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  • The Weekly Genealogist

  • Vol. 15, No. 50 
    Whole #613
    December 12, 2012
    Edited by Lynn Betlock, Jean Powers, and Valerie Beaudrault


    Greetings from the New England Historic Genealogical Society! 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.

    NEHGS collects, preserves, and interprets materials to document and make accessible the histories of families in America.

    * NEHGS Database News
    * NEHGS Library Closings
    * Gary Boyd Roberts Recognized with Award
    * A Note from the Editor: Early Shaker Christmases
    * Name Origins
    * The Weekly Genealogist Survey
    * Spotlight: The Cambridge Room, Cambridge Public Library, Massachusetts
    * Stories of Interest
    * NEHGS Bookstore Holiday Discounts
    * Upcoming Education Programs


    NEHGS Database News

    by Sam Sturgis, Digital Collections Administrator, and Christopher Carter, Digital Collections Coordinator

    American Ancestors Magazine, Volume 13

    A 64-page magazine published by NEHGS, American Ancestors contains a wealth of information for family historians. American Ancestors features a wide range of article topics and styles, and is designed to appeal to family historians of all levels. Topics include coverage of a particular region or group of people; case studies; descriptions of particular record sets; “how-to” articles; compelling historic accounts that illuminate the past; research strategies and methodology; and accounts of migration and immigrant groups. Regular columns focus on genetics, diaries and manuscripts at NEHGS, and New York State research. The magazine’s “Family Focus” column features announcements of genealogies in progress, recently published books, family association news, and DNA studies in progress.

    This update to the American Ancestors magazine database adds Volume 13 (2012).

    Jewish Cemeteries in Massachusetts — Three New Cemeteries

    NEHGS is pleased to add three new cemeteries to the Jewish Cemeteries in Massachusetts database. The new cemeteries include: Poali Zedeck in Everett, Mass. and Puritan–Mt Sinai and Hebrew Volin in West Roxbury, Mass.

    The records in this collection are courtesy of the American Jewish Historical Society — New England Archives, who, in collaboration with the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts maintain records for 105 Jewish cemeteries in Massachusetts. Records range from 1853 to present.

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    NEHGS Library Closings

    The NEHGS Library will close at 4 p.m. this Thursday, December 13, for the NEHGS holiday staff party.

    NEHGS will be closed on Tuesday, December 25, and Tuesday, January 1, in observance of the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Please plan your visits accordingly.

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    Gary Boyd Roberts Recognized with Award

    On December 8, 2012, the Dallas Genealogical Society presented its annual Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck Distinguished Service Award to NEHGS senior research scholar Gary Boyd Roberts. The award has been presented each year since 1994 to an individual for outstanding contributions to the genealogical community on a national level. Mr. Roberts was recognized for his “deep knowledge of Americans of royal descent and the ancestry of U.S. presidents and other notable Americans,” as well as for his “ability to bring this scholarship to a broad audience as a bibliographer, author, and lecturer.”

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    A Note from the Editor: Early Shaker Christmas
    by Lynn Betlock, Editor

    The United Society of Believers was founded in Manchester, England, in 1747. Their nickname, Shakers, was a shortened version of the derisive term “Shaking Quakers,” which was bestowed because of the group’s vigorous movement during worship. Their leader, Mother Ann Lee, and eight followers established themselves in New York State in 1774. According to the Hancock Shaker Village website, the group was “seeking the freedom to live, work, and worship according to their main religious tenets: celibacy, communal life, and confession of sin. The Shakers also believed in racial and gender equality, simplicity, and pacifism. They dedicated their lives to creating a working Heaven on Earth amidst the boundless opportunities presented by settlement of the New World.” Eventually, the Shakers founded eighteen communities in ten states, and in the decade prior to the Civil War, the Shakers reached their numerical height with approximately 5,000 believers.

    I have long enjoyed learning about Shaker history and culture. For a portion of my childhood, I lived less than two miles from the Hancock Shaker Village in Hancock, Massachusetts, and I have visited the fine museum there a number of times. I’ve toured the Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury, New Hampshire, and the Enfield Shaker Museum in Enfield, N.H. I've also visited the museum at Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester, Maine, which is home to the only remaining active Shaker community. (Eight primary Shaker sites in the United States are open to the public.)     

