Sunday, February 28, 2010

CCGS member works to preserve Dennis records

Visit the second floor of the West Dennis Public Library and you are likely to find CCGS member Burt Derick loading files into a computer or scanning Dennis town records, ships' logs and captains' letters.

Burt is the librarian for the Dennis Historical Society's Pauline Wixon Derick Library, a collection of books, manuscripts, photographs, scrapbooks and other ephemera related to the Town of Dennis and the mid-Cape area. "The Library is named in memory of my mother," explains Burt. "She was a genealogist for 35 years and did Dennis families. Of course you do Dennis families and you also have to do Harwich, Brewster, Yarmouth - all the other towns on the Cape.  So our collection includes material from some of those other towns as well."

In addition to original manuscripts and books, much of the Library's material is available in binders and in digital format, which are indexed on a computer file. "Say you're looking for 'saltworks.' You can search on our computer and it will tell you which volume and page has what you are looking for," says Burt.

Genealogists will be especially interested in the complete collection of the Dennis Town Reports from 1886 to the present. "We have some that go back even further," says Burt, "but there are no vital records in them."

The Historical Society's collection includes genealogies of Cape Cod and Dennis families, most of which are in limited editions and not widely available. Burt's hope is that in a couple of years, many of these volumes will be listed in the Cape Library System's CLAMS network, so that researchers can find them online.

The most recent results of the Historical Society's scanning efforts has been the Dennis Assessor's Records. "Suppose you wanted to know if one of your Dennis ancestors owned property. We have produced digital records of the original Assessor's Records for the Town of Dennis from 1800 to 1860."

Burt has been an active member of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society since 1993.  He has contributed several articles to the CCGS Bulletin and has delivered talks at CCGS monthly meetings on the early history of Dennis. Burt has several published materials and books on Dennis, including cemetery transcriptions and transcriptions of Dennis church records.

You'll also find him ready to help you find vital records, histories, genealogies, photographs, books and other memorabilia related to your Dennis ancestors. Burt encourages all researchers to contact him regarding the specifics of the Pauline Wixon Derick Library collection. He is also available to assist with those working on Wixon, Chase, Howes, Sears, Crowell, and Nickerson lines.

Email Burt at or send a letter to:

Burton N. Derick
Dennis Historical Society
PO Box 607
South Dennis, MA 02260

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Research Trip to Boston - May 19, 2010

The Cape Cod Genealogical Society is sponsoring a research bus trip to Boston on Wednesday May 19, 2010.

Destinations include:
  • 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 list of  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.

TV Genealogy Program Airs March 5

NBC Television in conjunction with will air an interesting 7-part series on Family History, beginning Friday March 5, 2010, at 8pm. The series is entitled Who Do You Think You Are? and will feature a heartwarming journey through family history, designed to show the importance of this pursuit and to inspire people to discover their family stories.

Featuring actors Sarah Jessica Parker, Emmitt Smith, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Broderick, Brooke Shields, Susan Sarandon, and Spike Lee, the series shows each of them being given insights into their own actual families--with some poignant moments.

Dave Martin saw a preview of the program at a February 20 genealogy workshop in Boston, and reports that it definitely rates watching.  For details on the program, click on

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Washington DC Research Trip Reminder

David Martin reminded members at the February 10 Program Meeting that the Society will sponsor a genealogical research trip to Washington, DC on October 17-22, 2010, to use the resources at the Library of Congress, the Daughters of the American Revolution Library, and the National Archives.

An important change in transportation arrangements has also been made, to Southwest Airlines instead of Amtrak rail; net cost will still be approximately $350.

To help with planning the trip, members should indicate their interest by March 15, 2010. Details on estimated costs, travel arrangements, and schedule information.

The Congregation of Rev. John Lothrop and the Founders of Barnstable

CCGS Vice-President Dan McConnell is the Historian for both the Linnell Family Association and the Lothropp Family Foundation and a descendant of the family of Rev. Lothrop’s wife, Hannah Howes, as well as Rev. Lothrop’s brother-in-law, Robert Linnel. Dan has done extensive research into these families and their experiences before the courts in England. His presentation at the Society's meeting on February 10, 2010 focused on the reasons that compelled Rev. John Lothrop and his congregation to leave England in 1634 and come to America.

