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Research at American Ancestors

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Diane

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We started our day at American Ancestors/New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS). For information on visiting, check here. Needless to say, as genealogists, we were extremely excited to visit this research sight! We started our searches on the 5th floor. The genealogist there, Judy, is definitely knowledgeable. Ron shared with Judy his search for John Park's family. John Park's is his Revolutionary War ancestor that he is now trying to trace back even further. Judy brought out many books for Ron to check and showed him the layout of the stacks.

My search was for Rufus Bennett (born about 1754 in Connecticut, died about 1843 in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania). He is also a Revolutionary War patriot and, according to a DAR chapter in Luzerne, he was a guard for George Washington. I have yet to find any proof for this and am considering simply contacting this chapter to see what sources they used in order to get the plaque installed at his grave. I'm digressing... After a brief time speaking with Judy, she suggested that I search everything about Luzerne to find out what I could about Rufus, his wife Martha, and their family. Makes sense, of course.

Ron and I had already searched the NEHGS Library Catalog before we came to Boston. Unfortunately, for those mysteries we are currently trying to solve, we did not find any manuscripts (which we were so hopeful of) that made sense to request getting pulled. The manuscripts, in our opinion, are the "gold" of this library. They are originals and broad in scope; could be a bible, a genealogy write-up, almost anything. But, alas, none of our surnames (and corresponding given name) matched. So, we didn't request any manuscript pulls...and, darn, I really wanted to wear those white gloves and have a "who do you think you are?" moment...

We did have fun searching through the books we found that seemed relevant to our people, dates, and geographical areas. We enjoyed this and took photographs of quite a few pages. Judy was very helpful regarding the library and finding what we were seeking. However, what we were most astounded by was her ability to jump between websites and find documents related to our family surnames. She found a will in UK for Ron. She found a Pennsylvania land grant for me. It did make us pause and realize that we needed to spend some more time online as additional resources were getting digitized. It also made us realize we perhaps needed to take our only sunny day to see the Freedom Trail and focus on searching these online records on the rainy, windy (20-30 mph winds) day tomorrow.

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