The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy 
Newsletter and is copyright 2001 by Richard W. Eastman. It is 
re-published here with the permission of the author.

Vol. 6 No. 45 - November 5, 2001

 - Sprague's "Braintree Families" on CD-ROM

Waldo Chamberlain Sprague started compiling the genealogies of all 
the early families of Braintree, Massachusetts in 1947. Until his 
death eight years later, he created over six thousand index cards 
containing information on almost all the pre-1850 population of 
old Braintree. Some families from nearby Milton and Stoughton 
(both originally part of the town of Dorchester) were also 
included in his exhaustive work. These six thousand cards remained 
in the manuscript collection of the New England Historic 
Genealogical Society in Boston. The cards were initially 
microfilmed for the Quincy Historical Society in 1963 and again 
for NEHGS in 1983. To look at Sprague's definitive work, you have 
always needed to visit the New England Historic Genealogical 
Society's library or the reading room of the Quincy Historical 
Society. All of that has now changed, and this valuable collection 
is available to you, for use in your home, at a modest cost.

Frank E. Dyer, Jr., of Enfield, Connecticut, has painstakingly 
transcribed the entire manuscript of Sprague's original 
handwritten 5" x 8" index cards into a computer. Robert J. Dunkle 
also was involved in making the information available on CD. The 
result is now available on a CD-ROM disk published by the New 
England Historic Genealogical Society. The full title of this new 
disk is "Genealogy of the Families of Braintree, Mass. 1640-1850, 
including the modern towns of Randolph and Holbrook and the City 
of Quincy after their separation from Braintree in 1792-3." I had 
a chance to use the new CD-ROM disk this week.

This valuable work is described in the CD-ROM's introduction, 
written by David Allen Lambert:

    Genealogists should note that Sprague's work is the only 
    compiled scholarly treatments for some of these South Shore 
    families. Families treated in Sprague's work include: Adams, 
    Allen, Arnold, Bass, Baxter, Beal(s), Belcher, Billings, 
    Blanchard, Bowditch, Brackett, Burrell, Capen, Chessman, 
    Clark, Cleverly, Copeland, Crane, Crosby, Curtis, Dyer, Faxon, 
    Field, French, Glover, Green, Hall, Hardwick, Hayden, Hayward, 
    Hobart, Holbrook, Hollis, Hunt, Jones, Linfield, Littlefield, 
    Mann, Marsh, Miller, Mills, Nash, Neale, Newcomb, Nightingale, 
    Niles, Packard, Payne, Penniman, Pope, Porter, Pratt, Pray, 
    Quincy, Rawson, Reed, Ruggles, Saunders, Savil, Shaw, Smith, 
    Spear, Stetson, Stevens, Thayer, Tower, Trask, Turner, Veazie, 
    Vinton, Wales, Webb, Whitmarsh, White, Whiting, Wild, Wilson 
    and Wood(s). Also included are some families from Braintree 
    who later migrated to the following communities: Rehoboth (ca. 
    1643); Block Island (1660); Mendon (1663); Easton (ca. 1704); 
    Lebanon and Windham, Conn. (ca. 1713); Norton and Stoughton 
    (ca. 1726); Holliston (ca. 1745-50); Williamsburg (1771); 
    Orford and Lyme, N.H.; and Thetford and Fairlee, Vt. (ca. 
    1780). Other communities of migration included Washington, 
    N.H.; Lincolnville, Me.; Goshen, Mass.; Chesterfield, Mass.; 
    Ashfield, Mass.; Belchertown, Mass.; Amherst, Mass.; 
    Braintree, Vt.; and Randolph, Vt.

    Sprague used the unpublished vital records to 1850 for the 
    towns of Randolph and Quincy extensively and included them in 
    his manuscript. He also employed the church records for the 
    communities of Braintree, Quincy, Weymouth, and Randolph. 
    Sprague was an active transcriber of gravestones for towns 
    neighboring Quincy, and many of these transcriptions are 
    included in his compilation.

