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Genealogy

Resources for researching your ancestors and your family history

Introduction to Native American Genealogy

Introduction to Native American Genealogy

What We're Covering

  • Introduction to genealogy resources at the BPL
  • Introduction to Native American genealogy research & research sources, including:
    • Issues
    • DNA
    • BPL Resources
      • Books
      • Other Resources
    • Government Resources
      • Indian Census Rolls
    • Other Records & Research Guides
    • Useful Articles
    • Useful Websites

Print Resources Available at the Boston Public Library

  • Biographical Resources
  • Cemetery Indexes (mostly Massachusetts)
  • City of Boston Records (including list of residents and annual reports)
  • City Directories (Including areas outside Massachusetts)
  • Early Massachusetts land, probate records and indexes
  • Ethnic Collections
  • Published and privately printed genealogies
  • Local History Resources (including town and county histories)
  • Handbooks and Manuals
  • Maps and Atlases
  • Military Indexes, Records, Biographies and Histories (mostly relating to Massachusetts or New England)
  • Newspapers and Periodicals (including some outside of Massachusetts)
  • Obituary Indexes (for some Boston newspapers and New York Times)
  • Passenger Lists
  • Vital Record Indexes (for many cities and towns in Massachusetts)

Recommended Databases for Genealogy and Local History

Recommended BPL Research Guides (guides.bpl.org)

Free BPL Resources

The following online resources that provide access to material held by the BPL are freely available to all online:

  • Boston TV News Digital Library (Searchable content from WGBH, WCVB, WHDH, and Cambridge Community Television covering 1960-1999.)
  • Digital Commonwealth (Digitized photographs, manuscripts, books and other material of local and historical interest from the Boston Public Library and other libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies in Massachusetts.)
  • HathiTrust Digital Library (Digitized books, government publications, and other documents from the collections of an international community of research libraries. All material is indexed and searchable, but access to full reproductions is limited to material not under copyright.)
  • Internet Archive (Digitized texts, audio, video, software, and archived web pages, including books, manuscripts, and other written documents from the BPL.)
  • Obituary Database (an index of obituaries that appeared in the Boston Evening Transcript , Boston Globe, and the Boston Herald/Herald American. Currently covers 1932 through 1941 and 1953 through 2010.)
  • Open Library (Over 100,000 eBooks available for borrowing and reading in-browser or on mobile devices using Adobe Digital Editions. Creation of a free account is required for borrowing.)

Recommended Free Websites

  • Boston Historic Burying Grounds Initiative- Manages sixteen different burying grounds located in Boston. These burying grounds range in date from 1630 to 1841.
  • Cyndi’s List- A categorized & cross-referenced index to genealogical resources on the Internet.
  • U.S. Gen Web- Volunteers that provide free online genealogy help and information for every U.S. state and county.
  • Olive Tree Genealogy- Provides links to free genealogy records including searchable transcriptions. Also provides free tutorials and research guides.
  • Ancestry.com Charts and Forms-  Free forms and templates that can be used to organize information
  • Find A Grave- Crowd-sourced website with millions of grave records, many include photos and some include obituaries
  • Family Search- From the Church of Latter-Day Saints, includes millions of digitized records, registration is required

Other Places to Research

Native American Genealogy Research: Issues

  • There are multiple legal and other definitions of what constitutes a Native American or American Indian
  • There are differing levels of legal recognition of tribes, some may be recognized on the state level but not the federal level; some may not be recognized at all
  • The necessary record collections are scattered among various agencies and locations
  • There is a lack of remote access to necessary records collections
  • There are problems with DNA testing as it relates to Native American culture

Native American Genealogy Research: DNA

For several reasons, DNA tests are not always accurate measures of Native American ancestry:

  • Home testing kits are not advanced enough to give an accurate result
  • DNA is often less important to Native American cultural identity than community relationships, shared experiences, and long-standing traditions
  • Sovereign tribal nations determine their own criteria for tribal membership; genetics may not be part of the requirements, or they may use different kinds of genetic testing
  • A person may have a Native American ancestor and not have inherited any DNA from them, or inherited such a small amount that it does not show up in test results

Native American Genealogy Research: DNA, cont'd

Native American Genealogy Research: Resources at the BPL- Other Resources

  • Genealogy Research Guide
  • American Indian Newspapers Database
    • American Indian Newspapers is a collection of newspapers, ranging from historic pressings to contemporary periodicals, which together explore nearly 200 years of Indigenous print journalism from the US and Canada.
  • Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940 by National Archives and Records Service
    • 692 microfilm reels. Available upon request at the Research Services Desk, located on the 2nd floor of the McKim Building at the Central Library in Copley Square.

Native American Genealogy Research: Government Resources- Indian Census Rolls

The Indian Census schedules were census rolls that were generally submitted each year from 1885-1940 by the government officials that were in charge of Indian reservations. The information on the rolls will vary by year as the questions changed. Only people who had a formal affiliation with a federally-supervised tribe are included in these records.

