Local genealogist to lecture on tracing Catholic roots

BRAINTREE -- Those interested in learning how to use archdiocesan resources to trace their Catholic heritage can see how to do so at an upcoming presentation.

On Feb. 23, at 6:30 p.m. in the Boston Public Library, local genealogist Michael Brophy will speak about using sacramental records to trace one's ancestry. Specifically, Brophy will inform attendees about the advantages and benefits of sacramental records over civil record and share resources available in the Archdiocese of Boston's archives based in its Pastoral Center in Braintree.

"It's basically going through what information will be contained in the baptismal and sacramental records of the archdiocese," said Brophy, a genealogy lecturer, researcher and columnist based in Abington.

His lecture will also discuss key events in the archdiocese's history.

Brophy is the program director for the Massachusetts Genealogical Council, and also served as a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

He specializes in Irish-Catholic history, specifically Irish Catholics in Massachusetts. His other research specialties include the immigration and naturalization, the Civil War, historic sites, land records, court documents and military history.

Time period specialties include the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, and geographic specialties include New England, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island in Canada and Ireland.

He was the lead researcher in Massachusetts for the recently-released book "The Remains of Company D: A Story of the Great War," by James Carl Nelson. He also recently compiled research for "Who Do You Think You Are?," a television program on NBC.

Brophy holds a master's degree in business from Suffolk University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Brophy is a member of St. Bridget Parish in Abington.

He said the top reason people perform genealogical research is that it "gives us a true sense of identity -- who we are and where we've come from."

"It gives us a new perspective on ourselves," he added.