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Do something new in 2018 and take a free class at the Cambridge Public Library.  Learn about your ancestry or the history of your Cambridge house.  Preserve your family photographs or learn how to become an expert in the U.S. Census.  We are offering a series of free classes and workshops between January and March, 2018.

Beginner’s Genealogy Workshop Series
January 10, 17, 24, 31, 6-8 PM

Introduction to Digital Storytelling
January 22 & 29, 6-8 PM

Researching the History of Your Cambridge Home
February 7, 6-8 PM or February 8, 3-4 PM

Preserving and Organizing Your Family Photographs Workshop Series
February 21 & 28, 6-8 PM

The United States Census and Genealogy
March 7, 6-8 PM

Beginner’s Genealogy Workshop Series
March 14, 21, 28, April 4, 2-4 PM

Register now for one of our six new classes being offered in early 2018.  Spaces are filling up fast!

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The Cambridge Public Library is taking our Beginner’s Genealogy Workshop Series on the road.  This January we will be offering the 4-week series at CCTV, located at 438 Massachusetts Avenue.  It’s the same class – just a different location.

Wednesdays, 6-8 PM
January 10, 17, 24, & 31
Instructors:  Alyssa Pacy, Archivist, and Drew Griffin, Senior Librarian
Location:  CCTV computer classroom, 438 Massachusetts Avenue

Join us for a 4-week, beginner’s genealogy workshop. For two hours each week, we will demystify the overwhelming process of sorting through online records as well as give tips for how best to make use of research visits to local repositories. We will help you find ancestors, organize your research, and start a family tree. Come with a new question every week and leave with an answer and something tangible to bring home, such as a copy of a birth certificate. By taking this class, you will be automatically eligible to enroll in a FREE, two-part course on digital storytelling taught by CCTV. Learn how to make a digital film about your family’s history based on your genealogical research. Create a treasured digital keepsake to pass on to family members. Registration is mandatory.  To register, please contact Keaton Fox at keaton@cctvcambridge.org.

How We Elect Cambridge Officials: A Discussion on Proportional Representation
Monday, November 6, 6:30 PM
Lecture Hall, Cambridge Main Library

Cambridge municipal elections happen on Tuesday, November 7th. Do you find it curious that we rank our candidates numerically when we vote? Did you know that this process of voting is called Proportional Representation? Do you know how Proportional Representation works? Do you know how it came to be that Cambridge adopted this system?

Join us for a lively panel discussion with experts on Cambridge political history. Discover how Proportional Representation works in our city. Learn just how much your vote counts to be better prepared for the November 7th election.

Panelists include Howie Fain (Co-founder of Fair Vote), Glenn Koocher (former Cambridge School Committee Member), Susana Segat (former Cambridge School Committee Member), and Robert Winters (founder of Cambridge Civic Journal).

Howie Fain
In 1992, Fain Co-founded Fair Vote, a nonpartisan champion of electoral reforms that give voters greater choice. He served as the President of the Fair Ballot Alliance of Massachusetts from 1991-1997. Fain has been a consultant to the Cambridge Election Commission, authoring the 1994 report, Computerizing a Cambridge Tradition. Fain serves as an Executive Committee Member of VoterChoice Massachusetts and is a science teacher in the Worcester Public Schools.

Glenn Koocher
A native of Cambridge, Mass., Koocher served on the Cambridge School Committee from 1974-1985. He was the budget chair during the implementation of Proposition 2 1/2 and was actively engaged in the city’s multi-year desegregation effort. Koocher was the founding host of Cambridge InsideOut, a weekly TV show on CCTV focusing on current events that aired from 1989-2000. He has written extensively on the political history of Cambridge. Koocher is currently the executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.

Susana Segat
Segat was a member of the Cambridge School Committee from 1996-2001. She was the first Hispanic elected official in Cambridge to serve a full term and win re-election.  Segat was the founding chair of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, on which she served from 1999-2008.  A longtime union official, Segat was the President of the Local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) from 2003-2009.  In 2013, she cofounded CCTV’s Cambridge InsideOut, a remake of Glenn Koocher’s original TV show, focusing on Cambridge politics.  Segat cohosts the biannual Cambridge municipal election night on CCTV.  She is currently the Chief of Staff at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Robert Winters
Winters is the founding editor of the Cambridge Civic Journal, an online news source that monitors the Cambridge political scene. Starting in 1989, he spearheaded the campaign to bring curbside recycling to Cambridge. He ran for City Council several times in the 1990’s. Since 2013 he has been the co-host of CCTV’s Cambridge InsideOut, a remake of Glenn Koocher’s original TV show, focusing on Cambridge politics. Currently, Winters is a Lecturer in Mathematics at MIT and the Harvard Extension School.


Researchers at Mount Auburn Cemetery.

