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Winter 2010


Newsletter of the Greater Lowell Genealogy Club of Lowell, Massachusetts



Upcoming Events:

February Meeting:  February 20, 2010 from 1PM to 3PM at the Chelmsford Library’s McCarthy Meeting Room. 


March Meeting:  March 20, 2010 from 1PM to 3PM at the Chelmsford Library’s McCarthy Meeting Room. 


April Meeting:  April 17, 2010 from 1PM to 3PM at the Chelmsford Library’s downstairs conference room


May Meeting:  No meeting scheduled yet.  We will try for the Chelmsford Library on May 15th, but have to wait to book it.


June Meeting:  June 13, 2010 Pot luck lunch from 1PM to 3PM at Roland and Laura Bedard’s home at 6 Logan Court, Hudson, NH.



February thru April Meetings:  We’ve grouped these meetings together because we’ve decided to use each month to discuss the  use of records.  Each month we will take a record and work on how to use the record in the most productive manner.  We’ve included in this newsletter forms for members (not in attendance at the last meeting) to fill out and return.  The board will check out all forms and decide which ones to work on at each meeting.  We will send emails/postcards to inform you of our choices.  IF YOU DID NOT RECEIVE AN EMAIL REMINDER OF JANUARY’S MEETING PLEASE EMAIL KAREN  at

We hope everyone comes and enjoys the discussions. We will be happy to have you contribute your information.


June Meeting: Our fourth annual Pot Luck picnic will be at Roland and Laura Bedard’s home.  For those who couldn’t attend last year, we had a great time.  Lots of great food and good conversation. 

Directions to Laura’s house are:  Take Rt. 3 north to exit 2 to DW Highway/ Hudson. Keep left at fork in ramp and cross bridge to Hudson.  At end of road, (Hudson Wal-mart will across the street from you) turn left onto Lowell St.  After 2.5 miles, take a right onto Library St.  Follow Library St. to second light at center of Hudson.  Take a sharp right onto Highland St. A little more than a mile down the road, turn left onto Scottsdale Drive (also labeled Highland Woods).  Take second left onto Logan Court.  Look for the Pumpkin Colored House, this is Laura and Roland’s home.  If you get lost, call Laura at 603-598-0834 and she will be happy to guide you there.



Past Happenings:


September Meeting:  We had a new lecturer, Leslie Albrecht Huber.  Her specialties are:  19th Century Immigration Research; Western European Research - particularly German Research; and Writing Family Histories.  Leslie talked about gathering information in Europe.  She graciously allowed us to reprint her handout in our newsletter.  See Eight Ways to Cross the Ocean.

Members in attendance:  Bob and Iona Henderson, Diane Shields, Laura Bedard, Edna King, Barbara Poole, Diane Laferriere, Peg Leedberg, Maureen Famolare, Betty Fredericks and Karen Jeffers.


October Meeting:  We had a great time at Maureen’s house!  As usual we had fantastic food, wonderful




President –- Maureen Famolare –

       978-663-6491 –

Vice President  Laura Bedard

603-598-0834 –

Secretary –  Barbara Poole –

978-454-8046 –

Treasurer – Karen Jeffers –

978-663-3664  -

company and even met some new people.  The conversation  was continuous and interesting.  It’s always a great time to find out what people are working on and if they’re having any problems.  It’s interesting to see how everyone interacts with each other and how easily smiles form.  This year’s menu included; Pasta, corn pudding, pork pie, deviled eggs, pepperoni and cheese slices, veggies and dip, fruit and lastly some great cranberry bread pudding with rum sauce.  Is this enough temptation to come to June’s pot luck?  We hope so!

Members in attendance;  Karen Jeffers, Bob and Reba Beatty, Judi Clermont, Peg Leedberg, Terry Masson, Ed and Yvonne Miller, Roland and Laura Bedard, Maureen Famolare and guest Marguerite Sabatino.