Native American Genealogy Research: Government Resources- Other Records & Research Guides

Native American Genealogy Research: Useful Articles

Native American Genealogy Research: Useful Websites

Researching Your Italian Ancestors

Researching Your Italian Ancestors

What We're Covering

  • Introduction to genealogy resources at the BPL
  • Researching Your Italian Ancestors
    • Geography
    • Local Immigration
    • Resources at the BPL
    • Online Guides
    • Societies & Associations

Print Resources Available at the Boston Public Library

  • Biographical Resources
  • Cemetery Indexes (mostly Massachusetts)
  • City of Boston Records (including list of residents and annual reports)
  • City Directories (Including areas outside Massachusetts)
  • Early Massachusetts land, probate records and indexes
  • Ethnic Collections
  • Published and privately printed genealogies
  • Local History Resources (including town and county histories)
  • Handbooks and Manuals
  • Maps and Atlases
  • Military Indexes, Records, Biographies and Histories (mostly relating to Massachusetts or New England)
  • Newspapers and Periodicals (including some outside of Massachusetts)
  • Obituary Indexes (for some Boston newspapers and New York Times)
  • Passenger Lists
  • Vital Record Indexes (for many cities and towns in Massachusetts)

Recommended Databases for Genealogy and Local History

Recommended BPL Research Guides (guides.bpl.org)

Free BPL Resources

The following online resources that provide access to material held by the BPL are freely available to all online:

  • Boston TV News Digital Library (Searchable content from WGBH, WCVB, WHDH, and Cambridge Community Television covering 1960-1999.)
  • Digital Commonwealth (Digitized photographs, manuscripts, books and other material of local and historical interest from the Boston Public Library and other libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies in Massachusetts.)
  • HathiTrust Digital Library (Digitized books, government publications, and other documents from the collections of an international community of research libraries. All material is indexed and searchable, but access to full reproductions is limited to material not under copyright.)
  • Internet Archive (Digitized texts, audio, video, software, and archived web pages, including books, manuscripts, and other written documents from the BPL.)
  • Obituary Database (an index of obituaries that appeared in the Boston Evening Transcript , Boston Globe, and the Boston Herald/Herald American. Currently covers 1932 through 1941 and 1953 through 2010.)
  • Open Library (Over 100,000 eBooks available for borrowing and reading in-browser or on mobile devices using Adobe Digital Editions. Creation of a free account is required for borrowing.)

Recommended Free Websites

  • Boston Historic Burying Grounds Initiative- Manages sixteen different burying grounds located in Boston. These burying grounds range in date from 1630 to 1841.
  • Cyndi’s List- A categorized & cross-referenced index to genealogical resources on the Internet.
  • U.S. Gen Web- Volunteers that provide free online genealogy help and information for every U.S. state and county.
  • Olive Tree Genealogy- Provides links to free genealogy records including searchable transcriptions. Also provides free tutorials and research guides.
  • Ancestry.com Charts and Forms-  Free forms and templates that can be used to organize information
  • Find A Grave- Crowd-sourced website with millions of grave records, many include photos and some include obituaries
  • Family Search- From the Church of Latter-Day Saints, includes millions of digitized records, registration is required

Other Places to Research

Researching Your Italian Ancestors: Introduction

  • Italians have been traveling to North America for centuries
  • The biggest wave of Italian immigration to the U.S. occurred from 1880-1921
  • Italians are one of the largest self-identified ethnic groups in the U.S.

Researching Your Italian Ancestors: Geography

  • Italy was comprised of independent city-states and republics until 1861, when the Kingdom of Italy was established
  • The monarchy was abolished in 1946, when Italy became a republic
  • Italy is now organized by region and province, with several autonomous metropolitan cities

Researching Your Italian Ancestors: Local Immigration

  • The first wave of Italian immigrants was primarily from Northern Italy and relatively well-off
  • The majority of the larger and later waves was from Southern Italy and Sicily and tended to be from poor, agrarian backgrounds.
  • New England has the highest population of people with Italian ancestry in the country, and descendants of Italian immigrants make up over 10% of the population of Massachusetts.
  • Italians faced considerable discrimination, especially in the first few decades of the 20th century when anarchism was a major political force. They were often forced to take low-paying, menial jobs and to live in squalid, over-crowded buildings.
  • Most Italian immigrants coming to Boston settled in the North End, which had become a largely Irish and Jewish neighborhood. The North End would for a time be the most densely populated neighborhood in the city, with over 44,000 Italian immigrants living in an area of only one square mile.

Researching Your Italian Ancestors: Resources at the BPL

Books

Online Resources

Researching Your Italian Ancestors: Online Resources

Researching Your Italian Ancestors: Online Guides

Researching Your Italian Ancestors: Societies & Associations