    Sprague consulted some of the manuscripts and published works 
    of noted Braintree and Quincy historians for his own work, 
    including the papers of Samuel Austin Bates (1822-97) at NEHGS 
    and the Quincy Historical Society; Edward Everts Jackson 
    (1869-1910) who expanded Bates's work; Dr. Ebenezer Alden 
    (1788-1881) from his published sketches in the Randolph 
    Transcript on the families of Randolph); the Jonathan Marsh 
    (1787-1861) manuscript at NEHGS on Quincy history; and the 
    notes of William Horace Woodman (1833-1913) who published his 
    deed transcriptions for early Randolph in the Randolph 
    Register. Other Braintree family historians consulted include 
    Marion Sophia Arnold, Mrs. Mabel Hope (Kingsbury) Kingsbury, 
    Mrs. Grace Pratt (Miller) Bosnall, William Gardner Spear, 
    Warren Samuel Parker, and Frank Amasa Bates.

    It is important to note that unless otherwise stated all vital 
    record dates included refer to Braintree, Mass. A review of 
    Sprague's work by Gary Boyd Roberts can be found at the 
    beginning of the 1983 microfilm edition of Genealogy of the 
    Families of Braintree, Mass. 1640-1850. This review also 
    appears in The New England Historical and Genealogical 
    Register (139:155-58). Waldo Chamberlain Sprague died at 
    Quincy on July 21, 1960 at the age of fifty-seven, leaving a 
    legacy of Braintree research for future generations to 

Sprague's "Braintree Families" CD-ROM uses Folio Views software, 
an excellent choice in my opinion. Macintosh owners will be 
pleased to note that this CD-ROM works on their systems as well as 
on Windows. I installed it on Windows 2000 and found that the 
installation was quick and easy. I was looking at data within a 
couple of minutes after first inserting the CD-ROM disk.

The information is presented in an electronic representation of 
Sprague's original index cards. All the data from the cards was 
transcribed in Register format. The CD-ROM opens with an index on 
the left of the screen and data on the right. The index shows the 
twenty-six letters of the alphabet, plus Acknowledgements, 
Introduction and "Out Of Town." By clicking on the letter "E", the 
first of the alphabetized index cards with a family surname 
beginning with E is displayed. The user then scrolls down the 
screen to look at the following families.

Here is the entry for David Eames (or Ames), showing what a 
typical entry looks like:

    [1533]  DAVID EAMES (Ames/Emes), came from Dorchester, 
    probably son of David Eames who died there 1716:  Bought land 
    in So. Precinct in 1725.

    David Eames first mentioned in Braintree records in 1730 when 
    he and others petitioned for a road near their houses. In 1731 
    this was proposed in meeting and laid out in 1732 and he was 
    chosen a surveyor of highways that year. This way from his 
    house to meeting house (now Mill St. Randolph) was 
    discontinued as a town way in 1749. He lived on present Center 
    St. Holbrook where it was formerly joined by Mill. St., now 

    He was one of the original South Parish, now Randolph Church 
    members in 1731.

    David Ames (Eames) married Dec. 10, 1719 Mehitable Paine, dau. 
    of Samuel & Mary (Penniman), born Dec. 8, 1693, died -

    Children of David & Mehitable:
		i.	child, buried Dec. __ 1726 - Diary of Rev. 
    S. Niles.
		ii.	John, son of David Eames bapt. Apr. 19, 
    1730 at So. Precinct (by Rev. J. Hancock, 1st Church Rec.).
		iii.	Elijah, (Ames) s. David bapt. Apr. 16, 
    1732 (So. Parish).
		iv.	Mehitable (Eames),  dau. of Mehitable 
    bapt. __ 1734 (So. Parish).

