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Finding Your Roots resumes with new stories (Season 8)

Posted by Ian Lamont on

Finding Your Roots resumes with new stories (Season 8)

It's back! Genealogists' favorite television show, Finding Your Roots, returns for an eighth season on January 4 (Tuesday night!) on your local PBS affiliate. We have a link below to the complete season 8 schedule.  Hosted by Harvard historian Henry Louis Gates Jr., the program delves into the genealogy of TV personalities, politicians, authors, musicians, and Hollywood stars. The show works with professional genealogists to go deep into the past, often finding stories that have long been forgotten.  The interviewees go on camera not knowing what's going to come out about their families' pasts. It may be touching, troubling, funny,...

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True story of a discovery of a statue hidden for decades

Posted by Ian Lamont on

True story of a discovery of a statue hidden for decades

A few weeks ago, we participated in a community service project for our son's scout troop. The troop members inadvertently uncovered a statue that had lain hidden for decades on the grounds of Our Lady's Help of Christians Church in Nonantum, Massachusetts. The community service was planned by another scout in our son's troop as a prerequisite for becoming an Eagle Scout. It involved redesigning a playground at a battered women's shelter on the grounds of the church run by Catholic Charities. The plan was to redo the playground with wooden benches, raised flowerbeds, and new shrubbery. Part of the prep work involved ripping up...

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A crawlspace discovery reveals a slice of life from the roaring '20s!

Posted by Ian Lamont on

A crawlspace discovery reveals a slice of life from the roaring '20s!

An eagle-eyed electrician who was checking the wiring in a crawlspace in our house recently made a fascinating discovery: A book of check stubs dating from the roaring 20s! Above, dated January 3, 1926, is a six dollar payment to the gas company. The convoluted abbreviations refer to balance brought forward, deposits, the check amount, and the balance carried forward. Some readers may recognize the following recipient from January 31, 1927: Filene's was a famous department store in downtown Boston, glamorous and always stocked with the latest fashions. After a long day browsing the aisles, one can imagine the shopper coming home in...

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Family history and extreme weather

Posted by Ian Lamont on

Family history and extreme weather

This weekend, a hurricane is blowing through New England. Even though it was only a category 1 storm, it is a rare enough occurrence in these parts that everyone paid attention. The last hurricane to have a major impact in Massachusetts was Sandy back in 2012. In New York and New Jersey, Sandy was a terrifying monster that wrought death and destruction across a wide area. Our kids, however, remember Sandy as the storm that brought down giant trees in a park near our home outside of Boston.  Extreme weather events can create lasting memories in children. Growing up, do you remember...

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Memorial Day: Remembering WWII "Hell Ships" and Tuskegee Airmen

Posted by Ian Lamont on

Memorial Day: Remembering WWII "Hell Ships" and Tuskegee Airmen

Before the pandemic, my town held an annual Memorial Day parade featuring veterans and other community groups. I hope the parade will return next year, but today we can still remember those who served. When I was a kid, I participated in the parade as a scout and remember talking to one of the U.S. Army Air Force vets from World War II in the march. He told me he served on a bomber crew over Europe, and remembered missions where fighter cover was provided by the Tuskegee Airmen - the all-black squadron who escorted bombers over Nazi-held territory.  Their...

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