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.

| April | May | June | Conferences | Exhibits | Online Events |

April

April 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.

April 27 - Organizing and Preserving Your Family Treasures
Presented by Archivist Lindsay Sprechman and Conservator Todd Pattison
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
1:30 PM–3:45 PM Cost: FREE

Celebrate National Preservation Week by learning how to care for your family treasures! Like any family historian, you’ve amassed family papers, photographs, Bibles, letters, and other paper-based objects relating to your family—some of which can be quite old and fragile. Whether you wish to pass on these items to the next generation or donate them to a local repository or genealogical society, it's important to think about your collection's future. Join Collections Archivist Lindsay Sprechman and Conservator Todd Pattison to learn how to assess your collection for preservation needs, store and care for photographs and albums, and organize your collection. Register today!

May

May 1 - Boston Preservation Month 2019 Kickoff Event
Sponsored by the Boston Landmarks Commission

NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
6:00–8:00 PM Cost: FREE; reception and talk by Chris Cook, Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space for the City of Boston

Celebrate preservation month with the Boston Landmarks Commission! This free reception features Chris Cook, the Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space for the City of Boston and will recognize the indispensable role that volunteers play in making preservation happen, with the Citizen Preservation Award. You’ll applaud the inspiring stories of the people behind recent preservation successes, and learn what’s ahead for 2019 and beyond! Space is limited. Register today!

May 3 - The Palatine Wreck: The Legend of th New England Ghost Ship
Part of our First Friday lecture series
Presented by Jill Farinelli
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
12:00–1:00 PM Cost: FREE

Two days after Christmas in 1738, a British merchant ship traveling from the Netherlands to Pennsylvania grounded in a blizzard on the northern tip of Block Island, 12 miles off the Rhode Island coast. The ship carried emigrants from the Palatinate and neighboring territories in what is now southwest Germany. The 105 passengers on board—sick, frozen, and starving—were all that remained of 340 men, women, and children, who left their homeland the previous spring to move to America. Shortly after the wreck, stories began circulating that the passengers had been mistreated by the ship’s crew and by some of the islanders. The stories persisted, transforming over time as stories do, and in less than a hundred years, two terrifying versions of the event were in circulation. How did the rumors at the heart of the legend begin? What really happened to the Princess Augusta and to the souls she carried on her final, fatal voyage? Through years of painstaking research, Jill Farinelli reconstructs the origins of this long-standing New England mystery in her book The Palatine Wreck: The Legend of th New England Ghost Ship. Register today!

May 8 - An Evening with Ambassador John Loeb, Jr.
A Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center Event

NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
7:00–8:30 PM Cost: $18; reception and book signing to follow

Join the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center for a fascinating evening with John Loeb, Jr., former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark. Descended from the founders of two major Wall Street firms (Lehman Brothers and Loeb, Rhoades), Ambassador Loeb will discuss his recently published memoir, a candid, moving account of the blessings and burdens of growing up in his family's circle of expectations as members of New York’s German-Jewish establishment. In conversation with historian Michael Feldberg, Ph.D., Ambassador Loeb will weave his fascinating, poignant personal story with an insider's perspective on diplomacy, the environment, and the social life of the New York elite from the nineteenth century to the present. Reception and book signing to follow. Register today.

May 11 - 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.

May 16 - Bearing Witness: The Story of the Nentershausen Synagogue
A Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center Event
Presented by Stephen Denker
Adams Street Shul, 168 Adams Street, Newton, MA
8:00 - 9:15 PM Cost: FREE

On Kristallnacht, the synagogue in the small rural village of Nentershausen, in Hessen, Germany was damaged, but not destroyed. In 1987, the derelict building was redeemed. It was dismantled, moved to Hessenpark in Neu-Anspach, Germany and rebuilt, the witness to Jewish presence. Its desecrated lintel above the Torah Ark is on exhibit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). Join author Stephen Denker, who will discuss his book, The Nentershausen Synagogue, about a Jewish community in Germany—before and after the years of Nazi tyranny—told through the stories of the community’s cherished synagogue, and two of its surviving families. The Nentershausen Synagogue is currently available at the USHMM gift shop. To order your copy in advance, please call the museum directly at 1-800-259-9998 or 202-488-6144. Note: The entrance of Adams Street Shul includes the use of stairs. Register today.

May 18 - NEHGS is coming to Arizona! It’s in the Genes: Leveraging DNA in Your Family History Research
Presented by Genealogists Christopher C. Child and Pam Holland
The Heard Museum, 2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM Cost: $125, includes five lectures, breakfast, lunch, access to museum galleries, and wine reception

Whether you’re completely new to DNA testing or you have already taken a DNA test—or two or three—this full-day seminar will provide you with the knowledge, tools, and strategies to interpret your results, make important genealogical connections, and take your family history research to the next level. Register today!

