Massachusetts Archives and Libraries

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The following archives, libraries, and societies have major collections or services helpful to genealogical researchers.

Massachusetts State Archives at Columbia Point
220 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125
Telephone: 617–727–2816

Its online searchable collections include:

National Archives—New England Region
380 Trapelo Road
Waltham, MA 02452-6399
Phone: (781) 663-0130
Fax: (781) 663-0154

Massachusetts Historical Society Library
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215
Telephone: 617–536–1608
Fax: 617–859–0074

Peabody Essex Museum
East India Square
Salem, MA 01970-3783 USA
Phone: 978-745-9500, 866-745-1876
For the Hearing Impaired: 978-740-3649

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

New England Historic Genealogical Society

101 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116
Telephone: 617–536–5740
Fax: 617–536–7307

Boston Public Library

700 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02116
Telephone: 617–536–5400
Fax: 617–536–4306

Two important inventories of Massachusetts records are:

Historical Records Survey. Preliminary Edition of Guide to Depositories of Manuscript Collections in Massachusetts. Boston, Massachusetts: Historical Records Survey, 1939. (Family History Library book 974.4 A2hg.) This work lists major manuscript collections and their locations.

Wright, Carroll D. Report on the Custody and Condition of the Public Records of Parishes, Towns, and Counties. Boston, Massachusetts: Wright and Potter, 1889. (Family History Library book 974.4 A3cr; film 865449 item 2; fiche 6046869.) Gives a brief description of the town records that existed in 1889 and which may still be available.

Computer Networks and Bulletin Boards

Computer networks serve as another type of library. The Internet, certain computer bulletin boards, and commercial on–line services help family history researchers:

  • Locate other researchers
  • Post queries
  • Send and receive E-mail
  • Search large databases
  • Search computer libraries
  • Join in computer chat and lecture sessions

Look for computerized research tips and information about ancestors from Massachusetts in local, state, national, and international sources. The list of sources is growing rapidly. Most of the information is available at no cost.

Addresses on the Internet change frequently. As of June 2007, the following sites are important gateways linking you to many more network and bulletin board sites:

US GenWeb

A cooperative effort by many volunteers to list genealogical databases, libraries, bulletin boards, and other resources available on the Internet for each county, state, and nation.


A quality list of sites and resources that includes a large, regularly updated research coordination list.

For further details about using computer networks, bulletin boards, and news groups for family history research, see the United States Research Outline , 2nd ed., "Archives and Libraries" section.


The Family History Library and Family History Centers have computers with FamilySearch™. FamilySearch is a collection of computer files containing several million names. FamilySearch is a good place to begin your research. Some of the records come from compiled sources; some have been automated from original sources. It is also online at