Family Photo of William Frederick Poole.
February 4, 1882 lasted two days for my gg-grandfather, William Frederick Poole, as this is how long it took him to fill out a New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) application inviting him to be a corresponding member of the society. In their four required pages, he wrote about his life's work, including listing 17 published works (with full titles and dates), and gave six generations of his ancestors "in direct line, as far as is convenient to do" from his father who was born in 1763 to his 5th great grandfather, John Poole who died in 1667 in Reading, Massachusetts. Why didn't I find this 25 years ago?
When I began my genealogy hobby in 1989, I naturally started with my parents as I knew my father was born in Illinois. A few years later and generations too, the Pooles were born and living in Illinois. It wasn't until January 1998 at the NEHGS (in Boston) I discovered his huge obituary in the New York Times and learned he was born in Salem, MA. This is the very best thing a genealogist could wish for, learning this ancestor's roots were nearby. The very next day I drove to Harmony Grove Cemetery in Salem. MA where he and his parents were buried.
One of the strangest things was I wasn't looking for anything on him because a month previously sent the last of my Poole information to a first cousin. However as luck would have it, with a few minutes on the AmericanAncestor's web page, I put in his name with his birth date and the word Evanston, Ill. The first thing that appeared was a total surprise. Fortunately, this Society kept and scanned all their applications, and this one was dated 1883. You might consider using this source. I just read "This database contains over 11,000 pages of applications and correspondence and 121,000 searchable names."
With my ancestor living near Chicago, I would never have thought his information would pop up in Boston!
Below are three sections:
I found this information on the American Ancestors (NEHGS) site at:
NEHGS Membership Applications, 1845-1900. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2020.)
American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is America’s founding genealogical organization and the most respected name in family history. Since its founding in 1845, NEHGS has had a written membership process that typically includes written biographical and genealogical information about each new member. As part of the 175th anniversary of its founding, American Ancestors has indexed the membership application forms and correspondence for those who joined between the years 1845 and 1900. The first member was former President John Quincy Adams, and the database contains membership information for several other Presidents and other famous individuals.
The 52 volumes in this database are organized by the year that the member joined NEHGS. The records indexed in this database are generally between the years 1620 to 1900, though some will be found outside this range. The most common record types are Birth, Baptism, Marriage, and Death. There are also many Residence records, as they include where the member lived when they joined NEHGS. This database contains over 11,000 pages of applications and correspondence and 121,000 searchable names.
Please be aware that the genealogical information submitted with these applications was not reviewed or verified for accuracy.