As you can see from the above example, a lot of information is 
presented in a brief space. Sources of the information are often 
listed, although not always. Nonetheless, Sprague's data is 
considered to be very accurate although not perfect. (No genealogy 
records are ever perfectly accurate!)

Even though the records are in alphabetical order, the CD-ROM also 
contains a great search tool that can produce unexpected results. 
For instance, when writing reviews of new genealogy products, I 
always look for occurrences of my own surname. I didn't expect to 
find any Eastman families in Braintree, and a check of the 
alphabetical index cards confirmed my suspicions: there were no 
listings for any families of that name. However, I clicked on the 
Search icon and entered my own surname. The CD-ROM instantly 
reported that the name appeared in four different paces! I looked 
at the four citations and found that, indeed, there is unexpected 
genealogical information about families of my surname. For 
instance, in the middle of the entry for Sumner Wild Arnold, I 
discovered an entry that said, "Married May 1, 1842, Rosette 
Eastman, born 1815 (GS) at Bow, N.H., died 1898, (GS) Elm St. 
Cem., dau. of ____." In Barzillai Thayer's entry I found a listing 
for his eldest daughter, "Evaline, about Feb. 1802 at Weymouth, m. 
Sep. 2, 1832 (Holbrook Ch. Rec.) Chandler Eastman." It also listed 
an interesting note about the division of John Vinton's estate 
listing "Evalina (or Emeline) Eastman wife of Chandler [Eastman]" 
as a beneficiary.

In short, thanks to the search capability, I was able to find 
unexpected genealogy information about families that married into 
Braintree families, even though they always resided elsewhere. The 
search capabilities are extensive, supporting Boolean search 
terms: and, or, not, exclusive or, phrase, wildcards, ordered 
proximity, unordered proximity, record proximity, sentence 
proximity, paragraph proximity and much more.

Unlike a lot of other genealogy CD-ROM disks that I have used, I 
found it easy to copy-and-paste data from Sprague's "Braintree 
Families" into other Windows programs. The above information on 
David Eames/Ames only took a few seconds to copy from the CD-ROM 
and paste into this newsletter. Likewise, printing was easy: 
highlight a record and then click on the printer icon. The 
selected record was then printed, along with a copyright statement 
on the bottom of the page. I also found that I could export 
records as ASCII text files, saving them to a file on my hard disk 
or on a floppy disk.

Sprague's "Braintree Families" also has the capability to bookmark 
records of interest so that you may quickly return to them again 
and again. You can also write "sticky notes" that are appended to 
records. This is great for keeping notes about your other 
findings, research notes or corrections. Every time you return to 
that particular record in the future, your "sticky note" will re- 
appear with the information you entered. Keep in mind, however, 
that bookmarks and "sticky notes" are on your hard disk, not 
written to the CD-ROM disk. If you move the CD-ROM disk to another 
computer, the bookmarks and "sticky notes" are not moved with it.

All in all, I'd rate this CD-ROM as "A-Plus." It contains high- 
quality genealogy information not previously accessible without a 
visit to eastern Massachusetts. It is easy to use, easy to export 
data and it works on Windows as well as Macintosh. Frank E. Dyer, 
Jr., Robert J. Dunkle, Michael J. Leclerc, Carolyn Shepard Oakley, 
D. Brenton Simons and the others involved in creating this 
genealogy CD-ROM disk are to be congratulated on their excellent 

"Genealogy of the Families of Braintree, Mass. 1640-1850, 
including the modern towns of Randolph and Holbrook and the City 
of Quincy after their separation from Braintree in 1792-3" sells 
for $39.99 (U.S. funds). It is available directly from the New 
England Historic Genealogical Society. You may order it by mail, 
by telephone, or on the Society's Web site. The Web site includes 
a secure order form where you may safely enter a credit card 

For more information about the "Genealogy of the Families of 
Braintree, Mass. 1640-1850, including the modern towns of Randolph 
and Holbrook and the City of Quincy after their separation from 
Braintree in 1792-3," go to: