Register for Healing the Historical Trauma of Slavery Through Genealogical Research

Date & Time:
June 17, 2021
12:00pm – 1:00pm

Juneteenth Commemoration: Healing the Historical Trauma of Slavery Through Genealogical Research
Has your genealogical research forced you to confront the racial wounds of the past – from slavery to the many forms of racism it engendered?  Facing “historical trauma” is as necessary for African Americans researching their ancestors who were enslaved as it is for White people who discover their ancestors were enslavers. 

To commemorate Juneteenth, join us for a workshop with Sharon Leslie Morgan, renowned genealogist and founder of Our Black Ancestry, as we learn about historical trauma and how it affects people today.  Morgan will introduce the STAR (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience) model for healing historical trauma and show how genealogical research can help heal the trauma of slavery.   

Sharon Leslie Morgan is a writer and genealogist. She is the founder of Our Black Ancestry, an online community dedicated to providing resources for African American genealogical research, preserving historic materials and properties, and promoting healing of wounds that are the legacy of slavery.

Morgan is the co-author of Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade. She is also a contributor to Slavery’s Descendants: Shared Legacies of Race & Reconciliation, and The Little Book of Racial Healing: Coming to the Table for Truth-Telling, Liberation, and Transformation.  In 2019, Morgan received the prestigious James Dent Walker Award from the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society

A staunch advocate of racial justice, Morgan has taken STAR (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience) training at Eastern Mennonite University and is actively involved with Coming to the Table, an organization that promotes linkages between descendants of people who were enslaved and descendants of the families that enslaved them for the purpose of healing from the trauma of slavery.

Register for Interview Techniques to Tell Your Family’s History

Date & Time:
June 10, 2021
12:00pm – 1:00pm

Interview Techniques to Tell Your Family’s History
Join Alyssa Pacy, Archivist at the Cambridge Public Library, to learn the fundamentals of oral history.  This workshop will prepare you to easily interview family members.  We will cover an introduction to oral history, interviewing techniques, the use of a digital recorder, and methods to preserve your recording.

Register for Getting Started in Irish Family Research

Date & Time:
June 3, 2021
12:00pm – 1:00pm

Getting Started in Irish Family Research
Learn how to get started uncovering the stories of your Irish ancestors! In this lecture, Melanie McComb, genealogist with American Ancestors and the New England Historic Genealogical Society, will show you how to take the first steps in tracing your genealogy back to Ireland. Learn about the key records and resources available to you for uncovering your family’s history.

Melanie McComb, Genealogist, assists library visitors, both on-site and online, with their family history research. She also provides lectures on a variety of genealogical topics. Melanie holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York at Oswego. Her areas of research interest include Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Kansas, Prince Edward Island, Québec, and Ireland, and she is experienced in DNA, genealogical technology and social media, Jewish genealogy, and military records.

Register for Incomplete Victory: Why 2020 Wasn’t Really the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage

Date & Time:
June 2, 2021
12:00pm – 1:00pm

Incomplete Victory: Why 2020 Wasn’t Really the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage
Join us for a workshop with Dr. Laura Prieto, professor of History and Women’s and Gender Studies at Simmons University in Boston, as we look beyond the surface of the 19th amendment that granted women the right to vote.

Although white women were enfranchised in 1920, voting rights were not as easily recognized for women of color. Laura will discuss the issue through the individual stories of women and their continuing fight to vote in the decades since 1920

Recording Available – American Treasures from the Cambridge Public Library’s Archives and Special Collections

We were fortunate to have Drew Griffin, the Library’s Senior Librarian for Adult Services and bibliophile, join us for a lively and informative workshop titled American Treasures from the Cambridge Public Library’s Archives and Special Collections. The workshop, part of the Lunchtime Lectures from the Cambridge Room, was recorded on May 13, 2021.

The following is a description of the workshop and a short bio of Drew Griffin:

American Treasures from the Cambridge Public Library’s Archives and Special Collections
Join Drew Griffin, Cambridge Public Library’s Senior Librarian for Adult Services, as he takes us on a tour of the American Treasures in the Library’s Archives and Special Collections.  This lecture will focus on letters from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere, Margaret Fuller, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and more.  Discover all our Library has to offer with special, virtual trip into the vault.

Drew Griffin has worked at the Cambridge Public Library for the past 15 years in various capacities.  Since 2016, he has served as Senior Librarian in the Adult Services Department.  Drew’s area of expertise is genealogy and rare book librarianship.   Over the past 3 years, Drew has taught many of the Library’s popular genealogy workshops, including beginner’s genealogy and DNA testing and genealogical research.  Also, in his spare time, Drew is an avid rare book collector.  He is a member several bibliophile clubs, including the Grolier Club in New York City and the Ticknor Society in Boston.  

Register for Buns, Beards, Bodices and Bustles: Understanding Ancestors Through Clothing

Date & Time:
May 20, 2021
12:00pm – 1:00pm

Buns, Beards, Bodices and Bustles:  Understanding Ancestors Through Clothing
Ancestral fashions and the industry that produced them left behind a fascinating legacy of images and information.  Join Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective, to discover genealogical clues by looking closely at the clothing and accessories your ancestors wore.  Come with your questions and learn the basics of photo detecting through the lens of fashion. 

Maureen Taylor is an internationally recognized expert on historic photograph identification, photo preservation and family history research.  Sought out by clients all over the world, her pioneering work in historic research is unprecedented, evidenced by her success in solving photo mysteries.  The author of several books, scholarly articles and online columns, Taylor appeared on the View and the Today Show to discuss her photo identification methods.  She has been featured in numerous publications, including the Boston Globe, New York Times, and Better Homes and Gardens, and was dubbed “the nation’s foremost historical photo detective” by the Wall Street Journal. 

Cemetery Research Tip from Bill McEvoy

Still from Bill McEvoy’s Forgotten Irish of Mount Auburn Catholic Cemetery.

If you’re watching Bill McEvoy’s Forgotten Irish of Mount Auburn Catholic Cemetery, you may notice that the person being featured doesn’t match the names on the grave. Bill McEvoy assured me that this is a common problem when researching cemeteries as many people can be buried in one plot. But, the head stone often doesn’t reflect all the individuals laid to rest in the grave.

Here’s Bill’s explanation for this phenomenon at the Mount Auburn Catholic Cemetery in Watertown:

“The lots were usually purchased instant to a death of a family member and they did not have the money to place a marker. Much later, a person could be buried with another name – either a relative, neighbor or someone from the old country – someone who would have had the means to purchase a marker.

When I review the names of those buried in the lot, I find the name of the most recent person, whose name is on the marker, as well as any names related the purchaser. 

There are 5,055, 4 person lots and 266, 8 person lots in the Mount Auburn Catholic Cemetery.  Not all of lots are filled to capacity and many of the 4 person lots exceed capacity. I have seen 7 or 8 people buried in a 4 person lot – often infants and children mixed with a few adults.”

Register for Preserve Your Family Treasures

Date & Time:
May 6, 2021
12:00pm – 1:00pm

Preserve Your Family Treasures
Many of us have collections of treasured documents and photographs of significant events, ancestors, or bygone historical eras – items that create a record of who we are and where we come from. These collections deteriorate over time, but making small changes in storage and handling can have a huge impact on the lifespan of the materials. In this lecture, Alison Fulmer, a Preservation Specialist with the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) will provide an introduction to the preservation and care of historical materials such as scrapbooks, letters, journals, books, and photographs. We will discuss simple steps for identifying and correcting improper handling and storage of paper-based and photographic materials in family collections.

Alison Fulmer, a Preservation Specialist with NEDCC, serves archives, libraries, museums, historical societies, and other cultural heritage institutions in the New England region and beyond, providing training programs, assessments, consultations, and disaster assistance. She holds a Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh and is certified by the Academy of Certified Archivists.  NEDCC offers conservation treatment, digital imaging, and audio preservation services, as well as preservation training, assessments and consultations, and disaster advice on collections.

The Forgotten Irish of Mount Auburn Catholic Cemetery – Video, Book, and More

Thank you to Bill McEvoy for joining us for this week’s Lunchtime Lectures from the Cambridge Room. We had a wonderful turnout of enthusiastic people eager to learn more about the Mount Auburn Catholic Cemetery and the 23,000 individuals – mostly Irish – buried there.

The video presentation of the Forgotten Irish of Mount Auburn Catholic Cemetery is available for you to watch at your leisure. You can download Bill McEvoy’s book, Catholic Mount Auburn Cemetery, East Watertown, MA, for free.

Lastly, discover more of Bill McEvoy’s research projects here:

Rainsford Island: A Boston Harbor Island Case Study in Public Neglect and Private Activism

Alice North Towne Lincoln: Boston’s Selfless Advocate for the Poor.

Register for the Forgotten Irish of Mount Auburn Catholic Cemetery

Date & Time:
April 29, 2021
12:00pm – 1:00pm

Forgotten Irish of Mount Auburn Catholic Cemetery
Join us for a presentation by cemetery historian Bill McEvoy, Jr. on the obscure Mount Auburn Catholic Cemetery in Watertown.  Discover the stories of some of the 23,000 individuals buried there, the vast majority of whom were Irish, fleeing the Great Famine of the 1840s.  Learn about what it was like to be an immigrant in 19th Century Boston – where they lived, how they died, and why they were buried in Watertown in a Catholic-only cemetery.

This project was the result of a four-year, 7,000+ hour, in-depth study of the 23,000+ people buried there.  McEvoy has embarked on several ambitious research projects involving local cemeteries, such as Mount Auburn Cemetery and the cemetery at Rainsford Island in Boston Harbor.  His book, Catholic Mount Auburn Cemetery, East Watertown, MA., is available as a free download.

Bill McEvoy, Jr. is a US Army Veteran and retired Massachusetts District Court Magistrate.  Since his retirement in 2009, McEvoy has conducted large-scale cemetery research projects, including several at Cambridge’s Mount Auburn Cemetery as well as a four-year study on the Catholic Mount Auburn Cemetery in Watertown.  His most recent work uncovering the story of Rainsford Island, an off-shore hospital for Boston’s unwanted, led him to write about Alice North Towne Lincoln, who was instrumental in shutting down the island.