Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dues Reminder --

January 31, 2010, is the deadline for paying CCGS membership dues for 2010. Use this Membership Renewal Form if you have misplaced the one mailed to you in October. Please send the renewal form with your check by January 31, 2010, to:

Cape Cod Genealogical Society
c/o Nancy Daniels
10 Mary Road
Eastham, MA 02642

    Sunday, December 20, 2009

    New CCGS Library computer doubles online access

    In October the CCGS Library acquired its second computer with Internet access for use by members and visiting patrons. This means researchers needn't worry about waiting their turn to access their favorite family history and genealogy databases.

    Melissa Speckhardt from Burgebrach, Germany researches her American ancestors on the Library's new computer recently while visiting her grandparents in West Harwich, MA.
    The Library's two desktop computers provide free access to the major online genealogy-related databases, including, HeritageQuest, World Vital Records, and New England Historic and Genealogical Society. More databases are in the works, according to Brenda Hayes, CCGS Library Program Director. See the complete list of available databases.

    The new computer, a contemporary Dell Desktop running Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, is configured with a wide flat-screen monitor and a fast laser printer.

    Thursday, December 17, 2009 - a boon for genealogists

    At the December 2009 meeting of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society former CCGS co-president David Martin gave a presentation on the FamilySearch database and its usefulness for family historians.

    David recently returned as part of a team of 7 members who traveled to Salt Lake City in November 2009 to do research at the Family History Library, established in 1894 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). "The vast collection of information is truly impressive," he began, "with 5 floors of genealogy, including British, American, and International, arranged according to surname books and microfilms. More than 2,500,000 microfilms are available, representing data from 250 countries, in more than 1,000,000,000 (one billion) records, with more added every day."

    At the Library in Salt Lake City, or at any of the many branch LDS Family History Centers around the world, a researcher can access unique data bases that are accessible only through the LDS internal system. Included among these are: Holocaust records, British Newspapers of the 19th century, Periodical Source Index, digitized family histories from the Brigham Young University Library, World Catalog, American Civil War, World Vital Records, and considerably more. Using these databases the researcher can identify the call number of a book or a microfilm. "The books do not circulate," David said, "but the microfilm can be accessed at the Family History Library, or can be requested on a borrowing basis at any local Family History Center for a small fee."

    From home, however,  researchers can also access "a large family of websites associated with the FamilySearch.Org site," according to David. For example, a special “pilot” site at contains experimentally organized data that are evolving constantly. New data are being entered every day, with a long-term project involving digitization by volunteers. Eventually a huge proportion of the data base will be in digital form.

    David provided a list of the current websites associated with FamilySearch.Org which will be useful to family historians from home or elsewhere. "As with all web addresses, they may continually change," he warned and suggested that a Google search might find their changed address. These are the websites David recommended as most useful and their purposes, at least as of December 2009:
    David closed by saying that for latest updates on FamilySearch developments, members should vist Dick Eastman’s website for weekly information:

    Information on the Brewster Family History Center

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Members tour new Web site

    As part of the traditional show-and-tell program at the December 9, 2009 meeting at the Brewster Ladies' Library, Webmaster Chris Geanacopoulos led the audience on a guided tour of the newly designed CCGS Website. "If you haven't been to the site recently, get ready for some big changes," he began.

    The first stop on the tour was the Upcoming Events page at the traditional home of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society at "We wanted people who come to our site to immediately know what we're up to," explained Chris. The Upcoming Events page lists the next 3-5 CCGS activities, and visitors can follow links to other pages to get the details. "Members who come to the site and visitors who see our link in the newspapers or on our printed materials can easily find what's happening next."

    Chris then took the audience to the Articles/News/Announcements section of the site and showed how the newest articles always appear at the top and work their way back through time. "At the top of the page, you'll find the freshest information about our activities and about genealogy in general," he said.

    "A new feature on our site is a list of links to other genealogy-related Web sites managed by our own CCGS members," announced Chris as he led them to the CCGS Member Sites section in the green sidebar. He added that any CCGS members who have their own sites that deal with some aspect of family history or genealogy are welcome to be included in the listing.

    To help visitors find older articles on the site, Chris drew the members' attention to the Topics and Archives sections of the blue sidebar. "Every article has at least one label that's listed under Topics in the sidebar," he explained. Next to each topic there is a number in parentheses to tell you how many articles there are under that topic. "Click on the topic list and you'll see them all, starting with the most recent one."

    "You can browse all the articles on the site by their titles in the Archives section," Chris explained while pointing to one of the triangles next to the year and months found under Archives. "The triangles are called 'twisties' and when you click on them, you twist the month open or closed to help make your way among the titles."  He added, "Next to search, this is probably the best way to find what's on our site."

    Finally, Chris told the audience how they can have the site's latest articles delivered to them electronically. In the Subscriptions Section of the sidebar visitors can add the site to their feed reader or sign up to have new articles delivered via email. "With a feed reader or email delivery," he said, "it's like having our site delivered to your doorstep."

    He concluded by inviting members to join in the fun of contributing articles to the site. "If you can handle a word processor, you're qualified to join us. An itch to write also helps a little, too." Interested members should email Chris at "We need your help to keep the changes going," he said.

    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    December Irish SIG meeting cancelled

    Pat Concannon, leader of the Irish Special Interest group, has announced that the meeting scheduled for December 28, 2009, has been cancelled, since it falls during the Christmas break.

    The group will hold its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, January 25, 2010, from 10 to Noon at the Dennis Public Library. 

    The Irish Special Interest Group meets at the Dennis Public Library in Dennisport on the fourth Monday of each month at 10:00 A.M. All CCGS members interested in Irish Genealogy are invited to attend these meetings to discuss methods and sources for Irish research in both Ireland and the U.S. For information call 508-432-9601.

    Description of all CCGS Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

    Wednesday, December 9, 2009

    New Hours at the Brewster Family History Center

    During his presentation on the recent CCGS trip to Salt Lake City at the December 9, 2009 monthly meeting, David Martin mentioned that the LDS Family History Center in Brewster, MA is no longer open on Wednesday evenings, and that the new hours are Tuesday and Thursday 9 am - 1 pm.

    Located at 94 Freeman's way, The Brewster Family History Center maintains a broad permanent collection of microfilms, together with free access to online subscription and LDS databases.

    More on the Brewster FHC facility.

    Friday, December 4, 2009

    New Publicity Team for CCGS

    As of December 2009, our Society has a new two-member team for carrying out the all-important publicity of Society events, replacing the excellent work performed for several years by Jack Drake.

    Anne Stewart is handling a number of announcements, including publicity in local free magazines and distributed information to all of the Cape libraries. Anne has held a variety of positions in public service of the years, including an interior plant rental and maintenance business. Since moving to the Cape in 1997, she has been involved in remodeling old houses, gardening, and work at two Cape libraries. She lives in Harwich with her husband, Phil Inman, two mini-dachshunds, and a canary.

    Ed Barr is handling a variety of regular computer-based announcements about Society events, including the organization and updating of the data base of membership information. Ed has been engaged in human resource management in a variety of businesses in New York and elsewhere; he was most recently Vice-President of Human Resources for Stop & Shop; he founded and was Principal of a management consulting firm until 2001. Ed lives in Orleans.

    We welcome Anne and Ed to this important role for the Society!

    Thursday, December 3, 2009

    Joint Falmouth-CCGS Program Inspires Researchers

    The November 14, 2009 3rd Annual Joint Meeting of the Falmouth Genealogical Society and the Cape Cod Genealogical Society was a clear success. More than 70 people were in attendance at the West Barnstable Community Center to hear Michael Leclerc address two topics of great interest to all family historians—Techniques for Research in Genealogy and Breaking Through Brick Walls in Genealogy.

    Mr. Leclerc is a member of the professional staff at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. He is currently writing a lengthy volume on the descendants of Josiah Franklin, who was Benjamin Franklin’s British father.

    Presentation summary.

