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.

| March | April |

March

March 25 - New York and Connecticut: Finding Records, Telling Stories
Featuring Jane E. Wilcox and Kyle Hurst
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
9:15 AM–12:45 PM Cost: $20; NEAPG members free (register here)

Join NEHGS and the New England Association of Professional Genealogists (NEAPG) for a half-day seminar on unique New York genealogical resources, plus a special case study pertaining to a Connecticut woman in the eighteenth century. Participants are invited to research within the NEHGS library following the program. Register today!

March 25 - Tracing Your Irish Roots
In partnership with the New Hampshire Historical Society
Presented by Judy Lucey
New Hampshire Historical Society, 30 Park Street, Concord, NH
1:00 - 4:00 pm Cost: $35 NEHGS or NHHS members; $50 non-members

An estimated 39.6 million Americans claim Irish heritage, yet tracing one’s Irish ancestry is not without its challenges. Common surnames, unsubstantiated family lore, and lost records from the 1922 destruction of the Public Record Office can certainly play havoc with your research. In recent years, however, a number of genealogical materials have come online. This workshop aims to provide participants with the tools and resources to discover their ancestors’ Irish origins, offer strategies for overcoming brick walls, and discuss key resources, records, and repositories to assist genealogists in their Irish research. Space is limited and registration is required through the New Hampshire Historical Society. Register today or call 603-856-0621.

April

April 1 - 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.

April 1, 8, and 15 - Building Your Genealogical Skills (Three-Session Course)
Presented by Ann Lawthers, Genealogist
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
2:00 PM–4:00 PM Cost: $50

Take your research skills to the next level! With the sheer number of online resources at your fingertips, it's easy to dive in to your family history research without any formal training as a genealogist. Certainly you'll learn along the way, and devise your own methods, but it's also easy to become overwhelmed and form bad habits. Whether you are new to genealogy, want to refresh your skills, or learn best practices, this course will set you on the right path to getting the most out of your family history research. Topics include: how to record your findings, strategies for analyzing records, online research, and more. Each class includes skill-building exercises to help students apply their new found knowledge. Register today!

April 5 - Book Event: The Race Underground
Presented by author Doug Most
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
6:00 PM–7:30 PM Cost: FREE

The birth of America's first subway, Boston's T, would not have been possible if not for the bold thinking of one man and the creative ingenuity of another. The stories of these two men, Henry M. Whitney and Frank J. Sprague, collided in the late 1800s. The result was a dramatic historical moment followed by the first shovel going into the ground to begin construction on America's first subway. Doug Most, author of The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry That Built America's First Subway, chronicles the science of the subway, looks at the centuries of fears people overcame about traveling underground, and tells a story as exciting as any ever ripped from the pages of U.S. history. The Race Underground is a great American saga of two rival American cities, their rich, powerful and sometimes corrupt interests, and an invention that changed the lives of millions. Book sales and signing to follow. Register for free!

April 7 - Applying to Lineage Societies
Part of our First Friday lecture series
Presented by Lindsay Fulton and Katrina Fahy
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
12:00 PM–1:00 PM Cost: FREE

Gain a step-by-step look at applying to lineage societies: the application process, tips for when you can’t find vital records, and a case example from our research services team. Register today!

April 8 - Irish Study Group
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
9:30 AM-12:00 PM Cost: FREE

This Irish Genealogy Study Group gathers each month to talk about research problems and share solutions. Everyone is welcome and attendees are invited to stay and use the library resources afterwards. Contact Mary Ellen Grogan at megrogan@ix.netcom.com for more information. No registration necessary.

April 13 - Daniel Williman and Karen Corsano, "John Singer Sargent in Boston"
In partnership with Nichols House Museum
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
5:30 PM–7:30 PM (light reception, with lecture and book signing to follow)
Cost: $10 Members of Nichols House Museum and NEHGS; $15 Non-members

Boston was a true home town to John Singer Sargent, from his very first solo exhibition in 1889 to the last installation of his murals in 1925. That was because Boston wanted to welcome and honor him, to give him a circle of friends and a succession of portrait subjects to match his professional and social successes in London. Sargent returned the compliment by painting monumental murals—which he considered the highest form of his art—here and nowhere else. Daniel Williman and Karen Corsano, authors of John Singer Sargent and His Muse: Painting Love and Loss will share lively stories, in words and pictures, of Sargent’s life and work in Boston. John Singer Sargent and His Muse: Painting Love and Loss is a sensitive and compelling biography shedding light on John Singer Sargent’s art through an intimate history of his family. The book features a special focus on his niece and muse, Rose-Marie Ormond, telling her story for the first time. Book sales and signing to follow. Register through NHM.

