In my role as Technical Services Manager for the NEHGS library, one of my responsibilities is to develop and maintain the library collection. The library has a diverse collection of print and online books, microfilm, cd-roms, and databases to help with your genealogical research.
Some facts about the current collection, which is searchable through our library catalog (please note, these numbers do not include the contents of our R. Stanton Avery Special Collections):
- Approximately 90,000 book titles (11,000 in our Rare books collection, with some dating back to the 1600s; 30,000 published genealogies; and 40,000 local histories and records)
- 4,200 periodical titles, with over 700 family newsletters and journals
- 2,700 microfilm titles containing tens of thousands of reels
- 1,100 items in our digital library and archive
- links to over 2,500 freely available electronic versions of books
We are always adding new items to the collection through purchase and donations.
Items for purchase are identified through staff and user recommendations; publication announcements from individuals, societies, and publishers; searching publisher catalogs and web sites; looking at book reviews in genealogical journals and newsletters; and seeking out sources that fill a need in our collection. Some examples from the 300 or so titles purchased since January 2013 include:
- Map Guides to German Parish Registers (46 volumes), published by Family Roots Publishing. A staff suggestion to fill a need for genealogical coverage of German ancestry.
- History and Genealogy of Peter Montague of Jamestown, Virginia 1603-2003, which recently won an NGS award for excellence: this purchase came from a notification from the author.
- North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865; a roster (vol. xix, Miscellaneous Battalions and Companies) – an additional volume in this continuing series, whose mission is to “publish a service record for every man who served in a unit raised in North Carolina during the Civil War.”
- Litchfield: the Making of a New England Town: purchased from the Litchfield Historical Society, this book is a colorful and richly illustrated history of the town.
Donations are also a vital part of building our collection. In this same time period (January 2013 to the present), over 700 items were added to the collection through donation. Donations make it possible to obtain a larger number of items than our budget would allow, and also enable us to acquire out-of-print items of a specialty nature, and items that were self-published or with only limited availability. Recently added donations include:
Hills, Bourquin, Burns and Related Family Ancestors by Thomas D. Hills. Donated by the author.
Bickford Families in 1790 – Massachusetts by Glenn D. Nasman. Donated by the author.
Sandisfield: an Intimate History and Some Comments, written in 1948 by Elizur Yale Smith (1885-1950); manuscript edited and prepared by Bill Price, 2014. Sent in a limited edition to some libraries and genealogical societies.
Clan Donald USA donation – In addition to individual books, we also receive collections from individuals and societies that enhance the collection by providing a number of items on a specific subject. We added almost 100 titles about the family and clan history in this period.
As you can see, the library strives to have a diverse and expansive collection, and accomplishes this through focused purchasing of relevant works and through the generosity of members and friends of the Society.