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009

    CCGS Library now open Saturdays 10-12

    CCGS Library Program Director Brenda Hayes announced today that beginning Saturday, December 5, 2009, the CCGS Genealogy Room and Library will now be open to members and the public on Saturdays, from 10 am to Noon.

    In making her announcement, Brenda expressed the hope that with Saturday hours, more people on Cape Cod will be able to use our facilities to learn more about their family history. "This could be a good experience for children, who often come with their parents on Saturday mornings," she added.

    The CCGS Genealogy Room and Library are located in the Dennis Public Library at 5 Hall Street, Dennis Port, MA. Members of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society are on hand to assist visitors with all aspects of family history and genealogy.

    In addition to its collection of genealogical books and magazines, the CCGS Library also has two computers and printers available for free access to online genealogy records databases including, HeritageQuest, (NEHGS), World Vital Records, and, among others.

    Learn more about the CCGS Library, hours, and holdings.

    Monday, November 30, 2009

    Salt Lake City Research Trip is a Success

    A team of 7 people made the trek to the Salt Lake City Family History Library during the week of November 15, 2009; the group included Marti Day, Irene Landenberger, Nancy Daniels, David Martin, Peg Spellman, John Spellman, and Ralph Wadleigh who is President of the Falmouth Genealogical Society.

    After an orientation to the Library given by the Library staff, members branched out to do their own research for four days. The group had the benefit of two other presentations—one on Hidden Treasures of the Family History Catalog, and the other on Doing Genealogy with Roots Magic.

    CCGS Member Priscilla Haines, who is a resident of Salt Lake City, was host for the group for a dinner during one evening of the visit.

    Left to right: Ralph Wadleigh (President, Falmouth Genealogical Society), Irene Landenburger, Peg Spellman, John Spellman, Marti Day, and David Martin (missing: Nancy Daniels who was busy already doing research at 8:05AM inside the library!).
    The research work has given new impetus to the research being carried out by all of the participants. Part of the regular December 9, 2009 Program Meeting will be devoted to a presentation on new ways to use the Family History Library website, as learned by the group during their week in Salt Lake City.

    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    Michael Leclerc Gives Genealogical Insights

    On November 14, 2009, Michael Leclerc of the New England Historic Genealogical Society provided a presentation on two topics for the joint meeting of CCGS with the Falmouth Genealogical Society.

    His first topic addressed Research Techniques for Genealogy, and focused on little-used resources. Among those were:
    • Original vital records created by physicians and undertakers, rather than town records which are often secondary sources
    • Baptisms which occurred sometimes in places other than the place of birth and sometimes were done for several children at once rather than in birth order
    • A person’s burial date which is not the date of death normally
    • 18th century Warnings Out lists where indigent persons were asked to leave a community and listed the person’s original town of residence
    • Account books and records kept by justices of the peace
    • Published family papers
    • Probate records, including appeals to a court, which sometimes give valuable genealogical information; 
    He also suggested a number of Web sites that researchers will find helpful, but which may not immediately come to mind for many:
    In response to a question from the audience, he added that adoption records are contained in Vital Records files, but are not allowed to be available until 95 years after the adoption.

    Michael's second topic was Breaking Through Brick Walls in Genealogy. He suggested several strategies to use.

    First, do a register-style sketch of all that is known so far, and include the sources used; then list what information is missing and the records which are yet to be searched. Once that's done, broaden the search to siblings, parents, cousins, and even neighbors—next to whom lived the relative and with whom relatives often migrated or traveled to other places.

    Spelling variations are important.  To help find alternate possible spellings of a name, Michael suggested pronouncing  the name to someone and then asking them what are the possible ways they would spell it. Often census takers or city clerks had to spell names in their records according to how they heard them.

    He  recommended still other strategies, including: questioning everything that one has so far; remembering that “Junior” as a title does not necessarily mean that the father was the “Senior”; and being careful about taking information in “Mug Books” as totally truthful.

    Michael said that the "brick wall" may well be one generation different from where one may think it is. Looking at the burial order in a cemetery record may be useful, as well as looking at the names of individuals who are buried in nearby rows, rather than only individuals who are in the same plot.

    He advised using maps that show both geopolitical boundaries and physical features to see where one family might have interacted with other families. Service records in the military may give where the military unit was “raised”. Poll taxes do not necessarily correlate with a person’s citizenship. Finally, he pointed out that DNA testing has promise for resolving family history puzzles in the future.

    Overall, the two presentations provided much assistance to family historians.

    Monday, November 2, 2009

    Fall 2009 Educational Workshops are a success

    The Society’s Education Committee completed another successful workshop series on Genealogical Processes during two Saturdays in October. The first session took place at Jacob Sears Library in Dennis and the second took place at the Dennis Public Library in Dennisport; 13 participants were involved.

    Carolyn Weiss presented information on internet genealogy, the census, newspaper sources, organizing data, and a checklist for using various sources. Nancy DeNise presented information on using church records and recommendations for getting started on genealogy. Judy Terry provided data on the use of land deeds and other court records. Bebe Brock displayed and discussed the use of family bibles in genealogy. And Dave Martin presented information on the use of the interview, standards of evidence, military records, immigration records, and various death records.

    The Committee will next offer a six-session course through the Cape Cod Regional Technical High School’s Adult Education program on Thursday afternoons in January and February, 2010 in Harwich, MA.  Details and Registration.

    Bob Carlson featured in Cape Cod Times article

    CCGS Member Bob Carlson, known by genealogy researchers for his work in identifying and cataloging the graves and tombstones on Cape Cod, was featured in the "Cape & Islands" section of the November 2, 2009, edition of the Cape Cod Times.

    In the article, Bob discusses his work, the sense of history found in graveyards, burial practices, the importance of correct preservation methods, and the symbolism found on early tombstones.

    An active member of CCGS, Bob has researched extensively on Cape Cod cemeteries and has authored two useful guides for cemetery research on the Cape, which he has donated to the CCGS Library and which are available in the Library's Archives.
    • Guide to Barnstable Co. Gravestone Surveys for 115 Cape Cod Cemeteries established before 1860.
    • Colonial Gravestones of Barnstable Co.  A typescript collection of 13 articles published in the CCGS Bulletin from 2001 to 2005.
    Bob also shares the results of his research with fellow members of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society through presentations at monthly meetings.

    Best of all, Bob maintains an excellent and comprehensive Web site on early Cape Cod grave sites at  This must-visit site contains extensive information on gravestones dated up to 1880 from Cape Cod (Barnstable County), Massachusetts. It includes over 135 old burial grounds, 38,000 names, 4,000 photographs, 800 epitaphs and stone carver information.

    Read the complete Cape Cod Times article online, and discover Bob's favorite Cape Cod cemeteries and tombstone epitaphs.

    In Memoriam: William J. O'Brien 1925 - 2009

    CCGS member and retired patent attorney of West Yarmouth, MA, William "Bill" O'Brien passed away quietly at his home on Sunday October 25, 2009, at age 84.

    Bill and his surviving wife Ethel (Morris) joined the Cape Cod Genealogical Society in 1998. Bill served on the Reception Committee in 2002, and was a regular member of the Irish Special Interest Group.

    Bill was born in Everett, MA., the only child of William P. and Gertrude E. (Dolan) O´Brien. He grew up in Everett and after graduating from Everett High School class of 1943, he was drafted and served in the 97th Infantry Division of the United States Army in the European and Pacific Theater from 1943 - 1946. He served with distinction and was awarded numerous medals including the Combat Infantry Badge, the Bronze Star and two Battle Stars.

    Upon being honorably discharged, Bill returned home to graduate from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, in 1950. After a brief career with First National Foods, he returned to school, at Boston College Law School. He then worked at the Patent Office in Washington D.C., while attending Georgetown Law School in the evening. He graduated in 1957. He returned to Massachusetts where he worked for over 30 years in Waltham, MA., as a Chemical Patent Attorney for the U.S. Air Force.

