Photo Caption: Third generation Roxbury activist Marie Firmin is delighted to see a ship manifest listing her father, the late Joseph Firmin, 1911-1999, on the USS Prussia. With assistance from NEHGS library director Marie Daly (in glasses) Firmin navigated the NEHGS databases to discover the rich legacy of her family’s history. Photo by Lolita Parker, Jr.
By: Nicole Atchison
February 9, 2012, Boston, MA - On February 8, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, located at 99-101 Newbury Street, held a day-long African American History and Genealogy Open House. Participants were treated to speakers, tips on African American genealogical research, and access to the NEHGS research center and archives.
NEHGS genealogist David Allen Lambert spoke about researching pre-Civil War African American families while Alex R. Goldfeld, historian, discussed slavery and freedom in Boston’s black community. Goldfield highlighted his research on African Americans in the North End. Joseph Carvalho, author of “Black Families in Hampden County, Massachusetts, 1650 – 1865,” was also on hand to discuss aspects of the rich history of African Americans in and around Springfield, Mass.
While searching one of the Society’s many databases, Enoch Woodhouse, 85, a Mission Hill attorney and one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, discovered that one of his ancestors, also named Enoch Woodhouse, was a Civil War veteran. This was new information for Woodhouse. He encourages all of Black Boston to visit and join NEHGS. “The Society gives the community a unique opportunity to learn about its ancestors, and it’s right here in Boston! We need to let others know about this resource so that people can come to the Society and use what is offered.”