Wenham, Essex County, Massachusetts Genealogy

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Modern town borders of Wenham in Essex County, Massachusetts.

Town Hall[edit | edit source]

Town Clerk[edit | edit source]

138 Main Street
Wenham, MA 01984
Phone: 978-468-5520 x 1
Fax: 978-468-8014

Adjacent towns: Essex Co.: Beverly | Danvers | Hamilton | Manchester-by-the-Sea | Topsfield

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records of Wenham, Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849
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A published index of birth, marriage, and death records from the earliest settlement through 1849.  The index was compiled and published in 1904 by the Essex Institute from town clerk's records, church records, cemetery records, and family bibles.  Records are indexed by last name.  This volume is part of a series that contains vital records for over 200 Massachusetts towns through 1849.  

A full text copy of the index as published is available on archives.org

The Massachusetts Vital Records Project has transcribed the index by town and surname, which can be useful for finding relocated family members in nearby towns: http://ma-vitalrecords.org/

Massachusetts Archives vital records (1841-1910)
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The Massachusetts Archives holds birth, marriage, and death records for all Massachusetts towns, including Wenham, for 1841 through 1920.  The archives provides a free online index of vital records (1841-1910).  Copies of records located using the online index can be ordered, for a small fee, by contacting research services.

Wenham Town Clerk's Office
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The Town Clerk of Wenham will provide copies of vital records to genealogists.  Time consuming searches may require an hourly fee.  Researchers should contact the town clerk, in writing, with their requested search to get a cost estimate. 

The clerk's office holds birth, marriage, and death records for the town of Wenham:

  • Death certificates are available starting in 1906; earlier records are in registers
  • Birth certificates are available starting in 1900; earlier records are in registers
  • Marriage certificates are available starting about 1900; earlier records are in registers

Registers contain information from as early as the 1600s.

Local History
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The Hamilton-Wenham public library holds a closed-stack collection of local history resources printed 1900 and after; a list of collection contents is available online.

The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum has extensive local history resources for Wenham and surrounding area.  A partial list of holdings is available on PHILcat;  a listing of the library's manuscript collections is available on the Massachusetts Special Collections Directory.  Manuscript holdings include papers of Wenham residents, including contemporary diaries, account books, and letters beginning as early as the 1630s through the early 20th century.

Probate Records
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The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum holds Essex County probate records from 1636 to 1914 on microfilm. 

Court Records
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Essex County Court Records 1636-1820
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The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum holds the records of the Essex County Courts from 1636 to 1820, including the Essex County Quarterly Court, General Sessions of the Peace, and Court of Common Pleas, as well as those of the special Court of Oyer and Terminer that heard the 1692 Salem witchcraft trials.

Massachusetts Judicial Archives[edit | edit source]

The Judicial Archives contains the pre-1860 records of the predecessor courts of the Superior Court (Court of General Sessions of the Peace and Inferior Court of Common Pleas) for 9 counties. Other records in the Judicial Archives include Supreme Judicial Court and Superior Court of Judicature; predominantly pre-1900 probate records of Essex, Middlesex, Suffolk, Plymouth, and Worcester counties; a limited number of County Court records; records of some Justices of the Peace, naturalization records and records of a small number of special courts. Probate, naturalization and divorce records are especially useful for those doing genealogical research.

See the Massachusetts state archive website information for information on  Court and Judicial Archives at the Massachusetts State Archives.