Winter 2008 - 2009

Winter 2008-2009


Newsletter of the Greater Lowell Genealogy Club of Lowell, Massachusetts

Upcoming Events:

January Meeting: January 17, 2009 at the Pollard Library, 401 Merrimack St., Lowell from 1PM until 3 PM. We also have a snow (ugh) date of January 24, 2009 same time and place. Using different genealogy programs.

February Meeting: February 21, 2009 from 1PM to 3PM at the Hills House, 211 Derry St., Hudson, NH. Tour and lecture on Hudson, New Hampshire.

March Meeting: March 21, 2009 at the Dracut Historical Society, 1660 Lakeview Ave, Dracut from 1PM until 3 PM.

We will have a tour of the building and a lecture on the history of Dracut.

April Meeting: April 18, 2009 at the Chelmsford Public Library from 2:30PM until 4:30PM. Please note time change.

May/June Meeting: June 7, 2009 Pot luck lunch from 1PM to 3PM at Roland and Laura Bedard's home at 6 Logan Court, Hudson, NH.


January Meeting: We had some thoughts of getting members together to show each other different computer programs for genealogy. If you have a program or plan to get one, this is the meeting for you. We hope to have all our members with laptops bring them to the meeting along with the installed programs they use. This way we will get to see how the programs work and perhaps which one we would like to use. For those already working with programs, this might be an opportunity to share and learn from others.

February Meeting: Laura Bedard has set up a tour of the Hills House at 211 Derry St., Hudson, NH. Alfred and Virginia Hills were a prominent family in Hudson history. The Hills House on Derry Street is their original family's vacation home and is the current location of the Town Historical Society. This will be a new treat for all of us and a chance to see a new historical society at work.

Directions: 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 Walmart will across the street from you) turn left onto Lowell St. Go down the road a bit, pass T-Bones. At the next light take a right onto Library St. Follow Library St. to second light at center of Hudson. Go straight through the light on Derry St. (Route 102). Continue about 2 miles to the Hills House which in across the road from Alvirne High School

March Meeting: We have been trying to come up with new ideas for meetings. This is kind of an old one because many years ago we had a meeting at the Dracut Historical Society. Since we have many new members we thought it would be a nice change. A society member will give us a tour of the house and a nice talk about the history of Dracut. Since many members have a connection to Dracut, this seems like a good idea. Come join us and stay warm!

April Meeting: We have not decided an agenda for this

meeting yet. Please fill out the survey form on the last page of this newsletter to help us plan this meeting and future meetings. Thank you.


President -- Maureen Famolare -

978-663-6491 -

Vice President Laura Bedard -

603-598-0834 -

Secretary - Barbara Poole -

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Treasurer - Karen Jeffers -

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May/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 Walmart will across the street from you) turn left onto Lowell St. Go down the road a bit, pass T-Bones. At the next light 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.


A note from our president:

Well, another year has passed and we think it was a fairly good one for the club. Laura did a wonderful job as president and I look forward to having her as the vice-president. Her input was welcomed in many ways and her new ideas will keep us on track for the coming year.

There are some members who think we should disband the club, but many more think we should keep it going. The reasons for keeping the club are, I believe, many. First and foremost the club is a place to go locally for help with research. We have many senior members and this is a social club for them as well as a genealogy club. I think our monthly meetings would be missed by those members. I also feel these meetings are very helpful to all.

We would like to make changes this year, possibly having more workshops on how to do research, using our members as teachers. The first for offering help is the January meeting.

Lastly I would like to say, we have many members who never seem to make meetings and we would appreciate hearing why. We need to have ideas and suggestions from our members to move the club forward. Please take a minute to help us and fill out the survey form on the last page of this newsletter. You can send your replies to Karen.


Past Happenings:

September Meeting:

We had a wonderful turnout for Janis Duffy's lecture on the holdings of the Mass. Archives.

