Friday, January 11, 2013

Genealogist's Handbook for New England Research : Featured library resource for January 2013

Since 1980, the Genealogist's Handbook for New England Research has been a useful guide for those navigating genealogical resources in the New England states.  We have just added the 5th edition, published in 2012 by the New England Historic Genealogical Society and edited by Michael J. Leclerc, who many of us will know from his presentations for us and other societies.  This book was paid for from funds given in memory of former CCGS President Roberta Bratti.

The Handbook is organized by state, with an introductory chapter on New England as a whole, and an essay on each of the six states.  The states are visually coded on the edge of the book, making it easy to locate each state section.  There are maps showing each county and the towns within it, including "extinct" counties such as Norfolk in Massachusetts, most of which was ceded to create New Hampshire. Sections on different types of records (repositories, probate, land) give hours and contact information, while others (for example, military) are treated more briefly in the introductory essays.

The heart of each state section is the list of towns.  This includes date of incorporation, county, "parent" and "daughter" towns, notes, and coded information concerning vital and church records.  A second listing gives "extinct" towns.  This information about the changing boundaries and jurisdictions is clearly vital to understanding where to hunt for records about your ancestors.  The section on New England points out that compared to the rest of the country, many more New England records are kept at the town level, rather than the county.

We hope that you will find this new edition of a long-standing resource useful for your research, and that we'll see you soon at the CCGS Library!  It is located within the Dennis Public Library, and open on selected hours Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

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