Place:Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States


NameBoston
Alt namesOld Bostonsource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS25010744
Shawmuttsource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS25010744
Shawnnutsource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS25010744
Totantsource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS25010744
Tremontsource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS25010744
Trimountainsource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS25010744
TypeCity
Coordinates42.35°N 71.05°W
Located inSuffolk, Massachusetts, United States     (1630 - )
Contained Places
Cemetery
Copp's Hill Cemetery
Granary Burying Ground ( 1660 - )
King's Chapel Burying Ground ( 1640 - )
Westerly Burying Ground ( 1868 - )
Former municipality
Charlestown ( 1874 - )
Dorchester ( 1870 - )
Roxbury ( 1868 - )
Neighborhood
Charlestown ( 1874 - )
Dorchester ( 1870 - )
Roxbury ( 1868 - )
Unknown
Mattapan
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Boston (pronounced ) is the capital and largest city of the state of Massachusetts (officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts), in the United States. Boston also serves as county seat of the state's Suffolk County. The largest city in New England, the city proper, covering , had an estimated population of 636,000 in 2012, making it the 21st largest city in the United States. The city is the anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area called Greater Boston, home to 4.5 million people and the tenth-largest metropolitan area in the country. Greater Boston as a commuting region is home to 7.6 million people, making it the sixth-largest Combined Statistical Area in the United States.

One of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston was founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan colonists from England. It was the scene of several key events of the American Revolution, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Siege of Boston. Upon American independence from Great Britain, the city continued to be an important port and manufacturing hub, as well as a center for education and culture. Through land reclamation and municipal annexation, Boston has expanded beyond the original peninsula. Its rich history helps attract many tourists, with Faneuil Hall alone attracting over 20 million visitors. Boston's many "firsts" include the United States' first public school (1635), and first subway system (1897).

The area's many colleges and universities make Boston an international center of higher education and medicine, and the city is considered to be a world leader in innovation for a variety of reasons. Boston's economic base also includes finance, professional and business services, and government activities. The city has one of the highest costs of living in the United States, though it remains high on world livability rankings.

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Boston's early European settlers had first called the area Trimountaine (after its "three mountains"—only traces of which remain today) but later renamed it Boston after Boston, Lincolnshire, England, from which several prominent colonists had come. The renaming, on September 7, 1630 (old style), was by Puritan colonists from England, who had moved over from Charlestown earlier that year in quest of fresh water. Their settlement was initially limited to the Shawmut Peninsula, at that time surrounded by the Massachusetts Bay and Charles River and connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. The peninsula is known to have been inhabited as early as 5000 BC.

In 1629, the Massachusetts Bay Colony's first governor, John Winthrop, led the signing of the Cambridge Agreement, a key founding document of the city. Puritan ethics and their focus on education influenced its early history; America's first public school was founded in Boston in 1635.[1] Over the next 130 years, the city participated in four French and Indian Wars, until the British defeated the French and their native allies in North America. Boston was the largest town in British North America until Philadelphia grew larger in the mid 18th century.

Many of the crucial events of the American Revolution—the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere's "midnight ride", the battles of Lexington and Concord and Bunker Hill, the Siege of Boston, and many others—occurred in or near Boston. After the Revolution, Boston's long seafaring tradition helped make it one of the world's wealthiest international ports, with rum, fish, salt, and tobacco being particularly important.


The Embargo Act of 1807, adopted during the Napoleonic Wars, and the War of 1812 significantly curtailed Boston's harbor activity. Although foreign trade returned after these hostilities, Boston's merchants had found alternatives for their capital investments in the interim. Manufacturing became an important component of the city's economy, and by the mid-19th century, the city's industrial manufacturing overtook international trade in economic importance. Until the early 20th century, Boston remained one of the nation's largest manufacturing centers and was notable for its garment production and leather-goods industries.[2] A network of small rivers bordering the city and connecting it to the surrounding region facilitated shipment of goods and led to a proliferation of mills and factories. Later, a dense network of railroads furthered the region's industry and commerce.


During this period Boston flourished culturally as well, admired for its rarefied literary life and generous artistic patronage, with members of old Boston families—eventually dubbed Boston Brahmins—coming to be regarded as the nation's social and cultural elites. Boston also became a center of the abolitionist movement. The city reacted strongly to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, contributing to President Franklin Pierce's attempt to make an example of Boston after the Anthony Burns Fugitive Slave Case.

In 1822, the citizens of Boston voted to change the official name from "the Town of Boston" to "the City of Boston", and on March 4, 1822, the people of Boston accepted the charter incorporating the City. At the time Boston was chartered as a city, the population was about 46,226, while the area of the city was only .[3]

In the 1820s, Boston's population grew rapidly, and the city's ethnic composition changed dramatically with the first wave of European immigrants. Irish immigrants dominated the first wave of newcomers during this period, especially following the Irish Potato Famine—by 1850, about 35,000 Irish lived in Boston. In the latter half of the 19th century, the city saw increasing numbers of Irish, Germans, Lebanese, Syrians, French Canadians, and Russian and Polish Jews settled in the city. By the end of the 19th century, Boston's core neighborhoods had become enclaves of ethnically distinct immigrants—Italians inhabited the North End, Irish dominated South Boston and Charlestown, and Russian Jews lived in the West End. Irish and Italian immigrants brought with them Roman Catholicism. Currently, Catholics make up Boston's largest religious community, and since the early 20th century, the Irish have played a major role in Boston politics—prominent figures include the Kennedys, Tip O'Neill, and John F. Fitzgerald.