    In addition to tracking down his ancestors, Bill was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed trapshooting, hunting and fly fishing. He was actively involved as a coach in youth sports and the Boy Scouts. He was a member of the American Bar Association, a fourth degree member of the Knights of Columbus, The Elks and many other civic associations.

    A Funeral Mass to celebrate his life will be held on Saturday November 7, at 11am at Saint Pius X Church, Station Ave., South Yarmouth. Burial with military honors will be in Chandler Gray Cemetery, West Yarmouth. In lieu of flowers gifts in his memory may be made to the New England Home for Little Wanderers, 271 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115. 1-888-Home-321.

    CCGS Education Committee offers Winter Adult Ed course in genealogy basics

    The Education Committee of the Society will be offering a Winter Adult Education course in Family History Methods at the Cape Cod Regional Vocational-Technical High School in Harwich, MA, beginning in January 2010.

    Designed for those who would like to have a review of genealogical techniques and for those who are just starting out and needing to establish a system, the course will take place at the School on Thursday afternoons from 3:30 to 5:30pm, starting January 21 for six consecutive Thursdays except February 18, concluding on Thursday, March 4.

    Content of the course will include finding and using vital records, using federal records such as the census and immigration records, deciding on the credibility of information, using land and probate records, and starting to write a family history. A team from the Society will be teaching the course. Cost is $50 for the total of six sessions.

    You can register and pay online, or by contacting the office of Adult Education at the school at 508-432-4500.

    For questions about the course content, contact David Martin at 508-420-0224 or at Questions about arrangements can be addressed to Ron Broman, 508-432-4500, extension 352 or at

    Monday, October 26, 2009

    Marian Pierre-Louis to speak at April CCGS Meeting

    Marian Pierre-Louis, principal researcher for Fieldstone Historic Research, will be the speaker at the Society's monthly meeting on Wednesday, April 14, 2009. Her topic will be "Early African-American Communities in New England", which will include research on Cape Cod and the Islands.

    A genealogical researcher, instructor, lecturer and writer, Marian is involved in many aspects of family history from genealogy to oral history, identifying old photographs and house histories. Her focus is on Southern New England research, which includes the states of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Particular research interests include early (1700-1850) African Americans in New England.

    Marian is taking the place of Dianne Rapport, who was originally scheduled for this date to speak on a similar topic dealing with African-American genealogy in New England.

    CCGS 2009-2010 Monthly Program Schedule

    The Cape Cod Genealogical Society meets at 10:00am on the second Wednesday of the month from September through May at the Brewster Ladies’ Library Auditorium, 1822 Main Street, Route 6A, Brewster, MA. Directions

    Saturday, October 10, 2009

    Research Trip to Boston - December 8, 2009

    The Cape Cod Genealogical Society is sponsoring a research bus trip to Boston on Tuesday, December 8, 2009.

    Destinations include:
    • Massachusetts Archives - Columbia Point (Mass Registry of Vital Records and JFK Presidential Library are close by).
    • Boston Public Library - Copley Square. You will need your BPL library card. You can get one free at the entrance.
    • New England Historic Genealogical Society - Newbury St. (additional cost of $15 at entrance if non member of NEHGS).
    The bus will leave promptly at 8:00 am from Patriot Square, Dennis, on Route 134-Exit 9A. We will then pick up passengers at the Burger King Park & Ride at Exit 6, and the Sagamore Park & Ride. The return trip will leave Boston about 3:15 pm to arrive on Cape Cod at about 5:00 pm.

    The cost for this trip is $35.00.

    We suggest you bring a brown bag lunch, although there are some spots to eat near all facilities.

    See our Research Guides to help plan your trip.

    Non-Members are Welcome to join us!

    To sign up, print and return the registration form (pdf).

    For more information, call Ellen Geanacopoulos at 508-432-5469.

    Friday, October 9, 2009

    Joint meeting with Falmouth Genealogical Society set for November 14, 2009.

    The Third Annual Joint Meeting of the Society with the Falmouth Genealogical Society will take place on Saturday, November 14, 2009, as the regular monthly meeting of the Society at the same time.

    The speaker will be Michael LeClerc, professional genealogist from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. He will address two separate topics - Research Techniques for Genealogy, and Breaking Through Brick Walls in Genealogy.

    This is a great opportunity for interaction among genealogists from the whole of Cape Cod. Michael LeClerc is Director of Special Projects at Boston’s New England Historic Genealogical Society, and editor of the Society’s eNews. He is the author of numerous articles for scholarly journals and popular magazines, co-editor of  Genealogical Writing in the 21st Century, and co-editor of Western Massachusetts Families in 1790. His expertise includes New England, New York, French Canadian and general Canadian Research, research methods, and compiling and writing and publishing your genealogical research.

    The meeting will be held at the West Barnstable Community Center, Route 149, near the corner of Route 6A, from 9:30am until noon. Coffee and tea will be served.

    Directions: Take Route 6 and get off at Exit 5 (Route 149); then drive north on 149 (toward the Bay) for about a half-mile; Community Center is on the left, at a sign pointing toward “Gallery”; parking on the left side of the building. Steps to entrance are on left side of building; or entry can be by handicapped ramp on right side of building.

    Monday, September 14, 2009

    Bulletin seeks Census Articles for 2010

    2010 US Census Logo2010 is the year of the Federal Census, and the Bulletin Committee is making the census a theme for all three editions of the Bulletin during 2010. We are interested in publishing articles on any aspect of the census — local, state, federal, and other — in terms of their basic information and how they may be useful for genealogists.

    Some topic examples:
    • Personal experiences working for the US Census in the past, or even this year.
    • Census curiosities you've encountered in your research - ex. your grandparents appear in the census for the same town in the same year at two different addresses.
    • How census records helped you solve a research problem or triggered you on to something unexpected or got you through a brick wall.
    • In-depth or background article on some aspect of the census.
    • How you have been able to use non-mainstream census records, such as mortality schedules, etc.
    • Review of books you would recommend to others on how to use the census records effectively.
    • On-line sources for census records and information - features and benefits of specific sites and/or how to use them.

    To submit your article or to discuss your article idea(s), email David Martin at, or call him at 508-420-0224.

    Please add your comments below -

    Thursday, June 25, 2009

    Irish SIG meeting - June 2009

    Thanks to Pat Concannon for a very informative meeting. Pat supplies us each month with innovative ideas, web-site information, and a wealth of articles and magazines. Pat distributed a list of the Irish group members who have submitted their family names and places of research in Ireland. E-mail addresses were included . We can now check with other members of the Irish group. We are most fortunate to have such a well informed and interested person in charge of the Irish SIG, and we all appreciate your help, Pat.
    Irish SIG members

    Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    In Memoriam: Jim Carr 1927 - 2009

    Veteran CCGS member Jim Carr passed away on June 10, 2009, in North Chatham, MA, after a long illness.

    Jim joined the Cape Cod Genealogical Society in 1987 (Member No. 436) and was a constant contributor to the CCGS Library and the Bulletin.

    Born in Quincy, MA, he grew up and attended schools in Bronxville, NY, Boston and Dennis. He was a Merchant Marine and Army veteran of World War II and Korea. He worked as an analyst and stockbroker for Blyth, Eastman Dillon, and in the Bursar's office at New York University in New York. He moved to Plympton in 1979, where he began a vineyard and Christmas tree farm, and in 1986 he moved to Dennis.

    An avid historian, genealogist, photographer and researcher, his varied interests included clipper ships, Cape Cod and Dennis history, veterans' service, and postcard and autograph collecting.

    Jim is often remembered as someone always ready to help with research. "He felt in doing so, he learned new things," said one CCGS friend and colleague. "Learning was certainly his passion."

    A memorial service will be held on Friday, June 26, at 10 a.m., in the Dennis Union Church, Dennis. Burial will be private. Memorial donations may be made to the Dennis Memorial Library, 1020 Old Bass River Road, Dennis, MA 02638.

