All 3 Library locations will be closed from Saturday, May 28th through Monday, May 30th, in honor of the Memorial Day holiday.

Join us in 2022 as we read a memoir by New England author Rachael Cerrotti and reflect on how family history impacts our personal stories today.

Books are available at the Public Services Desk at all three branches. E-books and E-audio are available on Libby.

Rachael will be joining us for a book discussion and signing on April 26, 2022.

This year-long, interactive, community-based project will include book and movie discussions, genealogy and discovering your roots programs, arts and crafts programs, and more ways to connect with your neighbors. It will culminate in an Open Mic Night – an opportunity for participants to share what they’ve learned or created throughout the project.

We Share the Same Sky: A Memoir of Memory & Migration

In 2009, Rachael Cerrotti, a college student pursuing a career in photojournalism, asked her grandmother, Hana, if she could record her story. Rachael knew that her grandmother was a Holocaust survivor and the only one in her family alive at the end of the war. Rachael also knew that she survived because of the kindness of strangers. It wasn’t a secret. Hana spoke about her history publicly and regularly. But, Rachael wanted to document it as only a granddaughter could. So, that’s what they did: Hana talked and Rachael wrote.

Upon Hana’s passing in 2010, Rachael discovered an incredible archive of her life. There were preserved albums and hundreds of photographs dating back to the 1920s. There were letters waiting to be translated, journals, diaries, deportation and immigration papers as well as creative writings from various stages of Hana’s life.

Rachael digitized and organized it all, plucking it from the past and placing it into her present. Then, she began retracing her grandmother’s story, following her through Central Europe, Scandinavia, and across the United States. She tracked down the descendants of those who helped save her grandmother’s life during the war. Rachael went in pursuit of her grandmother’s memory to explore how the retelling of family stories becomes the history itself.

We Share the Same Sky weaves together the stories of these two young women—Hana as a refugee who remains one step ahead of the Nazis at every turn, and Rachael, whose insatiable curiosity to touch the past guides her into the lives of countless strangers, bringing her love and tragic loss. Throughout the course of her twenties, Hana’s history becomes a guidebook for Rachael in how to live a life empowered by grief.

Schedule of Events

May 19, 2022 - Getting Started with Genealogy

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Join us on at the South Branch Library on Thursday May 19th to learn how to get started with genealogy research with Jennifer L. Smith, PLCGS. Jennifer is a professional genealogist with expertise in both traditional documentary and genetic genealogical research techniques. Her career in the biopharmaceutical industry provided a foundation in the science of DNA which is directly applicable to genetic genealogy. Jennifer provides comprehensive family history research projects for clients including genetic genealogy when applicable, consultations on research problems or DNA analysis, and coaching for developing genealogists. In this class, you will learn how to get started with genealogy research, such as organizing information and planning and documenting your research and results. The most useful types of records and where to find them, including the major genealogy databases will be covered, as well as tips for successfully searching the databases.

This event is partly funded by a grant from the Mass Cultural Council.

June 14, 2022 - Oral Histories and Testimony with Rachael Cerrotti

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Join author and storyteller Rachael Cerrotti (author of “We Share the Same Sky”) for a workshop and talk about how you can use oral histories, storytelling, and recorded testimony to find out more about your roots and family stories. Rachael will fill us in on her work with the Shoah Foundation and other institutions, how she uses recorded testimony in her work as a storyteller, and how you can use online resources to find out what your ancestors were up to.

This is an in-person, hands on workshop and will not be recorded or streamed due to the hands-on nature of the program.

This program is part of our year-long Roots to Kinship project, and is brought to you by a grant administered by the Mass Cultural Council.

June 16, 2022 - Introduction to DNA in Genealogical Research

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Introduction to DNA in Genealogical Research, a genealogy class taught by Jennifer Smith, PLCGS , will be held at the South Branch Library on Thursday, June 16th from 7:00 to 8:30PM.

In this class, you will learn how to make use of DNA testing in your genealogical research. The types of available DNA tests and benefits of each will be reviewed. You will learn how to use ethnicity estimates for clues and how to use DNA matches to further your family tree.

This program is part of our year-long Roots to Kinship project, and is brought to you by a grant administered by the Mass Cultural Council.