Dan began by remarking that between 1630 and 1640, 20,000 people came to New England in the Great Migration, largely not for economic opportunity, but instead for religious reasons in a time of great turmoil in England, brought on largely by the English Reformation and its aftermath.
Prior to 1600, less than 15% of the people in England could read and write, enabling the State Church at that time to maintain power due to the reading and interpretation of the Bible being limited to the clergy. With the invention of the printing press and with the Bible becoming available in English translations, people could read and interpret the Bible on their own.

Eventually separate gatherings began to occur, which led to the establishment of what became known as the Congregationalist movement, through Dissenters and Non-Conformists. The English Civil War and the Great Migration were rooted in the Crown’s suppression of these dissenting Protestant groups.

John Lothrop had been baptized in 1584 in Yorkshire, and graduated in 1609 with a Master’s Degree from Cambridge University - a hotbed of protest at that time.  He married Hannah Howes, daughter of

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Save 2010 Census - no images to be preserved

[Article submitted by Robert Ward, President, Cape Cod Genealogical Society]

[Editor's Note: While the issues discussd in this article remain of interest to all genealogists, the particular issue regarding the preservation of 2010 Census data had been clarified by NARA, as indicated in the update article by CCGS President Bob Ward on March 8, 2010.]

The Census Bureau and the National Archives have agreed to throw out the 2010 census forms after archiving statistical data. This means that seventy-two years later genealogist will see – nothing -.

The same authorities planned to do this to the 2000 census, too. A January 1999 Supreme Court ruling forced the Census Bureau to redesign data collection by prohibiting the use of sampling. Responding to an inquiry from Congressman Waxman of the census oversight committee, the Census Bureau and the National Archives reevaluated their decision. Images of all 2000 census forms were copied onto microfilm.

For 2010, the Census Bureau and the National Archives once again plan to make a data file rather than capture images of the census forms. Data Killers, a shredding and degaussing company, has a one-year contract to destroy on-site Census Bureau data.

If earlier officials had been so short sighted, millions of Americans could not have used the 1880 census to prove their ages and

New Surnames - Conant, McDormond, Sisson

The following have been added to the CCGS Surnames Listing by member David Martin.  If you would like to exchange information with Dave, you can email him at


Our Surnames Site has more information on these names and other names CCGS members are researching.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

CCGS Library - New Arrivals, February 2010

CCGS Librarian Betsy Ferris has announced the following new additions to the CCGS Library:

Map Guide to the U. S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920, by William Thorndale and William Dollarhide, is a 2009 reprint of the 1987 edition. It shows county boundaries within each state beginning with the first census of the U. S. in 1790 and continuing at ten year intervals through 1920. Each map page includes notes regarding missing censuses or census fragments. (929.1 THO) 

Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, 2nd ed., is the style manual for genealogists and family historians. The first edition published in 2007 won acclaim as one of the best reference books in the field. The book explains the basis for citing each type of source record and shows many examples of correct citations for many possible formats for a source. The first chapter discusses how evidence analysis helps the family history researcher maintain the standard of proof needed to have confidence in his results. (929.1 MIL) 

QuickSheet: Citing Online Historical Resources, Evidence! Style, by Elizabeth Shown Mills is a 4- page laminated very quick reference to the proper methods of citing sources found on the Internet. (929.1 MIL) 

A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your African-American Ancestors, by Franklin Carter Smith and Emily Anne Croom tells how to find and record information about African Americans heritage. Begins with an overview of genealogical methods and research and then discusses various types of records and historical sources. Several case studies are included. (929.1 SMI)

See other recent additions to the CCGS Library.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dennis Historical Society library to celebrate new home

The Dennis Historical Society invites the public to celebrate the new home of its Pauline (Wixon) Derick Library at the West Dennis Public Library, Sunday February 21, 2010 from 1 - 4 pm. Refreshments will be served.