    Monday, June 22, 2009

    Election of CCGS Officers for 2009/2010 Year

    At the annual luncheon meeting of the CCGS and on behalf of the Nominating Committee, chaired by Howard Peach, John Bower presented the following slate of officers for the upcoming year: President - Bob Ward; Vice President - Dan McConnell; Treasurer - Nancy Daniels; Recording Secretary - Carolyn Weiss; and Corresponding Secretary - Bebe Brock. There were no other nominations from the floor and, needless to say, the slate was unanimously approved by the membership.

    Carolyn Weiss

    Thursday, June 11, 2009

    CCGS Programs: September 2009 through June 2010

    September 9, 2009
    Scottish Genealogical Research
    David Dearborn. David is a senior research fellow at the New England Historical Genealogical Society, and an expert in English and Scottish genealogy. He will discuss methods and resources in Scottish Research.

    October 14, 2009
    Growing Up on Cape Cod Before World War II
    Donald Sparrow. Donald is a native of Eastham, born and raised on Cape Cod in the years before the war. He is a graduate of Harvard and MIT and a published author.

    November 14, 2009 - Joint Meeting with the Falmouth Genealogical Society
    Research Techniques for Genealogy, and Breaking Through Brick Walls in Genealogy.
    Michael Leclerc. Michael is Director of Programs at NEHGS, and an expert on the use of online tools to do research especially in New England and Canadian research.
    Note. This special meeting is on a Saturday and will be held at the West Barnstable Community Center, Route 149, near the corner of Route 6A, from 9:30am until noon. Coffee and tea will be served.

    December 9, 2009
    Our Own Stories
    Society Members. The members of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society will be telling their own stories about family research, how they have been able to solve specific problems, and the tools they used to solve them.

    January 13, 2010
    Secrets to Searching the Census On-Line
    Carolyn Weiss. Carolyn is a member of our Cape Cod Society and teaches the use of internet tools in doing family history research.

    February 10, 2010
    The Great Migration of our Ancestors to Cape Cod: the Congregation of Rev. John Lothrop and the Founders of Barnstable
    Dan McConnell. Dan will present the talk he gave at the recent New England Regional Genealogical Conference about the persecution suffered by a congregation in London before the courts and their flight to Cape Cod.

    March 10, 2010
    Traveling to Scotland to Do Genealogical Research
    Ralph Wadleigh. Ralph is a noted genealogist and member of the Falmouth Genealogical Society. He will give a talk on his experiences in traveling to the Islands of Scotland to pursue his own family research.

    April 14, 2010
    Early African-American Communities in New England
    Marian Pierre-Louis. Marian, the principal researcher for Fieldstone Historic Research, is a genealogical researcher, instructor, lecturer and writer. She is involved in many aspects of family history from genealogy to oral history, identifying old photographs and house histories. Her focus is on Southern New England research, which includes the states of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Particular research interests include early (1700-1850) African Americans in New England.

    May 12, 2010
    The Rev. John Robinson, the Leader of the Mayflower Pilgrim Community and his Impact on Early America
    Rev. Gary Marks. Rev. Marks is the Minister of the Church of the Pilgrimage in Plymouth and a leading scholar on John Robinson, who died before he could lead the last of his flock to Plymouth , but who still had a huge effect on the future of New England.

    June 16, 2010 (Annual Luncheon Meeting)

    Note: This is the 3rd Wednesday of the month
    Research on Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Immigrants, with a Special Emphasis on Italian Research
    Marcia Iannizze Melnyk. Marcia is one of the leading scholars in America on European Immigration, and a frequent speaker at the top genealogical gatherings in the US. If you have immigrant ancestors, you will learn a lot from one of the best.

    Meetings are held at the Brewster Ladies' Library Auditorium, 1822 Main Street, Brewster, MA on the second Wednesday of each month, from 10AM to 12Noon (unless otherwise noted).

    Tuesday, June 9, 2009

    Recent library addtions

    CCGS librarian Betsy Ferris is pleased to announce that the CCGS Library has been the recipient of new books and other materials from several donors this Spring, and that the Society has purchased new books of interest to Cape Cod genealogists.

    In addition to her donation of the book entitled Early Descendants of Henry Cobb of Barnstable, Massachusetts, author Susan E. Roser has provided our library with additional books she has written. Her series of books on Mayflower families is based on the data from the files of George Ernest Bowman at the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants. The Bowman files are considered to be the largest resource on Mayflower genealogy in existence.

    Mayflower Births and Deaths, in two volumes, contains data on the descendants of 23 Mayflower families, 50,000 names. Its companion volume, Mayflower Marriages shows lines of descent carried to the 7th or 8th generation. Mayflower Increasings details what is known about the first three generations in America, and Mayflower Deeds & Probates provides further information about these early settlers.

    The library has purchased the just-published (2009) Volumes 3 and 4 of the John Howland Mayflower books from the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in Plymouth, keeping us up-to-date with the latest published information from Mayflower's Five Generation Project.

    Also purchased for the library this month are two volumes of Terrence Punch's book, Erins Sons: Irish Arrivals in Atlantic Canada 1761-1853. These volumes should be helpful to researchers in the Irish Special Interest Group and to others with Irish roots through Canada.

    David Allen Lambert's, A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries, lists Massachusetts towns alphabetically with the names and addresses of each cemetery in the town. This book was a gift from David Martin.

    Nancy De Nise donated Middleborough, Massachusetts, Vital Records, volume 1, and an anonymous donor has provided The History of the Town of Easton, Massachusetts, by William L Chaffin.

    Several items have been catalogued from the collection of Phyllis Koscso. A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Irish Ancestors, by Dwight Radford and Kyle Betit; British Origins of American Colonists, 1629-1775; and Origins of Some Anglo-Norman Families, by Lewis Loyd.

    World Vital Records database now accessable from the CCGS Genealogy Library

    The CCGS Genealogy Library has recently added a new database to the resources available online at the library. Reports Betsy Ferris, CCGS Librarian, "In addition to, from NEHGS, and Heritage Quest online, we now make available" is a new genealogy Web site consisting of 1 billion plus records in 11,000 different databases, and the site is still growing. Users report satisfaction and success with the site's search engine, and it has become one of the most popular genealogical websites this year. Coverage is worldwide, including the U. S. and the U. K. There is a browse by country feature, which lets users see a list of the databases for a particular area.

    According to Brenda Hayes, CCGS Library Director, "This addition to our library databases broadens the scope of genealogy research which can be accomplished locally."

    The Cape Cod Genealogical Society's Genealogy Room is located in the Dennis Public Library, 5 Hall Street, Dennis Port, MA.

    Friday, May 22, 2009

    Members enjoy trip to Boston research facilities

    Crossing over the Sagamore bridge on May 19, 2009, were 25 Cape Cod genealogists on their way to area research facilities in Boston, MA. Destinations for the CCGS-sponsored trip were: the Massachusetts Archives, the Boston Public Library, and the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

    Members who arrived at the Massachusetts Archives were welcomed by Janis Duffy, Reference Supervisor, who also provided first-time visitors an "inside" tour. Janis was the key presenter at the CCGS joint meeting with The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) earlier in the month.

    Researchers at the Boston Public Library took advantage of the extensive microfilm collection of newspapers from across the US and Boston, housed right off the courtyard in the Microtext Department. Commented one researcher, "You get a strong feeling of nostalgia looking at newspapers you read as a kid almost 50 years ago."

    The largest contingent spent the day at NEHGS. Taking time out for a picture at the front entrance on Newbury Street were (l-r) Joan Frederici, Beverly Decker, Judy Terry and Vicki Blair-Smith.

    Passengers spent their travel time chatting about a variety of topics that included where and how to find vital records, how to handle clerks in City Hall, and how to prepare materials for distribution at family reunions. On the way into Boston Martha Day won the free raffle for a day-ticket to NEHGS, provided by David Martin, who acquired one from the April NERGC convention.

    The Society expects to sponsor its fall trip to the same locations in October or November, 2009.