April 15 - 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.

April 15 - 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.

April 18 - "Make thy castles high and fair"—Medieval Castles to Modern Fantasies
In partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects and Royal Oak Foundation
Presented by Dr. Jonathan Foyle
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
6:00 PM–7:30 PM Cost: $30

What is a "castle"? While the term is now often applied to a stately home to imply monumental scale or status, its use originally indicated a fortified military residence. But to what extent were castles defensible and against whom? What does the use of the “castle” style mean in architecture when it is applied to churches—such as the western block of Lincoln Cathedral—or civic buildings? Using examples from across the English landscape, architectural historian Dr. Jonathan Foyle will explore the shifting associations in castle design and purpose over the last 1000 years: from religious to political, from defensible to romantic. Register today!

April 19 - Book Event: Puritan, Entrepreneur, Heretic?
Presented by author David M. Powers
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
6:00 PM–7:30 PM Cost: FREE

Hostilities between cultures—anxiety from living in a time of war in one's own land—being accused of profiteering when food was scarce—unruly residents in a remote frontier community—charged with speaking the unspeakable and publishing the unprintable. All of this can be found in the life of one man: William Pynchon (1590-1662), the Puritan entrepreneur and founder of Springfield, Massachusetts. Two things in particular stand out in Pynchon's pioneering life: he enjoyed extraordinary and uniquely positive relationships with Native peoples, and he wrote the first book banned--and burned--in Boston. Damnable Heresy: William Pynchon, the Indians, and the First Book Banned (and Burned) in Boston provides the first comprehensive account of Pynchon's story, beginning in England, through his New England adventures, to his return home. Join author David M. Powers to discover the fabric of Pynchon’s times and the roles he played in the Puritan venture in Old England and New England. Book sales and signing to follow. Register today.

April 27 - Book Event: With Their Bare Hands: The AEF, the 79th Division, and American Jews
Presented by author Gene Fax
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
6:00 PM–7:30 PM Cost: FREE

With Their Bare Hands traces the fate of the US 79th Division—men drafted off the streets of Baltimore, Washington, and Philadelphia—from boot camp in Maryland through the final years of World War I, focusing on their most famous engagement: the attack on Montfaucon, the most heavily fortified part of the German Line, during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in 1918. Drawing upon original documents, including orders, field messages, and the letters and memoirs of the soldiers themselves, some of which have never been used before, author Gene Fax will share the engrossing story of the 79th Division's bloody involvement in the final months of World War I and explore the role of American Jews in the Division. Book sales and signing to follow. Register today.

April 29 - The NEHGS Book Club
Presented by author Gene Fax
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
1:45 PM–3:30 PM Cost: FREE

Learn from leading authors in our field about the essential resources produced by our award-winning Publications program that will advance your research. From writing your family stories, to crafting a historical biography, to the latest from our genealogical study project for Early New England research, to essential how-to guides for approaching your Irish family history, our team of expert genealogists and publishing professionals will give practical advice to apply to your genealogy pursuits, provide insights into the research and writing processes, and entertain your questions in an engaging round of discussions. Hear from co-author of Guide to Genealogical Writing Penny Stratton; lead genealogist of the NEHGS study project, Early New England Families, 1641-1700, Alicia Crane Williams, FASG; and co-author of Genealogist’s Handbook for Irish Research Judy Lucey. Register for free today!

April 30 - Breaking Down Genealogical Brick Walls: Strategies for Success
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
9:30 AM–4:30 PM Cost: $125, Breakfast and lunch included

Research your ancestry long enough and you’re bound to hit a brick wall—the paper trail vanishes, the family seemingly disappears, and you’re unable to go back to earlier generations. Whether you are struggling to find an immigrant’s exact origins, uncover a maiden name, determine parentage, or discover where a family moved to, cluster research can help. The Research Services team at New England Historic Genealogical Society is routinely contracted to solve such genealogical mysteries. In this full-day seminar, our experts will teach you valuable organizational tips and practical strategies to circumnavigate common genealogical brick walls and enrich your understanding of an ancestor’s life. Register today!