Online Events

Attend lectures, courses, and author events from your home

Please note: All online programs are moving forward as scheduled—we look forward to seeing you online!

Note: The schedule below is subject to change.

Online Course

Massachusetts Research: Four Centuries of History and Genealogy

Live broadcasts: May 5, 12, 19, and 26, 6:00—7:30 p.m. EDT; Access to course materials until August 31, 2021
NOTE: Access to the live sessions is now FULL. You can still register for "view-only" access to review each class recording, handouts, slides, and more.
Presented by Experts at American Ancestors
Cost: $115

Whether your family connection to Massachusetts is 400 years old or 40, there is a treasure trove of genealogical resources waiting for you: vital records have been kept by towns since the early seventeenth century; newspapers have existed since colonial times; and there are thousands of published genealogies, local histories, study projects, and other references that exist for Massachusetts research. This online course will provide a century-by-century look at the records, resources, repositories, and research strategies that are essential to exploring your Massachusetts roots. We will also look at the historical context, settlement patterns, and migrations into—and out of—the state; from colony to Commonwealth.

NOTE: Due to popular demand, we have created this special "view-only" opportunity for you to participate in our online course Massachusetts Research: Four Centuries of History and Genealogy. Upon completion of your purchase, you will receive a receipt of your payment and a separate email with information on how to access the course recordings and materials (slides, handouts, etc.). You will have until the end of August 2021 to watch, download, or print the course materials. This purchase does NOT grant you access to the live class broadcasts. You will not miss any of the content by participating this way.

May 5 - Class 1: 17th-Century Massachusetts Research, David Allen Lambert

17th-century Massachusetts colonists are some of the most researched and written-about group of people on the planet, but there remain research challenges: distinguishing people with the same name, understanding unique record sets, and more. This first class will look at the beginnings of Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth Colony and the people who inhabited the lands prior to colonization, provide an overview of the many published genealogical resources and record transcriptions available, demonstrate how to locate and utilize primary sources, and discuss how to overcome common research challenges.

May 12 – Class 2: 18th-Century Massachusetts Research, Melanie McComb

The 18th century was a transformative and foundational period for Massachusetts: continued colonial conflicts, movement westward, revolution, the abolition of slavery, and ultimately statehood. This session will look at just some of the many records of the era—pre and post American independence—including military records, tax lists, census records, newspapers, city directories, and more.

May 19 – Class 3: 19th-Century Massachusetts Research, Hallie Borstel

Massachusetts experienced even more transformation in the 19th century, from the industrial revolution to the Civil War to an increase of immigration from Canada, the British Isles, Germany, Italy, Eastern Europe, and beyond. This class will look at the start of the state census, the age of the passenger list, pension files, expanded vital records, published genealogies and local histories, and less commonly used records.

May 26 – Class 4: 20th-Century Massachusetts Research, Danielle Cournoyer

Continued urbanization and industrialization characterized much of 20th-century Massachusetts. This final session will look at records that emerge in the 20th century—and the changes in records and record keeping that persisted since the 17th century, with particular attention to the topic of “access” and the go-to repositories for Massachusetts research.

NOTE: This copyrighted broadcast is the property of American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society. Any rebroadcast without the express permission of American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society is forbidden.

Brought to you byThe Brue Family Learning Center

Webinar

The Beggars' Songbook: Music of the Dutch Revolt

Thursday, May 20, 6-7 p.m. ET
Presented by Anne Legêne and Karen Burciaga
Cost: FREE

Four hundred years ago, the Pilgrims sailed to New England. A lesser-known chapter of their journey is the decade they spent in the Netherlands during the Twelve Years' Truce, a time of peace and prosperity amid the otherwise turbulent Dutch Revolt against Spanish rule. In this virtual lecture-concert by early music ensemble Long & Away, we explore the music leading up to the Pilgrims' time in the garrison town of Leiden, as well as the religious and political climate that led to their eventual departure in 1620. Musical examples will include Dutch songs of rebellion, Spanish works, and traditional English tunes performed by Long & Away on viola da gamba, voice, recorder, and lute.