    Tuesday, May 12, 2009

    CCGS and TIARA hold joint meeting

    The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) and the Cape Cod Genealogical Society held a joint meeting on Saturday, May 9, 2009 at the Brewster Library. The featured presenter was Janis Duffy of the Massachusetts State Archives. She provided a most helpful presentation on Irish genealogical research. Her focus was on conducting research at the General Register Office (GRO), located in Dublin, Ireland. She indicated that the smallest segment of real estate is the Townland.

    Birth indexes there go from January 1864 to December 1921, including the six counties in the North. Prior to 1864, one must use Church records. The registration district is needed in order to obtain the actual record. In 1922 the indexes are for records in the Republic of Ireland, while the six counties of Derry, Antrim, Armagh, Fermanagh, a Tyrone are in the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) in Belfast. Each county has a registry; check the GRO Web site for information.

    Death indexes are registered in Ireland for the same years as birth indexes, again including the six counties in the North. The Death Index also lists the age at death. As of 1922, the same situation applies as for birth records.

    Marriage indexes are registered in Ireland for the same years, again including the counties of the North, and the same rule applies for records after 1922.

    For the years 1864 to 1877 the indexes are alphabetical by surname, and then the given name. Each index covers a single year for the entire country. One must know the registration district to determine the right record. In 1878 the indexes are divided into 4 quarters - January-March, April-June, July-September, and October-December. Look for ancestors in each quarter of the year and again know the registration district. In 1903 the birth index covers the entire year, and also gives the mother's maiden name.

    Monday, May 11, 2009

    Latest edition of International Vital Records Handbook added to Library collection

    CCGS Librarian Betsy Ferris has announced that the latest edition of International Vital Records Handbook, by Thomas Jay Kemp is now in the CCGS Library's collection. The 5th edition (2009) has the latest application forms and ordering information for vital records from the United States and internationally.

    Saturday, May 9, 2009

    Book on decendants of Henry Cobb of Barnstable donated to CCGS library

    CCGS Librarian Betsy Ferris has announced that Early Descendants of Henry Cobb of Barnstable, Massachusetts, by Susan E. Roser was donated to the Reading Room collection of the Cape Cod Genealogy Society this month by the author. Published in Ontario, Canada by Stewart Publishing and Printing in 2008, the book is the first volume in the Friends of the Pilgrims Series.

    Susan E. Roser is a 12th generation descendant of Henry Cobb and Patricia Hurst through their son John. Her Mayflower descent is through Isaac Allerton and Mary Norris. She is a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, Canadian Society. She has served as editor of the Canadian Society's newsletter, Canadian Pilgrim, and has researched and written extensively for the Mayflower Quarterly, the Mayflower Descendant, and The American Genealogist.

    This book is the culmination of ten years of research into the first four generations of the Henry Cobb families. The author personally transcribed epitaphs from family stones in 45 cemeteries. A list of the cemeteries is included along with locations and visiting information. The author also includes a full transcription of 35 family wills. Genealogists and historians will appreciate her extensive list of primary and other sources.

    "We look forward to more in the Friends of the Pilgrims Series, which is about emigrants who came shortly after the Mayflower and settled among Mayflower passengers as friends and neighbors," said Betsy. Later volumes are to include the families of John Barnes, John Churchill, Daniel Cole, James Cole, John Doane, John Faunce, John Holmes, Samuel Ryder, and John Shaw.

    Members staff booth at NERGC

    Members of the Cape Cod Genealogy Society manned the booth at the Society Fair at the April 2009 New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC) in Manchester, New Hampshire.

    Pictured at left is CCGS President Bob Ward greeting one of a number of visitors who stopped by to inquire about the Society and its resources.

    The 2009 Conference offered meetings for special interest groups, The Ancestors Road Show, and numerous presentation sessions by experts in genealogy, including our own Dan McConnell who spoke on "The Great Migration: London Congregations Before the Court of High Commission."

    The 2009 Conference offered meetings for special interest groups, The Ancestors Road Show, and numerous presentation sessions by experts in genealogy, including our own Dan McConnell who spoke on "The Great Migration: London Congregations Before the Court of High Commission."The Conference also hosted an excellent exhibit of genealogical products.

    At the CCGS booth were examples of publications by the Society including back copies of the Bulletin and Cemetery Projects; inscribed cup plates with the insignia of the Society; copies of the Home Page of the CCGS Website; and membership brochures with the program of regular speaker topics at monthly meetings for the present year.

    Also attending the Conference were: Sara Robinson, David Martin, Peg Spellman, and Dan and Betsy McConnell.

    The next NERGC Conference will take place in April 2011 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

    Sunday, May 3, 2009

    Words and Sounds of the Civil War

    Presented by Bebe Brock, Bob Ward and Carl Copp, April 11, 2009

    Every two years the five libraries of Dennis, MA, host a month-long community event called Dennis Reads Together. The theme this year was the American Civil War and featured displays, talks, movies, book discussions, music, genealogy, and crafts centering around the Civil War era. The program culminated with a Civil War reenactor's encampment on the Dennis Green and a concert by the 2nd South Carolina String Band.

    On Saturday April 11, 2009, and dressed in costume, CCGS members Bebe Brock, Bob Ward and Carl Copp shared their connections with the Civil War through the "Words and Sounds of the Civil War" program at the Jacob Sears Memorial Library in East Dennis, MA.

    Bebe Brock
    Bebe Brock's Civil War ancestry traces back through her great-great-grandmother Sarah Freeman Cornish from Plymouth, who married Gorham Crosby from Centerville. Their niece, Elizabeth Cornish, married an army lieutenant, Augustus Davis Ayling, who saw action throughout the Civil War and kept a personal diary.

    In his retirement, Augustus Ayling, then an adjutant general in the New Hampshire National Guard, made a typewritten copy of his memoirs. These were lost until nearly 50 years later when Bebe's father, Charles F. Herberger, found the copy at the Centerville Historical Society. Her father edited the diary and published it under the title A Yankee at Arms : The Diary of Lieutenant Augustus D. Ayling, 29th Massachusetts Volunteers.

    Reading from her father's book, Bebe shared some of Lt. Ayling's Civil War experiences with the audience. She cited several instances where soldiers on picket duty would converse across the lines, knowing that one day they would eventually be shooting at one another. One night Lt. Ayling got lost in the woods, but could hear muffled voices nearby. Fearing he was among the enemy, he tentatively called out and was relieved to discover he was among a company of Union soldiers 150 yards away from Ayling should have been. Embarrassed, Ayling retuned to his own company.

    Bebe has Civil War connections also through her Crosby line and recently discovered another Civil War ancestor, Philander Keith, from Bridgewater, MA. Bebe suggests using the Massachusetts Civil War Research Center at "If you're looking for Massachusetts Civil War names," she says, "it's a great place to start." Once you have a unit or regiment name, she advises, you should follow through with looking up the name by unit in Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the Civil War, which will give you home town and other information.

    Bob Ward
    Bob Ward read selections from the Civil War letters of his great grandfather, Col. George H. Ward, who commanded the 15th Massachusetts Regiment Volunteers and was killed at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863.

    Col. Ward and his wife, Emily E. Mayo, who were both born and married in Worcester, MA, exchanged nearly 300 letters during the Civil War. Bob read selections from his great-grandfather's letters, some of which described his being quartered in once-beautiful mansions now in near ruins because of the war, and his candid impressions of superior officers. Perhaps the selection most remembered by the audience was this paragraph from Col. Ward's last letter home, written about a week before he was killed at Gettysburg:

    I am writing this out of doors in the open field. I have just reached down and plucked a leaf of clover which you will find enclosed. It was right by my foot and I send it as a memento. I am afraid we have not seen the worst of this rebellion yet and I almost shudder at the thought of what we are to pass through before this struggle is over, but I still trust and believe that all things will turn out well.

    Were it not for the housekeeper of one of the Colonel's descendants, the letters and other items in the Colonel's collection would have been lost. They ultimately made their way to the Worcester Historical Museum, where Bob and his father, CCGS member David Ward, "discovered" them on an "ancestor-hunting expedition in the early 1990s," according to Bob. "We both became very excited and have since examined the collection entirely and have learned a great deal about that generation of our ancestors." Bob relates the letters are now being prepared for publication.

