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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Entries in boston (2)


    A Few Thoughts: A New Leaf on the NEHGS Family Tree

    Nehgs logo

    American Ancestors magazine, website and The New England Historic Genealogical Society brand have a new oak leaf logo inspired by artwork in the Peabody family tree in the library collections. I’ve always loved the symbolism of simple nature-inspired designs, and the new oak leaf is a fitting icon to represent the deep and expansive roots of NEHGS. 

    When I first learned of “the genealogy library on Newbury Street” I couldn't imagine I would one day be researching my own ancestors in its collections. I was certain that my ancestors came directly from the Old World to the midwest, and then on to California. It wasn’t until after both sons spent four years each in Boston area colleges that I discovered my New England ancestors. And it was a good thing too, because the brick streets, autumn colors, and white steeples of New England felt so much like “home” I was reluctant to give up those annual parent weekends and visits.

    So I didn’t.

    The NEHGS Library seemed like the perfect place to begin my on-site genealogy research, untangling the twigs and branches of a hand-sketched family tree that showed our roots going back to the golden days of Camelot, or at least King Uther Pendragon.


    NEHGS Library, before the entry remodel.

    I was sure I would find the answers I sought at NEHGS and registered for the annual NEHGS Spring Getaway in 2009, four days of guided research in the library collections. NEHGS did not disappoint. I was stunned to discover that my grandmother’s hand-sketched family tree (few citations, of course) was basically sound, and “YES! We do have New England roots!” It was a turning point in understanding that family stories like ours could be factual, and that it was possible to discover the records to support those conclusions. I didn’t NEED royalty in the family tree, but I sure wanted to know that at least some of those names might be correct. 

    Levenick roberts nehgs

    Working with Gary Boyd Roberts in the library research
    room. He makes Register Style seem "easy."

    The morning lectures, followed by conversations with experienced genealogists like Chris Childs, David Allen Lambert, Rhonda McClure, and Gary Boyd Roberts gave me a nudge to move forward and trust what I was learning. I showed Chris Child a copy of our family tree featuring the Child family, joking that we might be “cousins.” I expected a laugh, not a brisk walk to the stacks to find a family history that connected our two families. And I really didn’t expect Chris to show me Gary Boyd Robert’s work outlining connections to notable kin that nearly reached back to King Uther.

    It was an A-ha moment. And I made a pretty excited phone call to my family that evening. I think I even impressed my skeptical sons! 

    At home, I continued my research from home in Southern California using the ever-expanding digital collections at the NEHGS website. I discovered further New England connections, and found branches on my family tree that reached out in all directions recording “generations as they branch from past to present,” as NEHGS President and CEO D. Brenton Simons noted in a recent member letter. 

    The new oak leaf logo for NEHGS is an apt symbol for NEHGS and it’s deep history in American genealogy. With the addition of new webinars and other educational opportunities, NEHGS expands far beyond New England to reach out to researchers everywhere. Today you’ll find digitized databases for England, Ireland, Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, and Australia, as well as over 350 United States digital collections. 

    New England may include six “official” states, but research at the New England Historic Genealogical Society includes a much larger world. If you haven’t been to New England lately, try a “virtual visit” to NEHGS to learn more about your American ancestors.

    Read more about my Spring Getaway research trip:

    Family Curator Visits NEHGS Spring Research Getaway 2009

    My thanks to NEHGS for permission to use the logo and research photo in this post.


    Fall Foliage Opportunities at NEHGS

    SharonVT 7

    The weekly newsletter and periodic press releases from the New England Historic Genealogical Society are getting to be a kind of Yankee torture. I may read "Come Research in New England" but what I see are gem-tone autumn leaves, wool sweaters, and sharp blue skies. 

    If you have New England ancestors and have never visited your ancestral haunts in autumn, add it to your genealogy ToDo List. There's no better way to get started with New England research than by attending one of the outstanding programs offered at the New England Historic Genealogical Society headquartered on Newberry Street in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston.

    The early Fall program schedule at NEHGS reminds me once again why I wish I lived in Massachusetts --

    IMG 2312


    September 12, 2012 10:00AM - 11:00AM

    Free lecture on how to use the features, tools, resources, and content of the NEHGS website, With more than than 200 million searchable names covering New England, New York, and other areas of family research dating back to 1620, this is a top resource for New England research. 

    New Israel - New England: Jews and Puritans in Early America

    September 12, 2012 6:00PM - 7:00PM

    Author Michael Hoberman will discuss his book New Israel /New England: Jews and Puritans in Early America, which examines the history of colonial New England through the lens of its first settlers. The New England Puritans’ fascination with the legacy of the Jewish religion has been well documented, but their interactions with actual Jews have escaped sustained historical attention. New Israel/New England tells the story of the Sephardic merchants in Boston and Newport between the mid-seventeenth century and the American Revolution. It also explores the complex and often contradictory meanings that the Puritans attached to Judaism and the fraught attitudes that they bore toward the Jews as a people. This event is cosponsored with the American Jewish Historical Society, New England Archives.

    Writing and Publishing Seminar, Part I

    September 15, 2012 9:00AM - 4:30PM
    This is the first of a two-part seminar on writing and publishing your family history. Workshops in Part 1 include defining your project, writing in genealogical format, working with images, and adding narrative to your genealogy. Part 2, to be held on February, 23, 2013, delves into the editorial process and book production, and offers a chance to meet with publishers/printers and consult with experts.
    Cost: Tuition: $110. Includes light breakfast, lunch, and all program materials.

    For more information, contact or 617-226-1226.

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