May 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.

May 22 - Tracing Lafayette's Trail
in partnership with the Hannah Winthrop Chapter, DAR
Presented by Julien Icher, Founder of the Layfayette Trail Project
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
6:00 - 7:30 PM Cost: FREE

Julien Icher is the Founder and Executive Director of The Lafayette Trail (www.thelafayettetrail.com)—a Franco-American effort to document, map, and mark the footsteps of General Lafayette across the United States during his 1824-1825 Farewell Tour. As the co-vice-chairman of the committee in charge of promoting the 2024-2025 Bicentennial of the Triumphal Tour for the American Friends of Lafayette, he is deeply committed to the success of the missions bestowed upon him by the Consul General of France in Boston. This presentation will highlight Julien's efforts with the Massachusetts and New Hampshire state legislatures while discussing his experience traveling more than 22,000 miles across the United States almost 200 years after Lafayette's fourth and last visit to his adopted land. Diaries and correspondence from NEHGS special collections documenting portions of Lafayette's farewell tour will be on display. Register today.

June

June 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.

June 19 - 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.

June 21 - Kreplach & Dim Sum—Yes, there are Jews in China!
A Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center Event
in partnership with the Chinese Historical Society of New England
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
7:00–9:00 PM Cost: $36; Shabbat Dinner and Performance

Join acclaimed musician and presenter Robyn Helzner and the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center in partnership with the Chinese Historical Society of New England, for a special evening of music, education, entertainment, and dinner. The extraordinary presence of Jews in China is celebrated in this unforgettable presentation featuring lively stories, photos, video, and music. Learn about the history of Jews in China from the 8th and 9th century to present day, focusing on the areas of Kaifeng, Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong. Items from the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center archives will also be on display. Kosher-style dinner catered by Mei Mei. Register today!

Conferences

May 8 - 11, 2019
NGS Family History Conference
St. Charles, MO

Join NEHGS, fellow family history enthusiasts, seasoned genealogy experts, and other organizations at the 2019 NGS Conference. Choose from more than 150 lectures presented by many nationally recognized speakers, explore an exhibit hall filled with more than 80 exhibitors, and network with more than 2,000 genealogists. Be sure to visit our booth in the exhibit hall for special conference savings and meet members of our staff. Learn more about the conference.

Exhibits

The Origins and Legacy of the Mayflower
First Floor, NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
Free and open to the public during regular library hours

The story of the Mayflower is the quintessential American story—one that resonates across four centuries with themes of democracy, religious freedom, and cultural heritage. While not the first group of European settlers to arrive on the shores of America, the Mayflower landing has become synonymous with the founding of America. But who were these Pilgrims, what motivated their departure from England, and why has their story been so ensconced in our nation's history? This exhibit seeks to explore the origins of the Mayflower migration and its lasting legacy, as expressed through anniversary commemorations, American mythos, and modern-day descendants. Items in this exhibition are drawn from the R. Stanton Avery Special Collections and the Fine Art Collection at New England Historic Genealogical Society. This exhibition has been generously supported by Anne Louise C. Van Nostrand, Brenda Williams, and Elizabeth H. Owens. Braille version of the exhibit made possible by the Flora Nichols Beggs Trust.

The History of Wampum Belts
First Floor, NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
Free and open to the public during regular library hours

From precolonial to contemporary times, wampum belts have been an integral part of the living, indigenous traditions that continue to be used for ceremonial purposes, adornment, and to record or reflect specific events and agreements. This exhibit explores the history, usage, and meaning behind wampum belts and their place in Wampanoag culture. Produced by SmokeSygnals, a Native American owned marketing and communications company.

R.H. Stearns & Company: Boston’s Grand Department Store
Permanent Exhibit
7th Floor, NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
FREE and open to the public during regular library hours

The long-gone R.H. Stearns was once Boston’s most elegant department store. From its grand building on the corner of Tremont Street and Temple Place across from Boston Common, it sold the finest women’s clothing and accessories, as well as men’s and children’s clothing, luxury linens, china, silver, and crystal. The store was founded in 1847 and closed in 1978 and was particularly noted for its extremely loyal clientele of women from the Back Bay and Beacon Hill.

NEHGS has a variety of pieces in its Fine Art Collection that are on display in this small exhibition, from portraits of the founder and his son, to advertisements, porcelain, receipts, and even a 19th century charge coin! Come to our seventh floor reading room and take a peek into a grand part of Boston’s past.