Rebecca Carpenter earned her BA in History from Fitchburg State University and her MA in History from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Before joining NEHGS, she worked for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Dedham Historical Society & Library, where she found a love for genealogical research. In her off time she enjoys trying out new breweries, reading history books, and exploring.
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Genealogical research is possible because people preserved their family papers and photographs, allowing us to use them ten, twenty, even hundreds of years later to piece together their lives. Preservation of these items can seem a daunting task, filled with pitfalls, expensive materials, and hours and hours of time. However, it doesn’t have to feel so tough, and here are some basic tips to get started!
When I first started working at a brewery and learning about beer, I heard someone telling a story about Ninkasi, the goddess of beer in ancient Sumerian religious mythology. As a historian I knew how important beer was in early America. Many water sources were often polluted and unsafe for drinking, so low-alcohol beers and ciders were brewed for everyday drinking. “Americans drank an average of thirty-four gallons of beer and cider, five gallons of distilled spirits, and one gallon of wine per year in 1790.” I had not given much thought to the beginnings of beer, or to brewers and the ingredients they used. This story about the goddess of brewing sparked my interest to learn more about brewing and beer history. Continue reading A short history of beer→