An interview with David C. Dearborn

A milestone event in the life of NEHGS recently occurred when David Dearborn, one of our Senior Genealogists, retired on March 22 after a thirty-eight-year career here.  His many accomplishments and dedicated service to NEHGS were honored by his colleagues at a festive celebration the week before.  Although we know David will remain in close contact with us, and will visit often in order to carry out his own genealogical research, his daily presence in the library will be greatly missed. 

David assisted countless thousands of visitors over the years, whether they came to the reference desk on the seventh floor, called on the phone, or sent their questions by email.  He authored numerous articles and presented outstanding, highly informative lectures.  David also assisted people by way of scheduled in-depth consultations, and in the past year alone, working only part time, provided 116 hours of consultations.  In truth, there are very few areas of genealogy in which David cannot advise people, but his knowledge and experience are exceptional in the areas of New England, New York, the American Midwest, and English and Scottish research.  He has great command of the available published sources and primary records, and he has a special ability to teach others so they are able to go forth and experience the rewards of research for themselves.

David now goes on to the work (though I doubt he would call it that) of completing and publishing the Dearborn genealogy that he has been researching for decades.  Before he retired, I had the privilege of sitting down with him to interview him about his years in genealogy and at NEHGS.  He has witnessed tremendous change in the field and he has some wonderful stories to share.  This interview will be kept in the Society’s archives so David’s thoughts and recollections can be made available for future NEHGS staff and members.  Included here is an excerpt from this interview, in which David describes how he came to be interested in genealogy.  We hope you enjoy it, and if you are one of the many researchers who received help from David over the years or if you have other stories of him to share, we would love to hear your comments.

Jean Maguire

About Jean Maguire

Jean Maguire was the Library Director at NEHGS until 2020, responsible for overseeing the Society’s library and special collections, including patron services; collection development, access, and preservation; and the Society’s volunteer program. Jean joined the NEHGS staff in 1999 after receiving her Master’s in Library and Information Science from Simmons College.View all posts by Jean Maguire