Local & Family History Lecture Series at the Boston Public Library
Historians and Genealogists to Visit Copley Square
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For Immediate Release
January 13, 2011
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BPL Communications Office

BOSTON — January 13, 2011– This month, the Boston Public Library’s Local & Family History Lecture Series enters its eighth year. From January through May, speakers will shed light on topics such as Boston’s metamorphosis into an intellectual and cultural hub, uncovering family connections to the Civil War, and what drove Bostonians to dump tons of tea into the harbor on a cold December night in 1773. The series alternates between topics of local historical interest and instruction for those interested in genealogical research. A particular focus of the 2011 series is the men and women of the Civil War Era, as the nation marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the conflict. All local and family history series lectures take place in the Orientation Room of the McKim Building at the Central Library in Copley Square.

  • Wednesday, January 26, 6:30pm: Researching Your Civil War Soldier
    David Allen Lambert, the Online Genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, will discuss the resources available from local, state, and federal sources to research a Union soldier. Participants will discover a variety of documents that can illuminate an ancestor’s story from enlistment to the end of service. Those who bring photographs and family documents relating to a Civil War soldier will receive help with identification.
  • Wednesday, February 9, 6:30pm: From the North End to Beacon Hill: Boston's Black Community Since 1783
    Alex R. Goldfeld, public historian and author, will share information on Boston's African-American community from the Revolution through the Civil War. Located on the north slope of Beacon Hill, once considered part of the old West End, this relatively small group of people fought for — and won — the abolition of slavery and civil rights for African Americans. In addition to creating and leading tours of Boston's historic neighborhoods since 2000, Alex spent four years at Boston's Museum of African American History, overseeing the visitor experience, managing the historic sites, and facilitating tours of the Black Heritage Trail.
  • Wednesday, February 23, 6:30pm: Genealogical Materials at the Boston Roman Catholic Archdiocese
    The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston holds more than 1,300 original sacramental registers that are open to research. The records reveal information not found in any other source. Cemetery and school records have also recently been made available to the public. Michael Brophy, a professional genealogical researcher, columnist, and lecturer in the Boston area; will offer tips on learning about family from these records.
  • Wednesday, March 9, 6:30pm: Abolitionists, Nurses, and Writers: Boston Women during the Civil War
    Bonnie Hurd Smith tells the stories of women from Boston who served as nurses, worked on sanitary commissions, raised funds, and cared for their wounded men. From Louisa May Alcott and Julia Ward Howe to Mary Rice Ashton Livermore, Boston women did their part during the Civil War and left behind a legacy of honor and service to our nation. Smith, an independent scholar and author, is the former director of the Boston Women's Heritage Trail and the creator of the Boston Women & the Law walking trail.
  • Wednesday, March 23, 6:30pm: Photography, the Civil War, and Your Family Pictures
    Photography brought the realities of the Civil War home in battlefield scenes and in individual portraits of soldiers. Maureen Taylor, an internationally-known expert on photo identification, will discuss photographic methods used during the Civil War and offer tips on deciphering the clues in images to place family photographs in historical context.
  • Wednesday, April 13, 6:30pm: Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America
    Benjamin L. Carp tells the full story of the Tea Party – exploding myths, exploring the unique city life of Boston, and setting this extraordinary event in a global context. On the evening of December 16, 1773, a group of disguised Bostonians boarded three merchant ships and dumped more than forty-six tons of tea into Boston Harbor. The Boston Tea Party, an audacious and revolutionary act, set the stage for war and cemented certain values in the American psyche that many still cherish today. In this talk, Carp, who is an Associate Professor of History at Tufts University, will answer such questions as why it happened and what it meant.
  • Wednesday, April 27, 6:30pm: Urban Tracings: A Primer of Boston-area Repositories
    Alice Kane will draw a path to Boston-area repositories encountered in her work as a professional genealogist and historical researcher. She will describe each facility and discuss useful resources particular to each. Chinese-American Kane is a native Bostonian and worked in the Boston Public Library's Microtext Department before becoming a professional genealogist and researcher.
  • Wednesday, May 11, 6:30pm: A City So Grand: The Rise of An American Metropolis, Boston 1850-1900
    Stephen Puleo is an author, historian, and university teacher. A City So Grand: The Rise of an American Metropolis, Boston 1850-1900, his fourth book, tells the story of Boston’s stunning metamorphosis into one of the world's great metropolises – one that achieved national and international prominence in politics, medicine, education, science, social activism, literature, commerce, and transportation. Puleo is also the author of The Boston Italians: A story of Pride, Perseverance, and Paesani from the Years of the Great Immigration to the Present Day; Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919; and Due to Enemy Action: The True World War II Story of the USS Eagle-56. He teaches history at Suffolk University.
  • Wednesday, May 25, 6:30pm: Civil War Ancestors: A Panel Discussion
    Four members of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) will share the history of this hereditary organization, discuss research methods for finding records of Civil War ancestors, and offer readings from ancestors' writings. The four descendants of Civil War veterans who will share their stories are: Frederick Stevens, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel and current commander for the Massachusetts Commander of MOLLUS; Douglass Knight, a specialist in researching Civil War military records; John Taft, a WWII veteran and past commander of the Massachusetts MOLLUS; and Edward Welsh, a collector of Civil War artifacts and a Civil War re-enactor.


For more information on the Local & Family History Series, visit the dedicated web page on the Boston Public Library website.

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