Brought to you byThe Brue Family Learning Center

Webinar

Artful Stories: Paintings from Historic New England

Friday, May 21, 4-5:15 p.m. ET
Presented by Nancy Carlisle and Peter Trippi of Historic New England
Moderated by Curt DiCamillo
Cost: FREE

For the first time in its 111-year history, Historic New England has gathered 45 of its most intriguing paintings for an exhibition that is now on view at Eustis Estate (Milton, Massachusetts) through Autumn 2021. "Artful Stories: Paintings from Historic New England" offers a rare opportunity to experience these artworks in museum-style galleries quite unlike their customary contexts at the organization’s 37 historic properties and collections storage facility. Together the paintings reflect significant, sometimes surprising, aspects of the region’s intellectual and cultural life over three centuries. Co-curators Nancy Carlisle (Senior Curator of Collections, Historic New England) and Peter Trippi (Editor-in-Chief, "Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine") developed "Artful Stories" over more than three years and will share some of the discoveries they made while exploring and researching its contents.

Author Event

Skip Finley with Whaling Captains of Color: America's First Meritocracy

Tuesday, May 25, 6:30-7:30 p.m. ET
Cost: FREE

The history of whaling as an industry has been well-told in books, but none has shared the stories of whaling’s leaders of color in an era when the only other option was slavery. Working with archival records at whaling museums, in libraries, from private archives and interviews with people whose ancestors were whaling masters, Skip Finley now profiles the lives of over 50 black whaling captains. Whaling was one of the first American industries to exhibit diversity. A man became a captain not because he was white or well connected, but because he knew how to kill a whale. Along the way, he could learn navigation and reading and writing. Whaling presented a tantalizing alternative to mainland life. At last, the stories of these captains’ success – of why, how, and their historical impact – are being told.

Brought to you byThe Brue Family Learning Center

Webinar

Using the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center Archives for Family History Research

Thursday, May 27, 3-4 p.m. ET
Presented by Lindsay Murphy, Senior Archivist
Cost: FREE

The Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center (JHC) at New England Historic Genealogical Society preserves the histories of Jewish families and institutions in New England and beyond. The JHC holds more than 2 million records in its archives and more than 600,000 searchable documents in its digital collections. Learn more about the collections, resources, and expertise at the JHC, and how these materials can be leveraged by family historians.

Brought to you byThe Brue Family Learning Center

Author Event

Joseph M. Bagley with Boston's Oldest Buildings and Where to Find Them

Thursday, June 3, 6-7 p.m. ET
Cost: FREE

The first book to survey Boston’s fifty oldest buildings, this work by the city archaeologist and historic preservationist is a great guide for history lovers, architectural enthusiasts, and tourists. In an approachable narrative which will appeal to non-architects and those new to historic preservation, Joseph M. Bagley tours fifty buildings that pre-date 1800 and illustrate Boston’s early history. Approaching its four-hundredth anniversary, Boston continues to shift with near-constant development; still, it maintains its historic character. Don’t miss hearing from an expert and insider about the city’s unique character, its historic areas and oldest buildings.

Brought to you byThe Brue Family Learning Center

Online Conference

Getting the Lay of the Land: Using American Land Deeds in Your Family History Research

Access to Five Pre-Recorded Class Sessions and Materials starting May 28 until September 30, 2021
Live Q&A with Instructors: June 5, 2:00 – 3:30 PM
Presented by Experts at American Ancestors
Cost: $125

For generations, land has meant opportunity, independence, and even survival in America. It is what drove many of our ancestors to immigrate and what motivated some to migrate across the country. While land records are essential to our family history research, they are often overlooked or misunderstood. Hidden in the legalese and metes and bounds, there can be critical clues to extended family members and family relationships, the location of ancestral homelands, and why our ancestors move from point A to point B. From colonial land grants and charters to proprietorship records and federal land programs, this online conference will give you the historical context of land records in America, the tools to find and decipher deeds, and strategies for leveraging land records in your family history research.

