President's Message

Brief on-point messages from the president.


President’s Message, June 2011

This month I have discovered a couple of tools that have considerable potential.

The first tool is a next step in the Fairmount Cemetery Project. Dr. Chunzeng Wang has sent me the website, part of which we already had, but there is now a working part available. I’d call it at best a Beta version or perhaps Gamma. Work goes on. The site is:

When you go there you’ll find instructions for locating a burial plot from a drop down list of the names of the people buried there. Unfortunately, they are listed in alphabetical order beginning with the given name rather than the surname. I know they will have other ways to search before they are finished as they have many fields in the database. Once you have selected the name, click on it and wait a short while. The outline of the cemetery layout will appear with the plot you have requested showing as a very small red rectangle. I found I had to enlarge the map image and scan around a bit before I could locate some of the plots I had selected experimentally. When you see the red rectangle, click on it and a balloon will appear with the database information for that individual.

It’s a good start. Stay tuned.

The other tool is new to me but I’m sure not to some of you. In my relentless search for the Ruee family, I’ve begun to look at property deeds. While many states and counties have some information online, I’ve been very happy to find that Rockingham County in New Hampshire really has its act together. In looking at a few of the other ten New Hampshire counties, I see that Rockingham is much more complete. One can search deeds up to the current date or earlier deeds back to 1629! I haven’t see one of those yet. One can search by surname only, or given and surname. Though the search tool has a place for town, it doesn’t seem to be active, but most of those towns are pretty small. There is also a way to go in using book and page numbers if you happen to know it and also to search plans and maps.

It is not possible to save the images or to print them out without a fairly significant fee and all the screen images are covered with a warning that “This is not an official document.” These do not obscure the readability of the documents and it looks like the registrars or lawyers tend to have better handwriting than many census takers. The legalese can be a bit daunting, but after reading a few they all seem to follow a fairly standard form. I’ve found that I can photograph the screen images and print out the photos in a form adequate for more leisurely study than screen reading or manual copying would allow.

Though I am far from having a complete picture, I’ve found it interesting to note that one Ruee and his children came to New Castle, New Hampshire from Salem, Massachusetts in the 1860’s and bought several pieces of property. New Castle, New Hampshire is an island in Portsmouth Harbor and about one-square mile is geographically the smallest town in New Hampshire. This created deeds with a Ruee as grantee and some other surname as grantor. Over the next seventy years or so, there were several transactions in which a Ruee was grantor and some other Ruee was grantee. Later, after some Ruees married, died in New Castle, or moved away (mostly to Danville, New Hampshire), the deeds tended to have a Ruee as grantor and some new surname as grantee, until all the Ruees were gone from the island. I have not yet found a living person bearing the Ruee surname, but have located some cousins related through the Ruee grandparents with various other surnames.

I hope you find some of the above interesting and/or useful.

I’d like to invite any of you to submit things you have learned or found interesting to be put in the Newsletter. I think it is important to keep in mind that we all know things that others may benefit from. I know that I could benefit from notes on things that you have discovered. I certainly thank Ann, Dennis, Allen, and Jay who contribute regularly (I hope I have not inadvertently omitted someone). We can all be teachers and learners through this medium.

See you at the June 27 meeting.