Boston, MA – January 3, 2013 – Brenton Simons, President and CEO of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) announced today that it has purchased the adjacent property located at 97 Newbury Street, giving NEHGS an opportunity in future years to expand on its current location at 99–101 Newbury while growing its national leadership position. The seller, jeweler John Lewis, has leased back the property from NEHGS and plans to continue to his successful retail jewelry operation there for the foreseeable future.
The purchase of the 4-story brownstone building by NEHGS will give the non-profit genealogical library and archive an additional 4,500+ square feet for a variety of purposes, including education and public programs, collaborations with other organizations, exhibition space, parking, and a museum store retail enterprise. In particular, NEHGS can continue expanding its collection of more than 28 million objects while allowing the organization to maintain a larger portion of those important artifacts on the premises rather than in off-site storage. It also allows for the addition of expert staff to help the increasing numbers of people coming in to learn more about getting started with their own family history research.
Simons said, “This is an historic time at NEHGS. The organization has grown dramatically in recent years, nearly reaching maximum capacity in our present building. Adding this new space will allow NEHGS to continue its leadership role while serving more than 65,000 members and registered users in new, more effective ways.”
Simons added, “We are especially excited about the opportunity to build a new platform for educating and training the next generation of genealogists while advancing the important work of preserving our nation’s family and local history for decades to come.”
The brownstone, built in the 1870s by local department store founder Eben Jordan, will be preserved by NEHGS because, Simons noted, “It is an important part of the Back Bay cityscape.”
“We look forward in the fullness of time to the lasting legacy that the acquisition of John’s building will offer to the people of Boston, New England and indeed the United States in discovering their family history,” said NEHGS board Chair David H. Burnham of Cohasset, Mass.
NEHGS, founded in 1845, moved to 99–101 Newbury Street in 1964 and expanded by adding an additional four floors to offer greater access to its collection of more 200,000 books in addition to the original artifacts. Today, NEHGS is the nation’s leading resource for family history research and has appeared in a number of celebrity genealogy programs, including serving as anchor location for the hit PBS show, Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr. and actively participating in the NBC show, Who Do You Think You Are? which included on-air expert research for actresses Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields, and Ashley Judd.
Founded in 1845, New England Historic Genealogical Society is the country's leading resource for family history research. We help family historians expand their knowledge, skill, and understanding oftheir family and its place in history. The NEHGS research center, located at 99–101 Newbury Street, Boston, houses millions of books, journals, manuscripts, photographs, microfilms, documents, records, and other original artifacts that date back more than four centuries. NEHGS staff includes some of the leading expert genealogists in the country, specializing in early American, Irish, English, Italian, Scottish, Atlantic and French Canadian, African American, Native American, and Jewish genealogy. Our award‐winning website, www.AmericanAncestors.org, provides access to more than 135 million searchable names in 3,000 collections.