Between 1631 and 1890, the city tripled its area through land reclamation by filling in marshes, mud flats, and gaps between wharves along the waterfront. The largest reclamation efforts took place during the 19th century; beginning in 1807, the crown of Beacon Hill was used to fill in a 50-acre (20 ha) mill pond that later became the Haymarket Square area. The present-day State House sits atop this lowered Beacon Hill. Reclamation projects in the middle of the century created significant parts of the South End, the West End, the Financial District, and Chinatown. After The Great Boston Fire of 1872, workers used building rubble as landfill along the downtown waterfront. During the mid-to-late 19th century, workers filled almost 600 acres (2.4 km2) of brackish Charles River marshlands west of Boston Common with gravel brought by rail from the hills of Needham Heights. The city annexed the adjacent towns of South Boston (1804), East Boston (1836), Roxbury (1868), Dorchester (including present day Mattapan and a portion of South Boston) (1870), Brighton (including present day Allston) (1874), West Roxbury (including present day Jamaica Plain and Roslindale) (1874), Charlestown (1874), and Hyde Park (1912). Other proposals, for the annexation of Brookline, Cambridge, and Chelsea, were unsuccessful.


By the early and mid-20th century, the city was in decline as factories became old and obsolete, and businesses moved out of the region for cheaper labor elsewhere. Boston responded by initiating various urban renewal projects under the direction of the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), which was established in 1957. In 1958, BRA initiated a project to improve the historic West End neighborhood. Extensive demolition was met with vociferous public opposition. The BRA subsequently reevaluated its approach to urban renewal in its future projects, including the construction of Government Center. In 1965, the first Community Health Center in the United States opened, the Columbia Point Health Center, in the Dorchester neighborhood. It mostly served the massive Columbia Point public housing complex adjoining it, which was built in 1953. The health center is still in operation and was rededicated in 1990 as the Geiger-Gibson Community Health Center. The Columbia Point complex itself was redeveloped and revitalized into a mixed-income community called Harbor Point Apartments from 1984 to 1990. By the 1970s, the city's economy boomed after 30 years of economic downturn. A large number of high rises were constructed in the Financial District and in Boston's Back Bay during this time period. This boom continued into the mid-1980s and later began again. Hospitals such as Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Brigham and Women's Hospital lead the nation in medical innovation and patient care. Schools such as Boston University, the Harvard Medical School, Northeastern University, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory attract students to the area. Nevertheless, the city experienced conflict starting in 1974 over desegregation busing, which resulted in unrest and violence around public schools throughout the mid-1970s.

Boston is an intellectual, technological, and political center but has lost some important regional institutions, including the acquisition of The Boston Globe by The New York Times, and the loss to mergers and acquisitions of local financial institutions such as FleetBoston Financial, which was acquired by Charlotte-based Bank of America in 2004. Boston-based department stores Jordan Marsh and Filene's have both been merged into the Cincinnati–based Macy's. Boston has experienced gentrification in the latter half of the 20th century, with housing prices increasing sharply since the 1990s.[4] Living expenses have risen, and Boston has one of the highest costs of living in the United States, and was ranked the 129th most expensive major city in the world in a 2011 survey of 214 cities. Despite cost of living issues, Boston ranks high on livability ratings, ranking 36th worldwide in quality of living in 2011 in a survey of 221 major cities. On April 15, 2013, at approximately 2:50 p.m. EDT, two Chechen Islamist brothers exploded two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring hundreds.[5]

Research Tips

  • Outstanding guide to Boston family history and genealogy resources (FamilySearch Research Wiki). Birth, marriage, and death records, town histories, city directories, cemeteries, churches, newspapers, libraries, and historical societies.

Books available online at Google Books

Boston Births from A.D. 1700 to A.D. 1800

Boston Marriages 1700 to 1751

Dorchester Births, Marriages, and Deaths to the End of 1825

Vital Records of the Town of Dorchester from 1826 to 1849

Boston Births, Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths, 1630-1699

The Memorial History of Boston: Including Suffolk County

Early Boston Records: Aspinwall Notorial Records

Boston Town Records, 1784 to 1796

Selectmen's Minutes from 1787 through 1798

The Pilgrims of Boston and Their Descendants - also inscriptions from the Granary Burial Ground

History of the Old South Church (Third Church) Boston, 1669-1884

An Historical Catalogue of the Old South Church (Third Church) Boston

The Manifesto Church: Records of the Church in Brattle Square, Boston

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