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  • 2007 Archive

  • Vol. 9, No. 7
    Whole #309
    February 14, 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 Winter 2007 Issue of New England Ancestors Magazine
    * Name Origins
    * One Week Only: Get Autographed Copies of Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries
    * NEHGS Library Holiday Closure
    * Research Recommendations: Presidential Genealogy
    * Spotlight: More Obituary Databases
    * From the Online Genealogist
    * Stories of Interest
    * Upcoming Public Lecture Series
    * Upcoming Education Programs
    * NEHGS Contact Information


    New Databases on New

    Vital Records of Concord, Mass., 1635-1850


    This week, we are releasing the 438-page Vital Records of Concord, Massachusetts. The data contained in this book were compiled and published by a committee of Concord residents in 1895. The volume contains records of 7,179 births, 5,180 marriages, and 3,370 deaths.

    From the introduction of the book:

    At the Annual Meeting of the citizens of the Town of Concord, held March 30, 1891, it was voted, "that a committee of five persons be appointed by the moderator, who should procure the printing of the town's ancient registers of births, marriages, and deaths. The moderator appointed Grindall Reynolds, John S. Keyes, Chas. H. Walcott, Samuel Hoar, and George Tolman. The book which this committee now offers to their fellow citizens for their approval is the result of the labors given under this vote.

    "Concord is one of the oldest of our New England towns, having been settled in 1635. It has been termed with truth one of the 'seed towns.' The descendants of the original settlers are scattered far and wide over the whole country. It is probable that the number of such descendants living outside of the town far exceeds the number of those living in it at the present time. Naturally enough, there has been a great and growing desire on the part of many of these to obtain trustworthy information in respect to those from whom they are descended, or to whom they are related by ties of blood. There has been perhaps a still greater desire on the part of those who still live in the town to have the means of information which really exist put into an available and convenient form. For these reasons and others, which will occur to those who are interested in genealogical matters, the town took the action of which this work is the fruit."

    The data from this book are being added to those in our existing Massachusetts VRs to 1850 database. The images of the original pages from this book may be viewed from the search results page of that database.


    The original volume is also available in our Boston research library, call number F74.C8.C8.



    Social Security Death Index - Free Access
    Updated through December, 2006

    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 December, 2006. Access to the SSDI is FREE to all who visit This database now contains the names of over 77,000,000 individuals, most of whose deaths were recorded after 1965.


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    Coming Soon in the Winter 2007 Issue of New England Ancestors Magazine

    Investigating a Family Legend with Twenty-first Century Tools: the Search for the Indian in my Lineage
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    A Primer on New England Native American Genealogy
    by R. Andrew Pierce

    Jane Bartlett: A Case Study
    by Valerie Beaudrault and Marieke Van Damme

    Irish Online Mapping System: A Genealogist’s Pot of Gold
    by Michael P. Quinlin

    Did John Jones Abdicate or Leave with Honor? Why Concord’s First Ministers Parted in 1644
    by Thom Taylor

    From the Membership Department
    by Pauline Cusson

    The Eardeley Collection: Abstracts of Wills, Administrations, and Guardianships in New York State 1787–1835
    Frank J. Doherty

    A Conference in Connecticut
    by D. Joshua Taylor

    Deerfield Descendants
    by Patricia Ford Yurkunas

    Also in this issue . . .
    • Computer Genealogist: Mapping Your Ancestors
    • Computer Genealogist Spotlight: New Hampshire Broadsides and Maps
    • Genetics & Genealogy: Verifying My Lineage with DNA
    • Manuscripts at NEHGS: The Staples Collection: Preserving the Research of Family Historians and a Family Association
    • Bible Records at NEHGS: Gannett, Farley, and Stinson Bible Records

    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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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto

    HODGE (m) – Medieval or rural nickname for ROGER.

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    One Week Only: Get Autographed Copies of Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries

    The NEHGS Sales department is offering personally inscribed copies of the hugely popular work Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries by NEHGS Online Genealogist David Allen Lambert at the discounted price of $15.00!

    Now a researcher can quickly gain information on:

    • cemetery names
    • year of the consecration of the cemetery, or the oldest known gravestone or burial
    • location of the cemetery
    • printed and manuscript sources for the cemetery
    • contact information for the office affilliated with the cemetery

    This book contains many previously undocumented burial grounds as well as citations to published transcriptions of gravestone listings in places such as the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, and the official series of Massachusetts vital records to 1850. A must for those with ties to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts!




