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Interview with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist at NEHGS

From interview with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist at NEHGS, Guest Speaker at NERGC 2015 at Providence, Rhode Island

I am very honored to interview David Allen Lambert who will be a guest speaker this year at the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium, Inc.(NERGC) David is a historian, author, genealogist, lecturer, and the Chief Genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS).

David has worked at NEHGS since 1993 and has published several books and many articles on genealogical studies.He generously volunteers his time to the community and is the VP at the Stoughton Historical Society.

One of David's presentations at the conference is on Thursday 4/16 from 3:15 to 4:14, "Examining Records for Pirates in New England in the 17th and 18th Century." The conference will be in Rhode Island April 15-18 at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence.

David when did you become interested in History and Genealogy?

 I started my journey very early on, I was seven years old. I stumbled on a tintype photo that fell out of a book. I asked my grandmother, Lillian Mae Poor Lea (1896-1980), who the person in the photo was. She told me it was her father, Alexander Livingston Poor (1848-1921). I was mesmerized with the stories she related. The whaling ship adventures made me want to find out all I could on this man and his life. I was hooked! I immediately became immersed in my family history. It was not long after that I started to explore the local family trees where I volunteered at the Stoughton Historical Society. By age 15 I was the vice-president of the Stoughton Historical Society. I was researching history and genealogy from all over and I still am.

Alexander Livingston Poor: born December 5, 1848 in Boston, Mass., and died at 119 Granite Ave., Dorchester, Mass., on February 14, 1921. He married Clista Ann Gale (1850-1933) on May 3, 1874.

What services to you offer at NEHGS, and what are the benefits of a membership?

The NEHGS (1845) is the country's first family-history society. It has extensive resources which include an Internet database of over 100 million names, including vital records, compiled genealogies, and scholarly journals. We publish both American Ancestors and The New England Historical and Genealogical Register (The Register).

Our catalog lists over 200,000 books, more than 12 million documents, manuscripts, records, books, microfilms, photographs and other artifacts dating to the 14th century. The Research Library collection also has significant material for the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and other nations. In addition, there is a fine arts and antique furniture collection.

The Great Migration Study Project Volumes are here. They are among the most accurate and updated sources available on European settlers in New England from 1620 to 1640.

Visitors can book an appointment with a genealogist on site or over the telephone to help with research guidance.

NEHGS offers many services that other online search providers do not. We are a comprehensive resource offering family historians of all levels guidance, instruction, and assistance in a variety of programs and services.

First, we have expert genealogists that have years of experience and many have mastered skills in American, Irish, English, Scottish, and Canadian research. Whether you are just beginning your family history research or have been researching for many years, Research

Services is here to assist you. Our expert genealogists can assist you with any type of research request, large or small. We can help you with creating biographical narratives on your ancestors and retrieving manuscript materials. We can help create family charts and assist you in completing your lineage society applications.

If you are just starting out, or maybe have "hit a brick wall" in your research our capable staff can help map out a strategy so you will be successful with finding your ancestors. If you have "no paper trail" a DNA test can offer clues and information. The DNA testing has opened up a whole new area in genealogical research.

Another way to search is old newspaper archives. A well detailed obit can reveal many important details about your ancestors. The one thing to keep in mind when using such resources is to stay close to the source. The towns and counties where your relatives lived. I know from my own research I was able to obtain an obit that gave me answers on a great- grandfather's death. In fact, it provided me with facts I may never have gotten from a death record, town directory, or census. NEHGS has microfilm and online access to passenger lists and many naturalization records.

Photos of NEGHS Building and Interior Library; David working with NEHGS patron Julie Michutka at the library.

Is there a particular event that stands out during your career as a Genealogist?

Well, I find everyday to be an exciting experience and there is nothing more gratifying than connecting living relations. When a patron is working with me and I am able to track a living relative whom they have never met--there is nothing to match the joy. The best feeling in the world comes when I hand the phone over to a patron and their relation is on the other end anxious to greet them. However, I do have one incredible story. My research work with Ken Burns, American Producer and Director of Documentary Films was a "serendipitous" encounter. Burns had no clue he was related to Abraham Lincoln!  (See Video where Burns speaks with work with NEHGS on TV click on Ken Burns) Article: Roots: Ken Burns researches his distant relatives Video at NEHGS withKen Burns Interview: American Ancestors.

David, what can you tell about your experience in researching your Newbury lines? I know we have some connections through our Newbury ancestors--Little, Coffin, and Poor--just to name a few.

Many of my Newbury lines settled the town and I love the history there. It is my home away from home. As I mentioned earlier my Poor line owned the Poor Tavern on Newbury Neck Road . I have a group on my Newbury family. I have Facebook Group on one of my Newbury families entitled The Lea and Poor Family Homestead and those who are related can feel free to submit a request to join. We share old family photos of the home and those relations who lived there.

I also write a blog along with my colleagues at NEHGS which allows us to share stories about our own family and our favorite historical events and places. The NEHGS Blog is Vita Brevis and a link can be found here.

One direct ancestor from Newbury is Captain Jonathan Poor who took up arms bravely when the news of the battle at Lexington and Concord reached Newbury. He was among the men who had enlisted and signed the Resolve of the Provincial Congress of the Massachusetts Bay agreement to take up arms and volunteer for the cause. Captain John, along with his Newbury brethren were hastily summoned at midnight, Wednesday, April 19, 1775, and were soon on their way to the field of action.

"The Roll of that part of the Company that marched from Newbury on the nineteenth day of April, 1775, on ye alarm on sd day under ye Command of Capt. Jonathan Poor of said town of Newbury, in ye county of Essex and Colony of ye Massachusetts & in ye second Regiment of Militia to defend this Contenant from ye invasions of the ministerial troops. "History of Newbury"

My family members resided at the Newbury Poore Tavern site from 1642 to 1819, when my fourth great-grandmother, Sarah (Dole) Poor (the widow of Capt. Jonathan Poor), died.

The Poore Family Tavern---David Lambert's family lived there from 1642 until 1807

John George Lea (1876-1953) in his dress uniform from the Canadian Expeditionary Forces

Photo of Alexander L. Poore, Bernice (Fuller) Poore, Clara E. (Poor) Lakin, and Isaac H.B. Lakin, ca. 1902/1903.

This house once had a little extension off the side where John Poor (1711-1783) built a room for his daughters to entertain their gentleman who they were courting.

The original Poor Tavern sign that hung outside the Poor-Poore Family Tavern on Newbury Neck Road, Newbury, Mass. ENTERTAINMENT BY JONA POOR - 1798

DAVID'S LATEST PROJECT----DONT MISS OUT! David and daughter Brenda Lambert will be April 19th at the Stoughton Historical Society from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. for a book signing, Stoughton in the 20th Century.

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