November Meeting:  This monthly meeting was held at the Chelmsford Library.  We enjoyed watching the video, Identifying and Dating Your Family Photographs.  If you missed the meeting or would like to see the video at your leisure, contact Karen.  The video by Maureen Taylor was very informative, easy to follow and full of great information.  If you have unknown old photographs, this is a very important tool for dating the photo, which may lead to the discovery of who or what the photo may be.  Please feel free to sign out the video.


Members in attendance:  Bill Cheetham, Barbara Poole, , Bob and Iona Henderson, John  and Jane Pappas,  Diane Laferriere, Peg Leedberg, Edna King, Maureen Famolare and Karen Jeffers.

January Meeting:   We held this meeting at the Pollard Library in Lowell.  Hopefully this will be the annual January meeting place.  The meeting was very fruitful, resulting in a unanimous decision to hold most of our monthly meetings at the Chelmsford Library.  The exceptions are the September and January meetings at the Pollard Library and both pot lucks.  We all felt it was better to know ahead of time where meetings were being held.  We are trying to hold meetings except pot lucks on the third Saturday of each month.  This will give you more time to decide which meetings you can attend.  We also passed out forms for members in attendance to fill out.   If you were not in attendance, you will find the forms enclosed in this newsletter.  PLEASE fill out the form and return it to Maureen .  The information on the forms will dictate what topics will be discussed in the upcoming meetings.  Also, we are beginning the process of making a list of the direct and allied lines and “ brick walls” for our members.  This list will be then published in a future newsletter.  The newsletter is received by 70  members and will also be put on our web site..  Many live out of the area and cannot attend meetings, but still may have  vital information for YOU.  Some of our members have discovered common ancestors they never were aware of.  It could happen to you, too.


These decisions were made by the following:  Ann Casey, Diane Shields, Laura Bedard, Bob and Iona Henderson, Judi Clermont, Peg Leedberg, Ed and Yvonne Miller, Diane Laferriere, John and Jane Pappas, Edna King, Karen  Jeffers, Maureen Famolare and  Marguerite Sabatino.



New Member:

Marguerite Sabitino



Barbara Poole has written a little bit about blogs, especially genealogy blogs (Web Log).  In November, I got hooked on doing a blog.  What is a blog? from Google, it is, "a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world.  Your blog is whatever you want it to be."


Many blog are free to set-up, and are free to view.  There are over 800 bloggers writing about genealogy, in one area or another!  A simple way to see what is available online is to go to (at that site, on the lower right hand side are the blog categories).


She suggests several of her favorites to follow: 

(Lots of great up-to-date information) (French Canadian and Lawrence area)

Have good day!         Barbara

0x08 graphicEight Ways to Cross the Ocean

Leslie Albrecht Huber

To take the leap across the ocean to trace your European ancestors, you need one key piece of information: the name of the old-world town. Unfortunately, sometimes locating it can seem like to trying to find a needle in a haystack. No record is guaranteed to have the elusive town name. But, there are numerous records that might - some much more promising than others. Here are eight groups of records you should try.

1) Family Records

Before delving into stacks of hard-to-read records, give your distant family members a call. Information about your ancestors may have been passed down to a different branch of the family. Be sure to verify this information and be aware that it can occasionally point you down the wrong path.

2) Genealogy Records

Check compiled genealogy sources to see if someone has already taken the steps you are taking now. Some important examples are the IGI (International Genealogical Index - available at, other genealogy websites, lineage society records, county histories, and published family histories. These are secondary sources and must be checked against original records.

3) U.S. Church Records

Especially if the church was tied to the ancestor's ethnic heritage, town names can often be found here. Church records can usually be obtained by writing the church of interest, although some are available on microfilm through local family history centers. (Check the Family History Library Catalogue online at and search by locality to see what's available.) Many have records dating back to the earliest days of their church. But, it can be challenging to determine exactly what church your ancestors attended and to gain access to these records.

4) U.S. Vital Records

Most promising in this group are death and marriage records, although births records of children sometimes give birth places of the parents. Many vital records request a place of birth, but the specificity of the answer varies. Records may date back into the 1600s (in New England for example) or only into the twentieth century (like many New York records).

