New England Historic Genealogical Society

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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.

Contact Information[edit | edit source]



101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116-3007

Telephone:[3]  617-536-5740; Library 617-226-1231
Fax:  617-536-7307

Hours and holidays:[1]

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:[1]  Library admission is free to NEHGS research members and above; non-members (including seniors, students, and subscription level members) will be charged $20 (U.S.)

Directions, public transportation, and parking:[4][5]

For directions and public transportation, click here.
For public parking, click here.

Key Internet sites and databases:

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.

Collection Description[edit | edit source]

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.[6] [7] [8]

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.[6]

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.[6]

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[9]

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.[10]

NEHGS is also a family history center affiliate library.

Tips[edit | edit source]

NEHGS members have access to a lending library, and bookstore discounts. 

Guides[edit | edit source]

Alternate Repositories[edit | edit source]

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.

Overlapping Collections

  • American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, collects newspapers, history, genealogy, Bibles, maps, biography, directories, Native Americans, women, canals, railroads, photos, manuscripts.
  • National Archives Northeast Region (Boston) (that is Waltham), federal censuses,, 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.

Similar Collections

  • 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.

Neighboring Collections

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Library Hours and Fees in (accessed 29 August 2010).
  2. Visit NEHGS in (accessed 28 August 2010).
  3. Library in (accessed 28 August 2010).
  4. Directions to NEHGS in (accessed 29 August 2010).
  5. Parking in (accessed 29 August 2010).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 New England Historic Genealogical Society in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia (accessed 30 August 2010).
  7. Using the NEHGS Library in American Ancestors (accessed 21 September 2015).
  8. William Dollarhide and Ronald A. Bremer. America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest, 1998), 5, 57, and 59. WorldCat 39493985; FHL Ref Book 973 J54d.
  9. About NEHGS in American Ancestors (accessed 14 March 2017).
  10. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Using the NEHGS Library in American Ancestors (accessed 14 March 2017).