Hampden County, Massachusetts Genealogy

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Guide to Hampden County, Massachusetts ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Springfield[1]
Organized: 1 August 1812[2]
Parent County(s): Hampshire[3]
Neighboring Counties
Berkshire  • Hampshire  • Hartford (CT)  • Litchfield (CT)  • Tolland (CT)  • Worcester
See County Maps
Courthouse
Massachusetts, Hampden County Courthouse.png
Location Map
Ma-hampden.png
Adoption

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

This region was the first settled area in western Massachusetts Bay Colony centered around Springfield that was settled in 1636. It was first incorporated as the county of Hampshire. The first settlers arrived coming up the Connecticut River valley. The King Philip's War pulled settlers back from many frontier areas in 1675. Springfield has always been the center of trade and culture for this region. When Hampshire County was last divided, Springfield was made the county seat of the new county of Hampden. Realize that the old deeds for the region stayed in Springfield and the old probates moved in 1794 and stayed in Northampton. The county government was abolished on 1 July 1998, but its former jurisdiction is used for state offices as a district.[4]

The county was named for parliamentarian John Hampden. It is located in the northwestern area of the state.[5]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Hampden County Courthouse
50 State Street
Springfield, MA 01102
Phone: 413-735-6016
Hampden County Website

Hampden County, Massachusetts Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[6]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
at town creation at town creation at town creation 1812 1636 1812 1779
* Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1841. General compliance year unknown. See also Town Records

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

MassachusettsConnecticutHampden CountyBerkshire CountyHampshire CountyWorcesterWindham CountyTolland CountyHartford CountyLitchfieldTollandGranvilleSouthwickAgawamLongmeadowEast LongmeadowHampdenMonsonWalesHollandBrimfieldPalmerWilbrahamSpringfieldWest SpringfieldWestfieldMontgomeryRussellBlandfordChesterHolyokeChicopeeLudlowSandisfieldOtisBecketWashingtonHinsdalePeruMiddlefieldWorthingtonChesterfieldHuntingtonWesthamptonSouthamptonEasthamptonNorthamptonHatfieldWilliamsburgGoshenWhatelyHadleySouth HadleyGranbyAmherstPelhamBelchertownWareSturbridgeWarrenBrookfieldNorth BrookfieldOakhamNew BraintreeWest BrookfieldHardwickColebrookWinchesterBarkhamstedHartlandGranbyEast GranbySuffieldEnfieldSomersStaffordUnion
Modern town and city borders in Hampden County, Massachusetts.


For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[9]

Cities
Towns
Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places


History Timeline[edit | edit source]

The basic data are from the historical county boundary series[10] with additions from various sources.

Dates Events
1 Aug. 1812 Hampden County set off from the northern half of Hampshire County. [Mass. Acts, 1812, Ch. 137, p. 291]
7 Feb. 1826 Narrow strips of land exchanged between this county and Tolland Co., Conn., when state boundary straightened.
7 Feb. 1831 Small gain when Palmer annexed a part of Western [now Warren], Worcester Co. [Mass. Acts, 1831, Ch. 37, p. 545]
4 May 1853
15 May 1855
Border between Tolland and Sandisfield, Berkshire Co., clarified - no change - and then redefined. [Mass. Acts, 1853, Ch. 421, Sec. 1, p. 639; 1855, Ch. 358, Sec. 1, p. 755]
9 June 1909 Large gain when Holyoke annexed a part of Northampton, Hampshire Co. [Mass. Acts, 1909, Ch. 480, Sec. 1, p. 498]
29 Mar. 1910 Border between Palmer and Ware, Hampshire Co., redefined - no change. [Mass. Acts, 1910, Ch. 471, Sec. 1, p. 422]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Hampden County, Massachusetts online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Massachusetts Cemeteries for more information.

 

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1820 28,021
1830 31,639 12.9%
1840 37,366 18.1%
1850 51,283 37.2%
1860 57,366 11.9%
1870 78,409 36.7%
1880 104,142 32.8%
1890 135,713 30.3%
1900 175,603 29.4%
1910 231,369 31.8%
1920 300,305 29.8%
1930 335,496 11.7%
1940 332,107 −1.0%
1950 367,971 10.8%
1960 429,353 16.7%
1970 459,050 6.9%
1980 443,018 −3.5%
1990 456,310 3.0%
2000 456,228 −0.0%
2010 463,490 1.6%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

Church Records[edit | edit source]

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

The court system can appear to be complex. The system was reorganized in 1686/1692, 1859, and 1978. Described below are the most commonly used records for history and genealogy, but realize that this list is incomplete. For more detailed information regarding court structure, see Understanding the Massachusetts Court System.

