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For this year’s Open Archives, the Cambridge Room will show you what life was like in 18th Century Cambridge through four objects.  If you’re interested sign up here – tickets are nearly sold out.  This event is FREE but registration is required.  We hope to see you next Wednesday June 21st at either the 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. tour.

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Alice Ronchetti outside the Cambridge Public Library Branch No.1 in 1935.

 

 

We are pleased to announce that the Alice M. Ronchetti Papers, 1935-1973, have been digitized and can now be viewed online, in addition to the original hard copies being available for research at the Cambridge Public Library.

Alice Ronchetti worked as a librarian for the Cambridge Public Library for 38 years, from 1935 until her retirement in 1973. During her professional life, Ronchetti dedicated herself to the needs of both young people and adults. Her “unselfish and outstanding service to the citizens of Cambridge” was noted by the Board of Library Trustees in their resolution to accept her retirement from her position of head librarian.

This collection contains Alice Ronchetti’s professional documents and photographs. The documents include her Certificate of Librarianship and two letters that document her retirement: one acceptance letter from library Director Joseph G. Sakey and one resolution passed by the Board of Library Trustees. The photographs in this collection were taken at East Cambridge (now the O’Connell Branch) and Mount Auburn (now the Collins Branch). They depict Alice Ronchetti’s work life in the Cambridge Public Library system, including her co-workers, children she worked with, and events held at the library. Some of the photographs were undated and the dates have been estimated.

Alice Mary Ronchetti was born on May 24, 1912 to Cesar Ronchetti (b. 1884) and Clotilde Nicoli (1883-1974) in Boston, Massachusetts. She was one of six siblings (Alfred, Joseph, Rose Mary, Mary, and James). Her family moved to Cambridge around 1921. Ronchetti died on October 1, 1986 at age 74 and is buried in the North Cambridge Catholic Cemetery.


Join us for the 9th Annual Cambridge Open Archives, June 19-22, 2017! 

This event is FREE but registration is required. Sign up here.

What is Open Archives? For four days, seven Cambridge repositories and special collections will open their doors to the public to showcase some of their most interesting materials — and the tales that go along with them. This year, our participants will present collections materials that fit with the theme of “living and dying in Cambridge.”

Our participants this year: Mount Auburn Cemetery, The Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University, the Harvard Semitic Museum, Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters, The Cambridge Historical Society, The Cambridge Room (Cambridge Public Library), and the Harvard Art Museums Archives.

Our fellow archivists at the Cambridge Historical Commission have just launched a new blog.  On it you will find highlights from collections, staff and researcher favorites, and stories about Cambridge history.

One of our favorites is a post about the Cambridge Historical Commission Architectural Survey File.  The Commission has a file on every address in the city, a resource that is unique in New England and perhaps in America.  Between 1964 and 1977, the Commission surveyed and photographed every building in Cambridge.  These files contain architectural survey forms, photographs, newspaper clippings and anything of interest relating to the current building or demolished building on the site.  These survey files are a priceless resource.  We often send patrons to the Commission to search these files and soon they will be available online.

An example of an architectural survey form from CHC’s files.

 

 

 


Cambridge City Clerk, Donna Lopez, holding the City’s copy of the Declaration of  Independence, July 1776.

For the last session of our Beginner’s Genealogy Workshop Series, we met at Cambridge City Hall to tour the City Clerk’s records.  Cambridge City Clerk Donna Lopez opened the vaults to show us 171 years of birth, marriage, and death records.  We saw rows upon rows of neatly bound volumes marked with the year and stacked to the ceiling on shelves accessible by a library ladder.  In the temperature and humidity controlled vault, we saw boxes lined on shelves noted by year and type of vital record (i.e., birth, marriage, or death).  Lopez even dared to show us the bowels of the basement, where more records are kept in less optimal conditions.  It was a wonderful tour, showing the complexities of organizing, preserving, and storing vital records.

A highlight of the visit was Lopez’s recent discovery:  a copy of the Declaration of Independence.  It’s not the official version or even one of the 200 broadsides published at the time and distributed to the 13 colonies that were at war with the British.  The city’s copy of the Declaration of Independence is a transcription of either a broadside or an article that was published in a local newspaper.  The transcription was officially entered into the Selectmen of Cambridge record book for July 1776 with the following instructions:  copies of the Declaration of Independence are to be distributed to all the churches in Cambridge and read aloud to the congregants.


The first page of a copy of the Declaration of Independence recorded in the Cambridge Selectmen minutes, July 1775.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society is sponsoring a day-long workshop on Italian family heritage on Saturday May 20th at the Dante Alighieri Society of Massachusetts.   The keynote speaker is Mary Tedesco, co-host of Genealogy Roadshow.    NEHGS’ Jeanne Belmonte, who was a guest speaker at the CPL’s Beginner’s Genealogy Workshop last month, will be giving a talk on how to apply for dual American/Italian citizenship.  The description of the workshop, including the day’s schedule and cost is available at AmericanAncestors.org.

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 in the fall.

To register, please call 617-349-7757 or e-mail apacy@cambridgema.gov.

Class Schedule
June 5
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.

June 12
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.

June 19
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.

June 26
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.