Events and Programs

NEHGS events in and around Boston

Learn with NEHGS experts and partner organizations at dozens of lectures, seminars, workshops, and other events, offered each year at the NEHGS research library and in the greater Boston area. Recent seminar topics have included Irish research, digital preservation, identifying family photographs, organizing your family history, writing and publishing your family history, and many more.

| September | October |

September

September 21 - Book Event: The Boston Castrato
with author Colin W. Sargent
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
6:00–7:30 PM Cost: FREE

In the new historical novel, The Boston Castrato (Barbican Press, 2016), author Colin W. Sargent captures the dizzying world of Boston in 1922. Following the story of a Neapolitan street urchin who was castrated to preserve his voice and then smuggled out of Italy, we meet members of Boston's high society, the new immigrant class, and brutal mobsters. Guest stars include Amy Lowell, Isabella Stewart Gardner, and John Singer Sargent (ancestor of the author), plus others from Boston's Brahmin families: the Cabots, Crowninshields, and Saltonstalls. Author Colin W. Sargent will discuss this exciting time in Boston's history, his own genealogical connection to the novel's historic characters, and he will read from a chapter that features the extraordinary friendship of John Singer Sargent and Isabella Stewart Gardner. Book sales and signing to follow. Please register.

September 24 - New Visitor Tour
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
10:00 AM–11:00 AM Cost: FREE

This free orientation and tour introduces you to the resources available at the NEHGS research facility. Founded in 1845, NEHGS is the country's oldest and largest nonprofit genealogy library and archive. With more than 15 million artifacts, books, manuscripts, microfilms, journals, photographs, and records—and expert staff to help you navigate it all—NEHGS provides the access you need to research your family history. You do not have to be a member to participate. Tour attendees are welcome to use our resources following the tour. No registration necessary.

September 24 - NEHGS Art & Architecture Tour
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
2:00 PM–3:00 PM Cost: FREE

NEHGS has been collecting unique items of Americana and fine art since its founding in 1845. Learn the story behind items that illustrate life in early America. Attendees are welcome to use our resources following the tour. No registration necessary.

September 25 - Haven to Home: What America has Meant to Jews, and Vice Versa
with Michael Feldberg, PhD
Special Lecture and Exhibit in partnership with Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
2:00-4:00 PM Cost: FREE

From the arrival of the first Jewish settlers in New Amsterdam in 1654 to the present, America has been the safest haven and most inclusive home the Jewish people have ever known. After early struggles to establish their full rights, Jews have benefited--as have all minorities--from living in a society based on constitutional rights. In turn, Jews have repaid America by contributing greatly in numerous walks of life. Michael Feldberg, PhD, curator of the From Haven to Home exhibition, will explore the reciprocal relationship between American Jews and the place they call home. Please register.

September 28 - Book Event: First Dads: Parenting and Politics from George Washington to Barack Obama
with author Joshua C. Kendall
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
6:00–7:30 PM Cost: FREE

Every president has had some experience as a parent. Of the 43 men who have served in the nation’s highest office, 38 have fathered biological children and the other five adopted children. Each president’s parenting style reveals much about his beliefs as well as his psychological make-up. James Garfield enjoyed jumping on the bed with his kids, while FDR’s children had to make appointments to talk to him. First Dads: Parenting and Politics from George Washington to Barack Obama (Grand Central Publishing, 2016) uses lively narrative, based on research in archives around the country and interviews with members of several First Families, to show presidential character in action. Join author Joshua Kendall to learn which type of parent might be best suited to leading the American people and, finally, how the fathering experiences of our presidents have forever changed the course of American history. Book sales and signing to follow. Please register.

October

October 5 - Imperiled Privilege: The Passionate Women of Boston’s Colonial Elite Who Courted (and Sometimes Met with) Disaster
with D. Brenton Simons
in association with the Partnership of Historic Bostons
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
6:00–7:30 PM Cost: FREE

Award-winning historian Brenton Simons reveals a host of little-known cases of misguided dalliances, infidelities, divorces, illegitimate offspring, lewd carriage, misbehavior, suicide, and even witchcraft, among women in the leading families of early Boston, including the Bradstreets, Dudleys, and Winthrops. Simons, who is President and CEO of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (AmericanAncestors.org), is the author of two histories of Boston: Witches, Rakes, and Rogues and Boston Beheld: Antique Town & Country Views, and is currently preparing a third volume in this Boston trilogy. He is an Advisory Board Member of the Partnership of the Historic Bostons. Please register.

