Old Colony Historical Society to present "Genealogy and Geography" talk
By Christopher Nichols
Posted Jan 16, 2012 @ 01:56 AM
Taunton — The Old Colony Historical Society (OCHS) will be presenting an illustrated talk, “Rivers, Landing Places and Home Lots: Genealogy and Geography,” on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. at the Historical Hall on 66 Church Green.
The talk is free and open to the public, with light refreshments to follow, and no reservations are necessary.
OCHS President Dr. Cynthia Booth Ricciardi and OCHS archivist and library manager Andrew D. Boisvert will be presenting information, using documents and records that date back to 1640, related to the history of Taunton and the genealogy of some of its larger families.
“We do have ongoing genealogy programs,” said Ricciardi. “One of the strengths of the Old Colony Historical Society is that we have a research library that has a lot of genealogy publications pertaining to local families, and we also have an archival section which includes many early documents from the settlement of the area.”
In particular, the talk will look at a map created in 1893 by Rev. Samuel Hopkins Emery. The map was complied by Emery from earlier documents as part of his 1893 work, “History of Taunton, Massachusetts, from its settlement to the present time.”
“One of the things that inspired us to put this together was this map,” said Ricciardi.
The presenters will show how an examination of maps of Taunton’s early settlement - like Emery’s map - along with records from our first Town Clerk, Oliver Purchis, records of the Leonard Ironworks and other documents can paint a picture of the everyday lives of Taunton’s first citizens.
Ricciardi and Boisvert will also examine how marriage and land ownership played an important role in Taunton’s earliest families.
“There were not that many people to marry in town, but they would also unite families for more land,” said Boisvert, saying that records and maps show how plots of land transferred from one family to another.
“You saw the girl next door, and that’s who you married,” explained Boisvert.
While this talk will focus on Taunton, the presenters will show their approaches to researching family trees that can be applied to other towns and colonial settlements. Boisvert and Ricciardi also note that Easton, Norton, Mansfield, Berkley, Raynham, Freetown, Lakeville and parts of Middleboro were all once part of Taunton.
They encourage everyone who may be interested to attend to learn about genealogy, history and how the two intersect.
“If your family history brings you to early Taunton, you have to have an understanding of the history in order to appreciate it, and that’s what we’re offering,” said Ricciardi.
“If you’re not interested in the history and you just come, it’ll help you appreciate the town you live in,” added Boisvert.
As part of their mission to collect, care for and interpret the history of Taunton, the OCHS maintains a museum and library that are open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Admission is $7 for genealogy, $4 for adults, and $2 for seniors and children 12-17.
Admission is free for members and children under 12.
There is no admission fee for the talk on Jan. 21, and those seeking more information can contact the OCHS at 508-822-1622 or visit their website, www.oldcolonyhistoricalsociety.org.