Boston Public Library
BPL Programs

Local & Family History Lecture Series at the Central Library

 

The Boston Public Library's Local & Family History Lecture Series is in its 11th year of sharing information about the history of Boston and its neighborhoods along with tips and guides for those beginning their own genealogical research.
 
The 2013/2014 Local Family & History Lecture Series continued in January 2014 with talks dedicated to the theme Boston's Changing Neighborhoods: History and Genealogy.
 

Jump to: February 2014 | March 2014 | April 2014

Researching Your Ancestral Homes

Wed.
Jan. 29, 2014
6:00 p.m.

Commonwealth Salon
Researching Your Ancestral Homes

Have you ever wondered what secrets your home might contain? Learn tips and tricks on how to research your family’s home to enrich your ancestor’s story. Exploring your family’s residence is similar to tracing your genealogy but with architects and builders instead of parents and original occupants instead of an original immigrant. All of this information can tell you something you didn’t know about your family. Boston Public Library staff discusses resources available to help uncover the lineage of your family homestead. Speakers include Kim Tenney, Curator of the Arts department; Henry Scannell, Curator of the Microtext/Newspapers department; and Gail Fithian, Curator of the Social Sciences department.

History of People, Places, and Plans that Shaped East Boston

Wed.
Feb. 12, 2014
6:00 p.m.

Commonwealth Salon
History of People, Places, and Plans that Shaped East Boston

Antonio Di Mambro, FAIA, discusses the events and economic and technological transformations that have defined the multiethnic neighborhood of East Boston and the challenges and opportunities that could shape its future.Mr. Di Mambro is president of Antonio Di Mambro + Associates, Inc. He has practiced architecture, city planning, and urban design in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Italy since 1971. He has taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Pratt Institute, the University of Miami, and the International Laboratory of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Urbino in Italy.

Jewish Settlement In and Out of Mattapan and Race and Ethnicity in Mattapan, 1860-2010

Wed.
Mar. 12, 2014
6:00 p.m.

Commonwealth Salon
Jewish Settlement in and out of Mattapan and Race and Ethnicity in Mattapan, 1860-2010

Amy Schectman explores how theories about outmigration from the Mattapan and Dorchester neighborhoods shed light on Jewish migration patterns in and around Boston. Ms. Schectman is the President and CEO of Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, which was founded to provide affordable housing for Jewish seniors who were leaving Mattapan. She is an urban planner by training, having spent the past 30 years working on affordable housing, economic development, and the integration of housing and social services.

Also discover how Mattapan evolved from a neighborhood of Dorchester in the mid-nineteenth century to the home to a diverse group of Haitian and other Caribbean immigrants that it is today, with a focus on the role that estate and changing conceptualizations of race and ethnicity played in the transformation. Dr. Kerri Greenidge is a lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she has taught for the History and American Studies Departments. Dr. Greenidge previously worked as a historian for the Boston African American National History Site.

Family Research through Oral History for Less Documented Groups

Wed.
Mar. 26, 2014
6:00 p.m.

Commonwealth Salon
Family Research through Oral History for Less Documented Groups

Not all families come from a place that is rich in genealogy documentation like New England. People with ancestry from countries such as Jamaica and Haiti struggle to piece their family history together. Through conversations with family members who are still living, oral history is a useful tool for rediscovering roots. In this talk, participants will learn how oral history can recapture family stories and kindle stronger bonds, particularly within immigrant communities. Marian Pierre-Louis is a House Historian and Genealogical Lecturer who specializes in southern New England research. She is a Program Co-Chairperson for the 2015 New England Regional Genealogical Conference and is actively involved with the New England Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Brighton: An Historical Neighborhood

Wed.
Apr. 9, 2014
6:00 p.m.

Commonwealth Salon
Brighton: A Historical Neighborhood

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.

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

Wed.
May 21
6:00 p.m.

Rabb Lecture Hall
Joanne Riley

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.


Boston’s immigrant gateways and neighborhood developmentIn 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.