    I receive The United Society of Shakers Newsletter by email, and I was intrigued by what I learned about how early Shakers observed Christmas in the November-December 2012 issue. Below is an excerpt:  

    [Y]ou might find it interesting to step back in Shaker history and learn how differently Christmas was marked by earlier Shakers. Not until 1876 did the Shakers here in Maine celebrate Christmas with a decorated tree and gifts and Christmas carols. What were those earlier years like for the Shakers? Daniel W. Patterson, the pre-eminent scholar of Shaker music, writes in his major work, The Shaker Spiritual, “In the earliest years, Believers (Shakers) were agreed that Christmas was not to be kept ‘after the manner of the world,’ but ‘had a labor’ to know whether to observe the day at all, and whether to reckon it by the old- or new-style calendar. Mother Ann (the founder of the Shaker church), left others to discover the proper order. One good Believer, Hannah Hocknell, did not ‘feel satisfied’ as to the ‘propriety’ of observing the day, so she rose on Christmas morning intending to set about her business. As she dressed, ‘some unaccountable operation’ repeatedly prevented her from putting on her shoes. Mother Ann then pointed out that this was ‘the most prominent sign recorded in the scripture of holy and sacred ground and purposes.’ As Hannah had intended to wash clothes and clean up the house, the sign meant that the ‘spiritual house ought first to be cleansed in a special manner’ on Christmas.

    Father Joseph (Meacham, Mother Ann's American successor) built on this teaching in the 1790s, when he set Christmas as a ‘central time’ for ‘confessing and putting away sins, and all wrongs from the camps of the Saints, and cleansing the spiritual house.’ His ordinance had the implication, later specifically stated in the Millennial Laws of 1845, that ‘on Christmas day Believers should make perfect reconciliation, one with an other; and leave all grudges, hard feelings, and disaffections, one towards an other . . . and to forgive, as we would be forgiven; and nothing which is this day settled, or which has been settled previous to this, may hereafter be brought forward against an other.’

    Christmas was for the Shakers therefore for almost 100 years a Fast Day. Maybe the traditions of those early Shakers and more specifically the words that framed those traditions can be useful today.”  

    For those interested in learning more about the Shakers, you can view the websites hyperlinked in the second paragraph or peruse several Shaker-related articles featured in the holiday 2006 issue of New England Ancestors.

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    Name Origins
    by Julie Helen Otto, Staff Genealogist

    CLARISSA/CLARISSA HARLOWE (f): The innocent heroine of Samuel Richardson’s great novel of that name (1748/9). The name was often mutilated to “Clary” or “Claricy” in England and rural America. (See George R. Stewart, American Given Names: Their Origin and History in the Context of the English Language, 1979.) Clarissa Harlowe Barton (1820–1907) is better known as Clara Barton, “Angel of the Battlefield” during the Civil War and founder of the American Red Cross. See (Barton, NEHGR 84 (1930): 400–421; NEXUS 7(1990):208-13). Clarissa H. Partridge (b. 1822), daughter of Amos and Clarissa (Hill) (Slocom) Partridge of Bellingham, Mass., probably was named for her mother rather than Richardson’s heroine. Clarissa Harlowe Kellogg (prob. b. Galway, N.Y., 12 June 1799–prob. d. LeRoy, N.Y., 9 June 1873), was the daughter of Ezra and Abigail (Olmstead) Kellogg and the wife of Samuel Dauchy (Timothy Hopkins, The Kelloggs in the Old World and the New [San Francisco, 1903], 1:268, 600; with many thanks to Jerome E. Anderson)

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    The Weekly Genealogist Survey

    Alexander Funeral Home Records, Tennessee  

    Last week’s survey asked what you consider to be your genealogical skill level. 3,541 people answered this survey. The results are:

    • 3%, Beginner
    • 50%, Intermediate
    • 40%, Advanced
    • 4%, Professional
    • 2%, I’m not sure.
    This week’s survey asks if you save holiday cards sent by previous generations of your family. Take the survey now!

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    Spotlight: The Cambridge Room, Cambridge Public Library, Massachusetts
    by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

    The Cambridge Room, Cambridge Public Library, Massachusetts  

    The City of Cambridge is located in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. The Cambridge Public Library has made some resources available through The Cambridge Room website. Click on the Online Resources link to access them.

    Historic Cambridge Newspapers
    The Cambridge Public Library has made available on its website all of the historic newspapers in its collection that are not copyright restricted. The digitization of historic Cambridge newspapers is a project of the Cambridge Public Library Archives and Special Collections. The newspapers are full-text searchable and available to all researchers for free. The database can also be browsed by title or by date. The newspapers in the database are as follows: Cambridge Chronicle (1846–1923), the Cambridge Press (1887–1889), the Cambridge Sentinel (1903–1912), and the Cambridge Tribune (1887–1923). More than 6,300 issues have been digitized.

