Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts Genealogy

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United States
Essex County
This article is about a city in Massachusetts. For other localities, see Salem.

City Hall

City Clerk

93 Washington Street
Salem, MA 01970
Phone: 978-745-9595 x 5610
Fax: 978-740-9209

Quick Facts

Salem, Massachusetts Historical Background

Establishment and former town name(s)

Historical data relating to counties, cities, and towns in Massachusetts (Boston, Massachusetts : New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1997), [FHL book 974.4 H2h 1997]

1620: A patent was granted by King James to the Duke of Lenox and a council of about forty men to rule, govern and plant this area.

1626: Founded at the mouth of Naumkeag (a Wampanoag Indian name).

1629: Roger Conant directed a company of Fisherman to start a beach community on the shores of Salem. The town was incorporated in 1629.

23 August 1630: Mentioned "...Mattapan and Salem only exempted". (Mass. Bay Rec. Vol. I, p. 73)

23 March 1836: Incorporated as a city.

4 April 1836: Act of March 23, 1836, accepted by the town.

Archiac name: Fort Mary, Naumkeag, Nehume, Sholom Naumkeag.

Section/Villages within the City: Atlantic, Baker's Island, Blubber Hollow, Buffum's Corner, Carltonville, Castle Hill, Forest River, Gallows Hill, Juniper Point, Misery Island, Navon, North Salem, Salem Neck, Salem Willows, South Salem, The Point, Turnpike, Winter Island.

Boundary Changes

4 March 1634: Bounds established between Marble Harbor and Salem.

4 March 1635: Bounds established between Salem and Saugus, and Salem and Marblehead.

20 November 1637: Bounds between Salem and Saugus certified.

13 March 1639: Bounds between Salem and Lynn established.

5 November 1639: Land granted to inhabitants of Salem establish Salem Village. Marginal note reads: "Land granted to Salem Village, now Wenham"

13 May 1640: Grant of land to inhabitants of Salem for a village at "Jeffryes Creeke" and the bounds of the said village referred to certain men to settle.

3 May 1642: Bounds between Jeffryes Creeke, Cape Ann and Ipswich, established

14 May 1645: Part called "Jeffreyes Creek established as Manchester.

2 May 1649: Part established as Marblehead

19 October 1658: Bounds between Salem and Topsfield established.

16 October 1660: Certain islands known by name of the "Miserjes & Bakers island", granted to Salem.

29 May 1664: Bounds between Salem and Topsfield established.

7 November 1668: Port called "Bass River" established as Beverly.

20 June 1728: Part included in new town of Middleton.

11 September 1753: Part annexed to Beverly.

17 March 1840: Bounds between Salem and Danvers established

30 April 1856: Bounds between Salem and South Danvers established and part of each place annexed to the other place.

3 April 1867: Part annexed to Swampscott.

27 March 1882: Part of Peabody annexed.

Wikipedia: Salem,_Massachusetts

  1. GNIS ID # 619453
  2. Geographic location:Google
  3. Hometown Locator


Archives and Libraries


Business and Commerce


Broad Street Cemetery
5 Broad St.

Charter Street Cemetery
51 Charter St.

Friends Cemetery
396 1/2 Essex St.

Greenlawn Cemetery
57 Orne St.

Harmony Grove Cemetery
30 Grove St.

Howard Street Cemetery
29 Howard St.

St. Mary's Cemetery
226 North St.

St. Peter's Cemetery
22-24 St. Peter St.

Church History and Records




Vessels sailing from Salem, Massachusetts between 1799 and 1879 made over 7900 voyages to foreign ports. A Crew List was required to be filed stating the vessel's destination and its crew. An Index to those Lists, containing 75,770 names, may be found at The Index may provide the following information:

• Name
• Age
• Birth Place
• Residence
• Complexion
• Voyage (Name of ship and date)



Land and Deed Records


Military History and Records

Naturalization and Citizenship


Massachusetts sailor's crew lists at  Between 1799 and 1879 over 7900 voyages to foreign ports sailed from Salem, Massachusetts. Prior to sailing the shipmaster or captain of each vessel was required to file a crew list containing information about the vessel's destination and its crew. This website provides an index to those crew lists. Containing over 75,770 names, it also provides access to crew members based upon age, complexion, birthplace, and residence place

Public Records


The Great Salem Fire greatly impacted the industrial area of Salem. The Phillips Library digitalized collection presents a detailed account of the global nature of commercial outreach by Essex County residents in the 18th and 19th centuries.Great Salem Fire, June 25, 1914

Social Life and Customs


Town Records

Vital Records

Societies, Libraries and Museums

Phillips Library
A documentation and research division of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. They have both physical and digital collections available for research.

New England Historic Genealogical Society Library
99 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116-3007
Phone: (1-617) 536-5740

(See Archives and Libraries under Essex County, Massachusetts for hours and library collections) This library holds the many of the early colonial collections for Salem and Salem Village now Danvers, Massachusetts.

Family History Centers

Lynnfield Massachusetts
400 E Essex St
Lynnfield, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
Phone: 781-334-5586
Call ahead for hours
Closed: The month of August

Peabody Essex Museum
161 Essex St
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
Phone: 978-745-1876
Call ahead for hours


Adjacent towns: Essex Co.: Beverly | Danvers | Lynn | Marblehead | Peabody | Swampscott