New Portal for NHA’s Genealogy Database Will Provide the Public with Enhanced Access

NANTUCKET, MA –The Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) has launched a new portal for its Barney Genealogical Database, which holds data for more than 40,000 Nantucketers over two and a half centuries.

Barney’s genealogy has been available to the public on the NHA’s website since the 1990s. However, new advancements including powerful search capabilities, the ability to chart family relationships, and web-based maintenance capabilities allowing records to be corrected and expanded overtime greatly improve its function as a historical resource. For example, Barney’s original books do not contain death dates for Nantucketers who were still alive when she passed away in 1889, which can now be cited.

Eliza Starbuck Barney, circa 1865. F6742.

The Barney Database originates from books compiled in the nineteenth century by Eliza Starbuck Barney (1802–1889) listing births, deaths, and marriages. Barney’s original genealogical record comprises 1,702 pages in six volumes, and was based in part on data compiled and passed on to her by her friend Benjamin Franklin Folger (1777–1859) as well as on information gleaned from newspapers, public records, and her family and friends.

“The Barney Database is one of the NHA’s most used resources, guiding genealogists, historians, and students to vital information about Nantucket history,” said Michael R. Harrison, the NHA’s Obed Macy Research Chair.

This new database is now available to the public, visit here. This project has been made possible through the efforts of Novation Media. Questions and comments can be sent to Research Library staff at

The NHA will also host a free Genealogy Tips & Tricks Virtual Workshop for beginners on the basics of genealogical and archival research on Thursday, February 25 at 5:30pm EST held via Zoom, with archivists Charmaine Bonner and Jessica Salow.


Banner photo (above) shows the Coffin family reunion in Surfside, 1881 (SC638-22)

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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