Thursday, January 22, 2009

NEHGS Adds About 5 Million Seachable Names Online

Improved databases provide access to nearly 400 years of information.

Boston, MA – January 2009 – New England Historic Genealogical Society is pleased to announce the addition of about 5 million names to its databases during 2008 to help its more than 20,000 members around the country with their family history research.

NEHGS has more than 100 volunteers around the country who help scan and digitize the vast collection housed at NEHGS’ 7-story research library located at 99 Newbury Street in Boston.

Sam Sturgis, NEHGS Coordinator of Website Database Development, said, “Our goal is to digitize one or two databases every week and make them available on our Web site. Last year we achieved that and more and we are grateful to our volunteers for their assistance with this enormous task.”

The NEHGS Web site,, contains the most complete set of electronically searchable pre-1910 Massachusetts vital records available anywhere. This past year these databases were expanded and improved. Scans of 46,431 record pages were added to the 1910 database, and volunteers corrected errors in about 60,000 records. In the 1850 database 32,422 record pages were added, and an estimated 100,000 errors corrected. About 1,134,770 records in this database were checked for errors, and the project, begun in 2007, is now about 80% complete. On top of these improvements, 2008 also saw the addition of 1,316,076 names to the website’s databases. Another 3,683,712 names were added to the Social Security Death Index database. This brings the grand total of new names added to 4,999,788.

The NEHGS Web site,, has been providing access to important research information including vital records, published genealogies, manuscript archives, and other records since 1999. The site receives more than 15,000 hits per day.


The New England Historic Genealogical Society, founded in 1845, is the country's oldest non-profit genealogical organization. With more than 20,000 members nationally, NEHGS collects, preserves, and interprets materials to help make accessible the histories of families in America. Located at 99-101 Newbury Street in Boston, the NEHGS research library is home to more than 12 million books, journals, photographs, documents, records, and microfilms. NEHGS also boasts one of the largest genealogy manuscript collections in the country, covering more than four centuries of local and family history.

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