Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Catching Up with the New England Historical And Genealogical Register (NEHGR)

I have been a New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) member for about 20 years now, and have a relatively "tall" collection of both the quarterly Register and the American Ancestors magazine.  I renewed my membership for 2013 online today.

About two years ago, I decided to receive the Register as a PDF file by downloading it from the website (http://www.americanancestors.org/the-register/) rather than receive it by mail.  But I need to remember to go into the site every quarter and download the current issue.

I did that today, and found that I hadn't downloaded the last two issues (April 2012 and July 2012).  I saved the issues as PDF files in my My Documents>Genealogy>Education>Magazines?NEHG Register computer files, and now have a six year collection, from 2007 to 2012.

I add these issues to my Dropbox folder also so that I can access them on my laptop or another computer, and also can read them on my iPhone and my Galaxy tablet.

While I rarely find articles about my own ancestral families, I do read the NEHGR cover-to-cover because it provides methods of finding and analyzing genealogical resources in New England, where about 60% of my ancestry resided.

I use the www.AmericanAncestors.org daily for the Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1920 databases, and occasionally other databases also.  The search engine works fairly well and I've learned how to effectively search the site by using wild cards and narrowing searches.

I saw something interesting in the July 2012 issue in the editorial:

"Readers may notice the frequent citations to “Massachusetts, Town Vital Collections,” on Ancestry.com in the Dunbar article in this issue. This is the title Ancestry.com has given to the Holbrook Collection of Massachusetts Vital Records, which Jay Mack Holbrook published on microfiche for most Massachusetts towns. Not all towns have been posted on Ancestry.com; a status report can be obtained via links on the search page. Very few libraries have a full set of the Holbrook Collection; for example, NEHGS purchased the microfiche only for a number of the towns for which there were no published vital records to 1850.
"Now one can search the entire Holbrook Collection at one time, and see images of the original records (as well as transcripts, in some cases). While the microfiche often had indexes, they were limited to that town.
"Our experience with the Dunbar article was that: (1) Deaths were in the Holbrook Collection or in the state vital records from 1841 on, but not always in both places; (2) Some marriages were in both places and had the same information; (3) The Holbrook Collection was particularly useful for Boston marriages, intentions, and deaths; and (4) The published town vital records were accurate, but occasionally there were benefits in seeing the original format.
"This is a major development in Massachusetts research, especially for vital records after 1850!"

I agree with that assessment.  The Holbrook collection is a significant genealogical resource for Massachusetts - I'm wondering if NEHGS will work something out with Ancestry.com to enable NEHGS members to access it on the AmericanAncestors website.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2012/09/catching-up-with-new-england-historical.html

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

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