Hampshire County, Massachusetts Genealogy

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This is a historical and genealogical guide to the county of Hampshire. You will find help with town histories, vital records, deeds and land records, city directories, cemetery records and cemeteries, churches, town records, newspapers, maps, and libraries.

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for the county Hampshire, in England. It is located in the northwestern area of the state.[1]

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

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
at town creation at town creation at town creation 1677 1600s 1660 1779
*Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1841. General compliance year unknown.

Brief History[edit | edit source]

Hampshire County covered the western half of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and it was the seat of the first settlements in this region. Migration was from the east up the Connecticut River. The old probate records reside in Hampshire County, but the the early deeds will be found in Springfield, Hampden County. The county government was abolished on 1 January 1999, however its former jurisdiction is used for state offices as a district.[3]

Historical Data[edit | edit source]

The basic data are from the historical county boundary series[4] with additions from various sources.

Dates Events
7 May 1662 This county was formed around the settlements of Springfield, Northampton, and Hadley. The boundary was the southern line of Massachusetts Bay Colony and thirty (30) miles from these three towns so that its effectively became the entire western half of the Colony. [Mass. Recs., 4: 2: 52]
19 May 1669 The inhabitant of Woronoake belonging to Springfield petitioned and were granted the creation of a new town called Westfield (which then included Southwick) including land below the south line of the Colony that later was the source of a border dispute. [Mass. Recs., 4: 2: 432]
3 June 1674 The granting of the six-square-mile town of Suffield (being an abbreviation for Southfield) whose northern border is the south border of Springfield. The grant read "it being the southernmost toune that either at present is or like to be in that country, & neere adjoyning to the south border of our patent in those parts." [Mass. Recs., 5: 12-13]
16 May 1683 The granting of the town of Enfield starting at the mouth of the Longmeadow Brook (about one mile north of the present state line), for six miles south along the Connecticut River eastward from this river ten miles.
10 July 1731 Worcester. [Mass. Col. Acts, Vol. 2, Ch. 8 [1730/1], Sec. 1, p. 584]
16 Jan. 1741/2 Loss when part of Brimfield was combined with parts of Brookfield and Kingsfield to set of the new town of Western (now Warren). [Mass. Col. Acts, Vol. 2, Ch. 17 [1741/2], Sec. 2, p. 1088]
-- May 1749 Large loss when Enfield and Somers (formerly the eastern part of Enfield) petitioned Connecticut to be annexed which was granted.
12 Apr. 1753 Hampshire County boundaries redefined to include all territory west of the Connecticut River. [Mass. Col. Acts, vol. 3, Ch. 27 [1752/3], p. 656]
9 June 1756 Border adjusted between Greenwich (now extinct) and Hardwick, Worcester Co., that resulted in no discernible change. [Mass. Col. Acts, vol. 15, ch. 51 [1756/7], p. 550]
30 June 1761 Large loss as western third of the county was set off to establish Berkshire county. [Mass. Col. Acts, vol. 4, Ch. 33 [1760/1], Sec. 1, p. 432]
5 Jan. 1764 Small loss when part of Palmer annexed to Western (now Warren), Worcester Co. [Mass. Col. Acts, Vol. 17, ch. 14 [1764/5], p. 516]
5 Feb. 1765 Small gain when Greenwich (now extinct) annexed part of Hardwick, Worcester Co. [Mass. Col. Acts, Vol. 17, ch. 218 [1764/5], p. 603]
30 June 1768 Gain when the town of Worthington was created in Hampshire Co. from Plantation #3 in Berkshire Co. [Mass. Col. Acts, Vol. 4, Ch. 16 [1768], Sec. 1, p. 1028]
in 1774 Loss when Connecticut unilaterally took over the southern part of what would become Southwick in 1775 that was south of the 1713 Provincial boundary.
23 June 1779 Cummington]] was created in Hampshire Co. from Plantation #5 in Berkshire Co. [Mass. Col. Acts, Vol. 5, Ch. 6 [1779/80], Sec. 1, p. 1072-1073]
12 Mar. 1783 Gained when parts of Chester, Prescott's Grant, and Worthington along with parts of Becket, Partridgefield (now Peru), and Washington, Berkshire Co., were included in the new town of Middlefield [Mass. Acts, 1783, Ch. 19, Sec. 1, p. 228]
15 Oct. 1783 Gain when parts of Athol and Royalston in Worcester Co. were combined to create the new town of Orange. [Mass. Acts, 1783, Ch. 2, Sec. 1, p. 38]
9 Feb. 1785 Gain when Myrifield Grant and unincorporated county land both in Berkshire Co. were combined to create the new town of Rowe in Hampshire Co. [Mass. Acts, 1785, Ch. 2, Sec. 1, p. 230]
9 Mar. 1793 Gain when Hawley annexed part of Plantation #7, Berkshire Co. [Mass. Acts, 1793, Ch. 18, Sec. 1, p. 242]
15 July 1794 Small loss when part of Palmer was annexed to Western (now Warren), Worcester Co.
18 Feb. 1801 Loss when parts of Greenwich (now extinct) was combined with parts of Hardwick and Petersham in Worcester Co. to create the new town of Dana in Worcester Co. [Mass. Acts, 1801, Ch. 14, Sec. 1, p. 453]
in 1804 Gained back the "Southwick Jog" that Connecticut annexed in 1774 being the portion of the former town grant below the 1713 Provincial boundary.
2 Dec. 1811 Large loss when the northern third was set off to create Franklin County. [Mass. Acts, 1811, Ch. 61, p. 467]
1 Aug. 1812 Large loss when the northern half was set off to create Hampden County. [Mass. Acts, 1812, Ch. 137, p. 291]
28 Jan. 1822 Gained when parts of Pelham and New Salem, Franklin Co., combined to create the new town of Prescott (now extinct). [Mass. Acts, 1822, Ch. 34, Sec. 1, p. 614]
8 Feb. 1823 Small gain when Ware annexed part of Western (now Warren), Worcester Co. [Mass. Acts, 1823, Ch. 76, p. 114]
2 Feb. 1849 The border between Williamsburg and Whately, Franklin Co. clarified - no change. [Mass. Acts, 1849, Ch. 3, p. 198]
25 May 1853 Gain when Norwich (now Huntington) annexed parts of Chester and Blandford, both in Hampden Co. [Mass. Acts, 1853, Ch. 421, Sec. 1, p. 639]
9 June 1909 Loss when part of Northampton annexed by Holyoke, Hampden Co. [Mass. Acts, 1909, ch. 480, Sec. 1, p. 498]
29 Mar. 1910 Border between Ware and Palmer, Hampden Co., redefined - no change. [Mass. Acts, 1910, Ch. 471, Sec. 1, p. 422]
28 Apr. 1938 Loss when Quabbin Reservoir created and "drowned" four towns. Parts of Greenwich and Prescott annexed to Petersham, Worcester Co.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

