Social Sciences Department, 2nd Floor, McKim Building, Central Library, 617-859-2261

Category Archives: Genealogy services

Local and Family History Lecture Series, Spring 2016

Posted on January 29th, 2016 by Gail Fithian in Genealogy services

Local & Family History Lecture Series at the Central Library


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.

Lectures in 2016 will take place in the Commonwealth Salon, which is on the first floor of the McKim building. The McKim building faces Dartmouth Street.

Click here to see a list of talks in the series.

Click here to view or download a copy of the Authors & Lectures brochure.


Local and Family History Lecture Series, Spring 2015

Posted on January 30th, 2015 by Gail Fithian in Genealogy services

Please join us this spring for another season of talks on Boston history and genealogy. Talks start at 6pm in the Abbey Room on the second floor. Please join us!

Drinking Boston: A History of the City and Its Spirits

Posted on March 12th, 2013 by Gail Fithian in Events, Genealogy services
Tags: , ,

Please join us this Thursday, March 14, for Stephanie Schorow’s illustrated talk on her newest book Drinking Boston: A History of the City and Its Spirits. Her book will be on sale following the talk. The book has fantastic photographs, some of which are taken from the Boston Public Library’s photograph collections. The book also has a wonderful QR code enabled app. Download it to your mobile device, take a walk around and see where many of  Boston’s speakeasies, bars, and nightclubs were located.  The photographs here are one of almost one hundred which depict Prohibition era Boston that  have been posted to the BPL’s Flickr photostream.  The  undated photo below, from the wonderful Leslie Jones Collection housed in the Print Department, shows police dismantling a speakeasy after it had been raided.


Stephanie Schorow will speak Thursday, March 14, in the Rabb Lecture Hall of the Central Library, 700 Boylston Street, at 6pm. Her book will be sold after the talk.



The Local and Family History Lecture Series

Posted on February 26th, 2013 by Gail Fithian in Events, Genealogy services
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Boston Public Library
BPL News and Events

Local & Family History Lecture Series at the Central Library

The Boston Public Library’s Local & Family History Lecture Series is in its 10th year of sharing information about the history of Boston and its neighborhoods along with tips and guides for those beginning their own genealogical research. All talks will be held in the Commonwealth Salon, Wednesdays 6pm on the dates noted, except for the Drinking Boston talk, which will take place in Rabb Lecture Hall on Thursday, March 14, 6pm.

Jump to: February | March | April | May

Alice Kane on US Chinese genealogyChinese-American and native Bostonian Alice (Yee) Kane presents a historical overview of Chinese immigration from southeastern China to the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries. Among the elements considered are Chinese societal and cultural values, immigration patterns, immigration and naturalization laws, and resources specific to researching Chinese-American citizens as found in courts and National Archives and Records Administration centers.Ms. Kane previously worked in the Boston Public Library’s Microtext Department before becoming a professional genealogist and researcher.
Ellen Berkland on Boston's Harbor IslandsOne of Boston’s most noted archaeologists presents the history of this unique area and explains why it can be considered a neighborhood. Ellen Berkland is the former Boston City Archeologist and currently serves as the Archaeologist for the Department of Conservation and Recreation. 

Thursday, March 14, Drinking Boston: A History of the City and its Spirits in Rabb Lecture Hall

Drinking Boston by Stephanie SchorowFrom the revolutionary camaraderie of the Colonial taverns to the saloons of the turn of the century; from Prohibition—a period rife with class politics, social reform, and opportunism—to a trail of nightclub neon so bright, it was called the “Conga Belt,” Drinking Boston pays tribute to the fascinating role alcohol has played throughout the city’s history. Includes book sale at the event.Stephanie Schorow wasn’t born in Boston, but the day she moved here in 1989, she knew she had come home. Ms. Schorow is the author of six books on Boston, including, with co-author Beverly Ford, The Boston Mob Guide: Hit Men, Hoodlums & Hideouts, published in December 2011, by the History Press and Drinking Boston: A History of the City and Its Spirits, published by Union Park Press on November 1, 2012.
The Kings Handbook to the Boston Harbor IslandsSuzanne Gall Marsh will share stories of the Boston Harbor Islands including Portuguese fishermen who floated their homes from Long Island to Peddocks Island, the Lovells Island lighthouse family, the Great Brewster Island community, and other little-known stories about the Harbor Islands.Ms. Marsh is the founder of Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands and is a program facilitator at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute program at UMass Boston and a seasonal ranger/interpreter with the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. 
James Campano and Duane Lucia on Boston's West EndJames Campano and Duane Lucia of the West End Museum present a broad look at an important American urban neighborhood from the seventeenth century to the present time. The West End Museum is a neighborhood museum located at 150 Staniford Street on the ground floor of West End Place, and is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and interpretation of the history and culture of the West End of Boston.Mr. Campano is the Founder of the West End Museum and Mr. Lucia is the Executive Director. 
Richard Andrew Pierce on West End FamiliesRichard Andrew Pierce provides insight to those facing the challenges of researching family histories in the unique urban neighborhood setting that is the West End. He is a consultant to the West End Museum and a professional genealogist in Boston. Mr. Pierce has traced the ancestries and missing heirs for hundreds of clients. His books and articles include: The Stones Speak: Irish Place Names from Inscriptions in Boston’s Mount Calvary Cemetery, The Wampanoag Genealogical History of Martha’s Vineyard, and a five-part series of articles on the ancestry of President Kennedy for the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s American Ancestors website. 

May 8 The Memoir Project: Recording the Memoirs of Boston’s Seniors

My Legacy is Simply This by Tula MahlSince 2008, Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Boston’s Elderly Commission have partnered with a local nonprofit, Grub Street, to produce The Memoir Project. The project has gathered senior citizens from Boston neighborhoods to write down their personal memories. The project guides participants in sharing their stories through writing their memories in bound journals for their families and future generations to learn from and remember. Project staff will describe how the partnership came about and explain the techniques they use for gathering and writing oral histories.Speakers include:

  • Tula Mahl, Deputy Commissioner of Communications and Policy for the City of Boston’s Commission on Elderly Affairs
  • Christopher Castellani, Artistic Director at Grub Street and author of three novels
  • Michelle Seaton, Lead Instructor and creator of the curriculum for the Memoir Project
  • Judith Klau, Senor Participant from the South End workshop of the Memoir Project

May 22 Memories and Mortuary Records: Community Archiving Projects at UMass Boston

Joanne Riley on Massachusetts MemoriesUMass Boston houses many archival collections that are utilized by family historians and researchers interested in exploring Boston and Massachusetts cultural history through the lives of individuals. The University’s collections include more than 4,000 stories and images in the Mass. Memories Road Show project, hundreds of case records from the Boston Female Asylum, and more than 30,000 mortuary records from the Massachusetts Catholic Association of Foresters between 1880 and 1940.Joanne Riley will share examples from these collections, and will discuss the fascinating, productive, and sometimes challenging interplay among individuals, communities, and institutional archives. Since 2010, Ms. Riley has served as University Archivist at the University of Massachusetts Boston.