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Archive for the ‘Local Resources’ Category

Please note: Classes are always on a Monday night, usually from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Classes will not always be in the same room. They will either be in Special Collections near the back of the first floor or in the ITTC (aka the computer training center) on the second floor. Check each class below for its location. Registration is required and will usually start at the beginning of the month before the class is being offered. Call a reference desk at 617-796-1380 to register. Also clicking on the title of the first two classes below should also get you to the registration form.

Class: Starting Your Genealogy Research Online with Census and Vital Records

Date: 23 October 2017
Room: ITTC
Time: 7:00-8:30 pm

Description: When people start going online to research their family history, the first documents they usually come across are the United States census (generated by the federal government) and birth, marriage, and death records (generated locally). I will discuss these documents in the context of computer-driven research. Some records can be used as proof of a relationship. Others are only signposts toward more reliable information. Tips relating to online research in general will also be incorporated. Registration is open now. (Limit: 12) You can register by clicking title above. (Limit: 12)

Class: Tracking Your Ancestors Using Local Resources — Yours and Theirs

Date: 6 November 2017
Room: Special Collections
Time: 7:00-8:30 pm

Description: Typically, you begin your family research with the resources closest to you, including your public library. But you shouldn’t stop there. This class is about tracking your ancestors in the towns and cities, counties and states where they actually lived. Here is where fresh discoveries are made, obstacles are broken down, and wonderful stories can be discovered. How do you track down digitized collections, special records, newspaper articles, books, and/or manuscripts that have been generated locally about people, families, and events in that community? I will discuss how to uncover online the resources available in places you’ve never visited. You will learn how to find libraries and history and genealogy societies relevant to the communities you are researching. You may discover relatives still living there, perhaps some you know nothing about and who may be working on a parallel track in a genealogy quest of their own. Eventually you may decide that there are places you want to actually visit. As you identify the localities you need to search, the focus and the scope of your project may shift and expand — prepare yourself for surprises. Registration is now open. (Limit: 15)

Class:  Brick Wall Genealogy

Date: 18 December 2017
Room: Special Collections
Time: 7:00-8:30 pm

Description: The further back you go in your family research, the more “brick walls” you are going to hit. A brick wall is anything that keeps you from finding the information you need to connect with an ancestor, that prevents you from reaching back to another generation.  Who builds these walls?  Often, we do ourselves. This class will be about how we build them and how we might be able to go under, around, over, or through them.  Often the bricks are made of our assumptions and our inexperience.  Join me and let’s discover what we can do about this. Trust me. I’m an expert at inadvertently laying bricks, then demolishing them.  Registration will be open at the beginning of November. (Limit 15)

 

vea/4 October 2017
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net

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Yearbooks and How They Can Be Used

Part of Newton Free Library’s Collection of Yearbooks

Most of us are familiar with high school yearbooks. We probably have at least one from our own senior year. They may be filled with signed comments from our fellow graduates, some funny, some not so much. … Going through them brings back all sorts of memories and can spark stories. You may have tucked graduation programs and other loose mementos into it that were important to you. Collections of high school yearbooks in public libraries are potent resources that are used often and for various purposes. They can be consulted by reporters for news stories, checked by people writing biographies, searched by people looking for pictures of their parents or grandparents or for birth parents whom they have never seen.

One Special Yearbook

The yearbook with its acid-free archival case.

What is it that sparks my current focus on yearbooks? A local high school is making available to our library whatever yearbooks we need or would like to add to our collections.  A member of our reference staff, Kim Hewitt, is working with materials in our Special Collections room. In this capacity she visited the high school library to take a look at what it has. When Kim checked a copy of one 1937 Newtonian yearbook for loose ephemera, she discovered something extraordinary. Someone had kept clippings about the graduates, especially those who served in World War II. On almost every page there were tipped-in newspaper articles about graduates pictured on that page, usually stories about their military service. Some described their current activities overseas. Some were death notices. The articles span events and battles over a number of years. Personal milestones, such as marriages, are the subject of other clippings. In short, it is a genealogist’s gold mine of information.

If something has been “tipped in,” it means you can lift the material and see what’s underneath.

This yearbook has now become a part of Newton’s Special Collections. If you have a relative who graduated from Newton High School in 1937, it’s worth a look. If you are interested, its catalog title is Newton High School Class of 1937 and World War II.” The call number is N 373.34 N38M.  Clicking on the preceding title will take you directly to its entry in our online catalog.  It does not circulate and must be used within the library.

Compact Shelving with one opening. If you want to get into the first bay on the far left, all the other bays have to be moved forward.

A Note about Compact Shelving and Viewing Material from Newton’s Special Collections

Since the 1937 yearbook mentioned above is so unique and also fragile, it will be kept in what is known as compact shelving, not on the open Special Collection shelving.   Using compact shelving saves a great deal of space but requires the movement of heavy shelving electronically. Newton’s compact shelving is run by machinery that is old and can be somewhat cranky.  It needs two people to open it to retrieve material kept there. If you are thinking of coming in to look at this item, or other collections from compact shelving, it would help if you let us know in advance. If we know when you are coming, we can pull material for you ahead of time.

