NEHGS and the Boston Archdiocese to Cooperate in Building the Nation’s First Extensive Database of Church Records

The Boston Archdiocese is partnering with the New England Historic Genealogical Society to create the nation’s first extensive database of church records to help people trace family histories.

The plan is to create a searchable database of millions of baptisms, marriages, ordinations and other pivotal life events recorded from 1789 to 1900 at more than 100 Boston and Eastern Massachusetts parishes — a project that could take up to 10 years and cost an estimated $1 million, which will be paid for with proceeds to a Historic Catholic Records Fund the society is launching.

Details may be found in an article by Marie Szaniszlo in the Boston Herald newspaper at as well as in the project’s companion website at:


Oh, how I wish the Archdiocese of New York, and the Diocese of Brooklyn would follow suit. They could both get much needed income by charging modest prices for research on these records. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been doing this for years, and that is a huge city with vast records.


    Amen, amen! Years ago I suggested to the archivist at the Archdiocese of New York to create a database similar to Drouin in Quebec. If only. . .


” … the nation’s first extensive database of church records … ” – somebody overwrote that press release by a mile! Maybe of Catholic records?


After encountering a Catholic parish secretary with a negative attitude towards genealogy, I called the Bishop’s office for help. His assistant sent scans of all the marriage records I wanted while we were on the phone. She also gave me the register pages so I could call the parish and get official documents. They also missed the opportunity to generate income. It was worse than dealing with a possessive family member.


    Hi Mary, Would you please tell us which diocese or archdiocese was involved? I admire your vigorous follow-up and actually obtaining the records of your family.


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