Cambridge Digitization Day
Friday October 20
11 AM – 4 PM
Community Room

Join us for a Digitization Day and help preserve Cambridge history. Bring in your paper-based historical material, such as photographs and letters, that tell the story of our city and your community.  We are also interested in digitizing the personal histories of those buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery.  Your material will be scanned and rehoused in archival enclosures, and you will leave with digital copies on a flash drive.  Throughout the day, we will hold a series of informational sessions about preserving and digitizing family collections.  All free of charge!  This program is cosponsored by the Mount Auburn Cemetery and the Northeast Document Conservation Center with funding from the National Endowment of the Humanities.

Info-Session Schedule

  • 11:30- Preserving Family Collections
  • 12:15- Digitizing Family Collections
  • 1:00-Caring for Personal Digital Collections
  • 1:30-Preserving Family Collections
  • 2:15-Digitizing Family Collections
  • 3:00-Caring for Personal Digital Collections


Fosgate’s Groceries and Provisions, circa 1894-1902, 1853 Massachusetts Avenue, From the Glass Plate Negatives, circa 1904-1909 (002).

Researching the History of Your House with the City of Cambridge
Join staff members from the Cambridge Historical Commission, the City of Cambridge Department of Public Works and the Cambridge Room at the Cambridge Public Library for a three-week series on researching the history of your house or building.

Registration is mandatory, though you do not have to attend all three sessions (though we highly recommend it!). For your convenience, each department will offer two days of the same session – one in the evening and one in the afternoon.

To register, please check out the schedule below and contact the person listed. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Session 1: The Cambridge Room at the Cambridge Public Library
This hour-long, hands-on workshop will guide you through a variety of online resources that will help you research your home from the comfort of your home. Discover when your building was built and by who.  Find out who lived in your house and how your neighborhood has changed.  We will provide laptops. Registration is mandatory.

Monday, October 16
6:00 – 7:00 PM
Community Room

or

Wednesday, October 18
3:00 – 4:00 PM
Beech Room

Led by Alyssa Pacy, Archivist at the Cambridge Public Library.  To register, email: apacy@cambridgema.gov or call 617-349-7757

Session 2: Cambridge Historical Commission
The Commission’s research collection is founded on an architectural inventory that contains survey forms, photographs, and documentation on all 13,000+ buildings in the City. Participants will learn how individual homes can be researched using these inventory files, as well as the Commission’s collection of city directories, atlases, maps, photographs, books on the City’s different neighborhoods, and some deed, tax, and building permit records.

Monday, October 23

6:00 – 7:00 PM

or

Wednesday, October 25

2:00 – 3:00 PM

Led by Cambridge Historical Commission staff.  To register, email: egonzalez@cambridgema.gov or call: 617-349-4070

Session 3: Cambridge Department of Public Works
The public works collection is primarily focused on sewer & drain utility drawings and plans showing the boundaries of the public rights of way. But many of these and other records, which go as far back as 1840, also include interesting historical facts such as previous building, street, and water body configurations as well as ancient industries, property owner names and assessment values. Participants will learn how individual locations can be researched with geographic, database, and online indexes and they’ll see how those indexes have evolved.

Monday, October 30
6:00 – 7:00  PM

Or

Wednesday, November 1
2:00 – 3:00 PM

Led by George Stylianopoulos, City of Cambridge Department of Public Works.  To register, email: sgeorge@cambridgema.gov

General questions about the series? Call 617-349-4683.

Beginner’s Genealogy Workshop Series
Join us for a 4-week, beginner’s genealogy workshop.  For an hour each week, we will demystify the overwhelming process of sorting through online records as well as give tips for how best to make use of research visits to local repositories.  We will help you find ancestors, organize your research, and start a family tree.  Come with a new question every week and leave with an answer and something tangible to bring home, such as a copy of a birth certificate. Attend all four classes and receive a certificate of completion.

Registration is mandatory and you must attend the first class as the workshop series is cumulative. Please note, we will be offering an evening workshop series later in the Fall.

To register, please call 857-235-9829  or e-mail dgriffin@cambridgema.gov.

Class Schedule
September 8
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Computer Classroom

Session 1: Introduction Resources
Discover what an archive is and what kinds of records will you find there.  Learn about vital records, military records, and immigration and naturalization records, and obituaries.  Learn how to use city directories, church and religious institution records, and cemetery records.

September 15
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Computer Classroom
Session 2:  Document Your Research
This session teaches you to think like a historian.  We will show you how to document your research and help you decide how to organize your physical files and online research.

September 29
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Computer Classroom
Session 3:  Online Resources

We will delve into Ancestry.com and offer tips to maximize your searches.  We will explore Family Search, Heritage Quest, and African American Heritage Quest, as well as genealogy portals.  Learn how to search online newspapers for free and get a Boston Public Library ecard to search their online genealogy resources.

October 13
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Computer Classroom
Session 4: Build Your Family Tree

We will go over a variety of options that are free and for sale, including web based family trees, software, printable forms, and custom-made family trees.   We will help you start your family tree.


E. W. Clark Company, Dry Goods, located at the corner of Centre St. and Seaverns Ave. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library.  Undated.

Our friends at the Jamaica Plain Historical Society offer historic walking tours every Saturday morning during the summer months.  The popular program is in its 22nd year!  View the schedule here.  All tours are free and open to the public.

If you find yourselves on the other side of the river…