The Weekly Genealogist

Volume 17, Number 38 (Whole #705)

Vol. 17, No. 38
Whole #705
September 17, 2014
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 Credited for Genealogical Discoveries on Face the Nation
* Celebrate Every Day of Family History Month with NEHGS
* Latest Issue of the Great Migration Newsletter Now Available
* NEHGS Database News
* New at the Online Learning Center
* Features from the American Jewish Historical Society
* Spotlight: Windham Historical Society, Maine
* Ask A Genealogist
* The Weekly Genealogist Survey
* Stories of Interest
* Upcoming Education Programs
* Sale on Books by Robert Charles Anderson


NEHGS Credited for Genealogical Discoveries on Face the Nation

We were thrilled to be mentioned for our genealogical expertise last Sunday on Face the Nation. In the very first minute, guest Ken Burns mentioned us in his response to a question from Bob Schieffer about his relationship to the Roosevelts. Burns shared that his Roosevelt kinship was revealed to him by the New England Historic Genealogical Society when he was presented with our Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011; fellow guest Doris Kearns Goodwin chimed in immediately that she received the same award from us this year and learned of her relationship to Sara Delano Roosevelt.

To watch the segment, click here.

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Celebrate Every Day of Family History Month with NEHGS

Please mark your calendars to save the date of October 1 as the launch of 31 days and 31 ways to learn your family story with NEHGS. To celebrate Family History Month, NEHGS will share with our members and Weekly Genealogist subscribers new services, featured databases, research insights, video introductions to our experts, exciting publications announcements, special giveaways, and sold-out webinar highlights.

To launch Family History Month, we open our doors for free visitation on Wednesday, October 1, waiving the day fee for nonmembers to visit our research center. (On Wednesdays we are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.!) Stay tuned for next week’s enewsletter and keep an eye on NEHGS social media for more details and a schedule to be posted soon on of all of our activities.

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Latest Issue of the Great Migration Newsletter Now Available

The July–September 2014 Great Migration Newsletter (Vol. 23, No. 3) is now available to online subscribers at (The print version was mailed to subscribers last week.) The lead article, “Thomas Stoughton, Silenced Minister,” discusses the many Puritan ministers who were silenced after King James came to the throne in 1603, particularly Thomas Stoughton, whose sons Thomas and Israel immigrated to New England. The issue also contains a “Focus on Clerical Companies,” which begins a series of articles that intends to identify all the Clerical Companies of the Great Migration. An additional article, “Thomas Errington of Charlestown, Lynn and Warwick,” illustrates the process of compiling accurate information for the forthcoming Great Migration Directory when “the pieces of a settler’s life have been so widely scattered that our knowledge of the totality of that life in New England has been lost.” And, as always, the issue contains Robert Charles Anderson’s “Editor’s Effusions.”

Subscribe to the online or print Newsletterhere. If you have any questions about the Great Migration Newsletter, please contact Member Services at or 1-888-296-3447.

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NEHGS Database News
by Sam Sturgis, Digital Collections Administrator, and Christopher Carter, Digital Collections Coordinator

Rhode Island Vital Records, 1636–1850 Update

We have uploaded volumes 7-12 of our improved Rhode Island vital records database, based on the extensive collection of records compiled by James N. Arnold. In 1891, Arnold began publishing a series of vital records books for the towns of Rhode Island. The series would go on to include church records and newspaper records, ultimately filling twenty-one volumes with information. This re-indexing of our original 2002 database now includes records from Volumes 7-12. Together, these twelve volumes contain more than 150,000 records. These records are indexed by name, date, location, and event type. Names of parents and spouses have also been indexed, when available. This database is available to guest users for one month following its release.

All 21 volumes are available for viewing at the NEHGS Research Library, call number F78.A75. Additional volumes will be added to this online collection throughout the year.

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New at the Online Learning Center

Sign up for the FREE Webinar

How to Apply to Lineage Societies: Tips from NEHGS
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 3 p.m. EDT (2 p.m. CDT; 1 p.m. MDT; 12 p.m. PDT)
Presented by: Lindsay Fulton, Genealogist

Want to join a hereditary society, such as the Daughters of the American Revolution or the General Society of Mayflower Descendants? Don’t know where to begin? Join genealogist Lindsay Fulton as she provides a step-by-step look at the application process, tips for when you can’t find vital records, and examples from our Research Services team. Register today!

