Arches at Glendalough 2009

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fun times at NARA Waltham

My frugal Yankee ancestors would be proud of friend and one of my cohorts in genealogy adventures, Eileen, and I were able to get to Boston on a shoe string thanks to Amtrak. After snagging the great deal we arrived in Beantown with visions of ancestors dancing in our heads. We raced to the His. Gen. (A.K.A. New England Historic Genealogy Society) where we planned our researching hours and then trooped over to the NARA branch in Waltham.

I went to Waltham years ago and enjoyed my research visit at that time.I remembered that I broke through some of my brick walls looking at records housed there. Today was no different. What I  remembered from my previous visit were the people being fabulous, helpful, and kind. Today the people there were fabulous, helpful, and kind. From the two security guards who patiently went over the procedures and helped us get a taxi to the train station to the archivists themselves who assisted us in retrieving records-they were fantastic.

The big find of the day was discovering they had the original journals for the New London Custom House. These journals were the day to day records of the ships arriving (entering) and leaving (cleared) New London. The blotters, as they were called, gave information for ship captains, their boats, the type of boat, and what they were carrying. The blotters went from 1790 to 1797. There was a huge gap of  25 year before the records began again in 1821.

Nestled in this group of papers and journals were Records of Masters and Owners Oaths, Letters Received, and Vessel Enrollments. Each box had papers stuffed with information for people having business in New London from the late 1790s to the 20th century. The surprise of the day was discovering three crews lists that may not have been included in the microfilmed records. Another surprise was seeing early passenger records for New London. There were quite a few Irish listed in these records. Sadly it is not a complete holding. The folder I examined went from 1790 to 1821 and
contained about 20-30 papers.

All in all it was great visit.

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