04 May 2010

Why join the New England Historic Genealogical Society

In December 2008, FamilyTree Magazine included the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston on its list of “9 Genealogy Libraries to Visit Before You Die.” The article cited NEHGS (or HistGen as it’s frequently called) for its “impressive manuscript collection dating back to the 13th century, …unpublished genealogies, Bible records, family associations’ papers, diaries, journals, photographs, cemeteries, and other rarities.”

Founded in 1845, NEHGS is the oldest genealogical society in the United States. Although its collection does focus on New England and New York, the library also includes many local history books, genealogies, censuses, maps, newspapers, and vital records from across the country and around the globe.

Even if you don’t live near Boston and cannot make research trips to its renowned library, becoming a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society has many advantages. Members receive the New England Historic and Genealogical Register (a quarterly scholarly journal, with peer-reviewed articles); American Ancestors (a quarterly member magazine); and discounts on books and other products. The society offers tours and seminars throughout the year.

But the reason why NEHGS is so popular with the online community is its nearly 3,000 online databases available to members only. Some of the titles are:
  • Massachusetts vital records 1841-1915 (including images!)
  • Massachusetts vital records to 1850 (the tan book series)
  • Boston births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, and burials
  • Great Migration profiles
  • back issues of leading genealogy journals, including New England Historic and Genealogical Register, The American Genealogist (TAG), Connecticut Nutmegger, Essex Antiquarian (MA), New Netherland Connections (NY), and The Virginia Genealogist
  • Cemetery transcriptions
  • Abstracts of New York wills
Membership also includes online access to premium databases (19th Century U.S. Newspapers; Marquis Biographies Online) and the American Jewish Historical Society—New England Archives (AJHS-NEA) Digital Archive.

NEHGS continues to post Bible, cemetery, census, church, court, immigration, military, probate, school, town, and vital records; newspapers and periodicals; diaries and journals; and genealogies and biographies. New online databases are added weekly.

Located in historic Back Bay in Boston, the library itself is home to 28 million items, including books, microforms, and an outstanding manuscript collection. 

Individual memberships are well worth the price.

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