    Bob has numerous ancestors who served in the Civil War on both sides of his family. In addition to Colonel George H. Ward, there were his two brothers Charles A. and Samuel S. Ward; and a half-brother, Henry C. Ward. On his mother's side was his great-great grandfather Elijah Huested of Cedarville, NJ. Bob has several Civil War ancestors among collateral lines as well.

    Carl Copp
    Carl Copp, a descendant of Union soldiers and a member of the Sons of Union Veterans, gave a live demonstration of some of the bugle calls used by the US Army during the Civil War and later.

    "Calls were used to order movements during battle," explained Carl. "Bugles and their calls were designed to be heard over the din and confusion of battle." Bugles were also made with varying pitch and timbre, depending on their specific use. Many buglers in the Civil War were often young teenagers, according to Carl, since boys beyond that age usually carried guns. Not only buglers, but officers had to know and be able to play the calls used to order troops during battle.

    Since bugle calls could be heard so clearly over the noise of battle, they could be heard by the enemy. "It was like spying by picking up the enemy's codes," said Carl. Generally it was too late to react by the time you heard the other side's buglers, he added.

    Carl is a member of Bugles Across America, an organization that locates and provides certified buglers for military memorials and funeral services for veterans. Choosing a bugle from among the collection he brought with him, Carl gave the audience a moving rendition of Taps.

    Carl found the Civil War pension records to be most helpful in tracing the lives and activities of his two Civil War descendants: Charles Dearborn Copp, who was a Medal of Honor winner at Fredericksburg; and John Copp, who was wounded at Olustee, FL, and a POW at the Confederate prison at Andersonville, GA.

    Fall Genealogy Workshops Announced

    Family History Methods Workshop: The Basics

    Dennis Public Library, 5 Hall Street, Dennis Port, MA. Saturday, October 17, 2009, 1 - 4pm & Saturday, October 31, 2009, 1 - 4pm

    A two-part Saturday Series intended for people who would like a review of the many basic techniques for doing family history, and for those just beginning a family history.
    • Saturday, October 17, 2009, 1 - 4pm. Topics: Birth and marriage records, military records, immigration records, church records, organizing your data, and more.
    • Saturday, October 31, 2009, 1 - 4pm. Topics: Death records, probates and wills, land and court records, computers in genealogy, using unpublished sources, overview of DNA, and more.
    Cost: $15 per session for CCGS Members; $25 for both. $20 per session for non-members; $35 for both. Bring pen and paper; copy of your genealogical charts in progress (if any).

    For more information contact David Martin at 508-420-0224, or email to

    Directions to the Dennis Public Library.

    Tuesday, April 28, 2009

    Family History Center - Brewster, MA

    The LDS Family History Center in Brewster, MA, has three film/fiche readers, including one reader that produces copies. The Center has a collection of films and fiche, numerous reference books, and online access.

    The Brewster Center's permanent onsite microfilm collection numbers nearly 600 rolls. A sampling includes: English vital records, Irish censuses, Mexican gazetteers, Scottish vital records, and Maine church records. You can find a complete printed listing of all films in the permanent collection at the CCGS Genealogy Library and at the Family History Center itself. In addition, you can search the FamilySearch Catalog and then order your selection through the Brewster Center.

    The Brewster Family History Center's online access includes the following subscription sites that are available for use by visitors:
    Also available online at the Center are all the LDS databases, including the LDS Church Archives, which contain the supporting documents for records of individuals whose names have been submitted as Temple-Ready by LDS members.

    Hours are Tuesday and Thursday 9-1. The Brewster Family History Center is located at 94 Freeman's way in Brewster, MA. It's best to call ahead at 508-896-9863. There is no fee, and the Center is wheelchair accessible.

    Saturday, April 18, 2009

    The Barnstable Patriot Digital Archive

    The Barnstable Patriot, published continuously since 1830 down through the present time, is the seventh oldest newspaper in the United States. Its first hundred years (to 1930) are available online through the Sturgis Library in Barnstable, MA.

    During those hundred years, the The Barnstable Patriot covered world, national, and regional news, as well as local news. The local news includes Cape Cod history, maritime news, shipping information, cultural events, and news of Cape Cod families and individuals, including birth, marriage, death, baptism, and obituaries. Search and view issues of the newspaper and then print, save or email articles.

    Thursday, April 9, 2009

    Students get how-to experience from CCGS members

    Twelve student genealogists recently took advantage of the skills and experience of CCGS members by attending the "Constructing Your Family History" course offered as part of the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional Adult Education program at Dennis-Yarmouth High School.

    During the 6-week evening course in February and March, Members of the CCGS Education Team shared their experience and knowledge of basic genealogical research with students from various parts of the Cape. Topics ranged widely and included vital records, church records, land records, probate records, interviewing family members, using the internet for genealogy, and supporting one's genealogical data with strong evidence.

    Presenters from the Cape Cod Genealogical Society were Phyllis Koscso, Nancy Daniels, Carolyn Weiss, Bebe Brock, Bob Ward, Betsy Ferris, Brenda Hayes, and Dave Martin. As a special guest presenter Dr. Tom Jones of the National Genealogical Society spoke on standards for genealogical evidence.

    The Education Team is considering similar course offerings for other Adult Education programs on Cape Cod.

    Wednesday, April 8, 2009

    Research Guides - Listing

    Use these Research Guides to plan your visit to these important area research facilities. Guides include information on location and hours, holdings overview, and links to key pages on their Web sites to help you get started.
    • Boston Public Library Guide - Microtext Department is among the area's best for Census, US Newspapers, US City Directories, Passenger Lists, Genealogy and Local History, Civil War Regimental Histories, and much more.
    • Congregational Library Guide - The collection is extremely rich in New England history, due to the early influence of Congregationalism in the region.
    • Massachusetts Archives Guide - Massachusetts Vital Records 1841-1915 (indexes 1916-1971), Port of Boston Passenger Lists, Probate and Naturalization Records for selected counties.
    • New England Historic Genealogical Society Guide - The NEHGS Research Library offers a comprehensive collection of more than 200,000 books, periodicals, and microform materials, as well as over one million manuscripts. Scope covers New England, U.S. states beyond New England, England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, eastern Canada, French Canada, Europe, and Australia.
    • State Library of Massachusetts Guide - Annual Reports of Towns, Histories of Towns, Cities and Counties, City/Town Directories and Voting Lists, Tax and Valuation Lists: residents and land owners in the early years of the Commonwealth, 18th & 19th Century Massachusetts Newspapers, Maps and Atlases: a wide variety of maps, including Sanborn fire insurance maps.

    Research Guide - Congregational Library

    Congregational Library
    14 Beacon Street
    Boston, Massachusetts 02108

    The library, archives and reading room are open Monday to Friday 8:30 am-4:30 pm, with the exception of holidays. Archival material will not be retrieved after 4:00 pm.

    The archives collects material that documents the Congregational, Congregational Christian, Christian and United Church of Christ tradition throughout the world. There are approximately 900 separate archival and manuscript collections totaling over 1200 linear feet.

    The collection is extremely rich in New England history, due to the early influence of Congregationalism in the region.

    Other collection strengths include:
    • New England local church records
    • American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions records
    • Missionary and charitable associations records
    • Manuscript sermons from the seventeenth to twentieth-century
    Type of Materials
    Although the collection primarily consists of textual information, there is some audio-visual and audio material. In some cases, the archive has a microfilm of the original records.

