Events and Programs

NEHGS events in and around Boston

Learn with NEHGS experts and partner organizations at dozens of lectures, seminars, workshops, and other special events, offered each year at the American Ancestors Research Center and in the greater Boston area.

| August | September | October | November | Conferences | Exhibits | Online Events |

AUGUST

August 25 - American Ancestors at Open Newbury Street 2019
American Ancestors Research Center, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
10:00 AM–6:00 PM Cost: FREE

Open Newbury Street is a car-free day on Newbury Street in which vendors offer special activities, deals, and experiences. American Ancestors will participate with free entry to the first floor of our Library and Archives, family history themed games and activities, special offers, and a raffle. No registration necessary.

SEPTEMBER

September 6 - Resources at the Godfrey Memorial Library of Middleton, CT: A library dedicated to Genealogical and Family History Research
Part of our First Friday lecture series
Presented by Albert E. Fiacre, Jr., Chair of the Board of Trustrees of Godfrey Memorial Library
American Ancestors Research Center, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
12:00 PM–1:00 PM Cost: FREE

The Godfrey Memorial Library of Middletown, Connecticut is a library dedicated to genealogical and family history research. Join Albert E. Fiacre, Jr. to learn about the history of the library, its collections, and the services they provide. Special focus will be given to the library's genealogical material, including unique items. Register today!

September 7 - New Visitor Tour
American Ancestors Research Center, 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 American Ancestors Research Center. 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 14 - New Discoveries in Mayflower Genealogy
Presented by Sue Allan; Robert Charles Anderson, FASG; Christopher C. Child; Caleb Johnson; Simon Neal
Courtyard Boston Marriott, 275 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
9:00 AM–5:00 PM Cost: $125; includes five lectures, breakfast, lunch, and book fair

Although the story of the Mayflower is 400 years old, new genealogical discoveries are being made about the passengers’ origins, parentage, interrelationships, and descendants. Join preeminent Mayflower scholars—and the researchers behind many of these discoveries—as they share how they uncovered these new findings and how they shed light on our understanding of the Mayflower and its legacy. View a full agenda and register today!

September 15 - American Ancestors at Open Newbury Street 2019
American Ancestors Research Center, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
10:00 AM–6:00 PM Cost: FREE

Open Newbury Street is a car-free day on Newbury Street in which vendors offer special activities, deals, and experiences. American Ancestors will participate with free entry to the first floor of our Library and Archives, family history themed games and activities, special offers, and a raffle. No registration necessary.

September 17 - Biographer Susan Ronald with Condé Nast: The Man and His Empire
Part of the American Inspiration series
Presented by Susan Ronald
American Ancestors Research Center, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
6:00 PM–7:00 PM Cost: $35 includes guaranteed seat and signed book (Includes tax); $12.50 general admission

Join us for this in-depth look at the life and legacy of Condé Nast, the publishing legend whose life and career were as high profile and glamorous as his magazines Vogue and Vanity Fair. British-American biographer Susan Ronald worked with his family and a dedicated team at Condé Nast Publications to reveal the life of this extraordinary American. Register today!

September 18 - New Visitor Tour
American Ancestors Research Center, 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 American Ancestors Research Center. 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 19 - In Search of Good Design: The Impact of British Design Books on 18th-Century American Furniture
In partnership with the Nichols House Museum
Presented by Brock Jobe
American Ancestors Research Center, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
6:00 PM–7:30 PM Cost: Member (Nichols House Museum and/or NEHGS) $15; Student $10
Call the Nichols House Museum at 617-227-6993 to reserve your tickets.

During the 1700s, British furniture makers produced more than a dozen volumes of furniture designs. None achieved greater fame than Thomas Chippendale’s Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director. Yet all of them made their way to America and impacted cabinetmakers from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Charleston, South Carolina. Join Brock Jobe for an armchair journey along the Atlantic Coast as he examines the role of design books in shaping the appearance of American furniture. In the process we will discover the English connections to many of the grandest American pieces.

September 21 - Researching Early New England Ancestry
In partnership with the American Independence Museum
Presented by David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist
Folsom Tavern, 164 Water Street, Exeter, NH
1:00 PM–4:00 PM Cost: Member (AIM and/or NEHGS) $20; Not-yet Member: $30

As a group, 17th-century New Englanders are arguably the most studied group on the planet, and thus descendants are blessed with a multitude of resources. In many cases, town vital records, church, colony, court, probate, land, military, and tax records not only have survived, but have been abstracted and published. In this workshop, Chief Genealogist David Allen Lambert will discuss the settlement of and migrations within New England, how to locate and utilize original and published records, and strategies for breaking down common brick walls. Register today!

September 26 - Biographer Brian Jay Jones with Becoming Dr. Seuss
Part of the American Inspiration series
Presented by Brian Jay Jones
American Ancestors Research Center, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
6:00 PM–7:00 PM Cost: $34 includes guaranteed seat and signed book (Includes tax); $12.50 general admission

The biographer of Jim Henson and George Lucas joins us to discuss another creative genius who shaped America’s cultural life: Theodor Geisel, the writer, poet, and illustrator who authored such classics as The Cat in the Hat under the pen name Dr. Seuss. Don’t miss learning more about this inspired—and inspirational—American author. Register today!

September 27 - The Ancestry and Descendants of Captain Myles Standish, Mayflower Passenger
In partnership with the Society of Myles Standish Descendants
Presented by Gary Boyd Roberts and Tim Salls
American Ancestors Research Center, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
1:00 PM–2:30 PM Cost: FREE

Captain Myles Standish was one of about 102 passengers who crossed the Atlantic aboard the Mayflower nearly 400 years ago. Made famous by Longfellow’s The Courtship of Myles Standish, thousands of his descendants can be found around the world. Join genealogist and author Gary Boyd Roberts to learn about the English ancestry and notable descendants of Myles Standish and view papers donated to NEHGS by descendant Wesley Weyman Standish. Register today!

