Showing posts with label Research. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Research. Show all posts

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Topic of March Meeting Will Focus on Researching Our Immigrant Ancestors

Meredith Hoffman, our March speaker, will be discussing the basics of researching 19th and early 20th century immigrant ancestors to get to the point of "crossing the pond." Although she will be using her own Jewish ancestors as examples, the presentation is geared to anyone doing ethnic immigration in US records. She has been told, following this presentation, that it has been beneficial for both the novice and the experienced researcher.
Meredith will be sharing both online and local resources, giving many examples of the US records you need to find your immigrant ancestor, as well as the repositories and websites where you can access these records. She will also explain how to use that information to begin to get back to the "old country."
Meredith Hoffman, recipient of a certificate from the Boston University Genealogical Research Program, has been researching her own ancestors for the past 20 years and has been a professional genealogist for the last 5 years. Although her specialty is Jewish immigrant ancestors, her focus has been on general research of 19th and early 20th centuries, including immigrant records. A popular lecturer, she has been a speaker at regional and national conferences, genealogical societies, and other local venues, including New England Historic Genealogical Society and National Archives, Waltham facility.
We hope that you will join us, Wednesday, March 19, 2014, at the Brewster Ladies Library, at 10 AM, to get some tips on researching your ethnic immigrant ancestors.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

February Meeting to Focus on Workplace Records

An ancestor's place of occupation can reveal much more than work skills. Industry specific sources can also give us information on birthplace, kinship, and social and religious group membership.  Using as examples, Irish workers in the Sandwich glass industry and German workers at the Plymouth Cordage Company, our February speaker, Susan Steele, will examine their lives using material from industry museum files, local historical societies, archives, fraternal insurance records, and other more familiar sources.

Susan Steele directed The Irish Ancestral Research Association's Forester Project from 2005-2011. This project indexed and digitized the insurance mortuary records of members of the Massachusetts Catholic Order of Foresters who died between 1880 and 1935. She has given many presentations on the genealogical and historical content of  the Forester's collection and has also lectured on genealogy resources found in industry museums. Susan's lecture venues have included genealogy conferences, cultural centers, libraries, and universities, including UMASS, Boston College, and the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

Be sure to save the date-- February 19, 2014 at 10 AM -- and join us at the Brewster Ladies Library, Rte 6A, to learn how to find and use these types of records.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Five Must-Read Blogs

Mocavo (Michael J. Leclerc) suggest five blogs that he says are "must-read." Here they are:

  1. Dick Eastman's Newsletter -
  2. If you want to know about DNA - will help.
  3. For technology go to
  4. For legal topics visit
  5. Michael Leclerc's last recommendation is from Michael John Neill's genealogy website -

Dae Powell from Brigham Young University had this to say about these recommendations:
"I visit everyone of these frequently. The amount of expertise from just these five sites can elevate your research to a higher plane. My site is not a blog, but feel free to visit it for genealogy presentations, chats, and forms. Aye, all free, of course."

Friday, November 8, 2013

Canadian Special Interest Group to Meet

The Canadian Special Interest Group will meet on Wednesday, November 13, at the Brewster Ladies Library, 1822 Main Street, Brewster, at 10 a.m. The meeting will probably be in the general meeting room.

Please come and enjoy this lively group in discussions on every aspect of Canadian research.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

You Might be Surprised at How Much Money Genealogists Spend

In an article on the website, Jill Krasny tells us amateur genealogists hoping to uncover a link to Abe Lincoln can easily turn to the web to dig in their ancestor's closet. But taking the commercial route doesn't come cheap.
People curious about family history spent a whopping $2.3 billion on genealogy products and services last year, according to a study by market research firm Global Industry Analysts. They took most of their work to sites like, which charge between $22.95 and $34.59 per month for access to billions of pertinent records. One-on-one consultations set them back $2,000 to $5,000 per session, depending on the length and complexity of the project, a spokesperson told Mashable.
Despite those sites' popularity, “it’s perfectly possible to do everything without spending a dime,” says Terry Koch-Bostic, a Mineola, N.Y.-based director of the National Genealogy Society, a non-profit education, training and records-preservation group. 

