My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Boston Public Library has a Microtext Department

The Boston Public Library at Copley Square has a new large Microtext Department. And, I've recently rediscovered it. If you plan on using it to look up Massachusetts Newspapers on microfilm, you should go to their website first before leaving home, at from this page scroll to Massachusetts Newspapers. A pdf of the towns, name of paper, years available and call number appears (72 pages long).

An example for Salem, Massachusetts:

S18 American Gazette, or Constitutional Journal  1776
      Salem Chronicle, and Essex Advertiser  1786
S23 Le Courrier de Salem 1908-1921
C1183 Essex Gazette (with New England Chronicle) 1768-1775
S238 Friend  1807
S2733 Salem Daily Gazette 1892-1908
  aka Salem Gazette 1875-1889
Salem Mercury 1788-1789

I had already prepared a chart with the names, dates of death, and locations of the people I wanted to look up obituaries for. See * for my example.

Once at the library, and with the necessary library card, I filled out the form, and patiently waited. You know the usual questions, name, call number, your library card number, name and date of newspaper, etc.

Request form
Fill out in duplicate

About two years ago, the Library moved their microfilm department from the lovely office on the first floor to the humongous one on the second floor. And, I don't like it. The photos below will help illustrate why.
  • There is way too much light, light from the windows and light from the ceiling. When I put the reel on, I couldn't even read it, not a single page was readable.
  • The area isn't just for genealogists, but for the entire public, so there were a couple of kids at the table I was at, entertaining me with their noise.
  • Naturally, some of the machines didn't work, I know that happens everywhere. The two men in the last photo were using the printer machines to look at their reels, but even with those, there is too much light (see man's machine on the right). I chatted with both, and they complained right along with me.
  • I discussed the change in location with the librarian, and she was very sad about it, didn't like their new location at all.
This is now the cafe on the first floor, used to be called the Map Room where the microfilm readers were. Everybody loves this room.
The microfilm readers are on the 2nd floor. The above shot was taken when blogger, Diane MacLean Boumenot and I met to chat. At that time, I asked the reference librarian just a few questions as I knew I would be back.
My second visit, and the two men who were also upset.
* Form I prepared for my research.
Town and Name of Person
Date of Newspaper


Zephania Swift
23 Oct. 1901

Frances G. Poole
19 Jan. 1904


William F. Poole
19 Sept. 1926


Mary Poole
21 May 1932

Ward Poole
22 May 1864


Elizabeth Christopher
14 April 2007


Stephen Daniels
17 Mar. 1805

17 Jan. 1832

6 Aug. 1872

Ward Poole
Nov. 14, 1828