Janis talked about naturalization records being held in Judicial Archives. She gave us a list of where to go for the specific information we might need. The location of the index for naturalizations varies different courts. The list is too long to be given here, but you can contact us (Karen or Maureen) for the specific information you might need.

Janis also gave us a list of where the probate records and indexes for them would be located. Most probate records are at the Archives on microfilm. We can also be contacted for this information. There are three steps you must follow to access the probate record. They are: Look in the index to get probate or docket number, look at microfilm of docket book to get the record book information then go to record book to finally get the information you need. Oh, and you can have more than one record book listed in the docket book. They all need to be checked! Whew!

Attendees: Walter and Karen Hickey, Margaret Tirone, Susan Fougstedt, Carolyn Mueller, Claire McLaughlin, Diane Shields, Barbara Poole, Mary Latham, Ann Casey, Bill Cheetham, Craig Dougherty, Peg Leedberg, Judi Clermont, Maureen Famolare, Karen Jeffers, Laura and Roland Bedard, Jane and John Pappas

October meeting: ELECTIONS! Well, we had an election. Considering the fact we only had nine people (the least ever) at the meeting we held them anyway. The elections had to held because we had a volunteer for the vacant position. So, the new officers are as follows:

President - Maureen Famolare

Vice President - Laura Bedard

Secretary - Barbara Poole

Treasurer - Karen Jeffers

In addition to the elections we enjoyed some great food. It always amazes us how everyone keeps coming up with fantastic epicurean delights to share with everyone. This must be the reason we always seem to need more time. No one likes to leave! Try it next'll like it!

Member in attendance for the elections and meal: Bob Henderson, Roland and Laura Bedard, Maureen Famolare, Yvonne and Ed Miller, Diane Laferriere, Peg Leedberg and Karen Jeffers

November meeting: Martha Mayo was a wonderful hostess for this month's meeting. She supplied us with coffee and a snack out in the foyer before the meeting.

She spent considerable time showing us the workings of the center's website. She answered many questions on moving from one area to another within the website. This was wonderful for some of our members who are not too familiar with computers.

She reminded us of the newspaper holdings, census records, and the invaluable vital records they have on hand. In case any members have either forgotten or not visited the Mogan Center on French Street, Lowell, we would suggest you take a little time to visit with Martha and her wonderful staff.


Tidbits from Barbara Poole

Are some of you trying to cut back on spending? There are many hints of how to do that in the papers, magazines and on TV. But how do we cut back on our genealogy needs? Many of us, who own computers probably subscribe to one or two expensive genealogy databases, such as or the New England Historical Genealogical Society at These subscriptions cost $75 and up per year. If you want to drop your subscription, it doesn't mean it is permanent. A short break from one of them could be a nice change for you. Several ideas on how to scale down are addressed below.

Many local libraries offer the two above subscriptions for the public to use. In addition, they may offer other databases such as HeritageQuest and obituary databases. Prior to going to a library, figure out exactly what you need to look up and bring group sheets with you. You will need to be prepared, as some libraries limit your time on their computers. If you can go when school is in session that would be a plus, but don't go during school vacation. Perhaps you could even call the library prior to going, and ask the librarian if it is crowded.

In addition you could subscribe to a much less expensive genealogy subscription or a society. Recently, I joined the Ohio Genealogical Society for $32, they have 6,000 members and have a website with several databases I couldn't find elsewhere.

Subscribe to Dick Eastman's newsletter at, it is free (there is a plus + edition that costs $20 a year for the weekly edition). Quite often, he mentions activities of different genealogy societies, you could check out those sites, maybe something will interest you. In October, Dick mentioned the genealogy resources at the Rochester, N.Y. Library. After checking it out, and seeing 15 records I wanted (but at $10 per copy, I couldn't afford), I contacted a researcher who was listed on the Library site and emailed the necessary information to her. In conclusion, she went to the library the following day, got all 15 newspaper articles (marriage & death notices), as well as three legal documents from the Surrogate's office, all for $45 (and we couldn't decide on a price, so I sent her that amount), she would have taken less! Fast service and a great price. I would never have found that information on one of the expensive genealogy subscriptions.

