| New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS)
New England Historic Genealogical Society exterior, Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.
6th floor Ruth Bishop Reading Room reference collections and compiled genealogies.
- 101 Newbury Street
- Boston, Massachusetts 02116-3007
Telephone: 617-536-5740; Library 617-226-1231
Hours and holidays:
- Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Wednesday 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
- Closed Sunday and Monday
- For the holiday schedule, click here.
Admission fee: Library admission is free to NEHGS research members and above; non-members (including seniors, students, and subscription level members) will be charged $15 (U.S.)
Directions, public transportation, and parking:
- For directions and public transportation, click here.
- For public parking, click here.
Key Internet sites and databases:
- NewEnglandAncestors.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.
- AmericanAncestors.org 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 Searches: keyword, title, author, subject, call number, and advanced.
- Great Migration Study Project 1620-1635 index to 7,192 names, 2,040 places, and 249 ships.
- Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 birth, baptism, admit, dismiss, intent, marriage, death, burial.
- Massachusetts Vital Records 1841-1910 birth, marriage, and death.
- Massachusetts Vital Records 1911-1915 birth, marriage, and death.
- New York Abstracts of Wills, Administrations, and Guardianships 1787-1835 from 51 NY counties.
- 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, Irish, English, Scottish, and Canadian research.
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, LDS Family History Library 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 members have access to a lending library, and bookstore discounts.
- Library Users Guide floor maps, services, policies, obtaining copies, catalog use and symbols.
- NEHGS Research Library Resources moderately detailed floor-by-floor collection description.
- "New England Historic Genealogical Society," Ancestry Magazine 20 no. 5 on the Internet at http://www.ancestry.com/learn/library/article.aspx?article=6815 (accessed 30 August 2010).
- African American Genealogical Resources at NEHGS.
- Gazetteers of the World, Countries, and States at NEHGS.
- Italian Genealogical Resources at NEHGS.
- Jewish Genealogical Resources at NEHGS.
- William Prescott Greenlaw, Greenlaw Index of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (Boston, Mass.:G.K. Hall, 1979) (FHL 974 D22g). Genealogies acquired at NEHGS 1900-1940.
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.
- National Archives Northeast Region (Boston) (that is Waltham), federal censuses, Ancestry.com, military, pensions, bounty land, photos, passengers arrival indexes, naturalizations, Native Americans, African Americans, workshops.
- National Archives Northeast (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. Closing 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 Mormon records.
- 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.
- Massachusetts State Library holds government documents, town, county and state histories.
- Massachusetts Archives, vital records, passenger lists, census, military, Maine, Plymouth Colony, court, natuaralizations, 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.
- American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, collects history, genealogy, Bibles, maps, biography, newspapers, directories, Native Americans, women, canals, railroads, photos, manuscripts.
- 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.