Your participation in this online conference grants you access to 5+ hours of pre-recorded presentations by renowned speakers, authors, and professional genealogists; handouts, slides, worksheets, and other resources; attend a 90-minute live Q&A with instructors; and take advantage of special offers and virtual door prizes. You will have access to all materials until the end of September 2021.

Session 1: History of Land Records in America, Kyle Hurst

The story of land division and ownership in America begins with colonization by the English, French, and Spanish. This first class lays the ground work and historical context for understanding how land records progressed over time to the deeds of today.

Session 2: Using Land Records, Sheilagh Doerfler

With an understanding of the types of land records that exist and their progression over time, this class will look at how to find land deeds, navigate and understand grantor and grantee indexes, how to abstract deeds, what information you are likely to find, and provide tips on how to locate historic parcels of land in the present day.

Session 3: Bounty Land, Ann Lawthers

From 1775 to 1855 the United States awarded bounty-land warrants to veterans of the Revolution, War of 1812, the Mexican War, and Indian Wars. These grants may not have only affected your family’s migrations, but greatly impacted the reach and settlement of the fledgling nation. This class will discuss who was eligible to receive bounty land warrants, what records exist documenting the grants, where to find these resources, and ultimately determine if your ancestor received a warrant.

Session 4: Homesteaders, Melanie McComb

The Homestead Act of 1862 encouraged mass settlement of federal lands in the frontier, resulting in millions of records documenting the transfer of public land to private ownership. Learn how these land entry case files can assist in researching your homesteading ancestors.

Session 5: Using Land Records to Break Down Brick Walls, Rhonda R. McClure

Land records may be the only source of a person’s origins, woman’s maiden name, parentage, or other family connections. Using a variety of case studies, this final class will demonstrate how land records can be used to break down genealogical brick walls and how to use several land records to piece together a more complete picture of your ancestors’ lives.

NOTE: This copyrighted broadcast is the property of American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society. Any rebroadcast without the express permission of American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society is forbidden.

Brought to you byThe Brue Family Learning Center

Webinar

Researching the Deep South

Thursday, June 10, 3-4 p.m. ET
Presented by Ann Lawthers
Cost: FREE

Do you have ancestors from the Deep South? In this webinar, Genealogist Ann Lawthers will address key challenges in researching families from South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana and offer tips and solutions for getting ahead. Topics include migration and settlement patterns, what to do when vital records are not available, how to leverage land, probate, and tax records, and finding confederate records. The session concludes with tips for conducting African American research in the region.

Brought to you byThe Brue Family Learning Center

Research Program

Virtual Spring Research Stay-At-Home

Live broadcasts June 10 - June 12 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. EDT
Presented by Experts at American Ancestors
Cost: $375

Do you find you have more time than ever to work on family history but don’t know where to start? Are you tackling a brick wall and need more guidance as you research from home? The Spring Research Stay-At-Home, a virtual program from the experts at American Ancestors and NEHGS, is a three-day online experience filled with consultations, lectures, and more! Learn about essential resources and research strategies that can be accessed and applied digitally, attend lectures from our staff on popular genealogical topics, chat with our experts and other participants daily, and receive one-on-one consultation time focused on your research questions. From the most advanced researcher to someone just beginning their journey into family history research, the Spring Research Stay-At-Home will give you the necessary skills and knowledge to continue your family history research online from home.

    Program includes:
  • Seven lectures and access to recordings
  • Lecture handouts and materials
  • Two, one-on-one 30-minute consultations (scheduled by our staff ahead of time)
  • Activity and Demo sessions with our experts and other participants

NOTE: Live sessions will be broadcast through Zoom Video Conferencing. Information about accessing both live and recorded content will be sent to participants ahead of time. Access to a personal device, and internet connection is required to take full advantage of this program.

