If you may recall in my last blog post about the impact Facebook can have upon your genealogical research I discussed that I will be attempting to validate a potential connection from my proven 5th-Great Grandfather, Daniel Esty (of Miramichi, New Brunswick – husband of Louisa Crowe), to Mary Towne Esty. To hopefully prove the existence of such a line I made a trip to The New England Historic Genealogical Society on Newbury Street in Boston, Massachusetts yesterday. Essentially I was taking advantage of a free-day library pass promotion The NEHGS was running and wanted to see what they had to offer since I have never been to their library before.
To be honest, I was extremely impressed by the library and the amount of books, microfilm, manuscripts, periodicals, and resources that were available. I only spent about 3 hours there, but will certainly be going back since yesterday I felt like only skimmed the slimmest of surfaces as to what they had to offer. To recap my day, I spent most of the day in the 7th floor library which holds:
- 40,000 state, county, and town histories and record collections covering all U.S. states, eastern Canadian provinces, West Indies, and Europe.
- Titles, including core journals such as The American Genealogist and The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, plus 700 other current journals, magazines, and newsletters from around the world, focusing on surnames, geographic areas, or general genealogy topics.
- Compilations, study projects, finding aids, and how-to guides.
A word of advice is if you are planning on visiting the library make sure to go through The NEHGS online library catalog before visiting. By taking this step you will be able to use your time more efficiently while in the library by researching the actual material instead of searching for it. I also noticed when I went to the shelves to find a book I would discover other books around the original book I was looking for. As I said previously, in those 3 hours I really only skimmed the surface of what The NEHGS has to offer.
Some other benefits I found while visiting were:
- On-Site access to The NEGHS Online Database which is accessible for NEHGS members in or out of the library
- Free Wi-Fi. I would recommend bringing your own computer.
- Copies are 25 cents per copy. I personally did not make any copies, but you have a to buy a copy card which appeared to be simple.
- Friendly and knowledgable staff. I mainly asked a couple questions about procedure and where certain items where. I however did overhear visitors asking specific genealogical questions and the genealogists-on-duty appeared to be extremely knowledgable.
- The 7th floor library has plenty of workspace table surface to spread yourself out and was a pleasant atmosphere. I did step into the 5th floor library briefly and the workspace was very cramped there. (5th floor is not my type of working environment) You are however are allowed to bring books from the 5th floor library up to the 7th floor library.
As I mentioned earlier, I was taking advantage of a promotion The NEHGS was running where I had free access to their library for a day. This was a smart move by The NEHGS since I have always been on the fence about becoming a member and now they have exposed me to the above benefits. Due to yesterday’s experience I will be joining for certain. To become an individual member is $79.95 a year. The individual membership is the basic membership, but there are various other levels as well. With the individual membership you receive:
- Access to all areas of NEHGS website
- Full on-site use of Research Library in Boston, including special collections and manuscripts
- Access to premium databases like the Early American Newspapers
- Subscriptions to American Ancestors magazine and The New England Historical and Genealogical Register
- Discounts on research services and tutorials with staff genealogists – by phone or in person
- Discounts on selected titles from our Bookstore
I love the fact with your membership you can access the complete NEHGS database which contains a tremendous amount resource. With your membership you are allowed to access the database from home or wherever you are conducting your research. In conclusion, I am confident if I utilize the resources available at The New England Historic Genealogical Society I will be expanding the scope of my research and will going further back in my family lines. If you are the fence about joining like I was I would recommend visiting their library because you will certainly be convinced about becoming a member.
One last note about my research, yesterday I did find a book about the Towne family and 5th-Great Grandfather, Daniel Esty, was not mentioned as one of the sons of Nathaniel and Mehitable (Preston) Esty. I have seen online where Nathaniel and Mehitable were mentioned as possible parents of Daniel Esty. An online mention is not enough proof which gives me the confidence that I am connected to Mary Towne Esty. I will keep digging and I am sure the answer is in The New England Historic Genealogical Society library somewhere.