thomas D. Day of Jefferson, Maine. The data fields include full name, status, and location from which the individual came.

    Index to Property Owners and Township Lists
    This database is an alphabetical index to the property owners and township lists of Thompson and West’s Historical Atlas Map of Solano County (1878). The data fields include Name and Town/Page/Section designations. A list of town abbreviations is provided on the database main page.

    There is a separate index to the schools in Solano County, which has been drawn from Thompson and West. The data fields are township name, school name, and the source, including page number.

    St. Gertrude’s Academy and Good Templar’s Orphanage
    St. Gertrude’s Academy was located in Rio Vista. This database is an index to the Roster of the Alumni Association and covers the period 1876–1930. There is a student surname index and an index of staff and officers.

    The Good Templar’s Orphanage database is a surname index for the 4,500 orphans or half-orphans who resided at the Good Templar’s Orphanage in Vallejo. It was compiled from a number of sources. These include census records, a burial list, and Proceedings of the Annual Sessions of the Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of the Good Templars. The data fields include full name, date/record type (census, burial, proceedings), sex, age, birthplace (if known), and page number.

    1890 Great Register of Voters
    This database is an alphabetical index to the 1890 Great Register of Voters for Solano County. Its data fields include full name and location (city or town in which the registered voter resides). The data included in the actual Great Register of Voters includes naturalization information, birthplace by country or state, age of the voter, and his occupation. Contact the Society’s research department for a copy of the original registration.

    Account Book for Topley’s Pioneer Drug Store 1891–1897
    If your ancestors lived in Vallejo, California, during the 1890s, they might have traded at Topley’s Pioneer Drug Store. This database is an alphabetical index to the names appearing in the store’s account book. The data fields in the index include the customer’s name and the page on which the transaction appears. The name information in the name field may be incomplete. Other information in this field may include the customer’s address, employer, or even a brief physical description (e.g., Little Lady).

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    Stories of Interest

    Why isn't it free?
    Many people feel that all genealogical information should be available for free on the Internet. Dick Eastman does a wonderful job of explaining why that is not a realistic scenario in a recent posting on his blog. You can read his assessment at

    How do you say Calais?
    Portland Press Herald
    columnist Ray Routhier recently wrote a light-hearted piece on pronouncing the names of towns in Maine. You can read the story on 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. For more information, please contact Ryan Woods at 617-226-1226 or

    The following programs will be held December through January 2007:

    New Visitor Welcome & Library Tour
    Wednesday, December 5, 2007, 10 a.m. and Saturday, January 5, 2008, 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.

    The Acadian Deportation
    Saturday, December 8, 2007, 10:00 a.m.
    Lucie LeBlanc Consentino, author and owner of the website the Acadian & French Canadian Ancestral Home ( will speak about the forced deportation of Acadians from Nova Scotia during the Great Diaspora between 1755 and 1763.

    The Ancestry of Diana, Princess of Wales
    Wednesday, December 12, 2007, 10:00 a.m.
    Gary Boyd Roberts, NEHGS Senior Research Scholar Emeritus, will cover both Diana’s English ancestry, often noble, and the New England and American forebears of her mother, plus surprising American immigrant kin of her English and Scottish ancestors.

    Getting the Most from NEHGS Databases
    Wednesday, January 9, 2008 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.

    By Faith Alone
    Wednesday, January 23, 2008, 6:30 pm
    Join NEHGS for a special evening with distinguished journalist and CNBC anchor Bill Griffeth as he discuses his new book, By Faith Alone: One Family’s Epic Journey Through American Protestantism. The lecture will be followed by a book singing and reception. A minimum $15 donation is requested.

    Seminars and Tours
    For more information or to register for any of these events, please contact Ryan Woods at 617-226-1226 or

    Weekend Research Getaway
    #1 Thursday, February 7–Saturday, February 9, 2008
    #2 Thursday, April 10–Saturday, April 12, 2008
    Weekend Research Getaways in Boston are among the most popular NEHGS programs in recent years. Escape to 101 Newbury Street and experience a guided research program, with one-on-one consultations and special access to the collections. Whether you are a first-time participant or have participated in a guided research program before, an on-site visit to NEHGS with our expert staff is sure to further your research. Bring your charts and expect some breakthroughs!
    Registration fees: $300 for the three-day program; $100 for a single day.

    Technology and Genealogy Seminar
    Friday, February 22–Saturday, February 23, 2008
    NEHGS is proud to host a two-day, in-depth seminar exploring the important relationship between technology and genealogy. Over the course of the seminar, participants will hear from staff experts on Internet search techniques, customizing your Internet experience, electronic database-building, scanning software, and the newest trends in must-have hardware and software.
    Registration fee: $150

    Quebec Research Tour
    Sunday, June 15–Sunday, June 22, 2008
    Celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec by joining NEHGS staff experts Pauline Cusson and Michael J. Leclerc for a research week in Montreal, Quebec. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to explore the great resources of the archives with two of the Society’s staff experts, as well as the staff and volunteers at the archives. The archives hold documents from the earliest settlement of Quebec through the English period down to the twentieth century. Participants will receive one-on-one consultations, providing guidance and suggestions for research. Whether your ancestors spoke French or English, the archival records will help you to break through your brick walls and discover where they came from.
    Registration fees (includes seven nights lodging at the Hôtel Les Suites Labelle): Single, $1,550; Double, $1,350 per person; Double with non-participant, $1,850; Commuter, $775 (no lodging).


    Great Migration Tour to England
    Tuesday, August 5–Friday, August 15, 2008
    Based in Chelmsford, England, this inaugural Great Migration tour with Robert Charles Anderson will visit the historically significant locations in Essex and Hertfordshire counties associated with the families who migrated to New England in 1631, 1632, and 1633. The primary focus of the tour will be the migrations and activities connected to four influential ministers of the period: Thomas Hooker, John Eliot, Thomas Weld, and Roger Williams.
    Registration fees: $3,995 per person.

    Other 2008 Tours
    Massachusetts Archives Research Day

    Thursday, March 27, 2008

    National Archives Research Day
    Thursday, May 22, 2008

    Come Home to New England
    #1 Monday, June 23–Saturday, June 28, 2008
    #2 Monday, August 11–Saturday, August 16, 2008

    Salt Lake City Research Tour
    Sunday, November 2–Sunday, November 9, 2008

    For more information about NEHGS programs, visit or email

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    NEHGS Contact Information

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    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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