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History of the Project

The story begins on December 20, 1996 when I attended a holiday party in New Hampshire. The usual friends were there, including Mickey Walker, a high spirited, talkative man, who had just become a father. He was taking fatherhood rather seriously, therefore, decided to construct his family history. This involved genealogy research that he was conducting in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, as this material was not widely available on the internet. I was so engrossed with listening to him about his research efforts, I hardly spoke to my other friends. Mickey invited me to meet him at the National Archives in Waltham, MA to better understand the process. At first, I was hesitant, as my father was an orphan and my mother had died when I was young, leaving me very little family history to begin my genealogy research. I did share with Mickey that I had been very fond of my maternal grandmother and her family history was a mystery; as no living relative knew her story. I did finally agree to meet him. This began my journey into my family legacy.

e journey began in earnest, although many challenges surfaced with my research, including just recently taken a full time teaching position at Bridgewater State University, then College. Academic life left little time for personal research. A few key highlights along my path over these years included connecting with a cousin once removed, being reunited with my mother’s living siblings as well as a cousin, receiving family photos from relatives, and becoming a Daughter of the American Revolution on October 9, 2004. Visits to family cemetery plots have been an exciting and rewarding venture since 1996, uncovering a wealth of information and experiencing uncanny coincidences. More recently I have met one of my father’s orphan brothers, visited the farm that my Dad lived on as a child and learned that I am a descendant of the Huguenots of New Paltz, NY. And finally, in December 2014, my cousin found my maternal grandmother’s birth certificate online, as it had been just scanned and made available in New Hampshire records; taking me back to the initial motivation for commencing the search for my family history and legacy.


 Legacy Trails


​​The Legacy Exploration and Preservation Group Project

​In May 2012 several of my scholarly projects came to completion. I felt a great sense of accomplishment and an overwhelming sense of freedom. It was at this time that I decided to develop a legacy group work model. I soon found a potential source of funding, although it required matching funds from Bridgewater State University. The next step was to take the idea to my Dean, Dr. Lisa Battaglino – who loved the idea! The next day Dr. Howard London, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs committed to the matching funds. The Office of Grants and Sponsored Projects provided the necessary guidance and support to prepare the grant application.

The project commenced in May 2013 with a Special Projects Grant from the Daughters of the American Revolution and Bridgewater State University to matching funds. In addition, the College of Graduate Studies provided a graduate assistant to work on the project. I contacted three BSU alumni who had stood apart as graduate students and mental health professionals to form a team as we launched this project. The first Legacy Exploration and Preservation Groups (LEPG) were conducted in 2013-14 with women veterans at BSU. I was awarded the 2014-15 BSU Presidential Fellowship to continue work on this project which has expanded to include veterans, persons affiliated with veterans and elders. These groups are being conducted at BSU and in Plymouth, MA.


 Cafe COA Segment


​Produced by PACTV, Plymouth, MA, October 2014​