    Click on the Cambridge Historic Newspapers link to open the search page. Click on the Search link in the menu bar at the top of the page. Enter a keyword or keywords in the search box. This will open a new page with search results. At this point the search can be refined by publication, category, decade, and word count. With Advanced Search researchers can limit a search to a specific date range and/or a specific publication. Searches can be full text or headlines only. Click on the article title link to view a digitized image of the newspaper page, with the article highlighted. To the left of the image you will find a transcription of the article with your keyword(s) highlighted.

    Cambridge Buildings and Architects
    Another resource available through the library’s website is the Cambridge Buildings and Architects database. Christopher Hail created the database during his time as a librarian at Harvard's Graduate School of Design. As noted in the introduction the “focus of the list is the history of the design of Cambridge buildings.” This database may also prove useful to family history researchers with an interest in the buildings in which their ancestors lived.

    Cambridge buildings are listed by street. Entries are listed by the style of the building, when it was built, and by whom. You can view the database street by street by clicking on the first letter of the street name in the alphabetical list at the top of the page. There is also a list of Harvard University buildings outside of Cambridge, an index of personal names of the architects and names of buildings, and an index of street names. It is noted in the introduction to the index of street names that references for discontinued street names can be found in the alphabetical street files. “(F)or example: "Fourth street: see Sciarappa street" follows Fountain Terrace in the Streets - F file.” For some properties high-quality color images are available for downloading. Click on the List of Images link to access them. Consult the User’s Guide to learn more about the database and how it functions.

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    Stories of Interest

    London Blitz: Bomb Sight Interactive Map Created
    “Bomb Sight” was created by a group from the University of Portsmouth using data from Britain’s National Archives. The Blitz, which lasted from September 7, 1940, until May 11, 1941, resulted in more than 20,000 deaths and 1.4 million people left homeless.

    Take Time to Produce Well-Sourced, Quality Work
    Genealogical columnist Betty Malesky comments on standards for genealogical research, currently a “controversy in the world of online genealogical bloggers.”

    Family Photos Are the Real Holiday Crowd Pleaser
    Bloggers April and Matthew Helm provide tips on sharing family information and photos during the holiday season.

    Somers Woman’s Genealogy Research Finds Grim Answers
    A southeastern Wisconsin woman’s genealogical research led her to a family tragedy that occurred in Milwaukee in 1914.

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    NEHGS Bookstore Holiday Discounts

    The NEHGS Bookstore has brought back the ever-popular Holiday Gift Sets! We have "bundled" together some of our most popular titles and slashed the prices to help make your gift buying easy and affordable. Save up to 30% on books every genealogist wants and needs. Start shopping today!

    Special pricing available through December 31, 2012, or while supplies last. Prices do not include shipping.

    It’s not too late to get books or gift certificates in time for the holidays! Next Day, 2-Day and 3-Day UPS shipping is available!

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    Upcoming Education Programs

    Getting Started in Genealogy
    99–101 Newbury St., Boston, Mass.
    Wednesdays, January 16, 23, and 30, 6–8 p.m.

    How do you get started in genealogy? There are plenty of websites, libraries, and printed sources out there, but access to all that information can leave a beginner feeling overwhelmed. Let an NEHGS expert help you navigate the first steps in tracing your family history. Senior Researcher Rhonda R. McClure will share her knowledge and helpful strategies for beginning your family history journey in this three-part course.

    Tuition: $30 for full course (three sessions). Register online.

    Writing and Publishing Seminar, Part II
    99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.
    Saturday, February 23, 9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

    If you're ready to turn your family history research into a publication, join the experts at NEHGS to learn best practices in publishing your findings. NEHGS offers guidance on writing and publishing your family history project in this two-part seminar. Workshops in Part 1, held in September 2012, included defining your project, writing in genealogical format, working with images, and adding narrative to your genealogy. Part 2 delves into the editorial process and book production (focusing on self-publishing), and offers a chance to meet with publishers and printers and consult with experts.

    Prerequisite: Attendance at Part I in September 2012 OR a first draft of a publication. Tuition: $110. Includes light breakfast and lunch. Register online.

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    Copyright 2012, New England Historic Genealogical Society
    99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

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