Monday, August 20, 2012

Genealogy Research at the Nashua Historical Society

The Nashua Historical Society
photo courtesy of Barbara Poole

Recently I tagged along with the Hudson Genealogy Club on their recent field trip to the Nashua Historical Society.  The Hudson Genealogy Club meets every second Friday at the Rodgers Memorial Library, 194 Derry Road.  We had a personalized tour by Beth McCarthy, curator, and Frank Mooney, the Nashua city historian, and several other volunteers.  

The Nashua Historical Society owns two side by side properties, the Abbott Spaulding house and the Museum at 5 Abbott Street.  It was founded in 1870, and the collections were kept in private homes until the 1970, and lost twice to fires!  In 1972 the current museum was built.  Since then the collection of artifacts, records and documents has grown tremendously.  There are changing exhibits of life in Nashua, as well as archives and a meeting room. 

Some of the collections of interest to genealogists include books (including a large collection of city directories back to the mid-1800s), manuscripts, artifacts, and a large photograph and postcard collection.  The postcards are an underutilized genealogy resource, with messages to and from kin.  Imagine being lucky enough to strike genealogy gold on the back of some of these postcards?  There is also a large surname file, which is currently not cataloged, and new files are being added to this every month.  If your family has roots here in Nashua you should consult this file, or consider donating family notes and charts to this file.

Before visiting the Nashua Historical Society, fill out the request form on the website, or call or write by post.  This gives the Historical Society research committee time to research your request and pull files and material pertaining to your surname or family.  Much of the collection is not currently cataloged, and is stored in two buildings.  At the time of your visit your material will be ready for you, and a volunteer will be able to assist you.  This is a perk not available at most other Historical Societies in New England!

Their gift shop includes many books pertaining to Nashua history and, of special interest to genealogists, a cemetery guide to the Old South Burial Ground.   The historical society offers special events, free to the public (see the website or newsletter for a schedule).   They also sponsor a changing exhibit case in Nashua City Hall.  Please consider joining the Nashua Historical Society, too!

The website for the Nashua Historical Society is and the phone number is 603-883-0015. 

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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