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Archive for the ‘Tips for Researchers’ Category

We just made two more decades, from 1924-1941, of the Cambridge Tribune freely searchable on our Historic Cambridge Newspaper Collection.  Now you can search the Cambridge Tribune from 18887-1941.  Search away!

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For those interested, you can view the presentation from our Beginner’s Genealogy Workshop, Session 3:  Online Resources.  We will post presentations after each class.

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For those interested, you can view the presentation from our Beginner’s Genealogy Workshop, Session 2:  Documenting Your Research.  We will post presentations after each class.

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For those interested, you can view the presentation from our Beginner’s Genealogy Workshop, Session 1:  Introduction to Resources.  We will post presentations after each class.

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Beginner’s Genealogy Workshop Series
Join us for a 6-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, discover your family history, and organize your research.  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.  The workshop includes two guest speakers with expertise in genealogy and local history and a field trip to the Cambridge City Clerk’s office to tour the vaults and experience in-person vital records research.  Attend all six classes and receive a certificate of completion.  All classes take place at the main library at 449 Broadway in the computer classroom unless otherwise noted.

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

Class Schedule
April 5
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Session 1: Introduction to Resources
Discover what an archive is and what kinds of records will you find there. Find out about vital records and where can they be found.  Learn how to use city directories.  Locate military and immigration records and obituaries.

April 12
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Session 2:  Document Your Research
This session focuses on the importance of documenting research, keeping physical copies of records, making sure copies of newspaper articles and obituaries include the masthead, and knowing what can be thrown away.

April 19
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Session 3:  Online Resources
We will delve into ancestry.com and help guide your searches.  We will also explore other databases, such as Family Search and My Heritage, and discover less well-known online resources, such as the Ellis Island Foundation and the Zimmer Newspaper Index.  Learn how to search online newspapers for free and get a Boston Public Library e-card to search their online genealogy resources.

April 26
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Session 4 (Part 1): Build Your Family Tree

We will go over a variety of online and printed options and help you begin to develop your family tree.

6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Session 4 (Part 2):  Guest Speaker
William A. McEvoy, Jr., Local Historian

“The Forgotten Irish of Mount Auburn Catholic Cemetery”
Location:  Community Room

William 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 most recent project, documenting those buried at the Catholic Mount Auburn Cemetery in East Watertown, was the result of a four-year, 7,000+ hour, in-depth study of the 23,000+ people buried there, the vast majority of whom were Irish fleeing the Great Famine of the 1840s.  McEvoy will present his findings, including a complete statistical analysis of those buried at the cemetery.

May 3
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Session 5: Guest Speaker
Jeanne Scaduto Belmonte, Genealogist, New England Historic Genealogical Society
“Getting Started in Genealogy”
Genealogy is one of the most valuable pursuits you can participate in—learning about who you are, where you come from, and “meeting” the thousands of people who came before you, can be a rewarding and even life-changing experience. But, how do you get started? You may have inherited family papers or research from a relative, have dabbled on a number of websites, or started your research and have already found a few records of interest. What’s next? There are plenty of websites, libraries, and printed sources out there, but access to all that information can leave a beginner feeling overwhelmed.

In this course you’ll learn how to navigate the first steps in tracing your family history and gain basic strategies for researching and recording data. Even if you’ve already been doing research for a few years, I’m sure you’ll learn a new tip or two!

Jeanne assists NEHGS library visitors, both on-site and online, with their family history research. Prior to joining the staff, she served as a volunteer in the library and also contributed to an NEHGS book publication project. Jeanne is an expert in Italian genealogy and is also interested in studying British, Canadian, German, Irish, and medieval genealogy.

May 10
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Session 6:  Field Trip
– Cambridge City Clerk’s Office
Meet at the Cambridge City Clerk’s Office on the first floor of Cambridge City Hall (795 Massachusetts Avenue) to learn more about the process of requesting city and town records.  City Clerk Donna Lopez will show examples of birth, marriage, and death certificates as well as historic city documents and Cambridge “treasures.”

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CR Collections

Our collections are now searchable online!  We’ll be adding new collections every week.  Search collections here.

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One of the strengths of the Cambridge Room’s holdings is that they gather together published and unpublished resources on or related to a particular topic – Cambridge history – in one place. Most of the published materials in the Cambridge Room are available in our reference collection, which is on open shelves in our reading room and can be browsed anytime the Cambridge Room is open. Volumes in our reference collection are also cataloged in the library catalog. Look for items with a location of CAMBRIDGE/Cambridge Room/Reference or do an advanced search for your topic and select CAMBRIDGE/Cambridge Room from the Collections drop-down menu.

Cambridge Room reference collection

The first aisle of the Cambridge Room reference collection, featuring our MA, GENEALOGY, and CAMBRIDGE groupings.

The Cambridge Room’s reference collection is organized into five main groupings: MA, GENEALOGY, CAMBRIDGE, CITY, and SERIALS. Within each grouping items are shelved alphabetically by author and/or title (and, in the case of serial publications, volume number or year).

MA is for items pertaining to Massachusetts history overall or to towns in Massachusetts other than Cambridge.

GENEALOGY is for items that have particular genealogical interest, such as individual family histories or registers of early settlers.

Items in the CAMBRIDGE grouping provide a wealth of information about Cambridge history and culture. Volumes by or about Cambridge authors such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Margaret Fuller are also included.

The CITY grouping contains items published by the City of Cambridge or pertaining to the city as a governmental entity, including annual and financial reports for the city overall and its constituent departments, voter lists, and one of our most used resources, the city directories.

SERIALS include publications issued on a recurring basis such as local school newspapers and yearbooks and special interest magazines like Growing Up in North Cambridge.

Items in our reference collection are available anytime the Cambridge Room is open. The materials must be used in the Cambridge Room and do not circulate. Some items are in the general library collection as well, or available from other libraries in the Minuteman network.

Though the books do not circulate, you have several options for getting reproductions of pages. The easiest is to bring your own digital camera (or camera phone) and take photos yourself. Another option, and one that is particularly good for the more fragile items in our collections, is to use our Zeta overhead scanner, which makes color scans in a variety of digital file formats. You place the item face up on the scanning bed, press a few buttons on the accompanying touch screen, and in seconds you have digital files suitable for reference purposes. You can email yourself the results or save them on a USB drive.

Cambridge Room zeta scanner

The Zeta scanner in action.

You may be surprised at how much you can learn about Cambridge history from the carefully selected and curated published reference resources here in the Cambridge Room. You may come with one question, or looking for one specific book, but there’s a good chance that the wonderful serendipity that can only come from browsing will lead you to many more.

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