Old Dartmouth Roots: A Genealogy & Local History Symposium

September 22-24, 2011

The Old Dartmouth Historical Society / New Bedford Whaling Museum will be presenting the region’s first genealogy symposium from September 22-24, 2011. The three day event will include presentations on local genealogical resources and collections, a primer on how to do a genealogy search, a guide to regional cemeteries, walking tours and more. Partners in this event include the New Bedford Free Public Library (NBFPL), the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the New Bedford Preservation Society, the New Bedford Historical Society, and other local community organizations. Be prepared for new insights and surprises. As Helen Keller wrote: “There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who has not had a king among his.”

Keynote | Agenda | Sessions | Presentations | General Information



Thursday, September 22 
Judith Lucey: Assistant Archivist, New England Historic Genealogical Association (NEHGS), Boston, MA. She joined the staff of NEHGS in 2003, after receiving a B.S. in Education from Northeastern University and an M.S. in Library and Information Science from Simmons College. In addition to her expertise on how to begin personal genealogy research, she specializes in Irish genealogy, Newfoundland, 19th and 20th century genealogy, Italian genealogy, and the history of Cambridge and Somerville, MA. 

Maureen Taylor: an internationally recognized photo identification and family history expert. The author of a number of books and magazine articles, she offers a range of dynamic, interactive seminars on photographs, genealogy, and history. Maureen has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Hallmark Television, The View, Better Homes & Gardens, the Boston Globe, Martha Stewart Living, MSNBC, PBS Ancestors, and more. “With millions of Americans obsessively tracing their roots, Ms. Taylor has emerged as the nation’s foremost historical photo detective.” The Wall Street Journal.

Friday September 23 
Lamont D. Thomas is a Pulitzer Prize Nominee author and a retired university professor. He is a leading authority on the life and times of Captain Paul Cuffe. Thomas holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in history from Trinity College. He is the author of Paul Cuffe: Black Entrepreneur and Pan-Africanist and Rise to be a People: A Biography of Paul Cuffe, both published by Univ. of Illinois Press.

Lecture on Vimeo: Paul Cuffee–His Life and Times by Lamont D. Thomas



Thursday, September 22, 2011

  • 9:00 am Registration and Coffee, Jacobs Family Gallery, NBWM
  • 10:00 -10:15 am Welcome: James Russell, President, NBWM
  • 10:15 -11:00 am How to Get Started on a Genealogy Search Presenters: Judith Lucey, Assistant Archivist, New England Historical Genealogy Association (NEHGS), Boston, MA. Her genealogical interests include Irish genealogy, Newfoundland, 19th and 20th century genealogy, beginning genealogy, Italian genealogy, and the history of Cambridge and Somerville, MA.
  • 11:15 am-12:30 pm Panel on Local resources in the various libraries and centers Presenters: Paul Cyr, NBFPL, Judy Farrar, UMass-Dartmouth, and Michael P. Dyer, NBWM
  • 12:30 -1:30 pm Break for Lunch Courtesy of the NBWM
  • 1:30-2:45 pm Concurrent Sessions: Common Threads (a) Introduction to Portuguese and Cape Verdean Genealogy Presenters: Judith Downey, NBFPL and James J. Lopes, NBWM (b) History of Jewish New Bedford Presenter: Judy Farrar
  • 3:00-3:15 pm Coffee and Refreshments
  • 3:30-4:30 pm Concurrent Sessions: (a) Quaker Roots: the Rodmans, Russells and the Rotches Presenter: Judith Downey (b) The French Canadians Presenter: Paul Cyr
  • 6:30 pm “Sitting in New Bedford with the Photo Detective” Cook Memorial Theater, NBWM Presenter: Maureen Taylor, photo analyst and family history expert

