A Boston Ballad

“TO get betimes in Boston town, I rose this morning early”.

The first line of Walt Whitman’s poem “A Boston Ballad, 1854″ came to mind last night as I was packing for my trip to Boston. To be honest, I didn’t rise early; I took the red-eye from San Francisco to Boston and arrived at Logan Airport at 7 AM.

I’m in Boston for a week for a conference related to my full-time job in the biotech industry. I’ll be in workshops and seminars most of the day Sunday through Wednesday but, by taking the red-eye, I was able to spend today at the library of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) in Boston.

NEHGS Library in Boston

NEHGS Library, Boston

SOURCE: The New England Historic Genealogical Society Library in Boston, Massachusetts. Photographed by Stephen J. Danko 22 Sep 2007.

Front Entrance of the NEHGS Llibrary in Boston

Front Entrance to the NEHGS Library

SOURCE: The Front Entrance to the New England Historic Genealogical Society Library in Boston, Massachusetts. Photographed by Stephen J. Danko 22 Sep 2007.

I had been to the library once before for a three day research getaway, but I really didn’t remember where everything was. Fortunately Barbara Poole, who has written several guest articles for this blog, met me at the library and gave me a refresher tour.

I really wasn’t prepared for everything Barbara had to show me. Since she knows I’ve been researching Quebec families, Barbara showed me the wealth of resources the NEHGS holds for that province.

There were indexes of Quebec marriage records, notarial records, and church records. There were shelves and shelves of books, and many cabinets full of microfilm and microfiche.

I had barely begun to research the Drouin marriage indexes (not available online, as far as I know), when the clock struck five and the library closed.

I’ll be in Boston until Friday morning. That means, after the conference, I’ll have the opportunity to visit the NEHGS on Wednesday evening and all day Thursday to continue this research.

I can’t wait.

Copyright © 2007 by Stephen J. Danko

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4 Responses to A Boston Ballad

  1. Randy Seaver says:

    I completely understand your experience – it’s happened to me 3 times so far at NEHGS. I came away each time with inches of paper copies and notes and the feeling that there was so much more for me to find.

    I wish I lived closer! Receiving the NEHGR and NEA and using the web site databases are not enough even now 20 years after I started.

    I hope you find more worthwhile stuff on Thursday! I’m sure that you will.

    Cheers — Randy

  2. Miriam says:

    Good luck, Steve! (I admit I’m envious…I have SO many ancestors from New England!)

  3. Janice Brown says:

    Since most of my ancestors lived in New England, the NEHGS online databases have been invaluable to me. I just wish they’d put MORE online. I understood through a press release that they were planning to work with Ancestry.com on some projects, but that thought really scares me….


  4. Thanks Randy, Miriam, and Janice!

    This should be a very productive week for me. I’m getting some great training for my full-time job and I’m accomplishing some goals for my genealogy avocation, too.

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