New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston receives $1.5 million donation

Bruegger’s Bagels co-founder Nordahl Brue and his wife Suzanne Brue have made a gift of $1.5 million to New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) to endow the creation of a family history learning centre where visitors from all backgrounds can learn more about their ancestry.

New England Historic Genealogical Society on Newbury Street in Boston.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Located on Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay, New England Historic Genealogical Society — known online as American Ancestors to millions of users — is the United States’ oldest and largest genealogical society.

The gift will endow the creation of a new Brue Family Learning Center as part of a campus expansion program to introduce family and local history to wider audiences. It will also fund the creation of unique program content in family history for the organization’s online and special events offerings.

This gift follows American Ancestors and NEHGS’s successful $62.5 million capital campaign and its acquisition of an adjacent building at 97 Newbury Street, into which its facilities will soon expand.

Brenton Simons, president and CEO of NEHGS, announced the Brues’ gift: “This generous gift from Nordahl and Suzanne Brue is testimony to their sharing of our vision to inspire others to engage in history and genealogy. The creation of the Brue Family Learning Center at our headquarters will guarantee access to research, technologies, programs, and events by many new intergenerational visitors to our facilities and to our website.”

The expansion of the NEHGS Back Bay campus in Boston into a centre for the discovery of family history will include educational experiences designed to engage visitors of all backgrounds and interest levels in the exploration of their unique family story.

New resources there will allow a visitor to explore their personal family history, discover stories of how and why people came to America, learn about the Indigenous people who were already on America’s shores, and better understand the burgeoning field of DNA and genetics.

Nordahl Brue said, “We are excited to help NEHGS further its mission as it grows far beyond its Yankee and New England roots. With recent additions of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center, the ground-breaking digitalization of the records of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and its leading role in the GU272 Georgetown Memory Project of African American history, NEHGS has truly become ‘American Ancestors.’ We hope to help our fellow Americans learn to use these magnificent resources as they search the stories of their family’s role in the building of our great country.”

Nordahl Brue, lawyer, entrepreneur, and co-founder of the Bruegger’s Bagels chain of restaurants, is a member of the Board of Trustees of American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society. In 1983 he opened the first Bruegger’s Bagels in Troy, New York, with Mike Dressell. Today, Bruegger’s runs approximately 300 bakery-cafes in twenty-four states and the District of Columbia.

Suzanne Brue is an author, teacher, and wellness expert exploring the intersection of fitness, personality, and behavior change, and a frequent speaker at psychological and fitness conferences.

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