    Use their Web site to plan your work:

    Home Page -
    Archives Overview -
    Church Records Collection: listings and descriptions (extensive) -

    Research Guide - State Library of Massachusetts

    State Library of Massachusetts
    Massachusetts State House
    24 Beacon Street
    Boston, Massachusetts 02108

    Main Reading Room (Room 341) and Periodicals (Room 442): 9:00am-5:00pm; Mon-Fri.
    Special Collections (Room 55): 9:00am-3:00pm: Monday-Friday
    Closed: Saturday, Sunday, and all Massachusetts legal holidays

    Genealogical Resources (partial listing):

    For a more extensive listing, visit the Mass State Library Web site at
    • Annual Reports of Towns
    • Histories of Towns, Cities and Counties
    • Probate Records: some early records of Barnstable, Bristol, Essex, Middlesex and Plymouth Counties
    • Vital Records Series (to 1850): Most of these volumes were published by NEHGS
    • City/Town Directories and Voting Lists
    • Tax and Valuation Lists: residents and land owners in the early years of the Commonwealth
    • 18th & 19th Century Massachusetts Newspapers
    • Maps and Atlases: a wide variety of maps, including Sanborn fire insurance maps.
    Use their Web site to plan your work:

    The Massachusetts State Library's Web site has been rearranged in 2009 with inerminably long Web page addresses (URLs). Some earlier pages have either been removed or are impossible to locate.

    Your best bet is to start at the Library's Home page at and follow the links you find there. Search may bring up more documents than you care to sift through, but you may be lucky.

    The following links will work, however:
    Genealogical Resources -
    Latest Statehouse Library News -

    Research Guide - New England Historical Genealogical Library

    New England Historical Genealogical Library
    101 Newbury Street
    Boston, Massachusetts 02116-3007

    Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Wednesday 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
    Sunday & Monday Closed

    Holdings (brief overview):
    The NEHGS Research Library offers a comprehensive collection of more than 200,000 books, periodicals, and microform materials, as well as over one million manuscripts.
    Its book holdings include nearly all published New England genealogies, local histories, and related periodicals.

    Its microtext collection, with more than 40,000 items, contains copies of the original town, probate, land, and vital records; city directories; censuses; and immigration records for most of New England and eastern Canada.

    Beyond New England, family researchers will find many important published and primary sources for other regions, including U.S. states beyond New England, England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, eastern Canada, French Canada, Europe, and Australia.

    Admission to the Research Library is free for NEHGS members (research memberships and above); non-members (including seniors and students) and members at the subscription level will be charged a $15 day fee.

    Use their Web site to plan your work:

    Home Page -
    Research Library -
    Library Orientation Guide -
    Search the NEHGS Library Catalog -

    Research Guide - Massachusetts Archives

    Massachusetts Archives
    220 Morrissey Blvd.
    Boston, Massachusetts 02125

    Monday-Friday: 9 am to 5 pm
    Open on Select Saturdays: 9 am to 3 pm

    Holdings (overview):
    Massachusetts State Vital Records 1841-1915
    Indexes for State Vital Records 1916 thru 1971
    Passenger Lists for the Port of Boston 1848-1891 with a surname index
    State Census returns of 1855 and 1865
    Old Probate records:
    • Suffolk County to 1894
    • Middlesex County to 1871
    • Plymouth County to 1881
    • Essex County to 1840
    Some Naturalization Applications for certain counties

    See Researching Your Family's History at the Massachusetts Archives for a more comprehensive listing of what is available.

    Use their Web site to plan your work:

    Home Page -
    Researching Family History -
    Searchable Collections-
    Research Services -
    Hours and Directions -

    Research Guide - Boston Public Library

    Boston Public Library
    700 Boylston St., Copley Square
    Boston, Massachusetts 02116

    Monday-Thursday 9-9
    Friday and Saturday 9-5
    Sunday 1-5 (October - May)

    Holdings (overview):
    The Boston Public Library contains extensive collections of materials that are of interest to the genealogist and family historian. For an overview of what's available, see their Genealogy and Family History page.

    Perhaps of more direct interest to genealogists is the Microtext Department, which holds the major part of the Boston Public Library's holdings of microfilm, microfiche, and microprint. The Department's holdings include roughly 163,000 rolls of microfilm, 2.5 million microfiche, and 6,345 boxes of microprint.

    You will need your BPL library card to request items in the Microtext Room. You can get a card (free) when you arrive, so be sure to bring some identification.

    Among the Department's holdings are:
    • U.S. Newspapers: Boston; Mass; US Domestic; Foreign
    • Federal Census for all New England States 1790-1930
    • Genealogy and Local History
    • Regimental Histories of the American Civil War
    • Sanborn Fire Insurance Atlases
    • Index to Passenger Lists (Boston 1848-1891; 1899-1920)
    • United States City Directories (including Boston)
    Use their Web site to plan your work:

    Home Page -
    Genealogy and Family History Resources -
    Research Library Services-
    Microtext Department -
    Listing of City Directories -
    Newspaper Room -
    Listings of Newspapers on Microfilm -

    Thursday, March 19, 2009

    Phyllis Koscsco Memorial Established

    As members are aware, Phyllis Phinney Koscso passed away on March 4, 2009. A very active member of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society, Phyllis had been a past president of the Society, and was the chairman of the Bulletin Committee.

    A long-time member of the Education Committee, Phyllis was a lecturer at our recently-completed Adult Education course in genealogy at the Dennis-Yarmouth High School. She was the originator of our program to help local Boy Scouts with the merit badge requirements for genealogy. Phyllis was also an active volunteer in our Genealogy Room at the Dennis Public Library and was responsible for the Cape Cod Genealogical Society sign outside the main door.

    To remember her for her many services to the Society and to the Genealogy Room, the Board has established a fund to purchase a much-needed bookcase for the Genealogy Room in her memory. Those wishing to contribute to this fund may donate whatever amount they choose. A plaque commemorating Phyllis will be placed on one of the bookcase shelves.

    Donations may be sent to the Cape Cod Genealogical Society, P. O. Box 1394, Harwich, MA 06245; or to CCGS Treasurer, Nancy Daniels, 10 Mary Road, Eastham, MA 02642. Please make your check payable to CCGS, and indicate it is for the Phyllis Koscso Memorial.

    Sunday, March 8, 2009

    Brewster Town Clerk's Historic Vault Collection

    Titled Brewster Town Clerk's Historic Vault Collection, this 49page finding aid in PDF format (which you can download and print) can be your first step in locating historic records in the Brewster Town Clerk's Archives (some records go back to1710). Once you have the reference from the finding aid, you can callthe Town Clerk's Office at 508-896-4506 for an appointment to examine the record.

    Records include: Assessor's Collection, Building of the 1880 Town HallCollection, Cemeteries Collection, First Parish Church, Microfiche Records, Overseers of the Poor, School District Records, Selectmen's records, Stoney Brook Mill Site, Town Clerk's Records, Treasurer's Records.

    This finding aid is a result of the collaborative efforts of the BrewsterArchives Committee, which includes representatives from the Brewster Ladies' Library, Brewster Town Hall, First Parish Church, and the Brewster Historical Society. The Committee's goal is toidentify, preserve, catalog and make available the important historical documents of the Town of Brewster.

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009

    Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese American Archives at UMass Dartmouth

    The Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese American Archives at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has been actively collecting records of social, cultural, educational and religious organizations and personal and family papers of the Portuguese community in the United States since 1996.

    The archives currently include 19 fully-processed collections of manuscripts documenting local Portuguese American families and organizations, and the work of important individuals within the Portuguese community nationally, a collection of photographs on a wide range of topics, an oral history collection, over 150 boxes of original newspapers from the Portuguese press in the United States, and personal papers collections of local politicians, educators, authors, and businessmen.

    For more information on the collection, including an online listing and descriptions of their holdings, visit the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese American Archives at

    Monday, February 9, 2009

    Workshop with Photo Detective Maureen Taylor a success!

    On Saturday, January 24, 2009, Maureen Taylor, well known genealogist and "photo detective", conducted a workshop on "Identification of Old Photographs" at the Brewster Ladies' Library Auditorium in Brewster, MA.