The library consists of collections of books, manuscripts, photographs, scrapbooks and other ephemera related to the Town of Dennis and the mid-Cape area, according to CCGS member and DHS Historian Burt Derick. Of special interest are the maritime collections, diaries, early deeds and letters, and genealogical information.

Recently relocated from the Josiah Dennis Manse Museum, the library enjoys more spacious quarters on the second floor of the West Dennis Public Library, located at 260 Main Street, Route 28, West Dennis, MA.

See the Feb. 4, 2010 edition of The Register (Yarmouth) for more about the library's move and and its collections.

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Treasurer Needed

As of June 2010, Nancy Daniels, our most able Treasurer for several years, will step down from the position.  She has performed outstanding work in keeping us fiscally responsible and responsive.

Now it is time for us to nominate a new Treasurer, to take office in June. The responsibilities are not difficult, and involve the following:

Daily and weekly:
  • Accept and enter monies into QuickBooks as they come in
  • Deposit funds to the bank
  • Write & send out checks for all bills & reimbursements that need to be paid
  • Provide reports to the Board of Directors to help them understand the financial picture of the Organization on a regular basis (ex. Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss Report)
  • File Annual Sales Report
  • File Annual Report of the CCGS Organization
  • File Form 990 EZ
  • File Form PC
Nancy is most willing to answer any questions from those who might have some interest in this position. She will also meet with the new Treasurer to show her/him "the ropes" and make a smooth transition. You can email her at

Please consider this role, which also entitles you to be a member of the Board of Directors. To suggest others to the Nominating Committee, please contact Barbara Lewis at

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Computer SIG explores online newspapers at February meeting

The main topic for the February 2, 2010 CCGS Computer Users meeting was Finding newspaper articles to help in genealogy research, as suggested by Bonnie Cormier at the previous meeting.

SIG coordinator Nancy Daniels lead the group on a tour of 12 Web sites that hosted digital images of newspaper articles, had links to other sites that contained them, or listed the newspapers in their collections. Sites ranged from newspapers available at (free at the CCGS Library), Boston Public Library, Internet Archive and the Brantford Public Library in Ontario, Canada, for Canadian newspaper listings. Papers on Cape Cod can be found archived, online and searchable at the Sturgis Library in Barnstable, MA.

Other topics at the 2-hour session were varied and equally informative. Peg Spellman suggested browsing the many fascinating videos at Roots Television, all dealing with some aspect of genealogy how-to-do.

Nancy is always searching for state vital records online. Today she amazed the group with vital records from Arizona at If you know of other states that have these kinds of records online, email their addresses to Nancy or include them in a comment below.

An enthusiastic discussion developed around the latest addition to the CCGS Library Collection, Google Your Family Tree, by Daniel Lynch, which prompted a look at the book's official site.

The group saw how easy it was to translate English into most common foreign languages by using Google's free translation utility. Nancy offered that the translations may not be perfect, but they would be close enough to use when

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Improved CCGS Library Catalog now online

A new version of the CCGS Library Catalog is now online with added features and a new look.

The new online catalog contains over 400 books listed by categories that include biographies and genealogies, research guides, histories of Massachusetts towns, Mayflower, and various records. The catalog also lists the holdings in the Archives and Manuscripts section, which include unpublished materials on Cape Cod cemeteries and family histories

New features for the visitor include the ability to search just the catalog; sort listings by author, title, or call number; and to print the listing on your local printer. According to CCGS Librarian Betsy Ferris, "the biggest benefit is that you can search the catalog for any word that's in there."

For the library staff one of the best features is the ease with which new listings can be entered into the catalog. "It's so easy to update, that as soon as I have a book on the shelf, it's also in the online catalog," says Betsy.

Visitors can access the new Library Catalog online at, or from a link on the CCGS main site at

The Cape Cod Genealogical Society's Genealogy Room is located in the Dennis Public Library, 5 Hall Street, Dennis Port, MA. Hours are: Tuesday 12 - 4; Wednesday 1 - 3; Thursday 10 - 4; Friday 10 - 2; Saturday 10 - Noon.