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Massachusetts Wiki Topics
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Beginning Research
Record Types
Massachusetts Background
Ethnicity
Local Research Resources
Moderator
The FamilySearch moderator for Massachusetts is Lee Drew.
United States Gotoarrow.png Massachusetts Gotoarrow.png Archives and Libraries

For detailed information about Massachusetts research,
see the Massachusetts Genealogy Guide page.


These archives, libraries, societies, and museums preserve sources, maintain indexes, and provide services to help genealogists document their ancestors who lived in Massachusetts.

Wiki Articles on Major Repositories in Massachusetts

New England Historic Genealogical Society · American Antiquarian Society · Massachusetts State Archives · Massachusetts Historical Society · State Library of Massachusetts · Berkshire Athenaeum · Boston Public Library · Dedham Historical Society Library · Haverhill Public Library · Houghton Library Harvard University  · Jones Library · Onondaga Historical Association Library · Peabody Essex Museum · Plymouth Public Library · Springfield History Library and Archives · University of Massachusetts Amherst Library · Vermont Historical Society · National Archives Northeast Region (Boston) · Pittsfield Federal Records Center · New York Public Library

National Archives

National Archives at Boston

380 Trapelo Road
Waltham, MA 02452-6399
Phone: (781) 663-0130
Fax: (781) 663-0154
E-mail: waltham.archives@nara.gov
Internet: National Archives at Boston

National Archives of Boston
CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT documents, photos, and maps of 80 federal agencies, War of 1812, fortifications, coastal facilities, World War II research at Harvard and MIT, federal bankruptcy courts, First Circuit Court of Appeals, Navy, Coast Guard, westward expansion, ethnology, genealogy, Revolutionary War, Civil War, captured German records, territorial papers, censuses, passenger arrival records for Boston and New England, Canadian border crossings.[1]

Pittsfield Federal Records Center

10 Conte Drive
Pittsfield, MA 01201-8230
Telephone: 413-236-3603
Fax: 413-236-3609
E-mail: [mailto: frc@nara.gov frc@nara.gov]
Internet: http://www.archives.gov/frc/pittsfield/

The Pittsfield Center has CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT federal government agency and court documents. Their large genealogy microfilm collection has been transferred to the Berkshire Athenaeum  listed below.[2]

Societies

New England Historic Genealogical Society

NEHGS Newbury Street.jpg

101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116-3007
Telephone:  617-536-5740; Library 617-226-1231
Fax:  617-536-7307
E-mail:  info@nehgs.org
Internet: AmericanAncestors.org

Best overall collection for New England vital records and probates, and excellent collection for Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, and Europe. The manuscript collection for members only has diaries, letters, account books, business papers, church and town records, sermons, maps, wills, deeds, unpublished town and family genealogies, photos, and papers of the region's best genealogists since 1850.[3]

American Antiquarian Society

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185 Salisbury Street
Worcester, Massachusetts 01609-1634
Telephone: 508-755-5221
Fax: 508-753-3311
E-mail: Library@americanantiquarian.org
Internet: http://www.americanantiquarian.org/

Best known for its U.S. newspaper collection of over 18,000 bound volumes 1704-1820, history, genealogy, Bibles, maps, biography, directories, Native Americans, women, canals, railroads, photos, manuscripts.[4]

State

Massachusetts State Archives

MA State Archives exterior.jpg

220 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125
Phone: (617) 727–2816
E-mail: archives@sec.state.ma.us
Internet: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arcidx.htm

Government records, censuses, military records, land records, naturalizations, divorces, probate, name changes, and adoptions. Only 18 of the 328 volumes of the excellent Massachusetts Archives Collection, aka Felt Collection, of 1629-1799 history are indexed online. The Archives' online searchable collections include:

Massachusetts Historical Society Library

MassHistorichq.JPG

1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215-3695
Telephone: 617-536-1608
Fax: 617-859-0074
E-mail: Contact Us
Internet: http://www.masshist.org/

Excellent historical materials, original town records, newspapers and genealogies. This collection does not repeat the New England Historic Genealogical Society collection.[5]

State Library of Massachusetts

Mass statehouse eb1.jpg

State House, Room 341
24 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: (617) 727–2590
Fax: (617) 727–5819
Internet: State Library of Massachusetts

Published books, periodicals, state and town histories, government publications, city directories, maps, tax records, newspapers and indexes.[5]

Regional

Berkshire Athenaeum

1 Wendell Ave
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Telephone: 413-499-9480
Fax: 413-499-9489
E-mail: pittsref@cwmars.org
Internet: http://www.pittsfieldlibrary.org/

Berkshire Athenaeum Pittsfield, Massachusetts.JPG
Best genealogical repository in western Massachusetts, including newspapers, books, and family histories. Now includes the former Pittsfield Federal Records Center's 71,000 microfilms of censuses, Revolutionary War pension and bounty land warrants, service records 1784-1901, Mexican War, Civil War, World War I, New England naturalizations, 1791-1966, passenger arrivals at Boston, New York, Philadelphia and east coast ports, Canadian border crossings, Indian enrollment cards, Russian Consular records, Barbour Collection for Connecticut, and Vermont vital records index.[2] [4] [6]

Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library Johnson building bpl.jpg

700 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: (617) 536–5400
Fax: (617) 536–4306
E-mail: info@bpl.org
Internet: http://www.bpl.org/

Their collection includes New England newspapers, city directores, town records, county and local histories, and genealogies.[5]

Dedham Historical Society Library

612 High Street
Dedham, MA 02027-0125
Telephone: 781-326-1385
E-mail: society@dedhamhistorical.org
Internet: http://dedhamhistorical.org/

