All posts by Jean Maguire

About Jean Maguire

Jean Maguire is the Library Director at NEHGS, responsible for overseeing the Society’s library and special collections, including patron services; collection development, access, and preservation; and the Society’s volunteer program. Jean joined the NEHGS staff in 1999 after receiving her Master’s in Library and Information Science from Simmons College.

Boston Transcript column now online

boston-evening-transcript-detail-4mar1931The genealogy column in the Boston Evening Transcript newspaper has been one of the more heavily used resources at the NEHGS Library for the past century or more. The paper was published, under a few different titles, from 1830 to 1941. From 1906 through 1941, it featured a genealogy column in which readers would submit and respond to queries. During most of its run, the column appeared twice a week. According to an editors’ note which appeared in many issues, the newspaper was almost overwhelmed with submissions and had a backlog waiting to be published. The editors also claimed that they had “correspondents in every corner of the country.” By the time it ceased publication, the column had covered an estimated two million names. Continue reading Boston Transcript column now online

A new Irish records database

Houses_Eyeries_CtyCork_IREMany Americans are familiar with the popular and scenic Ring of Kerry in Ireland. They might be less familiar with a peninsula just to the south, in County Cork, called Beara. Those who are attempting to trace their roots to the Beara Peninsula are among the most fortunate genealogical researchers in the world, thanks to the monumental work carried out by a teacher (and genealogist, historian, footballer, and champion accordion player) named Riobard O’Dwyer. O’Dwyer, who was born in the U.S. to Beara parents but grew up in Beara, took it upon himself to study the families of the peninsula as comprehensively as possible. He spent the better part of his life visiting the localities of Beara, gaining access to and transcribing its (sometimes nearly illegible) church records, interviewing its residents, and examining the headstones of its cemeteries. Continue reading A new Irish records database

The sweet satisfaction of labor

Arthur Belforti late 1920sAt this time of year, my family and I have two special reasons to contemplate the memory of my maternal grandfather, Arthur David (born Achille Alessio Riccardo) Belforti (1902-1996). First of all, his birthday is September 3 – a date that never passes unnoticed in my family. Second, there is no person we associate more with Labor Day than Grampy, not just because he worked so exceptionally hard and long, but because of the immense value he placed on work and the personal satisfaction and pride it brought him. Continue reading The sweet satisfaction of labor

Behind the scenes in the Conservation Lab

The von Wolfframsdorff Armorial Family Tree

R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, NEHGS

To poke one’s head inside the Conservation Lab here at NEHGS is to observe a beehive of activity. This is where our Conservation Technician Deborah Rossi, part-time interns, and volunteers repair and treat books and manuscripts from the NEHGS collections. Last year, they repaired and treated over 250 volumes, documents, and other works on paper. A wide range of items (and condition issues) make their way to the lab, and we’d like to share a recent example with you. Continue reading Behind the scenes in the Conservation Lab

Guides for using the NEHGS collection

Building_exterior_night 076Back in February, Vita Brevis began posting a series of guides to using the NEHGS collection here in Boston and remotely at home. For ease of reference, I have collected them here, with short excerpts from the articles themselves.

Anne Meringolo began the series: Have you wished that you could use NEHGS library resources from home? Have you wondered where to find copies of genealogies online? You can do this by starting with the NEHGS library catalog.Staff and dedicated volunteers have been working to add links to freely available e-books as well as to genealogies and items from our manuscript and book collections for members to use. Continue reading Guides for using the NEHGS collection

An interview with David C. Dearborn

A milestone event in the life of NEHGS recently occurred when David Dearborn, one of our Senior Genealogists, retired on March 22 after a thirty-eight-year career here.  His many accomplishments and dedicated service to NEHGS were honored by his colleagues at a festive celebration the week before.  Although we know David will remain in close contact with us, and will visit often in order to carry out his own genealogical research, his daily presence in the library will be greatly missed.  Continue reading An interview with David C. Dearborn

Beautiful Detroit

Arthur Belforti and friend
Arthur Belforti is shown at left

A current research preoccupation of mine is a photo of my maternal grandfather, Arthur David Belforti (born Achille Alessio Riccardo Belforti, 1902-1996), which my mother recently gave me and which is pictured here.  Having had a close relationship with this grandparent, I have always been particularly keen on researching his past and his branch of the family.  There is no handwriting on the reverse of the photo, and my mother has no details about it.  My first thought upon seeing it was that it might have been taken in or near Detroit.  My reasons for believing this were several – 1) before my grandfather was married, he lived in the Detroit area for a couple of years around 1929, drawn there to work at Henry Ford’s newly opened and highly innovative River Rouge plant; 2) his apparent age in the photo seems to match up with that time period; 3) I didn’t recognize the person who sits next to him in the photo, and neither did my mother; and 4) we didn’t recognize the place.  My grandfather lived in just three places during his life – Italy, Massachusetts, and Michigan.  I’m pretty familiar with the first two, but not so much with the third. Continue reading Beautiful Detroit