    To order, please call 1-617-226-1212. Prices good through February 28th, 2007, while supplies last.

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    NEHGS Library Holiday Closure

    The NEHGS Research Library at 101 Newbury Street will be closed Saturday, February 17, 2007 in observance of President's Day.

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    Research Recommendations

    Presidential Genealogy
    by Michael J. Leclerc

    Every year we take time to honor the men who have served their country as president, starting with George Washington to whoever currently serves in that office. Many families have traditions of links to presidential families. While it can be easy to disprove some traditions (e.g., Washington left no descendants), others (e.g. cousinship to a president) may take more research.

    A great deal of research has already been done on presidential families, both ancestors and descendants. Gary Boyd Roberts’ Ancestors of American Presidents (Santa Clarita, Calif.: Carl Boyer, in cooperation with the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, 1989) is the leading work on presidential ancestry. Charles Mosley’s American Presidential Families (New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, 1993) is the best resource for the descendants of presidents. The combination of these two works can help you find any presidential ties.

    In researching my brother-in-law’s ancestry, I discovered that he was descended from Franklin Pierce’s aunt, Phebe Pierce. Gary’s book helped me fill out the rest of the Pierce ancestry.

    Whether you have presidential connections or not, there are a number of presidential libraries and centers around the country with collections that can assist in your research. The National Archives and Records Administration operates presidential libraries for every president from Herbert Hoover (1929-1933) through William Jefferson Clinton (1993-2001). In addition, the state of Illinois operates the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. Webb C. Hayes, the second son of Rutherford B. Hayes, endowed a foundation in 1922 to operate the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, Ohio. These libraries have many materials useful to genealogists, from local histories to maps and atlases. The Hayes center has an online obituary database covering its entire region of Ohio. Follow the links below for more information on these research centers.

    Herbert Hoover to William Jefferson Clinton

    Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center

    Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

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    Spotlight: More Obituary Databases
    by Valerie Beaudrault

    Niles District Library, Niles, Michigan

    The city of Niles is in Berrien County. It is located in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, not far from the shores of Lake Michigan. Niles is only eight miles north of South Bend, Indiana.

    The Niles District Public Library’s Local History & Genealogy collections include an online Obituary Index. As noted on the website, the index contained more than 64,000 names in 2003. Volunteers have continued to add to the database. Researchers can choose to search through any or all of the 45 newspaper titles used to compile the index. They cover the period from the early nineteenth century to the present. Search fields include last name, first name, newspaper title (drop down list), death date range, and newspaper date range. Search results fields are the same. Click on the decedent’s name to access the Detail Page. The Detail Page also includes 2 additional fields (See Also and Sa Page), which provide reference information for other newspapers in which the obituary can be found.

    Charlevoix Public Library Research Center, Charlevoix, Michigan

    The city of Charlevoix is the county seat of Charlevoix County. It is located on an isthmus between Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix.

    The Obituary Database of the Charlevoix Public Library Research Center is being compiled by the Friends of the Charlevoix Public Library. The database is an index to obituaries found in the Charlevoix Courier. It currently covers the period between 1993 and 2006. You can search by last name, maiden/other name(s), year of death, spouse/partner name, and year of death. The year of death field contains a drop down list with date ranges from 1900 through the present. Searches using dates earlier than 1993 will return results where the date matches the deceased’s date of birth. The Maiden Name/Other Name(s) field will also return the names of individuals mentioned in the obituary. Click on the Newspaper Obituary link to a scan of the obituary.

    Stewart Library, Grinnell, Iowa
    ( )

    Grinnell is located in Poweshiek County, which is in central Iowa. According to the city’s web site, the city of Grinnell was founded in 1854. The city is “named for abolitionist Josiah B. Grinnell, to whom Horace Greeley gave the famous advice 'Go West, young man, go West.' The city of Grinnell became a stop on the Underground Railroad, providing shelter to abolitionist John Brown and allowing nearly 1,000 freed slaves to pass through town.”

    The link to the Obituary Database of the Stewart Library can be found on the library’s Local History page. The obituaries contained in this database are from local newspapers dating back to 1871. The search fields include first name, last name, year of death, range of years, maiden name, spouse name, and other information. To search for an obituary you must enter at least two characters in one of the name fields or the year of death. You can also choose a range of dates from the dropdown menu for that field. The search results include the name of the deceased, date of birth, date of death, name of spouse, residence, and record number. To view an obituary, you will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader software. Click on the name link. It will bring up the image. Unfortunately, the newspaper titles are not noted on the website, nor do they appear as part of the PDF images.