Additional Resources

Our growing Online Learning Center contains subject guides on a variety of genealogical topics, informative videos, webinars, online courses, and more. Stay tuned for more resources in the coming weeks and months! If you have questions or feedback, please contact Online Education Coordinator Ginevra Morse at

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Features from the American Jewish Historical Society

The American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) is the oldest ethnic historical society in the country. NEHGS is the permanent home of the New England Archive of AJHS, that portion of the AJHS collection relating to Jewish genealogy and Jewish cultural and institutional history in Greater Boston and New England.

This column features selections from Chapters in American Jewish History, a series of essays edited by Michael Feldberg, PhD, Executive Director of AJHS from 1991 to 2004 and current Executive Director of the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom. This month, we feature an essay on Nathan Straus, whose battle against unsanitary milk, which he termed “the white peril,” won him the accolade “most useful citizen in New York” in 1923.

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Spotlight: Windham Historical Society, Maine
by Valerie Beaudrault, Assistant Editor

Windham Historical Society, Maine

The town of Windham is in Cumberland County, in southern Maine. The Windham County Historical Society has made a number of resources available on its website. Click “Links” in the menu bar for items including the following:

Windham, Maine Cemeteries
This section contains burial databases with mostly alphabetical listings for more than twenty-five Windham cemeteries, as well as cemetery information, location, and condition.

The “Windham, Maine selected Historical Records” link includes the following:

The Moses Little Judicial Papers Collection
Little was a Justice of the Peace. His papers date from 1791 to 1844. The majority of the items are Writs of Summons and/or Attachments, plus some Executions of payment to settle the debts for which papers were filed. The collection includes files with chronological lists containing brief summaries of the various cases. You will also find alphabetical indexes to each case type.

Vital Records
In this section you will find Windham vital records drawn from a number of different sources. There are marriages from 1906-1944, indexed by bride and by groom; death records from 1906-1974, extracted from the Annual Reports of Town Officers; Friends marriage, birth, and death records; and birth, marriage, and death records compiled around the turn of the twentieth century. In addition, researchers will find “Family Records” written by Samuel Dole in 1897.

Windham Deeds & Probate Records
There are three databases in this section. “Deeds, Bonds, Leases, Etc.” and “More Deeds, Bonds, Leases, Etc.,” contain data extracted from original and photocopied documents in the collections of the Windham Historical Society. Both databases are arranged chronologically from 1761 through 1928. The third database, “More Windham, Maine Deeds,” contains extractions of additional Windham deeds from the Cumberland County Registry of Deeds. They are arranged chronologically from 1819 through 1953.

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Ask a Genealogist

We occasionally feature “Ask a Genealogist” questions posed to our staff genealogists and their answers. For more about Ask a Genealogist, click here. —Editor

Question: I am trying to document the marriage of one of my ancestral couples. He was born in Montgomery County, New York, and she was born in Cayuga County, New York. The marriage likely occurred between 1830 and 1835; their first child was born in 1835 in Cayuga County. Could you point me to some likely sources that I can search for evidence of the marriage? I need to document it for a lineage society application.

Answer by Genealogist Lindsay Fulton: To properly complete your lineage society application, original documentation is required (whenever possible) for each statement of vital information (birth, marriage, and death). If an official vital record cannot be found (for instance, a marriage certificate), alternative records can be used, such as a newspaper article, probate record, pension file, or deed, to establish a connection between generations.

To establish the connection between your ancestral couple, more original source documentation is required. Ideally, a marriage record would be found. However, because the State of New York did not require vital record registration until 1880, it is unlikely that an official marriage record exists. Nevertheless, you should check Fred Q. Bowman’s three books, 10,000 Vital Records of Eastern New York, 1777–1834, 10,000 Vital Records of Central New York, 1813–1850, and 10,000 Vital Records of Western New York, 1809–1850,

to see if they list a marriage record for your couple.