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

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Populated Places[edit | edit source]

MassachusettsHampshire CountyBerkshire CountyBerkshire CountyHampshire CountyFranklin CountyWorcester CountyMiddlefieldWorthingtonCummingtonPlainfieldGoshenChesterfieldHuntingtonWesthamptonSouthamptonEasthamptonNorthamptonWilliamsburgHatfieldHadleySouth HadleyGranbyAmherstPelhamBelchertownWareSavoyWindsorHinsdalePeruWashingtonBeckettOtisSandisfieldTollandBlandfordChesterGranvilleRussellMontgomeryWestfieldWest SpringfieldHolyokeChicopeeLudlowSpringfieldWilbrahamMonsonPalmerBrimfieldWarrenWest BrookfieldNew BraintreeHardwickBarrePetershamAtholNew SalemShutesburyWendellMontagueLeverettSunderlandWhatelyDeerfieldConwayShelburneBucklandAshfieldHawley
Modern town and city borders in Hampshire 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:[5]

Unincorporated communities
  • Ringville
Census-designated places
Historic communities
Ghost towns

County Histories[edit | edit source]

Works written on the county include:

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Resources[edit | edit source]

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

In Massachusetts, the original vital records (of births, marriages, and deaths) have been created and maintained by the town or city in which the event occurred. In very early colonial times, copies of these records were submitted to the county, but that practice died out long before 1800. There were marriage intentions commonly recorded in the bride's home town and additional recordings maybe found in the groom's home town and their current residence.

Massachusetts was the first state to bring a unified state-level recording of these events (but not marriage intentions) in 1841 (Boston excluded until 1850). The associated records of divorce and adoption are handled by the courts. The state has maintained a state-wide index to divorces since 1952, but adoption records will require more researching to discover.

It is easiest to start with the state vital records for events since 1841, though realize the original record is with the town or city. More details can be found on the Massachusetts Genealogy Guide page.

Online Vital Records

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

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Cemetery[edit | edit source]

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county
Findagrave.com Family History Library Findagrave.com
MAGenWeb Archives WorldCat Billion Graves
Tombstone Project FamilySearch Places
Billion Graves
See Massachusetts Cemeteries for more information.

