Archive for the ‘Newton MA’ Category


Flyer done the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston. Click JGSGB to see more information and a list of their programs.

vea/15 November 2016/vea
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  

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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





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



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



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



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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The Durant-Kenrick Homestead" October 2012Historic Newton is so committed to helping you preserve your family’s unique history that they want to help. Do you have family photos, slides, documents, or movies that are precious to you? Do you wish to understand what is needed to protect them so they will be available for future generations? Then you will want to come to the Durant-Kenrick House at 286 Waverly Avenue in Newton on Tuesday, November 17th at 7:00. At that time Hisoric Newton will be presenting two very knowledgeable speakers on this topic.

Eric Niloff, owner of EverPresent, will explain the services that his company Picture from Historic Newton on Saving Family Historyoffers.  His business is based on helping people share their family history. Included will be a variety of formats. He will also answer questions about how best to organize these cherished family heirlooms and build a digital preservation plan.

Sara Goldberg, Historic Newton’s own archivist, will guide you in the care of the originals once they have been digitized and returned to you.  She will help you understand what can to done to help these truly irreplaceable family keepsakes stand the test of time.

vea/3 November 2015
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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1891 Newton City Directory with Container Plus Separate MapThe picture to the left shows the easy way of accessing city directories.  You request the book. It gets delivered to you. You look up what you need.  When you go online, it can be a whole different story.  I had a patron last month who asked me to show him how to actually search and print out information from our online city directories.  It was not easy.

As regular readers of this blog know, I do not remember how to do anything technological if I haven’t used a particular process for several months (or a shorter time if it’s complicated). Nobody has the time to keep reinventing the wheel.  So early on I devised a system where I took screenshots of what I was doing and added instructions.  (A good filing system helps here, whether hard copy or online.) So this is what I did to remind myself how to work with the city directories.  If I need it, I figure some of you could use the help, too.

Below I give two links.  The first is a link to the Newton City Directories that are online.  The second is to my instructions for dealing with digitized city directories.  Be patient. I may take a couple of minutes to come up.  It is a pdf, so you should be able to print it out if you like to work from hard copy.

Click here for the digitized Newton City Directories.

Click here for Searching and Printing Historic City Directories Using the City of Newton Website.

If the above instructions do not work for the digitized city directories of other cities or towns, let me know, along with a link to those city directories.

vea/25 November 2014
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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On Monday, October 29th at 7:00 pm, the Newton Free Library will be hosting Joe Hunter’s documentary “The Durant-Kenrick Homestead: A House with Many Stories” in the Druker Auditorium. The house, located at 286 Waverly Avenue in Newton, is an historical gem.

In 1732 Edward Durant II bought 91 acres of land in Newton. The land had once been the location of the village of the Praying Indians of Nonantum. Here Durant built a large, salt-box type home in the Georgian style in 1732. One of its unique features was its hand-painted stenciled floors.

The home, today known as the Durant-Kenrick Homestead, has seen a great deal of local, state and national history.  Its second owner, Edward Durant III, was elected as Chairman of the Committee of Correspondence in 1774.  He was also a delegate to the Provincial Congress where, according to the King’s Handbook of Newton, he “delighted in twisting the British lion’s tail with speeches and resolutions.”  Two of his sons, Thomas and Allen, were both Minutemen at the Battle of Lexington and a third son, Edward, was a regimental surgeon.

After Edward died in 1782, the home was sold to John Kenrick, a noted horticulturalist.  In 1790 Kenrick founded the first large nursery in New England here, starting with pear trees that were raised from the stones (seeds or pits). His son William became a partner in 1833.  Among William’s sources for the nursery were imports from the London Horticultural Society.  He wrote the nursery’s first catalog and later authored “The New American Orchardist” and “The American Silk-Grower’s Guide.” Plants and trees from the Kenrick nursery were shipped throughout America.

John Kenrick, besides being the well known horticulturalist noted above, was also a committed abolitionist.  In this area he was a man before his time.  In 1817 he published the “Horrors of Slavery,” with it’s preface dated “Newton.” He was President of the New-England Anti-Slavery Society.

Between 1872 and 1903 parcels of land were sold off in various land transactions.  By the time Arthur S. Dewing bought the home in 1923, the remaining land was approximately 2 acres. Dewing was a descendant of the original Durant owners. He restored the property. The home was included in the National Register in 1976. The Durant Homestead was established in 1985.  The property was acquired by the City of Newton in 2011.

