Norwell, Plymouth County, Massachusetts Genealogy
The first settler was Robert Stetson, who received a land grant in this area in 1634. He built a mill in 1656 that was burned in the King Philip's War in 1676, but the dam's remains were still visible only a century ago. Shipbuilding was the major business along the North River. Other early settlers included the Copeland, Curtis, Delano, Foster, Taylor and Tilden families. This area of Scituate was in Plymouth Colony. The area was placed in Plymouth County when counties were formed in 1685. For a brief time, the town was part of the Dominion of New England from 1686 to 1689. The town is still in Plymouth County, though was in limbo, until the "Colony" was merged with Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691 that became the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The southwestern part of Scituate was set off as South Scituate in 1849, later renamed Norwell, and still remains in Plymouth County.
Norwell at one time was called South Scituate.
Village or section names include Accord, Assinippi, Church Hill, Mount Blue, Norwell Center, Queen Anne's Corner, Ridge Hill, and West Scituate.
|14 Feb. 1849||South Scituate incorporated from the southwestern part of Scituate.|
|15 May 1857||Border between South Scituate and Hanover established.|
|11 Feb. 1878||Parts of South Scituate and Hanover annexed to each other and the border re-established.|
|27 Feb. 1888||Proposed name change to Norwell that the town adopted 5 Mar.|
|30 Apr. 1897||Border between Norwell and Hingham established.|
]]Works written on the town include:
- Lloyd Vernon Briggs, History of Shipbuilding on the North River, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, with Genealogies of the Shipbuilders, and Accounts of the Industries Upon its Tributaries, 1640 to 1872 (Boston, 1889; rep. New York, 1970; rep. Norwell, Mass., 1975), xv, 420 pp.
Digital versions online at Internet Archive and Google Books.
WorldCat (Other Libraries); FHL book 974.482 U2b.
- Historia, A Magazine of Local History, Norwell, Massachusetts (Norwell, Mass., 1898-1899; rep. 1988), 6 issues in 48 pp.
Digital versions at Internet Archive, Rapid Library, and Hathi Trust. WorldCat (Other Libraries); FHL fiche 6019355.
- Joseph Foster Merritt, A Narrative History of South Scituate-Norwell, Massachusetts (Rockland, Mass., 1938), 203 pp.
WorldCat (Other Libraries); FHL book 974.482/N2 H2m.
- Norwell Wikipedia page.
The town's vital records are available in many locations:
- Norwell Town Clerk's Office
345 Main Street
Norwell MA 02061
- Microfilm of the originals created by the Family History Library, 1849-1905, FHL film 2080164.
- Microfiche of the originals created by Archive Publishing covering town records that included vital records and a few other town records, 1633-1900, on 42 fiche (includes Scituate, too). Part of Massachusetts, Town Vital Collections, 1620–1988 at Ancestry ($); Index
- Official state copy of vital records starting in 1841. See the guide to the state for more information here.
There are no published vital records for Norwell.
The following is a list of cemeteries in present-day Norwell. For more details regarding these cemeteries, see the state guide under cemeteries for books on the subject or the PlymouthColony website.
- Bowker Cemetery, 1812. (A)
"Bowker Street and the Bowker Cemetery" in Historia, 1 [1899-1900]: 41-43.
- Church Hill Cemetery, 1725. (A, B)
- Damon Cemetery, n.d. (A)
- First Parish of Norwell Cemetery, 1720. (B)
South Shore Genealogical Society, An Index to the First Parish Cemetery of Norwell, Massachusetts (Norwell, Mass., 1988), 53 l.
WorldCat (Other Libraries).
"The First Parish Cemetery" in Historia, 1 [1899-1900]: 28-31, 39-40, 46-47.
- Dr. Joseph Jacobs / Assinippi Cemetery, 1779. (B, C)
- Old Second Church Cemetery, 1680. (A, C)
Historia, 1 [1899-1900]: 1-5.
"Gravestone Records from the Old Second Church Cemetery Norwell, Massachusetts" in the Mayflower Descendant, 32 : 107-111, that corrects errors in the published Scituate vital records.
- Otis Cemetery, n.d. (A)
- Pinehurst Cemetery, 1870.
- Quaker Cemetery, n.d. (A)
Historia, 1 [1899-1900]: 17-19.
- South Parish Cemetery, n.d. (A, C)
- Stockbridge Cemetery, 1700. (A)
- Washington Street Cemetery, n.d. (A)
- Wilson Hill Cemetery, 1691.
"Another of the Wilson Hill Gravestones Found" in Historia, 1 [1899-1900]: 22-23.
Abstracts of the cemeteries above are marked and keyed to:
(A). Vital Records of Scituate, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 (Boston, 1909). [See the Scituate town page for various versions of this source.]
(B). Charles M. Thatcher, Old Cemeteries of Southeastern Massachusetts (Middleborough, Mass., 1995). WorldCat (Other Libraries); FHL book 974.4 V3
(C). New England Historic Genealogical Society, Manuscripts Dept.
The following is a list of churches established in town in order of organization date (if known) and condition of records in the 1889 survey if listed.
- Second Church of Scituate (later First Unitarian Church, and now First Parish Norwell Unitarian Universalist Church), 1644, records good after 1796.
Harold Field Worthley, An Inventory of the Records of the Particular (Congregational) Churches of Massachusetts Gathered 1620-1805 (Cambridge, Mass., 1970), 451-452, list church records to 1689, 1751-1754, 1798, 1810-present survive and parish records from 1642-1922 survive.
"Ancestral Pews" in Historia, 1 [1899-1900]: 9-16.
"Baptisms by Rev. William Wetherell" [covering 1645-1657] in Historia, 1 [1899-1900]: 20-21, 31, 37-38, 47.
Records from 1645-1689, 1697-1704 (these are requested re-entries at a later date), adult baptisms, 1704-1720 published in Bangs' Scituate book (see Scituate Town Histories and Records), vol. 3, p. 527-550.
George C. Turner, Sarah R. Damon, Ella Bates (variously), but mainly Wilford Jacob Litchfield, "Records of the Second Church of Scituate, now the First Unitarian Church of Norwell, Mass." [1645-1834] in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 57 : 82-86, 178-184, 318-324, 398-403; 58 : 82-90, 168-176, 260-267, 387-391; 59 : 74-79, 134-140, 308-315, 387-392; 60 : 61-66, 175-182, 271-274, 335-340; 61 : 56-59, 172-177, 288-292, 372-375.
- Scituate Society of Friends Meeting (in South Scituate), 1679 (extinct), records with the New Bedford Monthly Meeting.
- Methodist Episcopal Church (now Church Hill United Methodist Church), 1852, records good.
- Universalist Church, 1863, records good.
- St. Helen church (Roman Catholic), 1950.
- United Church of Christ, 1965.
- Assinippi Universalist Church, n.d.
- New Hope Chapel, n.d.
- Norwell Mariner, 1981-2005.
Libraries and Historical Societies
The following is list of research facilities in town: