Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall NHSOG Meeting in Concord

Saturday's meeting of the New Hampshire Society of Genealogists in Concord was a great success. Diane Gravel led two presentations focusing on 1790 New Hampshire research, Fleshing out the Families of the 1790 Census and A State Treasure: The New Hampshire Historical Society, and Carol Swaine-Kuzel led a presentation focused on the New Hampshire Families in 1790 blog, How to Use the NH Families 1790 blog. The handouts for both presentations are available for viewing or download from this website under the Project Handouts heading on the right side of this page.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Focus on New Hampshire Families in 1790 at NHSOG meeting

Our next New Hampshire Society of Genealogists meeting will feature presentations on the New Hampshire Families in 1790 project. Diane Gravel will lead two presentations on "Fleshing Out the Families of the1790 Census" and Carol Swaine-Kuzel will lead a presentation on "How to Use the NHSOG 1790 Families Blog." The meeting will begin at 10:00 A.M. at the Holiday Inn, 172 North Main Street in Concord, New Hampshire. The cost for the event is $15.00 for members and $20.00 for non-members. If you are planning to attend please email Hal Inglis at

Monday, September 16, 2013

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

For the first time the National Archives held their annual genealogy fair online. The event occurred live on September 3 and 4. Presentations and handouts for thirteen sessions are available for viewing at The topics highlight the treasure trove of holdings at the National Archives, including military records, alien registration files, and Native American records. I want to thank colleague John Allen for directing me to this wonderful online resource

Monday, July 1, 2013

Using Town and County Histories for 1790 Family Research

First, we must remember that most county histories are undocumented, so the information should be used as clues for finding more reliable original sources. That being said, county histories are often rich with tales and details about our ancestors and the communities in which they lived. Here’s an example from the Gazetteer of Grafton County.

Winthrop Bagley, of Taunton, was born in 1762, served in the Revolution, and at the close of the war, came to this town and settled upon the place now occupied by George H. Blasdell, on road 22. He run a tavern for several years, and the sign used is still in the family.1

If you are a descendant of Winthrop Bagley, you can use this information to search for original records, perhaps beginning in Taunton, Massachusetts. You can also search for military records to verify his Revolutionary service. As of 1886 which the Gazetteer was published, Winthrop’s tavern sign was still in the possession of family members. I wonder if any of Winthrop’s descendants still live in the area and might still be holding on to that sign!

This is just a sample of the gems that lie in town and county histories. These publications often include transcribed town records and land ownership maps. Many are online, free of charge, at Google Books ( or (  



[1] Hamilton Child, Gazetteer of Grafton County, N.H., 1709==1886 (Syracuse: The Syracuse Journal Company, 1886), p. 629; digital image at Google Books ( : accessed 1 July 2013.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Revolutionary War Pension Files on

Revolutionary War pension files may provide extensive information for researching a 1790 U.S. Census head-of-household. The complete set of Revolutionary War pension files are available for searching and viewing on the subscription website Alternately, one can request a print version of pension files from the National Archives (NARA). However, the printed copy from the National Archives may or may not be complete. In order to save time and expense in copying and shipping a complete copy NARA will copy selected pages from the pension file, and as a result significant information may be omitted. Access to the pension files on provides great benefit as these records contain the complete pension file.

Searching pension files on Fold3 can bear interesting and surprising results. Even if an ancestor did not apply for a Revolutionary War pension he may have provided written testimony about his service for another pension applicant. Some pension files may contain first-hand accounts of an ancestor’s service through letters or journals. The Revolutionary War journal of my fourth great-grandfather, Nathan Stickney, is included in his pension file. Nathan’s wife Mehitable (Burpee) Stickney submitted the journal as part of her application for his pension benefits after his death.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

New Hampshire State Papers

The New Hampshire State Papers, also known as Documents and Records Relating to New Hampshire, 1623-1800, are the single most important collection of New Hampshire documents from its inception through 1800. Included in the collection are probate records, court records, town papers, town charters, Masonian papers, and Revolutionary War muster rolls. The entire forty-volume collection, including an index, is online in PDF format on the New Hampshire Archives website at

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Brick Wall Solutions: Using Friends, Associates, and Neighbors

Brick Wall Solutions: Using Friends, Associates, and Neighbors

You’ve exhausted census, probate, land, and other traditional sources in search of your ancestors, but you’ve hit that proverbial brick wall, familiar to all genealogical researchers. If you’re ever to solve those problems, you must expand your search to include records of Friends, Associates, and Neighbors, a technique that Elizabeth Shown Mills has coined “The FAN Club.”

