REMINDER: 1919 Boston Police Strike Volunteer Meet-up on Friday, January 25

People sitting around long wooden table, working with archival records.

1919 Boston Police Strike Project volunteers examine mortuary records from the Massachusetts Catholic Order of Foresters at the last project meet-up on November 30, 2018.

What: 1919 Boston Police Strike Volunteer Meet-up

Where: CALLI (Center for Active Learning and Library Instruction), 4th floor, Healey Library, UMass Boston campus

When: Friday, January 25, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Weather-related closure: If the weather is bad on January 25, please check the UMass Boston website  to see if the campus is open.

RSVP: Kindly RSVP to by Tuesday, January 22

Welcome to the 1919 Boston Police Strike centennial year!

Our next meet-up is scheduled for Friday, January 25, 2019, at UMass Boston to review the progress of the 1919 Boston Police Strike Project and to share next steps for the coming months. As we presented in our November meet-up, we will now host our volunteer researcher meet-ups on a monthly basis to help support our progress through the research tasks and prepare for the commemorative event in September. The clock is ticking!

We will also continue our new speaker feature—welcoming those of you who wish to spend a few minutes sharing your interests and experiences. We are very pleased that this month project volunteer Ken Liss, President of the Brookline Historical Society, will be our featured speaker. We’ll also present new research tips and tricks, field each others’ questions, and focus more closely on the upcoming stages of the project (reviewing, data entry, biographical profiles, and 2019 culminating event planning).

Please note that we will be meeting in a different location from the prior two sessions—same building, different floor!

All current volunteers are welcome, including those in the process of taking the online training course. Coffee and light refreshments will be served.

Directions to campus are available here, and a campus map is available here.

We look forward to seeing you!

Save the Date:

Next volunteer meet-up: Friday, February 22, 2019

Boston Police Strike Centennial Anniversary Commemoration: Saturday, September 7, 2019


Guest Post: Boston Police Strike Project volunteer Kayla Skillin describes research resources available at City of Boston Archives

This guest post was written by Kayla Skillin, Assistant Archivist at the City of Boston Archives.

Shelves of bound volumes of records at the City of Boston Archives.

Street books, tax records collection, City of Boston Archives.

My name is Kayla Skillin and I am a volunteer with the 1919 Boston Police Strike Project. I first volunteered to work with the project after hearing Joanne Riley and Margaret Sullivan give a presentation at the New England Archivists annual meeting in the spring of 2017. I was so impressed with Joanne’s and Margaret’s determination and passion to make sure that these men, who lost their jobs fighting for what they believed in, would not be forgotten that I knew I wanted to be a part of it. And the project fit in very well with my personal interests in genealogy and with the work that I do as the Assistant Archivist at the City of Boston Archives.

Two pages of 1880 real estate tax records from the City of Boston Archives.

1880 tax records of Quincy Street, Dorchester. Tax records collection, City of Boston Archives.

At the City of Boston Archives, we preserve, maintain, and provide access to the permanent historic public records that are created as part of the municipal government of the City of Boston. Some of the most heavily researched materials include the records of the Boston’s governing body, the Boston City Council (previously called the Board of Aldermen); our school desegregation records which cover the era many know as “Boston busing;” and our tax records, which we have going back to the incorporation of Boston as a City in 1822. We even have tax records from towns before they were annexed and became part of the City of Boston, such as Dorchester and Charlestown. The tax records, especially, have been invaluable to me as a researcher on this project. Boston previously required every man of voting age to pay a tax in order to vote, or a “poll tax.” The collection of these poll taxes were recorded in the same books as the real estate taxes, so there is, theoretically, a record of every man of voting age living in Boston every year. These records can help to fill in the gaps between the years of federal censuses, which were only conducted every ten years. If a person moved around between, say, 1910 and 1920, the Boston tax records can help researchers to figure out where the person might have lived along the way.

Working on this project, researching the biographical histories of these strikers, I have learned a lot about the demographics of the City of Boston in the early twentieth century. Also, I have really improved upon my genealogical research skills. With only a 1919 address to go on in order to track these men down, sometimes making sure that you have the correct person can be difficult to confirm. However, with a combination of the online resources through and Family Search, as well as archival resources at places like the City of Boston Archives and the University Archives and Special Collections at UMass Boston, we can usually come away with a pretty good biographical picture of each striker.


Boston Police Strike Volunteer Meet-Up
Friday, January 25, 2019
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Center for Active Learning and Library Instruction (CALLI), 4th floor, Healey Library, UMass Boston

Boston Police Strike 100th Anniversary Commemoration Event
Saturday, September 7, 2019
Time and location TBD

Ninety-nine years and counting!

Tim Killelea, a Boston Police striker who became a police officer in Westwood, with his son Roger. (Contributed by Roger’s son, Pete Killelea).

Tim Killelea, a Boston Police Striker who became a police officer in Westwood, with his son Roger, circa 1935. (Contributed by Roger’s son, Pete Killelea.)

As the centennial year of the 1919 Boston Police Strike approaches, we offer our heartfelt thanks to the volunteers near and far who have fueled the project from its earliest days. More than 150 individuals have enrolled in the self-paced online training course, and 28 volunteer researchers (with new recruits weekly) have already contributed more than 4,500 hours of volunteer labor that have resulted in completed first research pass on more than 700 of the 1,142 officers. 

The project is surrounded by excitement and energy from volunteers, descendants of strikers, UMass Boston and Boston Police Department staff, retired police officers, students at UMass Boston and Stonehill College and members of the general public. Interest was stoked by two enthusiastic press pieces that ran in the Boston Globe (Chronicling ‘the most significant event’ in the history of Boston police) and on WGBH’s Curiosity Desk (How A Team Of Citizen Researchers Are Finding New Layers In The Story Of The 1919 Boston Police Strike).  

In the early months of 2019, team members will forge ahead with the biographical and genealogical research, with the goal of completing a biographical sketch of each striking police officer. Later in the spring we will focus on creating an interactive website, open to all, that includes the research data, photographs, maps and a timeline. And on September 7th, 2019 (you’re invited!), we will host a public commemoration of the strike for the centennial anniversary to honor the men and their families whose lives were permanently altered by the 1919 strike along with the project’s friends and volunteers who are working hard to keep the strikers’ stories alive.  

Sincere thanks to you all for the overwhelming support this project has received so far. We look forward to partnering with our many supporters in 2019 to realize our collective dream of commemorating the 1919 strikers and their families.

Warmest holiday wishes to all from
the BPStrike Project Team

Support the next stages of the Boston Police Strike Project!  Click the Give Now button to make a financial contribution to “Friends of Healey Library.” Type your contribution amount into the “Gift Amount” box at the top of the screen, then click the checkbox labeled “Additional Comments/Special Instructions” and type “Boston Police Strike Project.”  You may also designate your donation in memory of or in honor of someone you’d like remembered.  Contributions at any level are very welcome.  So far, all stages of the BPStrike Project have been accomplished through the time and energy of volunteers, with the management and administration of the project provided by the University of Massachusetts Boston and partners in the Boston Police Department Archives.  Now, we need funding to accomplish the next stages of the project involving website design and centennial event expenses.  All contributors – both financial donors and donors of volunteer time and effort – will be recognized at the commemorative event on September 7, 2019 and on the project website.  THANK YOU!