Some vital records have been filmed and can be ordered to a local family history center. Vital records can also often be ordered individually for a fee (which is sometimes quite high) from the places they are kept, which could be the state, county, or city. For more information see: Where to Write for Vital Records, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services available online at Privacy laws may protect recent records.

5) Naturalization and Citizenship Records

Foreign-born citizens have never been required to naturalize, but many did. Their papers can contain valuable information, although information is more abundant for those who naturalized after 1906 (see for more information on these records). Earlier records occasionally contain town names but often only list a country as the place of birth. Naturalization records can also contain information that will help you locate ship records. A few are available online (see Joe Beine's site at for a partial list) and many can be accessed through local family history centers.

6) Emigration or Immigration Compiled Sources

Compiled sources exist for many groups of immigrants and can be checked quickly and easily. For example, Germans to America is an ongoing series that indexes German arrivals in the U.S. from 1840 to 1897. Check major research libraries near you as well as the Research Outline for your country (online at in the “maps, forms, and guides” section) to see what's available.

7) U.S. Passenger Arrival Lists

From 1820 on, U.S. law required ports to keep records of people arriving there. The ease of using these records depend on where and when your ancestor landed and the information you have already. New York was the most important port, although many other possibilities exist. Some ports have indexes. Visit Joe Beine's website at for a list and explanation on accessing and using arrival lists. Many indexes and lists are microfilmed and available online (for a fee usually), to order to local family history centers, at some major libraries, and at branches of the National Archives. U.S. passenger lists often don't give a town name, but can provide other useful information.

New York:

-Microfilm records available at the FHL and NARA for 1820-1942 (NARA films go to 1957) and indexes for 1820-1846 and 1897-1943 (NARA films to 1948)

-Online index 1820-1957 available through with payment

-Castle Garden website:, includes 10 million people who arrived from 1830 to 1892. It's free but not complete.

-Ellis Island website: has 22 million people who came from 1892-1924


-Microfilm records available for 1820-1874 (with a gap from 1855-1856) and 1883-1943 and indexes from 1848-1891 and 1899-1940 (but not 1901) at the FHL and NARA

-Ancestry has the records and indexes for the years 1820-1943 (with gaps for 1855-1856 and 1875-1882) available online for those with a subscription.

-There is a CD-Rom index for the years 1821-1850 available at the FHL

-The Massachusetts' State Archive also has records from January 1848 to July of 1891 with an alphabetical card index. They are working on putting the records online. See:

Other Ports:

-Lists and indexes exist on microfilm and online to some extent for Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and other less well-used ports. See Joe Beine's site listed above for details.


-Relatively few immigrants and not many records.

-Try Passenger and Immigration Lists Index: a Guide to Published Arrival Records of Passengers Who Came to the United States and Canada in the Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Centuries; edited by P. William Filby; published by Gale Research Co, Detroit, MI (1981-ongoing), available at the FHL in books or on CD or online through Includes over 4 million immigrants.

-Compiled information is available for certain groups of people such as in the Palatines to America series.

8) European Emigration Records

There are several types of European emigration records available. Most obvious are passenger lists. Of these, the Hamburg records are the most important. Many countries kept other types of records of emigrants such as police records or permission to emigrate papers. Some are indexed.

Hamburg Passenger Lists:

-One third of emigrants from Central and Eastern Europe emigrated through here.

-Lists are available on microfilm for the years 1850 to 1934.

-A variety of microfilm indexes exist. Fore more information, read the Hamburg Passenger List Outline online at:

-Ancestry has the lists as well as indexes for 1890-1910.

Bremen Passenger Lists:

-Most of the records at this important port were destroyed.

-One-fourth of passengers from Bremen who arrived in New York are included in the following book: Zimmerman, Gary J., and Marion Wolfert. German Immigrants: Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York. 4 vols. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1985-1993.

-The Bremen Chamber of Commerce has put lists from 1920-1939 online at:

Other Ports:

Smaller numbers of passengers left from many other ports. Many of the records haven't survived or aren't easily accessible. Check the “Emigration and Immigration” section of the Research Outline for your country available in the “maps, forms, and guides” section of for more information.