Identify neighbors through census and land records. Find friends and associates in deeds, wills, court records, and family papers. Explore your ancestors’ FAN Club with the same vigor and thoroughness applied to your own family. In many circumstances, you’ll find that they are your family! The results will astound you, particularly in the search for the identities of female ancestors! Maiden names often appear among the witnesses to deeds and wills, signed by fathers and brothers in an effort to protect the wife’s dower rights. Family papers often refer to relationships with friends and neighbors, describing in great detail significant events and shared experiences not recorded anywhere else.

Go through the documents you’ve collected to date, and make a list of the individuals with other surnames. You may want to keep a tally of how many times each person is mentioned, to help you prioritize the next steps in your search.

To access New Hampshire deeds online, go to our article on “Using Land Records” to learn how to search the deeds from the convenience of your own desktop. New Hampshire Probate Records are now online at the FamilySearch website. Just scroll down and click on “New Hampshire,” and you’re on your way! Although the probate records are not yet searchable, the card indexes are in alphabetical order, making it easy to find names and case numbers. Then, you can use the case number to browse the files, which are in numerical order. Finding the case file may take some time because the case numbers do not appear on every document. But keep going forward (or backward) until you find a page that contains the number, so you can get your bearings before continuing your search. Some case files contain only a few pages, while others may have 50 or more. The search is well worth the effort!

So have fun, and let us know if you have questions. We hope you will share your successes with us here on the 1790 New Hampshire Families Blog!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots

An invaluable source for locating the burial site of a Revolutionary War veteran is Patricia Law Hatcher's Abstracts of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots. This source documents the known burial locations of men who served in the American Revolution and is available for researchers at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) in Boston and at the New Hampshire State Library in Concord.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

New Hampshire Old Graveyard Association Burial Site Index

The New Hampshire Old Graveyard Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to cemetery preservation in New Hampshire. The Association maintains a burial site index for all known graveyards in New Hampshire. The burial site index is an invaluable resource to New Hampshire genealogical researchers and is located online at The GPS location of each cemetery is included in the index. Happy hunting!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Stephen Chase Diary, 1784-1818

Stephen Chase was a farmer and land surveyor in Chester, Rockingham County, New Hampshire. His leather-bound diary, covering the period from 1784 through 1818, is among the jewels of the manuscript collection at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Every day, Chase wrote a single line about something significant that occurred that day. Many of those events are births, deaths, and marriages not recorded anywhere else! 

If you have ancestors who lived in or around Chester during this time period, this diary is a must-see! Although access to the original diary is restricted because of its fragile condition, it has been microfilmed, and may be viewed at NEHGS in Boston or at the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord.

Happy hunting!

William Ran[d] death (1787), as recorded in the Stephen Chase Diary, 1784-1818, unpaginated (original diary at New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston; microfilm at New Hampshire Historical Society, Concord).

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A State Treasure: The New Hampshire Historical Society

Join us for this lecture at the New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC) in Manchester, New Hampshire, 17-20 April 2013. The lecture is sponsored by the New Hampshire Society of Genealogists and will be presented by Certified Genealogist, Diane Florence Gravel.

The Tuck Library at the New Hampshire Historical Society has an enormous collection of published and original sources to help you knock down those 1790 brick walls. Learn how to take full advantage of this state treasure!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

New England Regional Genealogical Consortium (NERGC) Conference

The New England Regional Genealogical Consortium (NERGC) Conference will be held in Manchester at the Radisson Hotel, 700 Elm Street in Manchester from Wednesday, April 17 to Sunday, April 20, 2013. The conference presents a vast array of events and learning experiences that are invaluable to New England researchers. For more information about the NERGC conference please visit the NERGC website at

Diaries and Journals

Nothing can take the place of a first-hand account in genealogical research. Diaries and journals are wonderful glimpses into the everyday lives of our ancestors, and can provide a wealth of genealogical information as well. The New Hampshire Historical Society and the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) are two repositories that contain a wealth of diaries and journals. Titles that are helpful to the Strafford County researcher include The Journals of Enoch Hayes Place, The Diary of Master Joseph Tate of Somersworth, N.H., and The Journal of James Tuttle of Barrington, all at the New Hampshire Historical Society. The Diary of Master Joseph Tate is also fully contained in the New England Historical and Genealogical Record (NEHGR), published in four parts: Part 1: Volume 73, Pages 304-15; Part 2: Volume 74, Pages 34 - 50; Part 3: Volume 74, Pages 124-30, and Part 4: Volume 74, Pages 179-99. The New England Historical and Genealogical Record is available online to NEHGS members on the NEHGS website at NEHGS has compiled a list of the diaries in their special collections, Guide to diaries in the R. Stanton Avery special collections / compiled by the NEHGS special collections staff.