Friday, May 8, 2009

"The American Genealogist" (TAG) to be digitized on NEHGS site

I was excited to receive this press release via email today from the New England Historic Genealogical Society today --



Early volumes of premier genealogical journal now available online

Boston, MA – May 8, 2009 – NEHGS is pleased to announce a new collaboration with The American Genealogist (TAG), one of the premier scholarly genealogical publications in the country. The Society is digitizing back issues of the journal and making them available on its award-winning Web site,

Founded in 1922 by Donald Lines Jacobus, TAG is edited by a trio of NEHGS members: Dr. David L. Greene, FASG, past recipient of NEHGSCoddington Award of Merit; Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, director of the NEHGS Great Migration Study Project; and Joseph C. Anderson II, FASG, who is also editor of The Maine Genealogist. These distinguished genealogists, along with dozens of highly-regarded contributors, uphold and advance the standards for genealogical scholarship so carefully articulated by Jacobus and the Jacobus “School.”

David L. Greene will be at the NEHGS booth at the upcoming NGS conference in Raleigh, NC on Thursday, May 14.

Henry Hoff, FASG, editor of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, notes that the addition of TAG to online searchable databases will provide unprecedented access to some of the most important scholarly work in the field, adding that when editing Register articles, he always makes certain that authors have cited all relevant TAG articles.

The first eight volumes, covering the years 1923–1932, were published as “Families of Ancient New Haven.” These are also available online at

Volumes 9–13, published between 1933 and 1937, are now available online as a fully searchable database. These first five issues contain 34,537 name records, 847 title/author records, and 1,508 page images. The database may be searched by first and last name. It may also be searched by “article title keyword(s).” This option is an “any match” search that includes article titles and authors. Finally, entering a specific year or volume number, and page number, will provide access to that portion of the journal. When search results are displayed, links to the corresponding TAG pages are provided. Once viewing a TAG page, additional links allow users to see the previous or next search result, or the previous or next TAG page.

Additional volumes will be added regularly, until the database includes Volume 82. At that point new volumes will be added each year, five years after publication. The most recent five volumes will only be available in print.

Founded in 1845, New England Historic Genealogical Society is the country's oldest and largest non-profit genealogical organization. Located in Boston, NEHGS collects, preserves, and interprets materials that make accessible the histories of families in America. The NEHGS research library, one of the most respected genealogical libraries in the field, is home to millions of books, journals, manuscripts, photographs, microfilms, documents, records, and other artifacts that date back more than four centuries. The award-winning web site
offers access to more than 110 million names in 2,500 searchable databases. NEHGS has more than 23,000 members nationally. NEHGS staff includes some of the leading expert genealogists in the country, specializing in early American, Irish, English, Scottish, Jewish, Atlantic and French Canadian, Italian. African American, and Native American genealogy.


I am a member of NEHGS, and a 20-year subscriber to The American Genealogist. The two scholarly publications have provided me with countless articles about my New England and New York ancestors, in addition to ideas about how to pursue elusive ancestors in New England, New York and the British Isles.

This is really good news for me - I was checking TAG issues almost every time I went down to the San Diego FHC, and now I'll be able to browse them at my leisure at home through my NEHGS subscription.

I sure wish that more genealogy publications would permit digitization and indexing of their publications. NEHGS has all of their New England Historical and Genealogical Register (NEHGR, since 1847) on their web site behind their subscription firewall. That's fine with me - they've earned it.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - periodicals like NEHGR and TAG contain wonderful genealogy gems just waiting to be discovered by researchers. But it will take online indexes for researchers to find them efficiently.

What will it take for societies like NGS and NEHGS (and many other state and regional societies) to compile an every-name index to their periodicals and put it online for FREE access by researchers? An alternative would be to collaborate with a record database provider that would put the index online. In most cases, the index already exists, at least in paper format. Having an every-name index online will lead to more subscribers, readers of the periodicals, or visitors to the brick library and web site.

1 comment:

Bill West said...

This is great news. I'll be checking that site out!