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TIARA Foresters Project Receives Healey Library Community Archives Award



TIARA Foresters volunteers and past presidents


On March 14, 2012, TIARA was honored at a reception at the University of Massachusetts Boston Healey Library. TIARA has donated the Foresters collection of records to the library.

The collection is comprised of Mortuary Records for members of the Massachusetts Catholic Order of Foresters, a fraternal organization started in 1879. Its purpose was to provide life insurance for members, as well as social activities and monthly meetings. Members completed a detailed application form, often stating where they were born in Ireland, naming family members, and giving details of their lives. Individual records often contain birth, baptism, and marriage information and certificates, as well as death certificates. Some contain letters written about the claims, sometimes from Ireland. TIARA Forester volunteers have spent years indexing and placing the records into archival folders, under the direction of Susan Steele. The papers have been digitized by the Genealogical Society of Utah and will appear on the web site familysearch.org.

The wording on the award is as follows:


Whereas members of The Irish Ancestral Research Association in 2004 undertook the herculean task of preserving over 80,000 historical records of the Massachusetts Catholic Order of Foresters and

Whereas TIARA Presidents Judy Barrett, Janis Duffy, Mary Choppa and Kathy Roscoe preserved the Foresters records by negotiating the transfer of the records to TIARA’s custody and the launch of a professional scanning operation conducted by the Genealogical Society of Utah and

Whereas 57 members of the Association guided by Janis Duffy and led by Susan Steele logged more than 6,000 hours as volunteers, and met the highest professional standards in indexing and re-foldering 20,600 policy files and

Whereas those Volunteers over the course of six years have connected more than 600 grateful researchers with their family records

Therefore, be it known to all here present that the First Joseph P. Healey Library Community Archives Award is presented to The Irish Ancestral Research Association on this day March 14, 2012.





The Healey Library has created displays of interesting photos and documents for the Foresters collection. TIARA members who found their ancestors in the collection were filmed relating their stories.

The library will continue to make the records available for researchers. The index to the records is presently on the TIARA website, here , and records can be ordered.

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