2016 July – Diving Deeper into New England

Diving Deeper into New England: Advanced Strategies for Success

Coordinator:   D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS

  • Catherine Becker Wiest Desmarais, CG
  • Diane Florence Gravel, CG

Held July 17-22, 2016, at La Roche College, Pittsburgh, PA. Registration Information.

When encountering New England roots, many find a rich treasure of previous research, compiled materials, and records dating back to the early 1600s. Yet, within the branches of our New England roots exist assumptions, errors, missing individuals, and incomplete information. Starting with the colonial period and moving to the 1850s, “Diving Deeper into New England” will take an in-depth look at New England research, specifically focusing on little-known and underused sources.

Individual sessions will provide a deeper historical and social context for New England research, provide specific tools for key New England states, and provide an overview of the research process through a variety of examples and case studies. In addition, optional homework assignments and discussion time will allow time for you to gain advice on your personal New England research with the course coordinator.

8:30-9:45 New England: Is it All Done? (Joshua Taylor)
As we begin a week of exploring New England, we must ask ourselves has it really all been done? Our first hour will include the opportunity to examine research scholarship from periodicals to learn new trends relating to New England genealogy.

10:15-11:30 New England Catch-up Part I: History (Joshua Taylor)
A very condensed version of New England history from 1620 to 1850 with an eye on key topics that any genealogist should keep in mind.

1:00-2:15 New England Catch-up Part II: Sources and Publications (Joshua Taylor)
With so many printed resources, a quick “catch-up” is in order to review major resources, periodicals, and other tools for tracing New England ancestors.

2:45-4:00 A New England Genealogist’s Dream: Resources at NEHGS (Joshua Taylor)
Founded in the 1840s, NEHGS remains a prime resource for anyone tracing their New England roots. Explore the online and onsite resources NEHGS provides to any genealogist.

4:00-4:30 Personal Research Project (optional) (Joshua Taylor)
Participants are allowed to submit 2-3 research problems for discussion throughout the week.

8:30-9:45 New England Town Records (Diane Gravel)
From the time of the first settlements, New England’s town government system created a wealth of records of genealogical value, beginning with births, deaths, and marriages. This lecture dives deeper, guiding the researcher through an abundance of lesser-known records documenting our ancestors’ lives.

10:15-11:30 New England’s Courts: 1600s – 1800s (Cathi Desmarais)
Court records, often underutilized by genealogists, offer a unique window into our ancestors’ lives. Using many illustrative examples, we will learn about types of New England courts, and where to find their records today.

1:00-2:15 Massachusetts: From Colony to Commonwealth (Joshua Taylor)
Explore the rich resources of the commonwealth of Massachusetts from 1620 to 1850, including vital, land, probate, town, and other records.

2:45-4:00 New Hampshire Research: When the Trail Turns Cold (Diane Gravel)
Traditional sources offer a solid foundation for the genealogist, but often lead to a point where the trail seems to end. This session guides the researcher in creating a fresh approach, while exploring the wealth of repositories and “hidden” sources so often missed in the search for New Hampshire ancestors.

4:00-4:30 Personal Research Project (optional) (Joshua Taylor)
Participants are allowed to submit 2-3 research problems for discussion throughout the week.

8:30-9:45 Migration within New England (Diane Gravel)
Journey with the settlers of New England as they follow the lure of the wilderness in search of religious and political freedom.

10:15-11:30 Pathways Out of New England: New York and Beyond (Joshua Taylor)
Tracing the routes taken by an ancestor as they left New England can be key to your research. Explore trails, roads, and reasons for leaving New England between 1700 and 1850.

1:00-2:15 The Ins and Outs of Connecticut Research (Joshua Taylor)
Researching a Connecticut ancestor from the 1600s to the 1850s can be interesting. This session will explore key collections, such as Barbour and Hale, as well as other details relating to probate districts and similar records.

2:45-4:00 Vermont: New England’s Last Frontier (Cathi Desmarais)
While settlers tamed southern New England, Vermont remained wild territory. Many New Englanders looking for cheap, unsettled land migrated to Vermont. Discover new research strategies to learn more about your Green Mountain ancestor.

8:30-9:45 Collections at New England’s Colleges and Universities (Joshua Taylor)
Millions of pages of documents lie waiting to be discovered in New England’s colleges and universities. This topic will explore resources from Harvard, Yale, and other important institutions for genealogists.

10:15-11:30 Collections at New England’s Private Libraries and Societies (Joshua Taylor)
This session will explore resources from the American Antiquarian Society, Boston Public Library, Massachusetts Historical Society, and other repositories key for New England research.

1:00-2:15 Case Study: Hazen P. Day’s Neighbors Bring Him Home (Cathi Desmarais)
A common research problem involves an individual living outside of New England who leaves records suggesting a birth in a specific New England state, without identifying a city or town. Identifying his or her residence and parents can be challenging when no vital records can be identified and the subject left New England before appearing in a census enumeration. This case study illustrates using neighbors and associates to bring a Maryland man home to his family and place of origin in Vermont.

2:45-4:00 Rhode Island: From Plantation to State (Joshua Taylor)
Founded as a place of religious freedom, tracing Rhode Island ancestors can be challenging. Explore resources for tracing Rhode Island from its early days to the 1850s.

4:00-4:30 Personal Research Project (optional) (Joshua Taylor)
Participants are allowed to submit 2-3 research problems for discussion throughout the week

8:30-9:45 Connecting the Oceans: Origins of New England’s Colonists (Joshua Taylor)
New England genealogists often desire to move across the ocean, connecting to the English origins of a colonist. This session will explore trends in researching American colonists and strategies for success.

10:15-11:30 Neither Online Nor on Film: New England Sources You Are Missing (Joshua Taylor)
Despite the resources online, there are still thousands more that can be used to further your New England research. Explore records at institutions outside of New England, including the National Archives (UK).

Wrap-up, Certificates, Farewells before lunch