In the next few days, we'll share with you the 5 tools Terry Koch-Bostic recommends for building a family tree without it costing you a fortune.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

BPL Microtext Department has new home

The Microtext Department of the Boston Public library is now operating from its new home on the second floor of the Johnson Building (Main Library) on Copley Square.

The transfer of the collection and facilities from the old location off the courtyard of the McKim building was completed by March 30, 2011, when the Department opened to researchers after only one day's closing.

Microtext Department at the Boston Public Library

A key research center for genealogists, the Department's holdings include:
  • 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)
Click for a more complete listing.

Good News!

You can visit the new home of the BPL Microtext Department as part of the CCGS Research Trip to Boston on Tuesday May 10, 2011. Click for details, cost and registration.

Friday, January 7, 2011

BPL Microtext Department Closing Imminent

Researchers planning to visit the Microtext Department of the Boston Public Library had better move their plans up quickly - in fact, to within the next several weeks.

According to an article this week in the Boston Globe, the BPL is closing its Microtext Department in the coming weeks so the space can be converted to an exhibit hall housing the library’s Norman B. Leventhal Map Collection.

According to the Globe:
In a few weeks ... the machines will be gone, a nearby reference desk removed, and the room on track for a $1.8 million makeover. Next fall, if all goes as planned, the space will reopen as the new repository and exhibit hall for the library’s Norman B. Leventhal Map Collection, one of the country’s foremost cartographic resources. Many of the collection’s most valuable maps, atlases, and other materials will come out of storage and into fuller public view.
A call to the Microtext staff confirmed the news. The Department eventually will find a home on the second floor of the Johnson Building. No time frame could be given for when the Department would be ready again to accommodate researchers.

Those wishing to visit the Microtext Department should call (617) 859-2018 for the latest status.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

DC Genealogy Research Trip Planned for October 2010

[Note: Important change in transportation below.]

After two years in a row of research trips to the Salt Lake City Family History Library, the Society is now planning a different research trip - to the several wonderful genealogical repositories located in Washington, DC.  Proposed for the week of Sunday October 17 through Friday October 22, 2010, the trip would provide opportunities for research at:
  1. The Library of Congress - best collection in the world of American city directories, among  many other items such as surname genealogies
  2. Daughters of the American Revolution Library (DAR) - excellent collection of surname genealogies and resources on different USA regions, as well as "period rooms" furnished like homes in different era's of American history,located in the DAR Museum within the Library
  3. National Archives--central collection of census, military pension applications, immigration records, passenger lists, and much more (this collection is the central one; regional Archives repositories such as the one in Waltham, Mass. have some but not all of the same collections).
Participants will spend one day of research at each of these outstanding resources, with an additional day, plus evenings, to also enjoy the many fascinating visitor sites in Washington. Among those options would be the Lincoln Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Smithsonian Museums, National Art Gallery, the Newseum, Gallaudet University for the Deaf where Dave Martin previously worked, and considerably more--participants may elect choices from a list, and go in either groups or individually to these sites, traveling mostly by the outstanding subway system in Washington that is known as the Metro System (clean, fast, and efficient).

Transportation will be by Southwest Airlines from Providence to Baltimore, with a van into DC; departure will be the morning of Sunday October 17, with a return to Providence airport in early afternoon on Friday October 22.  Total transportation costs, including the van, will be approximately $350.

The hotel will be the State Plaza, on East St. Northwest, in DC (, an all-suites hotel with kitchens; a restaurant is in the hotel. Hotel rate is $175 per night for a single room or half that if sharing a room.  Meals will be a separate cost.

The tour will be led by Dave Martin, who lived and worked in Washington for 21 years and did much of his original genealogical research there in earlier years.

A deposit of $100 by March 15 is needed in order to hold a place, and the deposit will be refundable until August 15. Checks would be made out to CCGS, and sent to Dave at 10 Colonial Farm Circle, Marstons Mills, Mass. 02648.  Participation will be limited to 15 members.  For questions, contact him at 508-527-0460 or at

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Thursday, January 8, 2009

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.