Great collection of manuscripts including deeds, vital and town records from the 15 towns created from old Dedham (south of Boston).[5]

Haverhill Public Library

99 Main Street
Haverhill, MA 01830
Telephone: 978-373-1586
E-mail: hpl-ref@mvlc.org
Internet: http://www.haverhillpl.org/about/local-history/#genealogy-resources

One of New England's largest collections of original manuscripts, books, genealogical periodicals, and surname folders, local history collection, genealogy databases, Massachusetts vital records to 1910, federal and state censuses, 9,000 New England town and family histories.[4] [7]

Houghton Library

Houghton Library Harvard Univ Cambridge MA.jpg

Harvard University
Harvard Yard
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138
Telephone: 617-495-2440
Internet: http://www.hcl.harvard.edu/libraries/houghton/index.cfm

Manuscripts and rare books from many nations, but especially New England, Britain and Europe, historical archives of publishing history, political and missionary archives, paintings and artifacts. Largest volume of primary historical documents.[5]

Jones Library

Jones Library, Amherst MA.jpg

43 Amity Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Telephone: 413-259-3090
Internet: http://www.joneslibrary.org/

The Boltwood Collection includes 20,000 documents, genealogies, family folders, genealogy periodicals, newspapers, and local histories with an emphasis on Amherst and the Pioneer Valley.[4] [8]

Peabody Essex Museum

Phillips Library
1 Second Street (temporarily)
Peabody, MA USA
Telephone: 978-745-9500, or 866-745-1876
For the Hearing Impaired: 978-740-3649
Internet: http://www.pem.org/

Essex County books, manuscripts, and government records such as probate records, customs records, and maritime records. Can often help find trans-Atlantic ship logs, and ship images.

Plymouth Public Library

132 South Street
Plymouth, MA 02360
Telephone: 508-830-4250
E-mail: Contact Us
Internet: http://www.plymouthpubliclibrary.org/

Almost all published histories and genealogies of early Massachusetts settlers are here.[4]

Springfield History Library and Archives

(formerly Connecticut Valley Historical Museum Library)
21 Edwards Street
Springfield, Massachusetts 01103
Telephone: 800-625-7738
E-mail: wmshlibrary@springfieldmuseums.org
Internet: Springfield History Library and Archives

Can help identify Massachusetts emigrants headed west using vital records, land records, and probate records from many New England towns. They also have French Canadian records, the Loiselle Index, New York passenger arrivals, computer databases, over 20,000 genealogy books, 6,000 microforms, 50,000 photos and 2.5 million manuscripts including diaries, and account books.[4] [9]

University of Massachusetts Amherst Library

UMass at Amherst W.E.B. DuBois Library.jpg

154 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003
Telephone: 413-545-0284
E-mail: ref@library.umass.edu
Internet: http://www.library.umass.edu/ and their Online Guide to Genealogy>

Very large set of biographies, genealogies, and never-published histories, and church, business, fraternal, insurance, and manufacturing records. They also have the Massachusetts Archives Collection  microfilms, Franklin, Hampshire, and Suffolk counties' probate records, especially Connecticut River Valley towns.[4]

Boston Massachusetts Family History Center

150 Brown Street
Weston, Massachusetts 02493-2604
Telephone: 781-235-2164

The largest Family History Center in New England. Can order microfilms from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. They have published town and county histories of New England, social histories, vital records, family histories, and major indexes.[4]

Outside Massachusetts

Onondaga Historical Association Library

321 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, NY. 13202
Telephone:315-428-1864
Fax: 315-471-2133
E-mail: Contact Us]
Internet: http://www.cnyhistory.org/index.html

10,000 family folders for northeastern families.[4]

Vermont Historical Society Leahy Library

Vermont Historical Society.jpg

Leahy Library
Vermont History Center
60 Washington Street
Barre, Vermont 05641-4209
Telephone: 802-479-8509
Fax: 802-479-8510
Email: vhs-library@state.vt.us
Internet: http://vermonthistory.org/

Their collection includes a comprehensive name index of Massachusetts people, strong collection of family and town histories of New England, vital records, cemetery transcripts, genealogical periodicals, manuscripts, maps, and photos.[4][10]

Online Collections

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Links to online databases and indexes that may include vital records, biographies, cemeteries, censuses, histories, immigration records, land records, maps, military records, naturalizations, newspapers, obituaries, or probate records.


Guides

Two important inventories of Massachusetts records are:

  • Historical Records Survey (Massachusetts). Preliminary Edition of Guide to Depositories of Manuscript Collections in Massachusetts (Boston, Massachusetts: Historical Records Survey, 1939). At various libraries (WorldCat). FHL Book 974.4 A2hg. This work lists major manuscript collections and their locations.

References

  1. William Dollarhide and Ronald A. Bremer. America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest, 1998), 124. At various libraries (WorldCat). FHL Ref Book 973 J54d.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Genealogy Resources in Berkshire Athenaeum (accessed 14 November 2013).
  3. Dollarhide and Bremer, 5, 57, and 59.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Dollarhide and Bremer, 59.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Dollarhide and Bremer, 57.
  6. Dollarhide and Bremer, 124-25.
  7. Genealogy Resources in Haverhill Public Library (accessed 14 November 2013).
  8. Collections and Finding Aids in Jones Library - Special Collections (accessed 14 November 2013).
  9. Springfield History Library and Archives in Springfield Museums (accessed 14 November 2013).
  10. Genealogy Research at the Vermont Historical Society in Vermont Historical Society (accessed 14 November 2013).