|New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS)
6th floor Ruth Bishop Reading Room reference collections and compiled genealogies.
New England Historic Genealogical Society exterior, Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.
- 101 Newbury Street
- Boston, Massachusetts 02116-3007
Telephone: 617-536-5740; Library 617-226-1231
Hours and holidays
Visit: Admission, accessibility, photo-copying, etc.
Schedule a visit
Directions, public transportation and parking
Websites and databases:
- AmericanAncestors.org About NEHGS, visiting, manuscripts, virtual tour and exhibits, library catalog, collection guides, hire the experts, forums, publications, programs and events, and databases including the Great Migration Study Project, The NEHG Register, and town records. News: Calendar, CEO's Corner, Blog, and Question of the Day; Explore: Search, Index, Databases, Experts, and Library; Connect: Experts, Facebook, Events; and Store.
- Online NEHGS Library Catalog has keyword, title, author, subject, call number, and advanced searches. Also available on WorldCat.
- Database listing ($)
- Great Migration Study Project: index to 7,192 names, 2,040 places, and 249 ships.
- Early New England Research:
- Accounts of New England Families from 1641 to 1700
- Western Massachusetts Families in 1790
- Early Vermont Settlers to 1784
- The Register database including articles about vital records, church records, tax records, land and probate records, cemetery transcriptions, obituaries, and historical essays.
- The Society's flagship publication is The Register. For links to online copies of The Register, see our New England Historical Genealogical Register online Wiki page.
Founded in 1845, the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is the oldest such society in the United States. They maintain an Internet database of over 100 million names, including vital records, compiled genealogies, and scholarly journals. They publish both American Ancestors and The New England Historical Genealogical Register (The Register). Their catalog lists over 200,000 books, 100,000 microfilms, and other sources. The manuscript collection has over 20 million items with an emphasis on New England since the 1600s. The Society has educational research tours, lectures, seminars, and other events throughout the year.  
The Research Library collection is national in scope. They also have significant material for the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and other nations. NEHGS has a fine arts collection, and an antique furniture collection.
The Great Migration Study Project seeks to identify every European settler in Massachusetts from 1620 to 1640. This effort has already produced several published volumes in addition to the Internet database.
Their staff includes experts in early American, New England, New York, Irish, English, Italian, Scottish, Atlantic and French Canadian, African American, Native American, Chinese, and Jewish genealogy
The NEHGS Research Library is arranged by floor as follows:
- 6th Floor: laptop hookups, Massachusetts vital records, periodicals, genealogies, general reference in open stacks, and access to rare books by call slip.
- 5A Floor: access to manuscripts by call slip.
- 5th Floor: local history collection, maps and atlases in open stacks.
- 4th Floor: microfilm, microfiche, U.S. and Canadian censuses and census indexes, New England city directories, CD-ROMs, computers, Internet access, FamilySearch Catalog, International Genealogical Index, and Ancestral File in open stacks.
- Ground Floor: welcome, orientation, bookstore, British Isles, European, Asian, and Pacific books in open stacks, and access to the “Vault” materials by call slip.
NEHGS is also a family history center affiliate library.
NEHGS members have access to a lending library, and bookstore discounts.
- Genealogy 101 guides
- Using AmericanAncestors.org
- Using the NEGHS Library
- Using The Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center
- ...and more!
- 17th-C. New England Research
- African American Genealogy
- French-Canadian Genealogy
- Native Nations of New England
- Naturalization Records
- Quaker Genealogy
- Town Guides
- World War Veteran Research
- ...and many more!
If you cannot visit or find a source at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, a similar source may be available at one of the following.
- American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, collects newspapers, history, genealogy, Bibles, maps, biography, directories, Native Americans, women, canals, railroads, photos, manuscripts.
- National Archives at Boston (that is Waltham), federal censuses, Ancestry.com, military, pensions, bounty land, photos, passengers arrival indexes, naturalizations, Native Americans, African Americans, workshops.
- National Archives at New York City, census, naturalization, passenger arrivals, Canadian border crossings, customs, draft, military service, military pension and bounty land, Chinese Exclusion Act cases, Freedmen's Bureau, Indians, and vital records. Moving soon.
- Connecticut State Library, Hartford, has the Barbour Collection, Bibles, census, church, Hale Collection newspaper marriages and deaths, cemeteries, probates, vital records, directories, land, local histories, military, naturalization, passenger arrivals, and e-mail questions.
- Maine State Archives, Augusta, has vital records, land, office records, military, judicial, legislative records, and a list of professional genealogists.
- New Hampshire State Archives, Concord, has records of probate, land, petitions, state papers, military, census, name changes, photos, naturalizations, voters, warnings out, town records and inventories, prisoners, marriage intentions, paupers, maps, and court records.
- New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, New York City has censuses, city directories, church, cemetery, Bible, land, probates, genealogy, local history, and manuscripts.
- Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence, includes local, military, economic, social, church, political histories, newspapers, genealogy, women’s history, and business records.
- Vermont Historical Society Library, Barre, houses town histories, an index to vital records to 1870, cemeteries, letters, diaries, ledgers, early maps, photographs, and printed genealogies.
- New York Public Library Genealogy Division has an outstanding collection of American history at national, state and local levels; international genealogy and heraldry in Roman alphabets; Dorot Jewish collection; photos; New York censuses, directories, and vital records.
- Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana, features a premier genealogical periodical collection, genealogies, local histories, databases, military, censuses, directories, passenger lists, American Indians, African Americans, and Canadians.
- Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, holds 450 computers, 3,400 databases, 3.1 million microforms, 4,500 periodicals, 310,000 books of worldwide family and local histories, civil, church, immigration, ethnic, military, and records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- Boston Public Library, has government docs, newspapers, biographies, obituaries, Ancestry.
- Boston Athenaeum, a member library with newspapers, maps, photos, Civil War letters, diaries.
- Suffolk County Courthouse, maintains criminal and probation records.
- Suffolk Probate and Family Court, wills, guardianship, divorce, adoptions, name changes.
- Suffolk County Registry of Deeds, preserves land records.
- Bostonian Society, does historical records research, and structures preservation.
- Mayflower Society Library, family and local histories, censuses, published town records, CDs.
- Massachusetts State Library, holds government documents, town, county and state histories.
- Massachusetts Archives, vital records, passenger lists, census, military, Maine, Plymouth Colony, court, naturalizations, divorces, probate, name changes, and state institutions.
- Massachusetts Historical Society, has personal papers of families who lived in Massachusetts.
- Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, keeps births, marriages, and deaths.
- Harvard University Libraries, history, Afro-American studies, and women's history libraries.
- Congregational Library, church and mission records, histories, sermons, 25,000 obituaries.
- Berkshire Athenaeum, Cooke Collection church and cemetery records, newspaper notices, ministers' records, BMDs from New England and New York, genealogy databases.
- Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, Ashland, is an educational organization.
- Peabody Essex Museum Library, Salem, collects published MA vital records to 1850, city directories, Essex County probate records 1638-1914, court records, and ship logbooks.
- Connecticut Valley Historical Museum, local archives, French Canadian, Irish, African American.
- Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic, Connecticut, has steamship photos, logbooks, and crew lists.