So if your subscription ends soon, why not let it and then search out new methods for getting information. We may not need several subscriptions at the same time.

And, of course my favorite free methods of research are with, (FHL) and Google. If you haven't used these sites in a while, you are in for a nice surprise. There is so much out there. Recently, I found out about a book at the FHL and really wanted it. A search on showed that only nine libraries had it. I wrote emails to four of them to see if they loan out the book, one did, Rutgers University. So I filled out an inter-library request at a local library and am waiting to hear when the book comes in. I am not sure if there is a fee, but boy, if you really want a book, a small charge is worth it, I think.  To get ideas for books to check out, go to the library catalog from the Family History Library site or any library site that has a card catalog. If you aren't aware, there are now 25,000 FHL books online, they are digitized and you can read the entire book. They are found almost by trial and error. Once you type in a title, for example, The ancestors and descendants of Dr. David Rogers and hit enter, you will see the red note, “To view a digital version of this item click” The entire book is then before you. (Note from Karen - see Great Web Sites below for another source of digitized books.)

Several months ago, two members went to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Ann Casey went with the TIARA group (20 researchers) and I went the following week. The hotel that we stayed at is feet away from the Library and the free shuttle from the airport to the hotel made it an easy trip. It would be nice if a group of us could go together—if anybody has any thoughts about this, please let me know.


Member News:

A. Nancy Paquin is looking for any information on:

Flynn - England - 1870

McGowan - England - 1870

Stover - Maine - 1730

Dinsmore - Mass. 1730

She can be contacted at:

More next month


Tip from Family Tree Magazine

Common Genealogy Mistakes

1. Not Asking Relatives

Since family members are often the only source for the back story, talking to them should be at the top of your genealogy to-do list. If your relative lives far away, you can talk over the phone or send question in a letter or e-mail.

2. Relying too much on the Internet

If you're starting genealogy today, you probably wonder how veteran researchers ever lived without the Internet. It certainly has streamlined research: Who wouldn't prefer to hunt for Great-grandpa's passenger list or naturalization record from the comfort of home? But when technology promises key genealogical data to the simple click of a mouse, it's easy to get lazy about seeking other sources and frustrated if database searches fail to produce results. Plus, instant access to a few basic sources - census, immigration and vital records - makes it tempting to neglect the nuggets that may be hiding in the family Bible, church books, a local historical society and the overgrowth at the back of your ancestral town's oldest cemetery.

Contrary to a too-common misconception (or wishful thinking), its not possible to do all your genealogy research online. You'll still need to turn to traditional methods to get some records - probate files, newspapers, county histories and

military pensions are a few that frequently fall into this group.

(Note from Maureen and Karen: Just because something is on the internet does not mean that it is the truth. Check original sources, if possible. Posted family trees often have many errors!)

More Common Mistakes next newsletter.


Great Web Sites:

We've decided to try this column for a bit to see how everyone likes it. If you use a little known, free or minimal cost web site, please contact us. But, for now here we go.

Google Books - Go to Google, click on more and then book from the drop down menu. On the drop down menu after showing, click on Full View Only. You can now type in an ancestor's name in quotation marks and see what is available. The book can be downloaded onto your computer if you so desire.

If the FamilySearch Web site is old hat to you already, check out this “lab” where you can preview the next generation of the site, as well as cool tools that the brains behind it are developing. An accompanying blog lets you give feedback on these works in progress.

Who say you have to venture to some musty attic or repository to research in family Bibles? Not Tracy St. Claire, who rescues old Bibles and digitized them for all to see - 1,158 to date, covering 3,469 surnames. The original page and transcriptions are available.

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 $1269 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? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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2009 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 2009 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