Thursday, June 10: Digitizing Your Family History
9:30 AM: Welcome and Introductions
10:15 AM - 12:00 PM: Consultations* and personal research
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM: Break for Lunch
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM: Lecture: Choosing a Genealogical Software Program, Rhonda R. McClure
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM: Demo/Activity Session
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM: Lecture: Digitizing Your Family Papers, Lindsay Murphy
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM: Demo/Activity Session

Friday, June 11: Using DNA in Your Family History
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM: Consultations* and personal research
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM: Break for Lunch
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM: Lecture: DNA Basics, Pam Holland
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM: Demo/Activity Session
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM: Lecture: Interpreting Your DNA Results, Christopher C. Child
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM: Demo/Activity Session

Saturday, June 12: Additional Digital Tools for Family History
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM: Consultations* and personal research
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM: Break for Lunch
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM: Lecture: Using DNA Tools, Melanie McComb
2:15 PM - 3:30 PM: Lecture: Using Social Media for Family History, Melanie McComb
3:30 PM - 3:45 PM: Break
3:45 PM - 5:00 PM: Lecture: Hosting an Online Family Reunion, David Allen Lambert
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM: Break-out Session

*Each participant is guaranteed 2 consultations during the program. Consultations will be scheduled ahead of time by American Ancestors staff and will be based on information provided on the research questionnaire filled out by participants.

*Schedule subject to change.

NOTE: This copyrighted broadcast is the property of New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Brought to you byThe Brue Family Learning Center

Author Event

Gabrielle Glaser with American Baby: A Mother, A Child, and the Shadow History of Adoption

Tuesday, June 15, 6-7 p.m. ET
Cost: FREE

As closed records of adoption are being legally challenged in states nationwide and open adoption is the rule today, journalist Gabrielle Glaser takes us back to a dark time in America’s history. Her acclaimed book reveals the lucrative and exploitative adoption industry during the 1960s Baby Boom, when agencies removed children from their birth mothers, placed them with hopeful families, and then firmly closed the door between them. Acting “in the best interests of all,” they separated families, including Margaret Erle’s. Don’t miss hearing her story of love, loss, and the search for identity – a tale that she and her son born in 1961 share with millions of Americans, their “powerful” family history “illuminating a universal truth” (The New York Times Book Review).

Brought to you byThe Brue Family Learning Center

Online Course

Rodziną!: Researching Your Polish Ancestors

Live broadcasts: June 16, 23, and 30, 6:00—7:30 p.m. EDT; Access to course materials until September 30, 2021
Presented by James Heffernan, Genealogist
Cost: $85

Today there are an estimated 9 million Americans who have Polish ancestry. Connecting to your rodziną—family—in the old country, however, is not without its challenges. Language barriers, changing historical boundaries, and record access can forestall your success in tracing your Polish roots. This three-session course will set you up for success! Topics include how to locate your ancestral town or village using American sources, how to navigate shifting historical borders, review the types of records you are likely to find in each region, and provide case studies demonstrating various research strategies.

This course includes three 90-minute classes; exclusive access to handouts and recordings of each presentation; and in-depth Q&A sessions with the instructor.

June 16 – Class 1: Introduction to Polish History and Locating Your Ancestral Town or Village

An overview of Polish History from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to today, with an emphasis on Poland’s shifting borders, religious groups, and languages. Examination of resources to help identify your Polish immigrant ancestor’s place of origin in Europe.

June 23 – Class 2: Finding Your Ancestors in Polish Religious and Civil Records

Religious and civil registration records form the backbone of Polish genealogical research. In this class, we will discuss how records were collected in each of the partitions (Prussian/German, Austrian, Russian), where they are stored, and how you can access them online or in-person. We will cover finding records on the website of the Polish National Archives, FamilySearch.org, and indexing efforts on Geneteka.Genealodzy.pl.

June 30 – Class 3: Alternative Sources for Polish Genealogical Research

Where do you turn when you have exhausted available religious and civil records? In this final class, we will discuss alternative sources like census, military, notarial, and property records. We will also discuss hiring a researcher in Poland to access non-digitized materials.

NOTE: This copyrighted broadcast is the property of American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society. Any rebroadcast without the express permission of American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society is forbidden.