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 59,656
1800 72,432 21.4%
1810 76,275 5.3%
1820 26,487 −65.3%
1830 30,254 14.2%
1840 30,897 2.1%
1850 35,732 15.6%
1860 37,823 5.9%
1870 44,388 17.4%
1880 47,232 6.4%
1890 51,859 9.8%
1900 58,820 13.4%
1910 63,327 7.7%
1920 69,599 9.9%
1930 72,801 4.6%
1940 72,461 −0.5%
1950 87,594 20.9%
1960 103,229 17.8%
1970 123,981 20.1%
1980 138,813 12.0%
1990 146,568 5.6%
2000 152,251 3.9%
2010 158,080 3.8%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

Church Records[edit | edit source]

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Land Records[edit | edit source]

Due to administrative issues, Hampden County holds the Hampshire County pre-1812 deeds.

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Town Records[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Berkshire CountyFranklin CountyWorcester CountyHampden CountyMA HAMPSHIRE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Online Probate Indexes and Records

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Other 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

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County Court[edit | edit source]

This court was active from 1636 (called a quarterly court and then the county court when Suffolk was created in 1643) to 1692. The court heard all civil causes up to 10 shillings (raised to 40 shillings in 1647) and all criminal causes not concerning life, limb, or banishment. These were all jury trials. Some records can be found in the [Suffolk_County,_Massachusetts#Suffolk_Files|Suffolk Files].

The records microfilmed:

At the Massachusetts Archives:

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Quarterly Court of General Sessions of the Peace[edit | edit source]

This court was active from 1692 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.

The records microfilmed:

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Inferior Court of Common Pleas[edit | edit source]

This court was active from 1692 to 1859. The court heard all civil cases over 40s unless a case involved freehold or was appealed from a justice of the peace.

The records microfilmed:

Until population warranted it, criminal and civil court cases were included in the same court records. The first 24 volumes in Hampshire County include civil cases from the Inferior Court of Common Pleas and criminal court cases from the Court of General Sessions of the Peace:[6][7]

Volume # Vol. Letter Date Range FHL Film Item Notes

886420 item 1
Includes County Court and Quarter Sessions
886420 item 2


Includes executions, 1716-1765

Includes a few marriages
886423 item 4
Includes a few marriages



886425 item 1
Cataloged only under General Sessions
886425 item 2




May 1781-Jan 1790
886427 item 1
Cataloged only under General Sessions
866427 item 2



Aug 1785-Sep 1788


1715-1790, Feb 1789-Jan 1790
886430 item 1
Includes executions, 1715-1764
886430 item 2



886411 item 1

These volumes are completely indexed. After these 24 volumes, subsequent volumes were numbered restarting with 1. When part of Hampshire County became Hampden County in 1812, clerks copied applicable cases into the new county's records. For such cases, if you are unable to read one of the records, you may be able to read the copy in the other county.

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Superior Court[edit | edit source]

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.

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Supreme Judicial Court[edit | edit source]

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.

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Naturalization Records[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.

Federal Naturalization Records for Hampshire County

No federal records as yet digitized at NARA.

Hampshire County Naturalization Records

Record Dates Location Index Microfilm/Online
Superior Court 1849-1988 Judicial Archives Card index at Archives Records, 1849-1934, and Index, 1836-1986, FHL film 1508669 (1st of 17); Index, 1859-[1996], FHL film 2057085 (1st of 5)
District Court
1885-1906 Judicial Archives Card index at Archives Dockets and index, 1885-1906, FHL film 1578002 Items 2-5
District Court
1903-1906 Judicial Archives Card index at Archives Final docket, 1903-1906, FHL film 1673945
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Military Records[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War[edit | edit source]

Spanish-American War[edit | edit source]

Maps[edit | edit source]

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Hampshire County Massachusetts Libraries and Genealogy Societies[edit | edit source]

For information on additional archives and repositories, see

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

Hampshire County Massachusetts Genealogy References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Hampshire, County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hampshire_County,_Massachusetts
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Hampshire 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.
  3. Abolished County Governments - Secretary of State, Acts of 1998, Ch. 300, Sect. 11.
  4. Massachusetts Atlas of Historical County Boundaries
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Hampshire County, Massachusetts," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hampshire_County,_Massachusetts, accessed 19 March 2020.
  6. Linda E. Brinkerhoff, "New England Research: A Matter of Jurisdiction," Arlene H Eakle's Genealogy Blog (http://www.arleneeakle.com/wordpress/2009/11/19/new-england-research-new-strategies-that-work/ : accessed 30 November 2009), para. 3-4; citing Grace Pittman.
  7. FamilySearch Catalog, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 30 November 2009).
Adjacent counties: Berkshire | Franklin | Hampden | Worcester