Using the resources of the JHC

The Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (JHC) offers researchers a destination to explore families and institutions from the New England Jewish community. Through our archival collections, library catalog, and digital collections, researchers have access to over 250 collections, 2 million records, 400 books, and over 600,000 searchable digitized documents.

Collections

The JHC holds the papers of families and individuals, and the records of Jewish organizations from the Greater Boston metropolitan and New England area. Collections of families and individuals are called Personal papers, while collections from organizations are known as Institutional records. A list of all the JHC’s collections can be found on our website. By viewing the collections’ finding aids, you can read a biographical or historical background of the collection, as well as see what is in the collection, and where specific archival items are located within that collection via box and folder numbers.

The JHC also has Subject Files, which are items that are secondary sources, lacking background information, and/or have unknown provenance; but can be just as helpful as collections to expand your research topic.

Digital Collections

113 collections have been digitized and uploaded into the Digital Collections, comprised of 66 family and individual papers and 47 institutional records. These documents are accessed by creating a free guest account. You can read more about viewing digitized materials here.

Reference Requests

To view a collection that has not been digitized,
you can set up an appointment through jhcreference@nehgs.org. For items that have not yet been digitized, the JHC also provides scanning services.

Researchers making an onsite visit can also access Onsite Databases. The Jewish Advocate is an especially helpful resource for researching New England area Jewish families and organizations, and is included in the Onsite Databases. Helpful tip—bring a flash drive with you so you can save all your findings in one place!

You may also submit inquiries through our Reference Request form.

Questions about Genealogy?

While the JHC staff is knowledgeable about our collections and is happy to answer any queries you may have about them, if you have questions about researching your own family, the genealogists at American Ancestors | New England Historic Genealogical Society will be able to assist you. You can read about services offered and how to choose which one is right for you here.

This is just an introduction to the wonderful resources the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center has to offer to researchers. Be sure to read follow up posts that will highlight more aspects of the JHC!

Kelsey Sawyer

About Kelsey Sawyer

Kelsey Sawyer was the Reference and Photo Archivist for the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society until 2020. She received her B.A. in History from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and a M.S. in Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archives Management from Simmons College.

6 thoughts on “Using the resources of the JHC

  1. Thanks for this overview of the JHC collections. I am helping a friend research her Jewish ancestry in the Detroit, MI area. Are you aware of any Jewish-focused archives in Michigan?

    1. Hello Kathleen, thank you for reading “Using the Resources of the JHC”! Two organizations that may assist you are the Jewish Genealogical Society of Michigan and the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan. Another resource is the Detroit Jewish News Foundation which has an online digital archive of historic Detroit Jewish newspapers. I hope these are helpful to your research.

  2. Kelsey, Thanks for you overview of the JHC archives. Do you have many archives in JHC from the state of NY, which many do not consider New England?

    1. Thank you for reading! While the JHC does not have collections for New York, the Center for Jewish History, and its five partner organizations, are great resources for researching that region.

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