OCTOBER

October 5 - New Visitor Tour
American Ancestors Research Center, 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 American Ancestors Research Center. 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 10 - Prize Stallions and Beasts of Burden: The Horse and the English Country House
In partnership with the Royal Oak Foundation
Presented by Dr. Oliver Cox
American Ancestors Research Center, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
6:00 PM–8:00 PM Cost: Member (Royal Oak Foundation and/or NEHGS) $35; Non-members $45
Registration through the Royal Oak Foundation

In his richly-illustrated lecture, Oxford historian Dr. Oliver Cox, will talk about the long history of horses and the English country house, as well as describe horse racing in England from the first years of royal patronage under King James I at Newmarket, through to our present Queen’s love of the turf. He will lead the audience on a tour of some of Britain’s grandest country houses, with stops at the iconic sporting spectacles of The Derby, Royal Ascot, and the Cheltenham Festival. Looking beyond the top hats and fascinators, this lecture will explore the roots of the British love for horses and horse racing while showing great houses, from Mount Stewart in Northern Ireland to Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire. Register today!

October 16 - New Visitor Tour
American Ancestors Research Center, 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 American Ancestors Research Center. 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 18 - NY Times columnist Gail Collins with No Stopping Us Now: A History of Older Women in America
Part of the American Inspiration series
Presented by Gail Collins
American Ancestors Research Center, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
2:00 PM–3:00 PM Cost: $32 includes guaranteed seat and signed book (Includes tax)

The beloved New York Times columnist visits with her rollicking new book looking at women and aging in America. With razor-sharp, insightful social commentary, she takes us from colonial times to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from Sojourner Truth to Mae West. Don’t miss hearing from Gail Collins. Register today!

October 24 - Fall Family History Benefit Dinner
Featuring Historian Joseph J. Ellis in conversation with Stacy Schiff
Four Seasons Hotel, 200 Boylston, Boston, MA
View a schedule of the evening's events.

The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Founding Brothers, American Sphinx, and, most recently, American Dialogue will be in conversation with past NEHGS Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Stacy Schiff, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of, among other works, The Witches and Cleopatra. Register today!

October 29 - Remembrance of Things Past: Keeping the Stories of Jewish Poland Alive
A Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center Event in Partnership with the Vilna Shul
Presented by Witek Dąbrowski and Leora Tec
Boston's Center for Jewish Culture, 18 Phillips Street, Boston, MA
7:00 PM–9:00 PM Cost: $25

In this joint presentation-performance, Witek Dąbrowski and Leora Tec will present the work of Brama Grodzka-Teatr NN, a cultural institution and theater dedicated to preserving the memory of the Jews of Lublin, Poland and staffed entirely by non-Jewish Poles. They will describe how their two divergent backgrounds led them to the same ultimate goal of Jewish remembrance, and how their histories and meeting ultimately became a part of that story. Interwoven into the presentation will be Witek’s one-man interpretation of a selection of stories authored by Nobel Prize winning writer Isaac Bashevis Singer. These stories reanimate the world of Singer’s youth in the Jewish Poland of 100 years ago. The presentation by Ms. Tec and Mr. Dąbrowski will be in English, while Mr. Dąbrowski’s performance will be in Polish with English supertitles. A complimentary guided tour of the Vilna and its history will run approximately 45 minutes before the start of the program. Register today!

NOVEMBER

November 2 - New Visitor Tour
American Ancestors Research Center, 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 American Ancestors Research Center. 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.

November 12 - Historian Donald L. Miller with Vicksburg: Grant’s Campaign that Broke the Confederacy
Part of the American Inspiration series
Presented by Donald Miller
American Ancestors Research Center, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
6:00 PM–7:00 PM Cost: $37.50 includes guaranteed seat and signed book (Includes tax); $12.50 general admission

This celebrated historian shares the dramatic and deeply researched story of the Battle of Vicksburg, the longest and most decisive military campaign of the Civil War; the conflict that solidified Ulysses S. Grant’s reputation as the Union’s most capable general. Guest moderator: Cathal J. Nolan of Boston University. Register today!

November 13 - New Visitor Tour
American Ancestors Research Center, 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 American Ancestors Research Center. 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.

November 21 - George Howe Colt with The Game: Harvard, Yale, and America in 1968
Part of the American Inspiration series
Presented by George Howe Colt
American Ancestors Research Center, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston
6:00 PM–7:00 PM Cost: $19.50 includes guaranteed seat and signed paperback book (Includes tax); $12.50 general admission

The author of The Big House comes to town with the just-released paperback edition of his celebrated book that tells the story of our country, our college city, and several young men in the turbulent sixties, a transformative time in American culture. Register today!

CONFERENCES

August 21 - 24, 2019

FGS 2019 Conference
Washington, DC

Hosted by the Federation of Genealogical Societies in cooperation with sponsoring local societies, corporate sponsors, and partner organizations, FGS 2019 offers a new full four-day format jam-packed with topics of interest to every genealogist. Whether you’re a beginner just starting to explore your family history or an old hand at research, the wide variety of new and inclusive topics offers something for everyone. 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.

October 24 - 26, 2019
RootsTech London
London, England

RootsTech is coming to London! Get ready to have the ultimate learning experience as you choose from more than 150 sessions—including those led by Director of the Great Migration Study Project Robert Charles Anderson, FASG and NEHGS Chief Genealogist David Allen Lambert. Explore an exhibit hall with more than 100 vendors—including American Ancestors—and hear world-famous expert keynote presenters. Learn more about the conference and register today!

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.