Actually it’s always a good idea to plan ahead with any library you are visiting. Check in advance for any special restrictions or rules for viewing or copying fragile or unique material. What are the library’s hours? Do they change depending on the season? Will the library be closed due to construction or maintenance during the period you are planning on coming? Are all its collections on site or does it need time to retrieve them from offsite storage? Whenever you request an item from a library, having its name and call number will speed up the process. Any library should allow you to search its online catalog, no matter where you live.

You and Your Own Family’s Yearbooks

Do you know if your family members, especially aunts, uncles, and grandparents, have yearbooks they would be willing to show to you? They might even share memories of their high school years and their friends.  Don’t forget that many local libraries actively collect and also accept gifts of high school yearbooks. Each one that has been owned by a graduate has unique inscriptions by classmates and some may have the owner’s own notations. Public libraries located near where your relatives or ancestors lived may have their own such treasure troves from their local schools.  Some may even have been given to them by your relatives or their friends. It’s worth checking. While you’re at it, don’t forget to look in your own attic, basement, or bookcase. Do you have your parents’ or grandparents’ yearbooks?  You might want to take a closer look at them. You never know when you’ll strike unexpected gold. And if you find them in the basement or attic, you might want to move them to a bookcase on your main floor. They’ll last longer.

Good luck with your quest, wherever it takes you.

vea/13 June 2017
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net

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DSC06538Are you related to the Metcalf family? Be sure to join us for the second in the series of special family research days at the Dedham Historical Society & Museum on February 4, from 1:00 – 4.00pm, when we focus on holdings that relate to the Metcalf family.

Members of the Metcalf family were involved in the beginning of the Town of Dedham in 1636.  Featured research materials available for review include archival and genealogical records such as histories, wills, deeds, and other Metcalf manuscripts.  Also included are documents that have recently been added to the Metcalf family archival collection.  This program is by appointment only. Please contact Sandra Waxman at 781- 326-1385 or library@dedhamhistorical.org to reserve a place. This program is free for members; $5 fee for non-members.

As a special note; the historic 1652 Metcalf chair is always on view in the museum, as are a blanket chest, coat of arms, and clock, all related to the Metcalf family.

The Dedham Historical Society & Museum hours are: Office is open Tuesday – Friday 9:00am – 4:00pm; Museum is open Tuesday – Friday 12noon – 4:00pm, and the Archive is available by appointment on Tuesday and Thursdays from 9:00am – 4:00pm. The Museum and Archives are also open on even dated Saturdays from 1:00 – 4:00pm. For more information about the Dedham Historical Society & Museum please contact them at 781-326-1385 or society@dedhamhistorical.org. The DHS is located at 612 High Street, Dedham.

Announcement written by Sandra Waxman,
Librarian/Archivist
Dedham Historical Society
Posted by vea/31 January 2017
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net

 

 

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Newton Free Library in Autumn

Please note: Classes are always on a Monday night, usually from 7:00 to 8:30 pm.  Classes will not always be in the same room.  They will either be in Special Collections or in the ITTC (aka the computer training center) on the second floor. Check each class below for its location. Registration is required and will usually start at the beginning of the month before the class is being offered.  Call a reference desk at 617-796-1380 to register.

Class: Bare-Bones Genealogy for Beginners: Starting from Scratch

Date: 9 January 2016

Room: Special Collections

Description: The emphasis of this first class of the new year will be on setting up your family history and how to start your research. I will begin by explaining family group sheets and then expand from there. This will not be a computer-based class. You will be introduced to strategies of organization, citing living people as sources, and where to look for more information that you (or someone in your family) may already have. Computer genealogy will be slowly introduced into the mix in February (Mother Nature permitting).  Registration is now open.  (Limit: 15)

Class: Starting Your Genealogy Research Online with Census and Vital Records

Date: 6 February 2016

Room: ITTC Room

Description: When people start going online to research their family history, the first documents they usually come across are the United States census (generated by the federal government) and birth, marriage, and death records (generated locally).  I will discuss these documents in the context of computer-driven research. Some records can be used as proof of a relationship. Others are only signposts toward more reliable information. Tips relating to online research in general will also be incorporated. Registration will be open at the beginning of January. (Limit: 12)

Class: Tracking Your Ancestors Using Local Resources — Yours and Theirs

Date: 13 March 2016

Room: Special Collections

DescriptionTypically, you begin your family research with the resources closest to you, including your public library.  But you shouldn’t stop there. This class is about tracking your ancestors in the towns and cities, counties and states where they actually lived. Here is where fresh discoveries are made, obstacles are broken down, and wonderful stories can be discovered. How do you track down digitized collections, special records, newspaper articles, books, and/or manuscripts that have been generated locally about local people, families, and events? I will discuss how to uncover online the resources available in places you’ve never visited.  You will learn how to find libraries and history and genealogy societies relevant to the communities you are researching. You may discover relatives still living there, perhaps some you know nothing about and who may be working on a parallel track in a genealogy quest of their own.  Eventually you may decide that there are places you want to actually visit. As you identify the localities you need to search, the focus and the scope of your project may shift and expand — prepare yourself for surprises. Registration will be open at the beginning of February. (Limit: 15)

vea/2 December 2016/vea
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net

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blog-winchester-programs

 

vea/22 October 2016
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net

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Newman Congregational Church, East Providence RI (2012). Photograph by Kenneth C. Zirkel.

