Collecting published accounts

Alicia Crane WilliamsThis may turn out like watching sausage being made or paint dry, but let’s walk through the process of creating an Early New England Families Study Project entry.

We start with the entry from Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700:

NEWTON, Richard (–1701) & Anne/Hannah? [LOKER/ RIDDLESDALE] (ca 1616–1697); by 1641; Sudbury {Stevens-Miller 132, 138, 143; Marston-Weaver 47; Warner-Harrington 414, 471; Reg. 49:341; Bullard Anc. 153; Chaffee (1911) 134; Holman Ms: Loker 3; Moore Anc. 399; Framingham Hist. 340, 342?; Marlboro Hist. 421; Bent Anc. 27; Newton (#4) 17-18; Bigelow-Howe 94; Leonard (#2) 49; Cutler 2:5; Morris-Flynt 56; Tingley-Meyers 92}

My first step is to locate as many of these sources as possible and begin a comparative analysis of what has already been published. I use the 2011 edition of Torrey’s Marriages, which gives the bibliography or Source List in Volume 3, pages 1739–1830. If you access the Torrey database on, however, you will need to find those pages using a manual search – go to the Database Search page and Advanced Search, choose Category “vital records,” and Database “Torrey’s New England Marriages.”  Enter the name you are researching and the database will take you to an image of that page from the book. For Richard Newton it will be Volume 2, page 1090, as shown in the boxes at the top of the page. To access the Source List, enter Volume 3, page 1739, which will take you to the first page of the alphabetically arranged list. You will then have to do a little guessing about which subsequent page has the source you are looking for, but it shouldn’t take too long to narrow it down. You may wish to print the Source List pages for future reference.

Stevens-Miller 132, 138, 143: This is an “all-my-ancestors” compilation by the highly regarded genealogist Mary Lovering Holman entitled Ancestry of Col. John Harrington Stevens and His Wife Frances Helen Miller, published in 1948. The only place that I have located it online is I find that pages 138–41 are the treatment on “The Newton Line,” in this case Ricahrd1 Newton and his daughter Mary. Pages 142–43 are “The Loker alias Riddlesdale Line,” and page 132 is the family of Jonathan Johnson who married Mary Newton.  These accounts are detailed, including a transcription of Richard Newton’s will and the birth, marriage, and deaths of his children and grandchildren. A good start for organization, but unfortunately, except for a handful of footnotes, Mrs. Holman did not cite her sources.

Continued here.

About Alicia Crane Williams

Alicia Crane Williams, FASG, Lead Genealogist of Early Families of New England Study Project, has compiled and edited numerous important genealogical publications including The Mayflower Descendant and the Alden Family “Silver Book” Five Generations project of the Mayflower Society. Most recently, she is the author of the 2017 edition of The Babson Genealogy, 1606-2017, Descendants of Thomas and Isabel Babson who first arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1637. Alicia has served as Historian of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, Assistant Historian General at the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, and as Genealogist of the Alden Kindred of America. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in History from Northeastern University.

23 thoughts on “Collecting published accounts

  1. Thank you for starting a discussion of the process. You are helping me and other readers understand the complexity of the project. Knowing how this particular sausage is made is important.

  2. So appreciate this. Richard and Anne / Hannah were my 8th GGrandparents, and didn’t know that she was married again after Richard passed away. By the way, (I believe) Richard was born Apr. 9, 1609 in Lincolnshire, England.

    1. Re details of Sausage Making. Don’t state, share specifically why you think so. If it gets positive peer review, then you too can have a Notice or Note in Register or TAG! Yeah!!

        1. In my Mary Bulkeley piece in The Register, Helen Ullmann and Henry Hoff really wanted a Notice but took the ill-digested article I wrote and turned it into a much more useful full-page Note [REG Jan 2009:66]. I now appreciate the differences. Today, I’d go “Drat but OK” and do it as a Notice (half-page). Because I keep practicing, which in this field means sharing a write-up for a draft for comments.

          As David may have a Find, presenting it in short form makes a Notice, at least, and those are publishable, especially for a Great Migrator. Not everything has to wait to be a footnote in a longer article. And working towards “publishing” is a value to be encouraged, just by taking “baby steps” here, for instance. Just standing on my soap-box with a positive exhortation to fellow members and colleagues.

          1. Bob, I thought you were talking to me, so missed the point in the original. Yes, the more good stuff in print the better no matter how it gets there.

      1. Just for the record … Richard’s birth is recorded in a family bible. It certainly had to be transcribed from an earlier document or register, since this rather large Bible was printed in 1865. This is precisely why I chose the words (I beiieve).

        1. David, so far I have not come across a real source for Richard Newton’s birth date. Where did you get into about the Bible. An 1865 transcription would not be viable without some really tight provenance of the Bible.

    2. David, thanks. As we “dump” from more and more sources, we should catch up to one that gives Richard’s birth.

    3. David, I forgot to mention that Anne/Hannah did not marry again. The “[LOKER/RIDDLESDALE] part of Torrey’s entry on Richard Newton refers to the maiden name of his wife, or more accurately “Loker alias Riddlesdale.” She died before Richard.

  3. Potential Glitch: The boxed sub-field for Torrey as it appears in Advanced Search does NOT, as it appears on my screen, give me an option to search by volume and page as would appear for, say, The Register.

    NOR does anything within that field for Search Tips even begin to suggest something as helpful as your note, re Sources. To increase user-member satisfaction initially, Web Admin needs to create there a DIRECT LINK to first page of sources. Which is ten minutes work at most. Shall I tell them, or will you?

    So, what box(es) are you using to get to 3:1739?

    Keep grinding away.


    1. Bob, you need to go one more step. Search for a name, such as Richard Newton, which takes you to the page from the book. On that screen, up near the top are the boxes to enter the volume and page.

      1. I have Torrey on CD-ROM. After I access the entry for Richard Newton, all I have to do is double click on the reference and I go right to the complete citation. How about making that capability available online?

        1. Howard, the CD version used to be what was on the website, but it was changed a few weeks ago to the images from the 2011 printed books, without links to sources. I’m checking with webmaster about what can be done.

      1. OK. Have used those boxes to extend in-text searches before. Still, IF we are encouraging Source Transparency here (“trust but verify’) for member-users, and a Better User Experience, statement about and link to Sources under Torrey Search Tips is a necessity.

        Keep on grinding. My eyes are wide open!

  4. Thank you! This is very helpful..I am also a descendant of the Newton-Loker couple and have seen many, but not all, of these references for them.

      1. Alicia, I didn’t know how to do that either. I thought it might be on one of those pages that described each database. But where were they now? After you get to the page with Richard Newton on it as you described, click on “About this Database” in the blue-grey band at the top. On that page click on “Read the guide to Torrey’s source references in PDF format.” (Even though it says “Read”, it does download.)

        You can also get to that info page by clicking on Browse > Databases and then finding Torrey’s … . Then click on the i in the blue circle which will bring up the same page with the pdf link to sources.

        Some other databases also have pdf goodies. Eg. both TAG and TEG let you download tables of contents — although, only 5 vols at a time.

        1. Howard, thank you. Learn something new every day. I have to spend some time roaming around the databases again.

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