October 7 - If These Walls Could Talk: Researching the History of a Home
Part of our First Friday lecture series
Presented by Meaghan E. H. Siekman
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
noon–1:00 PM Cost: FREE

Behind the walls of most New England homes lies a story waiting to be discovered. Join NEHGS Senior Researcher and former curator of the Fairbanks House, Meaghan E. H. Siekman, to learn how to reveal the history of a home using material culture and written records. She will use case studies to demonstrate how various research strategies, available sources, and physical evidence combine to reconstruct the past of the structure and its inhabitants. Please register.

October 8 - New Visitor Tour
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
10:00 AM–11:00 AM Cost: FREE

This free orientation and tour introduces you to the resources available at the NEHGS research facility. Founded in 1845, NEHGS is the country's oldest and largest nonprofit genealogy library and archive. With more than 15 million artifacts, books, manuscripts, microfilms, journals, photographs, and records—and expert staff to help you navigate it all—NEHGS provides the access you need to research your family history. You do not have to be a member to participate. Tour attendees are welcome to use our resources following the tour. No registration necessary.

October 19 - The Gallows Hill Project: Locating the Site Where Salem "Witches" were Hanged
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
6:00–7:30 PM Cost: FREE

After centuries of conflicting beliefs and more recent Internet speculation, a team of scholars has verified the spot where nineteen innocent people were hanged during the 1692 Salem witch trials. The site is Proctor’s Ledge—an area bounded by Proctor and Pope Streets in Salem. Witch trial experts and Gallows Hill Project team members, Marilynne Roach and Emerson Baker, will explain how they used trial papers, eyewitness accounts, maps from different time periods, oral tradition, and new technologies to confirm the site. They will also discuss the long history of efforts to locate and memorialize the site, as well as the current work by the City of Salem to properly maintain and mark Proctor’s Ledge. Please register.

October 22 - DNA Day: Everything you need to know about genetic testing for genealogy
Presented by American Ancestors and AncestryDNA
DCU Center Worcester, MA
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM Cost: $75 Seminar & Lunch; $50 Seminar Only

DNA tests can break down genealogical brick walls, connect distant cousins, unlock mysteries, and even reveal long kept family secrets. But accurately deciphering results is not without its challenges. Join experts from American Ancestors and AncestryDNA for a full-day seminar on how to interpret DNA findings and apply that knowledge to your own family history research! Special guest Bill Griffeth, co-anchor of Closing Bell on CNBC and author of the new book The Stranger in My Genes will discuss how his own genetic findings altered his sense of identity and his family tree.

Beyond lectures you will have the opportunity to chat with genealogists and DNA experts, enter to win door prizes, browse select publications, attend website demonstrations, take advantage of special discounts, and enjoy meeting other family historians. Bill Griffeth will be available to sign copies of The Stranger in My Genes. Register today!

October 22 - New Visitor Tour
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
10:00 AM–11:00 AM Cost: FREE

This free orientation and tour introduces you to the resources available at the NEHGS research facility. Founded in 1845, NEHGS is the country's oldest and largest nonprofit genealogy library and archive. With more than 15 million artifacts, books, manuscripts, microfilms, journals, photographs, and records—and expert staff to help you navigate it all—NEHGS provides the access you need to research your family history. You do not have to be a member to participate. Tour attendees are welcome to use our resources following the tour. No registration necessary.

October 22 - NEHGS Art & Architecture Tour
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
2:00 PM–3:00 PM Cost: FREE

NEHGS has been collecting unique items of Americana and fine art since its founding in 1845. Learn the story behind items that illustrate life in early America. Attendees are welcome to use our resources following the tour. No registration necessary.

October 26 - Book Event: The Irish in New England
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
10:00 AM–11:00 AM Cost: FREE

The Irish in New England contains essays on a variety of topics from the 18th to the 20th century. First presented at the 2012 Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife, essay topics include Irish soldiers at the Boston Massacre, Scotch-Irish divisions in New Hampshire at the American Revolution, Irish laborer unrest in building an 1830s Massachusetts railroad, Irish-American folklore recorded by the WPA, and Irish craftsman and artists in early Boston. Join contributor and NEHGS Councilor Donald Friary for an illustrated talk on out-migration from New Brunswick to the “Boston States.” Other contributors will make brief comments on their research and answer questions from the audience. Book sale and signing to follow. This is a great opportunity to learn of recent scholarship on the Irish presence in New England from the colonial period to the present! Registration encouraged.

October 29 - Heraldry in America
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
9:30 AM–3:30 PM Cost: $35

Discover the history of heraldry in America from colonial times to present day. Join esteemed representatives from the American Heraldry Society, Académie Internationale d'Héraldique, and the Committee on Heraldry of the New England Historic Genealogical Society for a full-day seminar. An exhibit of heraldic items from NEHGS special collections will also be on display. Register today!