22 January 2014


I am so excited about Webinar Wednesday today that I have to write about it immediately!  First, it has only been a few days that I knew about New England Historic Genealogical Society webinars.  I signed up as soon as I saw they were offering online education in this format.

Today's topic was Getting the Most From NEHGS ... from Home.  Presenter Jean Mcguire, Library Director, did an excellent job showcasing all that americanancestors.org has to offer, especially to the 85 percent of attendees that do not live in the Boston area.  I took three pages of notes.

Ms. Mcquire explained the difference between guest users and NEHGS members and what each group can access.  You do not need to be a NEHGS member to participate in the webinars and you do not need to be a member to use the website.  Guest users have access to 15 databases on the website.  In addition, every month they can access another 4-5, which change monthly.  Guests can view the free databases, search the catalog, shop at the online store, download history charts and forms, submit a question to "ask a Genealogist", use the online learning center, and more.  That is a lot of information for free.

The remainder of the webinar was explaining how members may use the features of American Ancestors including.

  • Databases:  lots and lots of databases accessible from the database area, the one with the green leaf clip art.  Did you know on each database page there are search tips to help you with that database?
  • External Databases:  19th Century U.S. Newspapers, Early American Newspapers 1690-1876, Marquis Biographies, and American Jewish Historical Society.
  • Journals/Magazines:  to numerous to mention, but found under the "Publication" tab on the home page.
  • Online Library Catalog is accessed by clicking on the "Library" tab at the top of the home page.  
    • Search allows you to search for resources.  Advanced search is available as well.  
    • Digital editions search is if you just want to find digital resources that are available for you to view.
    • E books is why I am gobsmacked!  I had no idea they offered e books for checkout.  You have to have a free open library account to borrow e books, but that is easy enough to sign up for at Open Library.  (Library of Michigan participates with Open Library too.)  There is a borrow e book link.  Books are available for two weeks and only one person at a time may borrow.
  • Research Services are available.
    • Ask a Genealogist:  Submit a reference question and the staff will try to answer it.
    • Schedule a Consultation:  Consultations with an expert in your area of research are available to help you at home via telephone or in person at the library.  Consultations can be from 30 minutes to two hours, you decide.  
    • Hire Research Service:  NEHGS researchers are available to do the research for you using the sources in the library.  
  • Help and Support:  The website offers help and support for users.  There is a video tutorial on how to use the website, if interested.
The webinar ended with a question and answer period.  NEHGS hit it out of the ball park with this webinar.  I am looking forward to the next one, "Ten Steps to Writing and Publishing Your Family History".  If you haven't checked the NEHGS webinars out you are missing a great opportunity to expand your genealogical learning.  Run, don't walk, to your computer and sign up for their webinars-you won't be disappointed.


  1. Brenda,

    Thanks for this information!

    I want you to know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2014/01/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-january-24.html

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Thank you, Jana, for including my blog on your Fab Finds. I appreciate it.