Ancestry Library Edition

Provides access to billions of historical documents, millions of historical photos, plus local narratives, oral histories, indexes and other resources in over 30,000 databases that span from the 1500s to the 2000s.

This resource is available for in library use only.  

How-To Video

Obituary Database

Boston Public Library’s Obituary Database indexes obituaries appearing in the Boston Evening Transcript (BET), Boston Globe (BG), and the Boston Herald/Herald American (BH) from 1932–1941 and 1953–2010.


*In-Library Use Only and you must create a free personal account to access resources

Search the Family History Library catalog as well as digitized records, which include hundreds of thousands of books and maps relating to family history and genealogical research. Account registration is required.

HeritageQuest Online

A comprehensive treasury of American genealogical sources—rich in unique primary sources, local and family histories, and finding aids.  The database provides genealogical and historical sources for more than 60 countries, with coverage dating back as early as the 1700s.

American Ancestors

*Email to get the username and password

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) provides access to more than 1.4 billion records spanning twenty-two countries covering the United States, the British Isles, continental Europe, and beyond, including one of the most extensive online collections of early American genealogical records, the largest searchable collection of published genealogical research journals and magazines, and the only online source for Boston’s Catholic records.


HeritageHub provides access to hundreds of years of obituaries and death notices from thousands of newspapers across the United States.  This one-of-a-kind collection helps family historians uncover new family members and understand family relationships on a deeper level than ever before. 

Getting Started Guides

  • Start Your Genealogy Research
    National Archives resources for genealogists include: census; military; immigration (ship passenger lists); naturalization; and land records.
  • Fun Family History Activities for Kids
    Easy-to-do activities from NEHGS that will keep kids entertained and get them thinking about their family history.
  • Family History Research
    The Massachusetts Archives, a division of the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, is the repository for Massachusetts records generated by state government.  Archives holdings date from the beginning of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1628 and document the settlement of lands in Maine and Massachusetts, the arrival of immigrants, and the development of state government.
  • Massachusetts Cemetery Index
    U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) topographical directory of cemeteries in Massachusetts, listed by county.
  • Massachusetts Land Records
    Provides you with quick access to land records across the State.
  • Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
    The Registry manages the statewide vital records system, preserving and making records available to the public, and making statistics available for researchers.
  • Census Records
    The first Federal Population Census was taken in 1790 and has been taken every ten years since.  Because of a 72-year restriction on access to the Census, the most recent year available is 1940.  The 1950 Census will be released in 2022.  The National Archives has the census schedules on microfilm available from 1790 to 1940.  Family researchers generally find it most helpful to begin with the most current census and work backwards as a strategy for locating people in earlier generations.

Library Resources

  • The New England Historical and Genealogical Register
    Published quarterly since 1847, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register is the flagship journal of American genealogy and the oldest in the field, focusing on authoritative compiled genealogies. Typical articles also solve genealogical problems, identify immigrant origins, or present treatments of multiple generations.
  • Family Tree Magazine
    Publication about genealogy and family history published by Yankee Publishing, Inc.
  • Secrets in our DNA [videorecording]
    Originally broadcast on the PBS science series NOVA, this program explores the power of DNA information and the unintended consequences that can arise from sharing our data with rapidly growing online databases.  DNA results that report on health risks can be misleading and the discovery of intimate family secrets can tear relationships apart.
  • A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries, 3rd edition
    Includes town-by-town listing of all known cemeteries and burial grounds in the state, year of town incorporation, year of consecration of the cemetery and location of cemetery, as well as contact information and key sources which mention the cemetery.
  • The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy
    A plain-English guide that explains the how and why of genealogy DNA testing. The author gives you advice on choosing the right test to answer your specific genealogy questions, and helps you demystify and interpret the test results.
  • Genealogist’s Handbook for Irish Research
  • Guide to Genealogical Writing
    Using examples from NEHGS’s publications, this writing guide outlines how to write your family history clearly and accurately — from building a genealogical sketch to adding images to indexing.
  • Practical Genealogy : 50 Simple Steps to Research Your Diverse Family History
    Practical Genealogy provides a method for investigating your family history by establishing an understanding of genealogy and the factors, tasks, and obstacles involved in research.
  • Trace Your German Roots Online
    Highlighting important German resources on genealogy websites, you’ll learn how to use each site to its fullest potential for German genealogy, including how to get around language barriers and navigate the various German states that have existed throughout the centuries.