Other European Emigration Records:

Countries kept other types of records of emigrants such as police records or permission to emigrate papers. Two examples (among many) are:

-The Copenhagen police kept detailed records about emigrants. Records for 400,000 of these who left from 1868 to 1908 are indexed and available online at

- Emigrants with permission to leave from Wuerttemberg, Germany from 1809 to 1890 are indexed in a series of eight books available at the FHL: Trudy Shenk and Ruth Froelke, The Wuerttemberg Emigration Index. You can also access the index through a CD-Rom (only first seven volumes) and online at

-Again, check the Research Outline for your country of origin for more information.



If you try all these sources without luck, don't despair! There are other places to search. Virtually any record could have the town name. You can still look in obituaries, census records, probate records, military records, indexes in the country of origin, and other records. Consult the Research Outline: Tracing Immigrant Origins (online at in the “maps, forms, and guides” section) for further ideas. Also, remember that many of our ancestors came with family members of friends. When your ancestors' records don't reveal a hometown, consult records of others who were likely from the same town to see if their records give the town name.

The fine print:

  • No source is GUARANTEED to produce the town name.
  • Places included could also be the county, the nearest town of note, or a recent residence.
  • The town name may be a translation or a town that doesn't exist anymore.
  • The town may be too small to have records of its own.
  • The town name may simply be incorrect.
  • The best places to look vary depending on the time and place your ancestor lived.
  • You may find the town name on a source not included on this list.

Your Name  _____________________________________________________________


Do you have computer access?   Yes    No  (Circle one)


If yes, what is your email address? __________________________________ (please print)

(If you received the notification for this meeting in an email, I already have your email address.  If you didn’t, either I don’t have your email address or it was one of the many that bounced.)



Main lines you are researching ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Specific brick walls you have:


Name of Person             Approximate   Where        Approximate      Where     Spouse or any

                                       Year of birth   Born          Year of death     Died       siblings if known


___________________ __________    _______    __________       ______   ______________________

___________________ __________    _______    __________       ______   ______________________

___________________ __________    _______    __________       ______   ______________________

___________________ __________    _______    __________       ______   ______________________

___________________ __________    _______    __________       ______   ______________________

Sublines that you have researched


Use another paper if you need more room.



At future meetings starting in February, we would like to focus in depth on one aspect of research such as land records, wills, cemetery records, tax lists, voter records and other often overlooked sources.



Please list any records that you are unsure how to use, where to find, or just want to know more about.





We will look over the lists, focus on each person’s requests and, at the next meeting, we will discuss one topic.  If you have information on a resource that you feel would benefit other members, please write is below. 







We would like to go back to having coffee and a snack at each meeting.  Are you willing to provide a snack at a future meeting?    YES     NO   (Circle one)






Please return to:


Maureen Famolare

34 George Brown St

Billerica, MA  01821


Survey Form


The officers decided to have a survey to determine what members want.  Please fill out the form and mail it to Karen at the address below OR email Maureen or Karen your input.  Thank you for your help.


Why are you a member of the club?   (Check all that apply)  ___ Social Gathering      ____ Lectures   ____ Research   ____ Other – please explain.  _______________________________________________


What do and don’t you like about the club?  __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


The club currently has $1324 in the bank.  Do you have any suggestions on how we can utilize this money for the benefit of the club?   __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Do you feel the club should be disbanded? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


------------------------------------------------- cut here------------------------------------------------

2010 DUES!!!!!!!!

(Remember, dues run January to December)


The membership rates are as follows:


 ___   $10.00 per Individual

 ___   $20.00 for a Family

 ___   $5.00 per Senior (age 62 and over)


Enclosed please find $_________ for 2010 dues.


Name    __________________________________________




Phone   __________________________________________

E-mail  __________________________________________


Send form and check to:


Greater Lowell Genealogy Club

c/o Karen Jeffers

35 Franklin Street

N. Billerica, MA  01862-1441