Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Stephen A. Mrozowski

Second Advisor

Thomas Buckley

Third Advisor

Jonathan M. Chu


The relationship between changes in oral tradition, family status, and its material expression in the 18th Century community of Tyngsborough, Massachusetts was explored using an interdisciplinary approach incorporating the fields of documentary history, oral tradition, and historical archaeology. One goal of the study was to understand the role of oral history in the evolution of the family, and in particular, why the tenor of these traditions changes over time, in regards to John Alford Tyng. Documentary history served to place the Tyngs within their proper context within the community, oral tradition revealed sentiments of later commentaries, and archaeological evidence chronicled the character of a major architectural expansion which occured during the third quarter of the 18th Century, at a time when a shift in attitudes is believed to occur. The result is that 19th Century oral tradition reflects an accurate representation of events that occurred during the 18th Century.


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