American Ancestors magazine, website and The New England Historic Genealogical Society brand have a new oak leaf logo inspired by artwork in the Peabody family tree in the library collections. I’ve always loved the symbolism of simple nature-inspired designs, and the new oak leaf is a fitting icon to represent the deep and expansive roots of NEHGS.
When I first learned of “the genealogy library on Newbury Street” I couldn’t imagine I would one day be researching my own ancestors in its collections. I was certain that my ancestors came directly from the Old World to the midwest, and then on to California. It wasn’t until after both sons spent four years each in Boston area colleges that I discovered my New England ancestors. And it was a good thing too, because the brick streets, autumn colors, and white steeples of New England felt so much like “home” I was reluctant to give up those annual parent weekends and visits.
So I didn’t.
The NEHGS Library seemed like the perfect place to begin my on-site genealogy research, untangling the twigs and branches of a hand-sketched family tree that showed our roots going back to the golden days of Camelot, or at least King Uther Pendragon.
NEHGS Library, before the entry remodel.
I was sure I would find the answers I sought at NEHGS and registered for the annual NEHGS Spring Getaway in 2009, four days of guided research in the library collections. NEHGS did not disappoint. I was stunned to discover that my grandmother’s hand-sketched family tree (few citations, of course) was basically sound, and “YES! We do have New England roots!” It was a turning point in understanding that family stories like ours could be factual, and that it was possible to discover the records to support those conclusions. I didn’t NEED royalty in the family tree, but I sure wanted to know that at least some of those names might be correct.
Working with Gary Boyd Roberts in the library research
room. He makes Register Style seem “easy.”
The morning lectures, followed by conversations with experienced genealogists like Chris Childs, David Allen Lambert, Rhonda McClure, and Gary Boyd Roberts gave me a nudge to move forward and trust what I was learning. I showed Chris Child a copy of our family tree featuring the Child family, joking that we might be “cousins.” I expected a laugh, not a brisk walk to the stacks to find a family history that connected our two families. And I really didn’t expect Chris to show me Gary Boyd Robert’s work outlining connections to notable kin that nearly reached back to King Uther.
It was an A-ha moment. And I made a pretty excited phone call to my family that evening. I think I even impressed my skeptical sons!
At home, I continued my research from home in Southern California using the ever-expanding digital collections at the NEHGS website. I discovered further New England connections, and found branches on my family tree that reached out in all directions recording “generations as they branch from past to present,” as NEHGS President and CEO D. Brenton Simons noted in a recent member letter.
The new oak leaf logo for NEHGS is an apt symbol for NEHGS and it’s deep history in American genealogy. With the addition of new webinars and other educational opportunities, NEHGS expands far beyond New England to reach out to researchers everywhere. Today you’ll find digitized databases for England, Ireland, Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, and Australia, as well as over 350 United States digital collections.
New England may include six “official” states, but research at the New England Historic Genealogical Society includes a much larger world. If you haven’t been to New England lately, try a “virtual visit” to NEHGS to learn more about your American ancestors.
Read more about my Spring Getaway research trip:
Family Curator Visits NEHGS Spring Research Getaway 2009
My thanks to NEHGS for permission to use the logo and research photo in this post.