    During the four and a half hour workshop, Maureen showed the 35 members attending how they can use clues such as hair styles, clothing details and objects found in old photographs to date them. She also examined individual photos provided by participants in order to help them figure out who was in a photo, when the photo was taken and what the relationships were of people in the photographs. Maureen finished her presentation with advice on proper storage of old photographs as well as information on the restoration of damaged and "diseased" photographs.

    Thursday, January 8, 2009

    Cape Cod Genealogical Libraries

    The libraries listed below collectively contain the most comprehensive genealogical resources on Cape Cod.

    Cape Cod Community College - William Brewster Nickerson Room
    The Nickerson Cape Cod History Archive is dedicated to serving the research needs of students and scholars in the history and culture of Cape Cod in its entirety. Used heavily by writers, historians and genealogists, the archive includes unique and rare deeds, manuscripts and personal papers, genealogical resources, historic photos and images, and various artifacts, notably scrimshaw. The archive also preserves the works of Cape Cod authors, artists, playwrights, poets and historians.

    Genealogy resources include: American and British Ancestors, biographies of Cape Cod families, census indexes and records, vital records, military records, passenger lists, cemeteries, genealogy important manuscripts, and numerous databases on CDs.

    The William Brewster Nickerson Room is located on the main campus of Cape Cod Community College, 2240 Iyannough Road, West Barnstable, MA 02668. Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday - 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Scholars with particular research issues are encouraged to contact Special Collections Librarian Mary Sicchio in advance at 508-362-2131, ext. 4445.

    Cape Cod Genealogical Society - Library
    The Cape Cod Genealogical Society Library houses volumes covering the following categories: biographies, cemeteries, history, Massachusetts towns, Mayflower Families, census records, tax lists, and "How-To" Genealogy Research Guides. Other holdings include genealogy journals and magazines, databases on CD, and a collection of local unpublished collections of letters, photographs, alphabetical listings of family members, histories, and family trees.

    The Library is housed in the CCGS Genealogy Room at the Dennis Public Library, 5 Hall Street, Dennis Port, MA 02639. Volunteers are available to assist with the collection.

    Sturgis Library - Special Collections
    Sturgis Library is an independent public library in the Town of Barnstable, Massachusetts dedicated to serving local residents and promoting the study of Barnstable County history, genealogy and maritime culture.

    Sturgis Library Archives include extremely rare and one-of-a-kind documents such as early deeds from many of the towns on Cape Cod, ships logs, whaling journals, manuscripts, family histories, diaries, letters and correspondence, cemetery records, photographs, historical documents, maps and charts.

    Kittredge Maritime Center contains more than 3,000 books, journals, and an archive of Cape Cod manuscripts, documents, personal papers and letters.

    The Lothrop Genealogy Collection includes Mayflower Society Records, extensive list of local/regional Town histories, Genealogical Notes of Cape Cod Families, Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families, 1500 Barnstable County land deeds (1627-1859), 300 published individual Barnstable family genealogies, 500 unpublished manuscripts or privately published pamphlets of Barnstable history and genealogy.

    Sturgis Library, at 3090 Main Street near the Barnstable County Courthouse on Route 6A, has the oldest library building in the country. P.O. Box 606, Barnstable, MA 02630. Telephone: 508-362-6636.

    Eldredge Public Library - Waterman Genealogical Collection
    Located on the second floor in a gallery overlooking the Library's main reading room, the Genealogy Department is considered one of the best of its kind on Cape Cod. The core of the holdings is the Edgar Frances Waterman Memorial Genealogical Collection, organized and integrated into the Library commencing in 1979.

    The Collection includes: General reference guides for genealogical research, emigrant and passenger arrival lists, military pension indexes, Mayflower families, DAR indexes, heraldry, compendia of colonial lineages; County and town histories of New England and middle Atlantic and southeastern states to Georgia, Vital Records to 1850 for most Massachusetts towns, Canadian records, Vols. 1-7 "The Search For Missing Friends" - Irish research; and over 500 volumes of individual families, by surname, including many early Cape Cod families.

    This collection and the other holdings are continuously being added to.

    The Eldredge Public Library is located at 64 Main Street, Chatham, MA 02633. Phone: 508-945-5170. Fax: 508-945-5173.

    Eastham Public Library - Genealogical Library Room
    The Eastham Public Library is home to the Eastham Historical Society Archive. Collections include: oral history tapes and manuscripts, histories of Churches and campground meetings, Eastham Town Reports 1896-2006, Assessors' maps, data from the National Seashore Archives, handwritten genealogies with some documented, sea captains' logs, diaries of teachers, 50 indexed scrapbooks, vital records, audio-tapes of memories, and various cemetery records.

    Family collections include: Atwood, Bangs, Chase, Daley, Doane, Fisk, Freeman, Gould, Harding, Hatch, Higgins, Holbrook, Hopkins, Horton, Jewell, Knowles, Lowe, Mayo, Merrick, Moore, Nickerson, Paine, Pratt, Quinn, Rogers, Smith, Sparrow, Schwind - among others.

    The Eastham Public Library is located at 190 Samoset Rd. Eastham, MA 02642. The archives hours are Tuesdays from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. More information is available by writing Marilyn Schofield at Box 163, Eastham, MA 02641 or by e-mail at

    Falmouth Public Library - Genealogy & History Collections
    Genealogy & History Collections at the Falmouth Public Library contain guides for researching family history, individual family histories, Vital Records to 1850 for most Massachusetts towns, New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 1847 to present day, Mayflower Descendants, and Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War and Civil War. Holdings are in books, CDs, microfilm and microfiche. A listing of genealogical resources at the Falmouth Public Library can be found at

    Volunteers from the Falmouth Genealogical Society assist individuals seeking genealogical help Tuesday afternoons from 2:00pm-4:00pm. No appointment is necessary. The Falmouth Public Library is at 300 Main Street, Falmouth, MA 02540. Phone: 508-457-2555.

    Local Research Assistance

    The following genealogists are available to help you in your research:
    • General Cape Cod Genealogy - Mary A. Ware
    • Cape Cod Vital Records, Land Records, and Probates - Rosalind and Marsha Costello, Box 517, West Barnstable, MA 02668
    • Coastal New England, 17th - 20th Centuries - Joyce Pendery
    • General New England Genealogy - Kathy Terkelsen
    • York County (Maine), Colonial Connecticut, Orkney Islands - Ralph Wadleigh
    Please contact these individuals directly regarding scope of work and fees.

    Barnstable County Deeds and Public Records

    The Barnstable County Registry of Deeds provides full access over the Internet to the same records that are available to anyone using the computer search screens at the Registry of Deeds building in Barnstable Village. Records available:
    • Recorded Land indexes and images from 1704 to the present (complete).
    • Recorded Land Plan indexes and images (complete).
    • Land Court name index (incomplete).
    • Land Court Document images from 1899 to the present.

    Thursday, January 1, 2009

    Cape Cod Genealogical Society Bulletin

    CCGS BulletinThe Bulletin was the official publication of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society from its first issue in 1975, when it was called the Quarterly, until the Fall 2010 issue, when it ceased publication to make way for The Journal of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society, scheduled to begin in the late spring of 2011. The Bulletin had been in print continuously throughout its history, and for most years three issues were published: Spring, Summer and Fall.

    The Bulletin focused on the genealogy of Cape Cod and related research. Many of the articles contained records and sources that are not available in any other publications.  Articles included short genealogies; census, land and probate records; birth, death and marriage records; member success stories; articles on the many aspects of genealogical research; book reviews; summaries of holdings of Cape Cod genealogical libraries and historical societies; and articles of humor and general interest to the Cape Cod researcher.

    Printed copies of the Bulletin are available for research or purchase in the CCGS Genealogy Room.

    Bulletin CD

    The Bulletin CD contains every word, picture, map and diagram from each issue of the Bulletin, starting with its very first issue as the Quarterly in October 1975, and extending through the December 2010 Issue.

    Each issue has been scanned into a searchable PDF file and is thus "every-word searchable." The CD is available for use or purchase in the CCGS Genealogy Room. It can also be purchased through the CCGS Shop.