Older records are held by:
Supreme Judicial Court Archives
(administration - records stored in several off-site facilities and the Mass. Archives)
16th Floor, Highrise Court House
3 Pemberton Square
Boston MA 02109
Phone 617-557-1082
Email Elizabeth.Bouvier@sjc.state.ma.us

Quarterly Court of General Sessions of the Peace
This court was active from 1812 to 1827. The court heard criminal cases and had authority over county affairs that included levying taxes, reviewing town bylaws, highways, licensed liquor, regulated jails, supervised the administration of the poor laws, and appointed some county officials.

Online Court Indexes and Records

  • 1638-1812 Court Records, 1638-1812(*) Hampden County Court of General Sessions of Peace at FamilySearch Catalog - images

Inferior Court of Common Pleas
This court was active from 1812 to 1859. The court heard all civil cases over 40s unless a case involved freehold or was appealed from a justice of the peace.

Online Court Indexes and Records

Superior Court
The Quarterly Court of General Sessions was merged into the Inferior Court of Common Pleas in 1827, and that court was reorganized in 1859 to created the Superior Court as the new lower (i.e. trial) court. It covers both criminal and civil matters.

Online Court Indexes and Records

Supreme Judicial Court
The Supreme Judicial Court was established by the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 that combined the former Governor and Council with the Superior Court of Judicature creating the highest state court. This court hears appeals, writ of error, capital offenses, and crimes against the public good. That included divorces until that action was moved to the lower court in 1887.

Online Court Indexes and Records

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land transfers, commonly called deeds, are recorded on the county level in Massachusetts. Not all deeds were recorded as is common practice today. The earliest transactions were charters or grants from the English Crown. Once local government was established, the colony would grant land to settlers directly or to towns to dole out. Some towns first start out as proprietorship and records were recorded there. Once towns were established, deeds were recorded on the county level.

NOTE: Hampden County holds all the original deeds of Hampshire County from its beginning in 1662 to the creation of this county in 1812.

Hampden Registry of Deeds-Springfield Office
50 State Street
Springfield MA 01103
Phone 413-755-1722
Email hcrodsd@sec.state.ma.us
Website

Hampden Registry of Deeds-Westfield Satellite Office
59 Court Street
Westfield MA 01085
Phone 413-568-2290

Online Land Indexes and Records

Records at New England Historic Genealogical Society:

  • Deeds, v. 239-630 (1866-1902), indexes: 1870-1889, 1890-1899, 1900-1909; also Deeds, A-Z (1738-1762); also Springfield deeds, 1634-1664)
  • Deeds, v. 1-238 (1638-1867), indexes: 1636-1800, 1800-1849, 1850-1869

Published Records:

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Works written on the county include:

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Berkshire CountyHampshire CountyWorcester CountyLitchfield CountyHartford CountyTolland CountyMA HAMPDEN.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Map of the Catskill Road (aka Ancram Turnpike) in yellow from Springfield, Massachusetts to Ancram, Catskill, and Unadilla in New York.

Migration routes for early European settlers to and from Hampden County included:[11]

Map of the Catskill Road (aka Ancram Turnpike) in yellow from Springfield, Massachusetts to Ancram, Catskill, and Unadilla in New York.

Migration routes for early European settlers to and from Hampden County, Massachusetts Genealogy included:[12]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Naturalization records were created on a variety of governmental levels from the Federal down to the city at the same time. The county records for all levels are outlines below. For more information, see the Massachusetts state page for more on naturalization.

