Welcome to the perfect place to start or continue research into your family history with materials related to New Hampshire and New England. The New Hampshire Historical Society's collections include family histories, vital records, church records, cemetery records, diaries, town and county histories, military records, genealogical periodicals, and general genealogical reference material, in addition to a large collection of published and unpublished material related to the history of New Hampshire. Whether you're an experienced genealogist or just starting out, the New Hampshire Historical Society offers a suite of resources to support your research.
Virtual Genealogy Workshop: Know Your Neighbors
Wednesday, October 18, 2023, 7 to 8 p.m.
This one-hour virtual workshop describes the tools and techniques for using information about neighbors to solve family history mysteries. Our ancestors often moved in groups and settled near one another. Thus, learning about your ancestors’ neighbors can provide critical information about your own family, particularly women. Genealogist Sheilagh Doerfler of New England Historic Genealogical Society covers sources that may provide information about your ancestors’ neighbors, explains how we can look at traditional sources in new ways to shed light on these relationships, and outlines strategies that can illuminate migration patterns. The workshop is $15 for members of the New Hampshire Historical Society and $25 for nonmembers. Advance registration is required via Eventbrite.com.
Genealogy Workshop: Tracing Ancestors on the Move
Saturday, November 18, 2023, 1 to 4 p.m.
Our ancestors moved near and far seeking economic opportunities, religious freedom, and connections with friends and family. These mobile ancestors, however, are notoriously difficult to track. We might have an ancestor in our sights and then—poof!—they’re gone. Or we may have an ancestor for whom we have no idea where they came from. Genealogist Ann G. Lawther of the New England Historic Genealogical Society offers context and motivations for migrations across America in the 17th through 20th centuries, strategies for discovering ancestral origins and movements, and provides tools, including go-to sources, to help track your family on the move. The cost of this workshop is $35 for members of the New Hampshire Historical Society and $50 for nonmembers. Space is limited and registration is required. Register online through Eventbrite.com.
On-site Digital Resources
The New Hampshire Historical Society's collections of records and printed materials—from the reference volumes on the library shelves to the manuscripts and books that constitute the formal collections—have long been a treasure trove for genealogists. Increasingly, digital databases have become an important complementary resource to print materials, and the Society now offers on-site library patrons free access to a selection of subscription-only digital databases via the public access computers in the library. The first of these databases is EBSCO's "America: History and Life™ with Full Text." Researchers can use this database to search over a thousand journals and retrieve articles related to the history of the United States and Canada (including all articles published in the Society's own journal, Historical New Hampshire). For patrons focused on genealogy, two other databases available in the library will likely become a staple of their research: Ancestry.com can be used to build family trees and access millions of genealogical resources; and American Ancestors, powered by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, contains millions of genealogical records with a particular focus on New England, as well as data from genealogy-based journals and other publications. All of these resources offer library patrons new research opportunities for family history.
Family records at the New Hampshire Historical Society include published and unpublished family histories, often researched and written by family members. These histories provide a nice starting point for your research and can be useful if you encounter difficulties. They often list birth and death dates and locations as well as short biographies of some family members. Another useful resources is the Family Bible Records Collection, which contains originals or copies of genealogical information recorded on the first pages of family Bibles handed down through generations.
Vital and Church Records
With printed vital records for many New Hampshire towns as well as many towns in other New England states, the Society library contains the resources for tracing births, deaths, and marriages. When a birth or death record cannot be found through vital records, the collection of cemetery inscriptions for cemeteries in many New Hampshire towns are a useful tool. A good way to verify the information printed in vital records is through the Society’s collection of original church records. With lists of births, deaths, baptisms, and marriages, church records are often the only resource though which to find or verify this information. Church records can also help place a particular person in a place at a certain time. The church records collection reflects many towns and denominations throughout New Hampshire.
Town and County Histories
Printed town and county histories often contain details on early settlers, the names of local soldiers who fought in various wars, and early information on towns. Some also contain genealogies. William Copeley’s Index to Genealogies in New Hampshire Town Histories organizes town histories based on when a particular surname appears. Town histories often frequently list prominent citizens and their occupations, indicating where people lived and worked throughout New England.
Military records include copies of the American Revolutionary Rolls (lists of enlisted soldiers) contained in the “State Papers of New Hampshire,” as well as the Revolutionary War Pension Record Abstracts, where you can find lists of Revolution soldiers who filed for pensions. The Society's collection includes the War of 1812 Pension Record Abstracts and books with lists of participants in the Civil War from New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, along with partial lists of officers and volunteers from Massachusetts. Researchers can also browse the Society’s collection of regimental histories and narratives to find biographical information about officers and soldiers and details on regimental activities.
Genealogical Periodicals and Reference Material
Useful periodicals at the New Hampshire Historical Society for genealogical research include complete runs of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, the American Genealogist, and Mayflower Families through Five Generations. The Society also owns the Genealogist’s Handbook for New England Research published by the New England Genealogical Society, Laird C. Towle’s and Ann N. Brown's New Hampshire Genealogical Research Guide, an every-name unpublished index to Stearns, Noyes, and Libby’s Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, and an unpublished index to the first seven volumes of the New Hampshire Genealogical Record. Another helpful resource is Granite Monthly, with full indexes. For those researching their Revolutionary War heritage, the Society also has the first 166 volumes of the Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Book. Library patrons also can access the electronic databases Ancestry.com, American Ancestors, and "America: History and Life™ with Full Text" through public access computers in the Society’s reading room.
Genealogy Research Guides
Guide to French-Canadian Research Resources at the New Hampshire Historical Society
Sarah E. Galligan
Director of Archival & Library Collections