If you are unable to locate a marriage record, you should explore alternative records, such as marriage announcements, pension files, probate records, cemetery markers, and deeds. Here are some examples of where to find these alternative records:

  • Cemetery records/inscriptions:;;;
  • Marriage notices: There are several websites with large collections of digitized newspapers, such as the subscription sites GenealogyBank,, or There are also free sites, like the Google News Archive and the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America Collection. To locate a marriage announcement specific to New York, you could visit the site Fulton New York Post Cards, which provides free, searchable digital copies of New York newspapers.
  • Probate Records: Some probate records, such as wills, can provide researchers with information about the deceased, as well as the names of the spouse and children (and sometimes grandchildren). Therefore, you could search for the probate records of the husband of your couple and the father of the wife of your couple, in Cayuga County. Depending on when her father died, she and her husband may have been named heirs. Several probate record collections for the State of New York are available for free on the Family History Library website. However, most of these collections are not searchable and you must browse through the digitized collections.
  • Deeds: You could also examine deed records in Cayuga County in an effort to locate a land transaction between the husband of the couple and his father-in-law. To locate the original deed records, you could browse the collections at the Family History Library for a relevant deed recorded in Cayuga County.

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The Weekly Genealogist Survey

Last week’s survey asked about accessing books on mobile devices. 3,924 people answered the survey. More than one answer could be selected. The results are:

  • 50%, Desktop or laptop computer
  • 30%, Tablet (including iPad)
  • 29%, Amazon Kindle
  • 9%, Barnes and Noble Nook
  • 1%, Sony Reader, Kobo E-reader, PocketBook, or BeBook Neo
  • 14%, Smart phone (including the iPhone)
  • 20%, I read books on two or more of these devices.
  • 1%, I use a different electronic format to read books.
  • 6%, I do not read books electronically but would if I had an e-reader.
  • 25%, I do not read books electronically and do not wish to.

This week’s survey asks what kinds of genealogical publications you would be likely to read in electronic format. Take the survey now!

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Stories of Interest

Genetic Testing Brings Families Together, and Sometimes Tears Them Apart
This article examines a wide range of issues surrounding genetic testing.

With Genetic Testing, I Gave My Parents the Gift of Divorce
A stem cell and reproductive biologist relates the very unexpected consequences of giving his parents genetic testing kits. (This story is an expanded version of one presented in the above article.)

Holocaust Experts Work to Preserve World War II Items
“[T]he central challenge for Yad Vashem and other Holocaust museums around the world [is] keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive after its last survivors pass away.”

Have a Snippet of Historic “Star-Spangled Banner?” Smithsonian Wants It
“Not long after the huge 30-foot by 42-foot flag inspired an 1814 poem by Francis Scott Key that would become the national anthem, its caretakers began snipping off pieces. By the 1880s, about 20 percent had been lost.”

Creating Your Baby’s Last Name? Tennessee Says No
NPR’s Morning Edition radio program reported on a couple who wanted to give their baby a “meshed” version of their surnames but hadn’t realized that a 1970s Tennessee law prohibited such practices.

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Upcoming Education Programs

Children of Long Ago and Their Dolls
Where: 99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.
When: Saturday, October 25, 2014, 2 p.m.–3 p.m.

Children—and some adults, too—have always loved dolls. Judith A. Ranta, a Councilor of NEHGS, will discuss the kinds of dolls available to children in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She will display examples of antique dolls from her own collection, with an emphasis on American-made dolls, complemented by historical photographs of American children and their dolls.

This event is free and open to the public. Call 617-226-1226 or email to reserve a space.

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Sale on Books by Robert Charles Anderson

The Bookstore at NEHGS announces the release of Elements of Genealogical Analysis, the latest book by genealogical scholar Robert Charles Anderson.

To celebrate this new and important title, we are offering 20% off all of Mr. Anderson’s other titles in The Bookstore, including:

The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620–1633 (first series): 3–volume set in hardcover or paperback
The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634–1635 (second series)
The Winthrop Fleet: Massachusetts Bay Colony Immigrants to New England, 1629–1630
The Pilgrim Migration: Immigrants to Plymouth Colony, 1620–1633
The Great Migration Newsletter, Volumes 1–20
The Great Migration Newsletter, Volumes 16–20

Visit the Bookstore to view these titles!

To receive your 20% off, enter the coupon code RCA914 into the coupon field in our online store, or mention it when calling in an order at 1-888-296-3447. Email with any questions.

Prices are good through 9/25/14, while supplies last. Discount cannot be combined with other discounts, including the NEHGS member discount. Prices do not include shipping.

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NEHGS Contact Information

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Copyright 2014, New England Historic Genealogical Society
99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

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