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records - Covering Multiple Courts

Federal Naturalization Records for Hampden County

Record Dates Original Records Online Indexes Online Records
Court of Common Pleas &

Supreme Judicial Court

1812-1867 NARA M1299 - National Archives - Waltham
District Court
Eastern Hampden
1896-1906 NARA M1299 - National Archives - Waltham
District Court
Western Hampden
1886-1906 NARA M1299 - National Archives - Waltham
Police Court
Springfield
1866-1906 NARA M1299 - National Archives - Waltham
Superior Court
Springfield
1853-1906 NARA M1299 - National Archives - Waltham


Hampden County Naturalization Records

Record Dates Location Index Microfilm/Online
Supreme Judicial Court
Court of Common Pleas
1812-1859 Judicial Archives
Superior Court 1860-1991 Judicial Archives
Springfield
District Court
1886-1906 District Courthouse, Springfield, in 1990

No records

Palmer
District Court
1896-1906 District courthouse, Palmer, in 1990
Springfield
Police Court
1852-1855 District Courthouse, Springfield, in 1990
Springfield
Police Court
1885-1906 District Courthouse, Springfield, in 1990

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Online Probate Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Town Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

It is easiest to start with the state vital records indexes (listed below) for births, marriages, and deaths since 1841. Massachusetts was the first to require a consistent recording of these events statewide. Original vital records (starting as early as 1639) are found with the clerk of the town or city where the event occurred. See the Massachusetts Genealogy Guide and Massachusetts Vital Records pages for more details.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

For state-wide and regional facilities, see Massachusetts Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Hampden County. For state-wide library facilities, see Massachusetts Archives and Libraries.

For information on additional archives and repositories, see

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Hampden County. For state-wide genealogical and historical societies, see Massachusetts Societies.

Hampden County MA Historical Societies CountyOffice.orgWebsite

Websites[edit | edit source]

  • FamilySearch Catalog – The FamilySearch catalog contains descriptions and access information for all genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) in their collection.  Use Historical Records to search for specific individuals in genealogical records.

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Massachusetts. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Massachusetts Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library
  3. Massachusetts Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library
  4. Abolished County Governments - Secretary of State, Acts of 1997, Ch. 48, Sect. 1.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Hampden, County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hampden_County,_Massachusetts
  6. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Hampden County, Massachusetts . Page 329-331 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 322-323.
  7. Massachusetts Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library; accessed on 11 April 2021.
  8. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Massachusetts. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  9. Wikipedia contributors, "Hampden County, Massachusetts," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hampden_County,_Massachusetts, accessed 19 March 2020.
  10. Massachusetts Atlas of Historical County Boundaries
  11. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 847-61. WorldCat entry; FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  12. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 847-61. WorldCat entry; FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  13. Frederic J. Wood, The Turnpikes of New England and the Evolution of the Same Through England, Virginia, and Maryland (Boston: Marshall Jones, 1919), map between 56 and 57, and 168. Internet Archive version online.
  14. Isaac Huntting, History of the Little Nine Partners of North East Precinct and Pine Plains, New York, Dutchess County (Amenia, NY: Chas. Walsh, 1897), 99-101. Google Book edition.
  15. List of turnpikes in New York in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 6 November 2014).
  16. Ancram Turnpike in Routes in the Northeastern United States: Historic Trails, Roads and Migration Routes (accessed 6 November 2014). The Ancram Turnpike went from Springield, MA to Catskill, NY; and was called the Catskill Road.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Almira E Morgan, The Catskill Turnpike: A Wilderness Path (Ithaca, N.Y.: DeWitt Historical Society of Thompkins County, 1971), 5. Online digital copy.
  18. [ Catskill Turnpike] in Routes in the Northeastern United States: Historic Trails, Roads and Migration Routes (accessed 6 November 2014). The Catskill Turnpike went west from Catskill, NY to Bath, NY; the east part was called the Susquehanna Turnpike.
  19. Huntting, 97-99.
  20. List of turnpikes in New York in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 1 November 2014).
  21. Anastassia Zinke, The Susquehanna Turnpike and America's Frontier History in Catskill Mountain Foundation (accessed 1 November 2014).
  22. Joan Odess, The Susquehanna Turnpike (pdf accessed 1 November 2014).
  23. Wood, map between 56 and 57, and 186-88.
  24. Wood, map between 330 and 331, and 348-49.
  25. Wood, map between 56 and 57, and 203-205.
  26. Wood, map between 56 and 57, and 166-67.
  27. Wood, map between 56 and 57, and 76-78.
  28. Wood, map between 56 and 57, and 79-80.
  29. Old Connecticut Path in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 28 October 2014).
  30. Wood, 25.
  31. Boston Post Road in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 28 October 2014).
  32. Wood, map between 330 and 331, and 363-64.