Old Group Photos: Someone Else’s Ancestors

Maybe you love to stare into the faces of those captured in long-ago photographs and search for a lost image of a long-dead ancestor.  Maybe you just like old photos. In our family, we’ve had an old group photograph from 1924 for … well, since it was taken in 1924.  The story behind the photograph…Read more Old Group Photos: Someone Else’s Ancestors

3 Quick Tips to Unlock the Secrets of an Old Lowell Photo

Photographs capture a moment in time, a moment that begins evaporating just as soon as the shutter releases. Be it seconds, minutes, years, or decades later, that photograph cannot be recreated, because the moment is gone, replaced with the next, which itself disappears into another.

Sometimes, Family Tree Breakthroughs Arrive in your Inbox

Imagine receiving a stack of photographs from a second cousin you've never met, who received them from a fourth cousin who lives on a Portuguese island off the coast of Africa.  And that these photographs show never-before seen, everyday images from your great-grandparents' life that they sent home to Portugal some fifty to sixty years…Read more Sometimes, Family Tree Breakthroughs Arrive in your Inbox

Forgotten Genealogy: A Letter Reveals Memories from Two Lifetimes Ago

Genealogists spend a lot of time immersed in old records - especially really old ones, from decades and centuries past.  These records yield valuable information in building family trees.  And, as any genealogist will tell you, every tree ends at its treetop, with the names of its brick wall ancestors, those whose parentage is unknown and…Read more Forgotten Genealogy: A Letter Reveals Memories from Two Lifetimes Ago

The Release of the 1940 US Census – April 2, 2012

On April 2, 2012, at 9 AM (EST), the National Archives will release the 1940 US census schedules at  http://1940census.archives.gov/.  The release, administered by The National Archives in partnership with archives.com, will mark the first time a census has been released online.  Site visitors will gain free access to view, search, print, and download the 1940 census…Read more The Release of the 1940 US Census – April 2, 2012

Understanding Crime in Edwardian-Era Massachusetts – Arrests in Lowell, 1904

So, say you're writing a scene about Edwardian-era police officers in New England, or researching the life and times of a police officer ancestor.  Or, perhaps you're trying to get an idea of how people got into trouble with the law in the first years of the twentieth century.  You'll need to know why Edwardian-era…Read more Understanding Crime in Edwardian-Era Massachusetts – Arrests in Lowell, 1904

Most Likely to . . . Visit a Local History Center? High School Yearbooks and their Value to Genealogists

In these days of point-and-click genealogy (think sites like Ancestry.com or familysearch.org), local and regional history centers of the brick-and-mortar variety are sometimes unjustly overlooked.  Some, like the New England  Historic Genealogical Society, have online resources and an impressive web presence themselves.  Others, especially those dedicated to smaller cities or even towns, have wonderful resources…Read more Most Likely to . . . Visit a Local History Center? High School Yearbooks and their Value to Genealogists

Embrace your black sheep ancestors!

Black sheep ancestors - we've all got them.  If you don't, it probably means that you haven't discovered them yet.  I find them fascinating.  I mean, I enjoy the church-going, god-fearing, alms-giving ancestors as much as the next genealogist, but there's a certain spark of interest that surges when you come across ancestors who were…Read more Embrace your black sheep ancestors!

A Window into the Past: Ancestors’ Letters as Genealogical Records

So, say you've inherited a large stack of family photographs showing ancestors who are far up your family tree - such as great-grandparents, or their siblings, cousins, or close family friends.  As you stare into the moment in time captured in that cabinet card or tin type photograph, do you ever wonder what their voices…Read more A Window into the Past: Ancestors’ Letters as Genealogical Records

The Challenge of Researching Portuguese Ancestors

If you were to visit Lowell, Massachusetts before . . . say, 1890, you would not have met many men walking about the city named João or Manuel.  The Portuguese began arriving en masse in New England in the late 19th century and had established, by the first decades of the 20th century, sizable communities in…Read more The Challenge of Researching Portuguese Ancestors