Newman Congregational Church, East Providence RI (2012). Photograph by Kenneth C. Zirkel.

I was recently doing some online research relating to the records of the Newman Congregational Church in East Providence, Rhode Island.  A number of my ancestors, though Massachusetts residents, attended this church. I always wondered how a church in Rhode Island became the church of choice for families in Massachusetts, especially in an age when horses and walking were the two main means of transportation. I decided to do some investigating. As it turns out, the church began its existence in Massachusetts and has actually gotten around quite a bit in the intervening years.

To begin at the beginning, according to the Newman Congregational Church itself and the East Providence Historical Society, the church was founded in 1643. (But, according to the Rhode Island Historical Society, it was founded a bit earlier, in 1641.) It was built on land that was originally part of an area known as Seacunck, then renamed Rehoboth by a community of new settlers, English Puritans. Rehoboth was officially established as a town in 1645.  In other words, the church has been around for quite awhile, 370 years, give or take.

The Newman Congregational Church remained in place for the first 170 years of its history. Then in 1812 Rehoboth’s borders changed. The western part of Rehoboth split off and became Seekonk. The church was on Seekonk land and became part of this new town. To complicate matters further, Seekonk and Rehoboth were part of an area that had been a bone of contention between Rhode Island and Massachusetts since the colonial period. In 1861 the United States Supreme Court awarded part of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to Seekonk. According to the Rhode Island Historical Society, in “1862, the western part of the town of Seekonk was set off to the state of Rhode Island, and renamed East Providence.” When the dust settled, the Newman Congregational Church was now in an entirely different state. The church moved from Rehoboth to Seekonk, within Massachusetts, and then to East Providence, Rhode Island — without moving, physically that is. To complicate matters still further, the church’s address is listed as being in Rumford, which is actually a section of East Providence. Details such as these can be confusing to those researchers not used to the idea that divisions and villages such as Rumford can be parts of towns and cities rather than entities unto themselves.

In my classes I am always stressing the importance of local history and knowing the borders and boundaries for the locations where ancestors lived. What do you do if you can’t find records where you expect them to be? Look at a period map. Check the town or city history. If your ancestor’s family lived near a border, they may have belonged to organizations or attended religious services across that border in another town or county or state or province. Then again, it may be the border that changes.  As the saga of Newman Congregational illustrates, “location” can be a most changeable factor, encompassing people and their homes and even their places of worship. Though this is the first instance that I’ve found of a church having border issues, I have a hunch it won’t be the last.  And that, by the way, is how my Massachusetts ancestors ended up going to a Rhode Island church.

 

Additional sources consulted:

Historical Data Relating to Counties, Cities, and Towns in Massachusetts, prepared by William Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1997. “Rehoboth, Bristol County” pp. 96-97; “Seekonk, Bristol County” pp. 103-104.   MASS 974.4 M38H  Note: Only the 1920 and 1948 editions of this reference work are available at Internet Archive.

History of Fall River: With Notices of Freetown and Tiverton as published in 1841 by Orin Fowler; Together with a Sketch of the Life of Rev. Orin Fowler, an Epitome of the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Boundary Question, an Account of the Great Fire of 1843, and Ecclesiastical Manufacturing, and Other Statistics. Fall River, MA: Almy and Milne Printers, 1862. “Massachusetts and Rhode Island: Boundary Question” pp. 67 – 71. Title linked to copy at Internet Archive.

 

vea/23 September 2016
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net

 

 

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The Newton War Memorial was dedicated on Armistice Day, 11 November 1931, to honor all those in the military who served, who fought, and who died to protect our country’s freedoms. The following photographs depict parts of that ongoing memorial.

DSC01752 front

The Entrance to Newton’s War Memorial

 

DSC06223

DSC06225

 

The Vietnam War was fought from November 1, 1955 to April 30, 1975.

DSC06240

 

The Korean War was fought from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953.

DSC06238

 

World War II  was fought from September 1, 1939 to September 2, 1945. The United States entered the war on December 8, 1941.

DSC06277

 

The conflicts before World War II are represented by dioramas.

 

World War I was fought from July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918. The United States formally declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.

DSC06232“Somewhere in France” 1917 – 1918

 

The War Between the States was fought from the firing on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861 to Lee’s surrender to Grant at the Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865.

DSC06237Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863

 

The War of 1812 was fought from June 18, 1812 to February 18, 1815.

DSC06229The American Constitution vs. the British Guerriere on August 19, 1812

 

The Revolutionary War was fought from April 19, 1775 to September 3, 1783.

DSC06245Valley Forge, the Winter of 1777 to 1778

 

DSC02075 flags horizontal pixThe MIA and American Flags, Still Flying, in Front of the War Memorial

 

vea/26 May 2016
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

 

 

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