One of the 10 great places to trace family roots...

Your best bet for family history research

The nation's first family-history society dates to 1845 and contains more than 12 million documents, manuscripts, records, books, microfilms, photographs and other artifacts dating to the 14th century.

You can access many resources online (see below for more information) or you can visit our building at 99 Newbury Street in Boston, Massachusetts. 


Students and teacher in a library

How to Use the American Ancestors Research Center

Whether you are planning your first visit, are one of our "regulars," or simply accessing resources from home, this guide will help you get the most out of your visit.

Two researchers look at a computer together

Special Collections

We have been collecting, preserving, and providing access to manuscripts and photographs since 1845. The documents in our collection represent New England and many other regions. Our manuscript holdings now include handwritten and typed family histories and charts, material with vital statistic data such as town, church, and cemetery records, genealogical papers compiled by genealogical researchers and authors, family association collections, and original primary source documents donated individually and in collections of family papers.

Research Guides

Explore a library of detailed guides to a broad variety of topics in family history. You will need to create a FREE American Ancestors account to access this material, or log in if you already have an account.

Collage of documents

Search Library Catalog

Our library catalog is an important tool for anyone planning a trip to our library or patrons needing to locate a certain resource while they are at the library. You can access the catalog from home or from the computers on every library floor. You do not need to be an NEHGS member or even be logged in to search the catalog.

You can search by keyword (anywhere in record), title, author, subject, call number, or advanced. A good place to start is with the keyword search.

Library catalog example with call number and digital copy highlighted

Digital & Library Archives

This website contains digitized materials from the three repositories at American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society. The repositories include the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center, the R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, and the Research Library. The site features digitized archival and published materials such as letters, diaries, photographs, newspapers, business records, genealogies, city directories, organizational records, and other sources for historians and genealogists. The contents focus on the study of family history in America and on the Jewish community in New England.

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