Brought to you byThe Brue Family Learning Center

Webinar

The Country Houses of Shropshire

Friday, June 18, 1-2:15 p.m. ET
Presented by Gareth Williams
Cost: FREE

Join us in June for a richly illustrated webinar on the country houses of Shropshire! One of the largest counties in England, Shropshire is full of luscious and history-drenched country houses, many of them unknown outside of this stunning part of the country. Presented by Gareth Williams, historian, curator and Shropshire native, this lecture will take us from the grand and noble to the modest and livable, punctuated with stories of great art collections, people who changed the world, and Shropshire children who left England on the Mayflower. Gareth’s seminal and groundbreaking book, The Country Houses of Shropshire, anticipated to be an important resource for historians and genealogists, will be published by Boydell Press in June.

Online Course

Building Your Genealogical Skills

Live broadcasts June 22, 29, and July 6, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM EDT
Presented by Ann Lawthers, Genealogist
Cost: $85

Take your research skills to the next level! With the sheer number of online resources at your fingertips, it's easy to dive into 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.

This course includes three 90-minute classes; exclusive access to handouts and recordings of each presentation; hands-on demonstrations and activities; and in-depth q&a sessions with the instructor. You will have access to the recordings, handouts, slides, and more until September 30, 2021.

NOTE: This program will be hosted via Zoom. Access information will be sent to participants upon registration. This course contains the same content presented in our Building Your Genealogical Skills seminar presented February 2021.

June 22 - Class 1: The Basics
Students will learn the major principles of good genealogy research practice, how to apply these practices in researching a family tree, and the most important types of records used in genealogical research.

June 29 - Class 2: Researching
Students will learn the value of research logs, creating a research plan, finding aids and more. This session will delve into the many crucial techniques of planning and organizing your research.

July 6 - Class 3: Analyzing
Part of becoming an effective researcher includes learning the basics of genealogical citation. Learn how to question genealogical sources and citations to make sure your research is valid.

NOTE: This copyrighted broadcast is the property of New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Brought to you byThe Brue Family Learning Center

Webinar

The College of Arms in the Eighteenth Century

Thursday, May 27, 3-4 p.m. ET
Presented by Peter O'Donoghue, York Herald
Moderated by Nathaniel Lane Taylor, FASG
Presented by the Committee on Heraldry of the New England Historic Genealogical Society
Cost: FREE

The early decades of the eighteenth century saw the College of Arms at its lowest point in its history, when its relevance and even its survival seemed to be in doubt. Very few grants of Arms were being made, heraldic regulation was increasingly ineffective, and the practices of its Officers were in decline. Appointments were sometimes made for the wrong reasons, so that Officers might not be there for their heraldic or genealogical skills. Could the century see a revival of the fortunes of this ancient institution? Could it find new venues for its activities, new areas of expertise, and new sources of revenue? Could heraldry adapt to the changing fashions and aesthetics of the Enlightenment and Romanticism? This talk will seek to examine and answer these questions.

Brought to you byThe Brue Family Learning Center

Schedule a Private Webinar for your Group

Hire one of our experts to virtually present to your group on a subject of your choosing! Our custom webinars allow members of your group to hear and watch a presentation in real time, interact with a genealogical expert, type in questions and receive verbal responses, and have exclusive access to a recording of the presentation. Each custom webinar lasts one hour, and can serve a maximum of 500 individual registrants. Webinars may be scheduled for anytime between 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM eastern time Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; and 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM eastern time on Wednesdays.

To receive a quote and begin the booking process for a custom webinar, please complete our request form. Requests must be made at least 8 weeks prior to the intended event date. Questions? Contact: education@nehgs.org

FAQ

NEHGS webinars are FREE, live events that provide an overview of the resources, expertise, and educational opportunities available at NEHGS. Online Courses are paid, in-depth programs and offer more support material and greater access to the instructor(s). Our online education programs are open to anyone.

Anyone can register and attend our online programs.

Register for an event by clicking on the program title above or the “Register” link. After registration, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to join the live broadcast.

All information needed to join a live webinar is included in your confirmation email sent upon registration. You will receive the same information by email one day and one hour before the presentation. Note: Log on 5 to 10 minutes prior to the start time to download the Logmein Launcher.

All online programs are recorded for future viewing. Recorded webinars are posted to our Online Learning Center and may be viewed by anyone. Recordings of online courses are available only to registered participants of a given course.