This is less than a thumb nail sketch of the history of the house and its people.  Take a look at the links below for more detailed information.

Article and Blog Links

 The Durant-Kenrick House and Property “A Brief Landscape History by Lucinda A. Brockway

Painting the Durant Kenrick House.

18th-Century home to be restored by Historic Newton” by Susan Danseyar.  Newton Tab, 13 April 2010.

Boston 1775: “Dig at the Durant-Kenrick Homestead” By J. L. Bell,     11 November 2011

Digging Up History: Archeologists Explore 18th-Century Life through Finds at Newton Site” by Taryn Plumb.  Boston Globe, 27 November 2011.

Boston 1775: “Howe Explores the Durant-Kenrick House in Newton” by J. L. Bell, 7 April 2012

Stenciling from the floor of the Durant-Kenrick House Lives On: Edward Durant Floorcloths

Durant-Kenrick Homestead: Community Preservation Project – City of Newton

Resources Not on the Internet

King’s Handbook of Newton, Massachusetts by M. F. Sweetser. Boston, MA: Moses King Corporation, 1889. pp. 106-110.  N 974.44N S97H

“Capt. Durant House in National Register.” Newton Tribune. 9 June 1976. p. 20

Newton, Massachusetts, 1679-1779: A Biographical Directory. Compiled by Priscilla R. Ritter and Thelma Fleishman.  Boston, MA: The New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1982. N 929.2 1982

Landmark Study for the Durant-Kenrick Homestead. Compiled by Rachel Gakenheimer. May 7, 1997. 10pp plus maps and illustrations.  Includes genealogy. N 917.444 N48DU (Compact Shelving).

vea/26 October 2012
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com

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Please notice that this piece was originally published on 13 December 2011. All of the links have just been updated as of 11 December 2013.

Digital Newton first went online on October 1st of this year.  Materials you could only see if you came to the Newton Free Library, you can now look at from any Internet connected computer anywhere in the world.  Materials you can view include city directories (1868- 1934), Assessed Polls (voting lists from 1884 to 1942), , early photographs and albums including the Newell Family Album, trade cards, information and photos of the Jersey Stock Club and the Hunnewell Club, High School Yearbooks from 18851890, 1895, and 1900, as well as early books and historic maps.  Click  Digital Newton to discover all the treasures. You might even  find an ancestor.  And please feel free to leave a response to the material included here.  There is a link for your comment in each section

Digital Newton is in a format known as a LibGuide.  To go from section to section, click one of the tabs of interest near the top of the page.  Some, such as the “Images of Historic Newton” tab, will have drop down menus to get you into a number of albums and collections. I chose just one above, the Newell Family Album.  Don’t miss the others.  They are well worth the time.  You can get lost in another time looking at these photos and books.

This is an ongoing project.  Please note that the photos themselves are not, for the most part, links to anything else.  There is one exception. [Note that the following is no longer the case.  More photos of the Villages have been added. Click on this link Villages of Newton Photographs as of 11 December 2013.] On the first page you will see a link to Newton Corner/Nonantum.  When you click on any one of the photos in this set, you will get additional information about the photo you are viewing.  Consider this a preview of coming attractions.

During the month of December, the Newton Free Library is also hosting an exhibit with objects based on, but not limited to, Digital Newton.  If you are in the area, drop by and take a look.  Featured are an overview of the project with reproductions of maps and trade cards, as well as “Mayor Warren Then (1907) and Mayor Warren Now (2011)” and various three dimensional objects that will take you to another era. Check out the doll and the child’s drinking cup.  Below the photos of the two Mayor Warren’s are samples of items you might typically find in each man’s pocket. A great deal of imagination and historical knowledge went into this display. The picture above depicts only one small section of it.

You will find this material in the three first floor display cases.  Just park in our lot and walk in the side entrance over the bridge. You will find the cases on your right.  Click Newton Free Library for hours and directions.

Digital Newton is funded in part by the citizens of Newton through the Community Preservation Act, a Federal LSTA Grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (via the Institute of Museum and Library Services) and the Library’s municipal appropriation.

vea/13 December 2011
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com

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