Posted by on July 18, 2013 in Collections, Digitization, Site Features, Website

We are very excited to announce we have added more than 220 million historical New England records to our existing database creating the most comprehensive collection of New England records available online!

Included in the new collections are birth, marriage and death records for hundreds of millions of residents in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, as well as images, diaries and articles from Colonial times to the 1980s.


Over the past few months, we have spent more than 10,000 hours digitizing and indexing historical records from the region in order to make them easily accessible online.  The new records reveal countless facts of people from the region, from population to job growth, while also bringing insights into the life of notable New Englanders.


While the new records will help people discover their family’s New England history, they also shed light on what life was like for the typical New Englander in various periods of the region’s history.


Notable New Englanders

The new collections are not only a treasure trove of information for those trying to learn more about their family origins, but also those interested in learning more about notable New Englanders throughout history. Norman Rockwell’s indexed death record and Benjamin Franklin’s birth record are included in the new collections, along with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s obituary and even a record of Dr. Seuss’ birth (Theodor Geisel). The new collections also contain unique subject matter such as original letters regarding the Salem Witch trials.


The Name Legacy of a Founding Father

The new collections also reveal that the nation’s Founding Fathers left a lasting impression in many New England families. From 1850-1940 more than 500 people were named after John Adams, compared to 37 named after George Washington.

From July 18-21st, will make all of these impactful records from the New England Historic Genealogical Society – along with several other New England record sets – available free of charge for the public to search at This will enable beginner and expert family historians alike to explore curiosities and research their New England heritage.


Explore this fascinating new collection of records and explore what life was like in New England in the era of your ancestors! Learn more about New England by checking out our infographic!

New England In The 1900s


  1. FHC Librarian

    I’m very disappointed at the transcriptions of a huge number of these New England records. It looks like the transcribers didn’t understand the style of how the records were kept, and there were no checks done on them. The indexing is the foundation of any records search and I thought by now Ancestry would have learned that. The transcribers were either terribly ignorant of what the records were or careless or both. I’d hate to think they were just plain stupid.

    Shame on Ancestry for presenting such a mess. Good thing I subscribe to American Ancestors, formerly The New England Historic and Genealogical Society. New England records are some of the best and earliest kept records for genealogists and most folks will use them since much, but not all, of our beginnings as a country started there. I’m a born New Englander so my genealogy starts there in the 1600s and stayed there until the twenty first century.

    After all the folks who begged and pleaded for better indexes, this set is an absolute disaster. I’m making corrections on about 50% of what hints on sources are presented to me. I have begun to ignore many due to the time it takes to make additions and corrections. Don’t brag to me at how great the transcriptions of these records are. The 1940 census is a close second in bad transcriptions and I didn’t think they could be topped. In Ancestry’s haste to get more records out, they really blew it! These records could have been so easy to do correctly.

  2. FHC Librarian

    Since there are multiple transcriptions of the Massachusetts Vital Records, which set is the oldest, then the next oldest, and etc? For example a marriage could be cited six or more times, one each for the bride and one for the groom. It’s easy to match the pairs but how do we tell which set is first? It seems in the most recent ones, the transcriber used the maiden name of the bride or groom’s mother as the surname of the father since in the records, it was assumed the bride or groom father’s surname was the same as the father. Not the maiden name of the mother.

    This is very clear to me that the transcriber didn’t understand how the records were recorded. There is other information in every record so you do have to check all of them. That’s fine, but when errors like this happen, it make the indexes incorrect. The indexes are the foundation of the databases. Bad indexing equals problems finding the correct record, if you can find it at all.

    There are too many instances of this problem to cite them. It has happened in the birth, death and marriage records. The indexes at American Ancestors seem to be the most error free. I have sent in corrections to them when I found them and they corrected their indexes immediately. Ancestry just doesn’t correct errors fast enough and some not at all.

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