Boston Public Library
Programs and Events

Local & Family History Lecture Series at the Central Library

 

Now in its 11th year, Boston Public Library's Local & Family History Lecture Series shares information about the history of Boston and its diverse neighborhoods along with tips and guides for those beginning their own genealogical research.
 
The theme of the talks from January to May 2014 is Boston's Changing Neighborhoods: History and Genealogy.

Jump to: April | May

Brighton: A Historical Neighborhood

Wed.
Apr. 9
6:00 p.m.

Commonwealth Salon
A Recipe for Wellbeing: Health and Illness in Colonial New England

From its early years as “Little Cambridge,” Brighton has evolved into one of the most unique neighborhoods of the city of Boston. Brighton was a thriving town by the time of the Civil War, and it was annexed to Boston in 1874. Over the last few decades, many ethnic and religious residents have immigrated to the neighborhood, adding to the cultural melting pot and helping to make it the culturally rich home to a distinctive mix of people that it is today. Anthony M. Sammarco is a historian and author of 60 books on the history and development of Boston. Since 1996, Mr. Sammarco has taught history at the Urban College of Boston, where he was named educator of the year in 2003 and serves on the Leadership Council.

 

Researching Your Jewish Ancestors in Old Boston Neighborhoods

Wed.
Apr. 23
6:00 p.m.

Commonwealth Salon
A Recipe for Wellbeing: Health and Illness in Colonial New England

Basic genealogical strategies for researching your ancestors from the Jewish neighborhoods of Boston will be presented. Learn how to use online and local resources – including U.S. records to find your nineteenth- and early twentieth-century immigrant ancestors, the repositories and web sites where you can access these records, and specialized Jewish sources – to trace your lineage back to the "old country." Meredith Hoffman is a professional genealogist and lecturer who specializes in researching Jewish immigrant ancestors and enjoys solving difficult Jewish name problems. She is Syllabus Chair for the New England Regional Genealogical Conference and Publicity Chair of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston.

 

Migration to the Boston Neighborhoods and Suburbs

Wed.
May 7
6:00 p.m.

Commonwealth Salon
A Recipe for Wellbeing: Health and Illness in Colonial New England

James O’Connell discusses the migration of residents of Boston’s neighborhoods to surrounding suburbs during the twentieth century. With examples from his book The Hub’s Metropolis: Greater Boston’s Development from Railroad Suburbs to Smart Growth, O’Connell explores the region’s patterns of suburbanization and how specific ethnic groups tended to settle in particular suburbs. Mr. O’Connell is a Community Planner at the Boston Office of the National Park Service. He has worked in planning positions in Cape Cod and Springfield and has taught Smart Growth Planning at the Boston Architectural College.

 

Mining Family History: Gold in Local Archives and Speakers’ Roundtable

Wed.
May 21
6:00 p.m.

Commonwealth Salon
A Recipe for Wellbeing: Health and Illness in Colonial New England

The Boston area contains dozens of archives that are open to the public for research. The University of Massachusetts Boston houses archival collections that are goldmines for family and neighborhood historians, including records from nineteenth-century social welfare organizations, mortuary records from the Massachusetts Catholic Association of Foresters 1880 – 1940, and the Barbara Kramer “Saturday Evening Girls” collection, which offers information about the North End young women of the early 1900s who helped create the highly valued “Paul Revere pottery” style. Joanne Riley shares examples from these collections and will provide pointers for gaining access to the wealth of information preserved at other local archives. Since 2010, Ms. Riley has served as University Archivist at the University of Massachusetts Boston.


A Recipe for Wellbeing: Health and Illness in Colonial New EnglandIn addition, the speakers from the Local & Family History Lecture series join together for a roundtable discussion on the evolution of Boston’s immigrant gateways and neighborhood development. Led by James Madden with Tunney Lee, roundtable members will discuss the series and provide an opportunity for those in attendance to speculate on what kinds of changes are likely in the coming decade. Speakers include Joanne Riley, Antonio Di Mambro, Kerri Greenidge, James O'Connell, Anthony Sammarco, and Amy Schectman.