HISTORICAL SOCIETY: Westford’s Early Immigrants Program

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The Westford Historical Society (WHS) will be hosting the Westford’s Early Immigrants
program on Wednesday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m. This program will be held at the
museum and will be presented by WHS volunteer, Robert W. Oliphant.

Westford owes a large part of its character to the immigrants who came here for work in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, according to Oliphant.

The federal census records give places of birth and years of immigration over this same time period. Oliphant has analyzed the census records from 1850 to 1920 and will tell us what they reveal about Westford’s early immigrant ancestors from Ireland, Canada, England, Scotland, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Turkey and other places
— from where they came, why they came, when they came, where they worked once they
got here, and their impact on our town. Although Oliphant has a science and engineering background, he said he has always enjoyed history.

“When I was a junior in college, I developed an interest in my family history,” he said, “and soon found that genealogy and local history go hand-in-hand. I have several
mid-19th century immigrant ancestors from Ireland and Germany and learning their stories kindled an interest in why and how people immigrated to America. Westford has a rich immigrant history that is well documented in the federal census records beginning in 1850.

It takes some work to extract the immigration information, but the results have been
rewarding.

“Of the upcoming program,” WHS Director Linda Greene said, “We hope to
present a clearer picture on the impact of immigration in Westford and the lasting marks
they have made in our town’s history.”

This event is free and open to the public.

The mission of the Westford Historical Society is to promote the understanding and
appreciation of Westford’s unique history to the community. By providing programming that features aspects of the daily lives, activities and achievements of Westford residents, we strive to expand and enrich understanding of how our town continues to evolve. We foster an environment of teaching and learning that strengthens our sense of community. We will collect, preserve and exhibit documents, photographs, objects and sites historically significant to Westford, and encourage outside efforts to do the same. The Westford Museum is open most Sundays 2-4pm. Please stop by and visit our new exhibits.

For more information about this topic, contact Greene by calling
978-692-5550, or e-mail her at [email protected]