Massachusetts History

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The following important events in the history of Massachusetts affected political jurisdictions, family movements, and record keeping.

1620-1691:  The Plymouth Colony was established. It eventually spread over today's Plymouth, Barnstable, and Bristol Counties. 

1630:  Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded. It expanded to today's area of Essex, Middlesex, Old Norfolk (now part of New Hampshire), and Suffolk Counties. 

1691:  A new charter was granted to Massachusetts Bay Colony, uniting it with Plymouth Colony. Parts of Maine and Nova Scotia were also added to Massachusetts. 

1775:  The Revolutionary War began at Lexington and Concord.

1786:  The Ohio Land Company was formed, resulting in the emigration of many Massachusetts residents to Ohio.

1788:  Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify the Constitution. 

1820Maine was separated from Massachusetts.

1830s-1840s:  As the factory system developed, thousands of foreign laborers began moving to Massachusetts. 

1861-1865:  During the Civil War 146,000 men from Massachusetts served in the Union Army.

A good general history of Massachusetts is:

Hart, Albert Bushnell, ed. Commonwealth History of Massachusetts: Colony, Province, and State. 5 vols. New York, NY: The States History, 1927-30. (FHL book 974.4 H2h.)

A helpful bibliography of Massachusetts local histories is:

Haskell, John Duncan. Massachusetts: A Bibliography of Its History. Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 1983. (FHL book 974.4 H23m.)

Internet Resources

Massacusetts Historical Society:

A Tour of Masschusetts History: