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Boston Public Library's Local & Family History Series Begins January 14

Boston Public Library's Local & Family History Lecture Series begins in January, sharing information about the history of Boston and its diverse neighborhoods, as well as tips and guides for those beginning their own genealogical research. Lectures in 2015 will take place in the Abbey Room, located on the second floor of the McKim building at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street.

The series includes the following lectures, all of which are listed with additional detail at

  •  Author Anthony Vaver shares insights from his books that detail the lives of eighteenth-century British criminals who were carried off to America and the dark and humorous stories from America’s earliest criminal underworld. Wednesday, January 14, at 6 p.m.
  • Rhonda R. McClure outlines the first steps to uncovering your genealogy and gives pointers to make getting started less daunting. Wednesday, January 28, at 6 p.m.
  • Alex Goldfeld explores a bloody incident at the John Eliot School in 1859 and places it in the context of public education and Catholic immigration in nineteenth-century Boston. Wednesday, February 11, at 6 p.m.
  • Michael Brophy discusses the many resources now available online for discovering Irish ancestors, including the best websites and recent landmark additions of vital records and census information. Wednesday, February 25, at 6 p.m.
  • Dee Morris places the individual stories of white and black abolitionists in the context of the Forest Hills Cemetery to build a rich community narrative highlighting a tumultuous era in Boston history. Wednesday, March 11, at 6 p.m.
  • Dick Lehr explores how the fight to censor D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation roiled America, pitting black against white, Hollywood against Boston, and free speech against civil rights. Wednesday, March 25, at 6 p.m.
  • Roseanne Montillo explores how the case of a late nineteenth-century serial killer reverberated through all of Boston society and examines how it sheds light on our modern hunger for the sensational. Wednesday, April 15, at 6 p.m.
  • In Tommy Gun Winter, Nathan Gorenstein tells the true tale of two brothers who – along with an MIT graduate and a minister’s daughter – once competed for headlines with John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Bonnie and Clyde. Wednesday, April  22, at 6 p.m.
  • Shellee Morehead describes the possibilities and limits of using genetic genealogy to explore family history. Wednesday, April 29, at 6 p.m.
  • Helaine Davis and Linda Stern discuss the large role pioneering women played in the physical culture movement at the close of the nineteenth century. Wednesday, May 13, at 6 p.m.
  • Mike Maglio gives pointers on how to locate your living relatives in order to track down records, help solve a family mystery, or return a rare photo to a descendant. Wednesday, May 27, at 6 p.m.

Boston Public Library has a Central Library, twenty-four branches, map center, business library, and a website filled with digital content and services. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America. It was the first large free municipal library in the United States, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. Each year, the Boston Public Library hosts thousands of programs and serves millions of people. All of its programs and exhibitions are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning. To learn more, visit

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