Friday, September 23, 2011

  • 8:30 am Coffee and refreshments
  • 9:00-10:15 am Concurrent Sessions: Unlikely Connections (a) The Grinnells and the Howlands; the Jacobses and the Knoxes Presenters: James Grinnell and Katherine Culkin (b) Cemeteries of the Region (Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, New Bedford, and Westport) Presenters: Joan Barney and Judith Navas Lund
  • 12:30 -1:30 pm Break for Lunch Courtesy of the NBWM
  • 1:45-3:00 pm Concurrent Sessions: Family Ties (a) The Cuffes and the Wainers | Presenter: George Wortham (b) The Irish | Presenter: Andrew Pierce
  • 3:00-3:15 pm Coffee and Refreshments
  • 3:30-4:45 pm Concurrent Sessions: (a) Wampanoag Genealogy | Presenter: Andrew Pierce (b) Decoding the History of Logbooks and Crew Lists Presenters: Michael P. Dyer and Judith Navas Lund
  • 5:30 pm Opening of the Cuffe Kitchen Gallery, NBWM
  • 6:30 pm Reception followed by presentation by Cuffe biographer Lamont D. Thomas 
    Topic: Paul Cuffe, His Life and Times

September 24, 2011

  • 12 Noon Dedication of Captain Paul Cuffe Park



Thursday, September 22, 2011:

Getting Started
The introductory session will focus on how to begin on a genealogical search, and how to set reasonable goals and expectations. Participants will be asked, “Why research family history?” Presenters will include staff, researchers and archivists from various institutions who will discuss resources available at the various libraries and museums, including: birth, marriage and death records; passenger lists and immigration records; census, military and slave schedules; online resources; oral histories, logbooks and crew lists.

Common Threads 
The intersections of history, fate, destiny and opportunity in Old Dartmouth have produced countless inspirational stories. This session will focus on researching specific ethnic groups and topics including the Portuguese and the Cape Verdeans, the history of Jewish New Bedford, the founding Quaker families of Old Dartmouth, the French Canadians, and their lives and occupations in the region.

Special Event, “Sitting in New Bedford with the Photo Detective” 
Photo analyst and family history expert Maureen Taylor will decipher photographs from the Museum’s current long-running exhibit “Sitting in New Bedford” and offer insights into the secrets of each photograph. Ms. Taylor will also be available for private consultations during the day for a fee. Presented by the Samuel D. Rusitzky Fund

Friday, September 23, 2011

Unlikely Connections
Research often leads to unearthing surprising special connections and intersecting paths. Researchers who have uncovered unique family stories will share them and explain how their work led to discoveries about their own ancestor’s involvement in important social issues. Included will be a discussion of the Grinnells, the Howlands, the Jacobses, the Knoxes, and other local families. Local experts will also unlock the secrets of the region’s cemeteries, and explain their history and design.

Family Ties 
This session will present African-American, Irish, and Wampanoag genealogy and the unique issues and challenges presented in these particular areas of family research. Archivists Michael P. Dyer and Judith Navas Lund will guide participants through maritime records, and teach them how to decode the history of logbooks and crew lists.

Special Event, Opening of the Paul Cuffe Kitchen Gallery
An exhibit about 19th century sea captain Paul Cuffe of Westport with a reception followed by a presentation by Cuffe biographer Lamont Thomas on “Paul Cuffe, His Life and Times”.

Saturday, Sept 24, 2011, Dedication of Captain Paul Cuffe Park. 
Dedication of Captain Paul Cuffe Park.

Every day: Walking tours and cemetery shuttles from the New Bedford Whaling Museum.



The Grinnells & Howlands“, presentation by James Grinnell


General Information

New Bedford Whaling Museum

Elm Street Garage | Parking fee: $10/day

Directions to Elm Street Parking Garage: From I-195 take Exit 15 (Route 18 South – Downtown).
Take RIGHT at the first traffic light. Garage is about 500 feet on your RIGHT.

Airport Recommendation:
TF Green Airport, Warwick, Rhode Island (Closest airport to museum, about 40 minute travel time)

Rental Recommendation:
Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Providence Airport
Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 70 Dewey Avenue,
Warwick, RI 02886, Tel. (401) 732-5261

Dartmouth Location
Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 323 State Road,
Dartmouth, MA 02747, Tel. (508) 999-9400

Symposium Twitter hashtag #ODRoots
Symposium Contact: OldDartmouthRoots@whalingmuseum.org

All events are planned to be held at the New Bedford Whaling Museum unless otherwise noted. All events are free except as noted. Admission to the Museum Galleries is subject to daily pricing schedules.

Sponsored by ECHO (Education through Cultural and Historical Organizations) a program administered by the U.S. Dept. of Education.