All posts by Eileen Pironti

About Eileen Pironti

Eileen graduated with a B.A. from Saint Anselm College, and received an M.S. from American University. She wrote about her ancestors’ participation in the colonization of Nobles County, Minnesota in “‘An Invitation to the Land’: Reconstructing James and Eliza Conlon’s Migration to Minnesota,” which was published in the Summer 2011 issue of American Ancestors magazine. Eileen's interests include Irish and 19th century New England research.

Town and city annual reports

Somerville_1887Municipal annual reports provide a breakdown of various city and town department budgets and expenditures for the year. At first glance it may seem that these publications would not be useful for genealogical research, but taking the time to search these reports for information about your ancestors may lead to some interesting discoveries about their lives and the lives of their contemporaries. Many of these reports include a roster of municipal employees and their annual salaries. For example, the 1887 edition of City of Somerville (Massachusetts) Annual Reports contains information submitted by a number of departments, including the School Committee.[1] Their report includes a table listing the school teachers who worked in Somerville that year, their salaries, and the year they were hired. Continue reading Town and city annual reports

Thank you for your service

My father, while serving in Korea.

Every November 10th my sister and I call my father to say Happy Birthday. Sometimes my mother buys a small cake to mark the occasion. However, November 10th is not my father’s actual birthday. It is the “birthday” of the United States Marine Corps, which was formed on 10 November 1775 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My father served as a U.S. Marine during the Korean War, and he always appreciates it when we acknowledge this date. Growing up, I didn’t know much about my father’s military service. When I first began researching my family history, I spent a lot of time looking for information on the more distant generations of my family. However, I began to realize that I needed to take the time to learn more about the lives of my parents. One area I wanted to focus on was my father’s service during the Korean War. Continue reading Thank you for your service

Hidden treasures in Immigrant Aid Society records

Click on images to enlarge them. First two images courtesy of NARA; third image courtesy of AJHS-NEA.

While visiting the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston recently, I took the opportunity to look at their collection titled Charitable Irish Society Records. The Charitable Irish Society was founded in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1737, with the goal of assisting Irish immigrants in need of financial assistance or employment. It is the oldest Irish society in the United States, and is still active today. A number of the projects I work on at NEHGS involve Irish research, so I wanted to take a closer look at these records to learn more about the contents of this collection. Continue reading Hidden treasures in Immigrant Aid Society records

Taking the time to learn about my great-grandfather

A James E. Conlon clock

One of my favorite family history projects has been organizing the papers of my great-grandfather, James Edward Conlon (1880–1948). He worked in Boston as an antiques dealer and clock maker/restorer from the 1910s through the 1940s. James and his wife Mary had eleven children, including my grandfather John Francis Conlon (1911–1965). My grandfather worked as a firefighter, but in his spare time he painted a number of his father’s clocks, utilizing techniques such as reverse painting on glass and gold leafing.  When I began to look through my great-grandfather’s papers, I was surprised to discover a connection to my line of work as a researcher that I didn’t know existed.

Continue reading Taking the time to learn about my great-grandfather