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Come Hear MGC's Presentation at the Mass. State Library!

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new state house logo smTuesday, December 17th


Massachusetts State House, Room 442

The Massachusetts State Library, located at the Massachusetts State House, holds a monthly Brown Bag Lunch. The attendees tend to be from the Massachusetts Legislature and other offices in the State House, probably more aides and administrative staff than legislators. 

The Massachusetts Genealogical Council (MGC) will present "Learning About Your Family History" at a Brown Bag Lunch on December 17th. MGC was founded in 1980 and is the umbrella organization representing Massachusetts genealogists, historical societies, and individuals concerned about records preservation and free and unfettered access to civil records. MGC serves as the records access watchdog and provides a reality check for the Massachusetts legislature regarding access issues. Thanks in large part to efforts by MGC, Massachusets is one of very few states where the public is still able to access all vital records.

MGC President Mary Ellen Grogan says, "We want attendees to be aware of what is available for genealogy in Massachusetts and the importance of records access. We can't teach them everything about genealogy, but we can show them some basics on how to research family history. We will look at some of the resources at the State Library: town histories, vital records, maps, city directories, and town reports. Genealogy is not as easy as it seems on TV, but everyone can do it, especially in Massachusetts. It is rewarding and provides insight into the story of family."

In addition, MGC Director of State Civil Records Teresa Scott will address the importance of compiling a family health history. Genealogy serves as a means to construct medical family histories which are increasingly being requested by physicians to assist them in diagnosing and treating patients. Information in birth and death records helps us reconstruct families and trace genetically inherited diseases. The Social Security Death Index enables researchers to locate long lost family members who may have critical information family health issues.

Immediate Past President Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt, CG will speak briefly on military repatriation case workers. Various branches of the US military hire genealogists to help them locate next of kin and DNA donors of servicemen lost in previous wars, for which use of vital records and the Social Security Death Index is a constant necessity.

1908 state library Massachusetts StateHouse Boston

Presenters will be able to open MGC's website ( and show off our new Health History Chart, and perhaps to show online death certificates. MGC's Director of Communications Mary Tedesco will tweet live updates as well.

MGC is happy to be presenting this introductory genealogy talk at the Massachusetts State House. Won't you bring a brown bag lunch and join us?

To register, please go to  You may also call the Reference Department at 617-727-2590 or e-mail to to let the State Library know you will attend.

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Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt is a Board-certified genealogist specializing in Massachusetts research. She has been taking clients for sixteen years and researches a variety of topics from Mayflower lineages to locating townlands of Irish immigrants. She is a case worker under contract to the US Army on repatriation cases, helping to locate family members of servicemen missing or killed in previous conflicts. She currently serves as a director at Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), and editor of the FGS Voice Newsletter, and is past president of MGC. You can read her personal blog at


  • Guest
    Anonymous Tuesday, 03 December 2013

    I have been to the State Library many times and have actually attended a number of the brown bag lunches. The image in this blog post is actually the State Library in the State House, and Room 442 of the State House is the balcony of the library, which you can see in the photo. Room 442 is located in the very back of the State House on the 4th floor. Bernard, you must have visited the Special Collections Department of the State Library, which is located in the basement of the West Wing of the State House.

  • Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt
    Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt Tuesday, 03 December 2013

    Thank you for your question, Bernie. The date is Tuesday, December 17th. While they have not given us the precise location, previous lunches have been held in room Room 442 of the State House, not in the actual State Library. They schedule these events from 12:00 to 1:30. They presume everyone is settling in with their lunches so talk will begin around 12:10, and end around 1:10 (or so), and then there is time for questions.

    You can simply ask when you enter the building, or follow this link for a floor plan.

  • Guest
    Bernard Couming Monday, 02 December 2013

    Given that the date of Dec. 17th was clearly shown in this announcement, and I trust that the time forr a lunch would be 12 noon, I withdraw my hastily written first "comment". I would add though, that my last trip to the State Library, found it's location somewhat difficult to find, in the basement. The photo of such a lovely two story Library Reading Room. depicted in this announcement, must have been a much earlier building location. Are there clear instructions available for attendees to locate the current location, in order to facilitate timely arrival?

  • Guest
    Bernard Couming Monday, 02 December 2013

    This sounds like a powerful and timely intervention at a perfect venue where the best set of original Mass. Town and City Street Directories is maintained for research across the Commonwealth. One thing seems to be missing. The date and time of the presentation. If I missed it, Please highlight it in the announcement. I'd love to attend if my calendar permits.

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Guest Monday, 16 October 2017