Saturday, July 09, 2011


During the Summer Boston has what is know as "Free Fridays",  a series of events
with free admission at  various museums and institutions. Yesterday the NEHGS
was one of the places taking part, and fellow geneablogger Barbara Poole and
I made plans to meet up there. This would be sort of an experiment for me. While
I've been much more active since my medical issues of last year, it's been quite
awhile since the last time I've braved the Boston subway system on my own.

It was pouring out when I got up yesterday so I took my jacket and drove to the
Braintree Tstop where I ended up parking at the lowest level of the garage. I had
no trouble negotiating up the steps to street level but when I walked into the
 station I realized I'd left my wallet in my car. So back out and down the stairs I
went to retrieve it, then back up the stairs and then onto the train to Boston I went.

I had to change over to the trolley line at Park Street and somehow managed to
climb up the stairs to the Inbound platform instead of the Outbound, so back down
I went and across to climb up the correct stairs and catch a trolley.  I continued my
errors by getting off two stops too soon at Boylston St instead of at Copley Sq. which
meant I had to climb up three flights guessed it... more stairs. Sheesh! At
this point I figured I better make sure which way I was going to start walking, and a
handy nearby UPS driver pointed out the way to Copley Sq. Luckily, it had stopped
raining and all those walks in the woods made the distance to the NEGHS a snap.

There was quite a few people taking advantage of the free admission so it took a
few moments before Barbara and I finally met. She is a very pleasant lady and
despite what she told me I don't believe she could possibly be older than I. She
doesn't look a day over 39! Barbara introduced me to Josh Taylor, then helped
me signup for a free 15 minute consult with David Allan Lambert later in the morning.
Since I hadn't been to NEGHS in over 20 years I was grateful that she took me on a
tour until it was time for my consult. (The staff was conducting tours but it involved
climbing a lot of stairs again so I was glad to make use of the elevator.)

My consult with David was at 11:45 on the 6th floor and I made use of the oppurtunity
to see what he might make of the infamous John Cutter West brickwall. He had
good suggestions, including a database and a book on Sumner Maine where John
Cutter West and Arvilla Ames were married. We also discussed DNA testing. The
conversation got around to Civil War reenactments and it turns out David knew my
college classmate Edmund Hands.
Barbara took this picture of my consult with David Lambert

Barbara and I had brought lunches so after the consult she and I walked over to
Copley Sq and found an empty bench to sit on while we ate and talked. By now the
weather had cleared so we soent about 45 minutes in conversation about research
and blogging before heading back to the NEHGS. We stopped outside to get a
picture taken but Barbara craftly left me holding the ballons!

I was going back inside to look at a book about Paris, Maine we'd discovered earlier
but Barbara had to leave so we said goodbye. I spent an hour with the book up on
the 5th floor and then decided I better get going myself on  my way home to avoid
the rush hour traffic. I walked back to Copley Square to the subway stop by the
main branch of the Boston Public Library, stopping to take some pictures along the

It was a nice day all around. I met Josh and David, got a badly needed tour of the
NEHGS, and proved to myself I can take other such trips into Boston by myself in
the future. I expect to see other geneabloggers at the NEHGS over this summer.

Thanks again Barbara Poole for an enjoyable day!


Wendy said...

I adore NEHGS, and everybody who works there! Hopefully someday I will get home to Massachusetts to visit it again. It sounds like you had a great time!

Heather Rojo said...

I love your photo of the sign on the men's room door. I took photos of the "patrilineal" and "matrilineal", too, on one of my trips to NEHGS!

Barbara Poole said...

Nice report Bill, and thanks for the mention.

Susan (Nolichucky Roots) said...

I'm so glad you had a successful day and got to see NEHGS and got to spend time with a geneablogger buddy. Practically a perfect day!

--- said...

Ah, the good old days, when I used to get into the NEHGS Library every month or so, on the T from Brookline after work.