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Bostonians of the colonial period may have been Puritans, but they were anything but pure. Witches, Rakes, and Rogues demonstrates that from the city’s founding until the Revolution, Boston’s narrow, twisting streets were crawling with witches, murderers, con men, swindlers, and blackguards.
By digging deep into the city’s records, Brenton Simons reveals a veritable rogues’ gallery, and even uncovering the truth – in “Murder by Arsenic: The Ill-fated Greenleaf Children” – about Boston’s first documented serial murder. Other true tales include “The Turbulent Passions of Ann Hibbins,” “The Diabolical Possession of Martha Robinson,” “The Extortion Plot Against Two Gentlemen of Substance,” and stories of bigamists, thieves, miscreants and black sheep.
Step back in time to discover the people, the customs and the history of Charlestown, Massachusetts from its earliest years. From Deference to Defiance explores the conflicts and interactions of early settlers and brings them to life in a way that is often difficult during this time period. Much of the text is extracted from early court records whose tales are not only re-told but interpreted and put into the proper context for the time period.
Roger Thompson is emeritus professor of American Colonial History at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England. His earlier works include Sex in Middlesex: Popular Mores in a Massachusetts County, 1649–1699 (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1986), Divided We Stand: Watertown 1630–80 (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001), and Cambridge Cameos: Stories of Life in Seventeenth-Century New England (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2005).
In the past few years, genealogy — like so many fields — has undergone a tech boom. There are television shows, online databases, and DNA tests, have transformed the once quaint pastime of searching through dusty old documents. That’s one of the reasons why a recent article on The Verge, an online tech, science and culture site, really caught our eye. In it writer Laura June claims that Data and DNA will eventually make the question “where did I come from” instantly solvable. Or as June writes, “The eternal search for our ancestors is coming to an end.”
It’s an interesting, thought provoking claim, especially to New England ears, as we live in a part of the country that not only has some of the best historical record keeping anywhere, but is also home to the oldest and largest genealogical society in the nation.
This week on Fieldstone Common, Marian Pierre-Louis interviews Chris Child and Scott Steward, authors of the award-winning Descendants of Judge John Lowell of Newburyport, MA..
This book demonstrates provides a perfect example of excellent and thorough published research. We will take the opportunity to learn from the author about the research skills and effort that goes into a work like this. The first full treatment of the Lowell family since Delmar R. Lowell’s 1899 genealogy, The Descendants of Judge John Lowell of Newburyport, Massachusetts traces John Lowell’s descendants to the present day, or for as many as another nine generations.
This week on Fieldstone Common, Marian Pierre-Louis interviews Donald R. Friary who wrote the forward for the new edition of New England Captives Carried to Canada.
This work provides biographical data for all captives discovered and paints a detailed picture of the Indian attacks on New England communities over the eighty-year period. Includes sources, a comprehensive index, and an appendix with greater explanation of terms, key people, and places mentioned in the text. For nearly a century, this has been the go-to resource and the most definitive work ever published on the subject.
Listen to NEHGS Chief Genealogist David Allen Lambert on Fieldstone Common with host Marian Pierre-Louis discuss some of David's favorite research topics, including New England cemeteries, Native American and African American genealogical research, and more.
Listen to NEHGS staff experts Suzanne Stewart, Director of Research Services, and Kelly Bouchard, researcher, discuss the family history of syndicated talk show host Charles ‘Karel’ Bouley.
Mr. Bouley contacted NEHGS in December to learn more about his French Canadian family history, admitting that he’d never met his grandparents and couldn’t name any of his great-grandparents. In fact, he said he had very little information at all about his family history. Suzanne and Kelly researched Mr. Bouley’s family, and he was thrilled to learn so much about a family story he’d never known.
Martin Hollick wrote the definitive resource for genealogists researching New England ancestors in the 17th century. His book, New Englanders in the 1600s: A Guide to Genealogical Research Published Between 1980 and 2010 (Expanded Edition) has been updated to include 5 more years and additional resources.
Martin will talk about the challenges of researching in the 1600s and learn invaluable research tips to ensure success. Whether you are a novice researcher or have many years experience, you will surely learn something new.
Puritan expert Robert Charles Anderson talks about the Puritans, who came in the Great Migration from England to America between 1620 and 1640 and greatly influenced American traditions and government. He will explain who these people were, talk about the Great Migration Project which chronicles them, and tell us about his new book on the Winthrop Fleet, as well as his tours in England.