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    Stories of Interest

    Library of Congress to Digitize Brittle Books
    Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said Wednesday the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation awarded a $2 million grant to the world's largest library for a program to digitize thousands of works with a major focus on "brittle books." Read the full story at

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    From the Online Genealogist

    I understand that maps of many Massachusetts and Maine towns were drawn in 1790. Do you have a copy of these at NEHGS?

    These maps are available at the Massachusetts State Archives on microfilm and as the original manuscripts. The following is a description of the collection from the Massachusetts state archives website:

    Massachusetts. Office of the Secretary of State. Town plans--1794, 1794-1795. Originals: 2.5 cubic ft. (16 v.) Copies: 6 microfilm reels ; 35 mm. Also available in microfilm in Archives reading room. Summary: For the compilation of a state map, each town in Massachusetts (including those in the five eastern counties now part of Maine) was required by Resolves 1794, May Sess, c 101 to make a town plan based on a survey no more than seven years old, to be submitted to the state secretary's office. Rivers, county roads, bridges, courthouses, places of public worship, and distances of the town center to the county shire town and to Boston were to be included, drawn on a scale of 200 rods to the inch. A map of Massachusetts proper and one of the District of Maine were compiled by Osgood Carleton from these plans and printed in 1802. The Massachusetts map is included in: Maps and plans ((M- Ar)50), no. 1616, 1617, 1617A and the map of Maine in no. 1618, 1618A. Three sets of these maps were sent to each of the states pursuant to Resolves 1794, c 77. Maps numbered and bound as part of an overall system ordering Archives maps by date. Collated: 1886-1891. Finding aids: Plans included in chronological catalog, subject index, and card index accompanying: Maps and plans ((M-Ar)50)

    For more information on the Mass. State Archives go to


    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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    Upcoming Public Lecture Series

    Our lectures explore a wide range of research skills and sources and are free and open to the public. They are offered in the Richardson-Sloane Education Center at 101 Newbury Street on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:00 A.M. unless otherwise stated. Advance registration is not necessary.

    Down to the Sea: Steamboats to Maine
    Tom Wilcox, February 21
    Join the Society’s chief operating officer as he gives an illustrated talk about the steam passenger trade between Boston and Maine that began in earnest after the Civil War and was made obsolete by the automobile by the end of the First World War.  Historic images of steamboats, seaside resorts and the characters who populated the landscape and seascape will be shown. Tom spent more than a decade as Executive Director of Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. 

    Future programs for the first quarter of 2007 include:

    March 3 (Saturday at 10:00 am), Marie Daly, New Visitor Welcome and Library Tour
    March 7, Joshua Taylor, Creating Your Personal Genealogical Website
    March 14, David Lambert, Getting the Most from NEHGS Databases
    March 17 (Saturday at 10:00 am), Shelley Barber and Marie Daly, Researching Immigrant Documents: The Prendergast Letters
    March 21, Martin Hollick, New Englanders in the 1600s
    March 28, Rhonda McClure, Using Your Computer for Genealogical Analysis


    For more information about lectures offered by New England Historic Genealogical Society, please go to the Education homepage at or call 1-888-286-3447.

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    Research Week in Washington, D.C.
    Sunday, February 25 - Sunday, March 4, 2007
    Join us for our popular trip to the nation’s capital which offers a wealth of research opportunities for genealogists. Enjoy the benefits of working with our expert staff at the Library of Congress (LC), the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Library, and at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
    Sign up now at

    Each year the Society presents a large number of lectures, seminars, and tours for genealogists. The following major programs will be held March-November 2007:

    Writing Your Family History: Organizing Your Material and Getting Started Saturday, March 31, 2007
    Seminar in Boston

    Genetics and Genealogy Saturday, April 21, 2007
    Seminar in Boston

    Research Day at NARA Northeast Region Wednesday, May 16, 2007
    Location: Waltham, MA

    Come Home to New England #1 Monday, June 18–Saturday, June 23, 2007
    Tutorial program with consultations in Boston

    Come Home to New England #2 Monday, August 6–Saturday, August 11, 2007
    Tutorial program with consultations in Boston

    English Family History Research Tour to London Sunday, September 9–Sunday, September 16, 2007
    Lodging: Holiday Inn Bloomsbury

    Research Tour to Salt Lake City Sunday, October 28–Sunday, November 4, 2007
    Lodging: Salt Lake Plaza Hotel

    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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