Rockingham County, New Hampshire Genealogy
- 1 County Courthouse
- 2 History
- 3 Places / Localities
- 4 Resources
- 5 Societies and Libraries
- 6 Web Sites
- 7 References
119 North Road
Brentwood, NH 03833
P. O. Box 896
Kingston, NH 03848
- First settled by Europeans moving north from the Plymouth Colony as early as 1623.
- Named for Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, who had been Prime Minister in 1765-1766.
- The government was tightly linked to Massachusetts until 1679. The counties of New Hampshire were not introduced until 1769.
- Created 19 March 1771 from Colonial Lands and old Norfolk County, Massachusetts.  It was originally claimed by Massaschusetts. Eventually the portion that is in Massachusetts was absorbed.
- Merrimack County was set off in 1823.
Places / Localities
The New Hampshire Old Graveyard Association has the most complete list of cemeteries.
The Findagrave organization provides a way for you to request that a volunteer will take a photograph of a gravestone. Often a volunteer will respond and will e-mail you the photo and add it to the web site.
Another internet site may help you find gravestone records. See billiongraves.com.
If you know the town of residence and the ancestor's denomination, contact the town historical society, or the public library for that town. They may have information on available church records. You can also see the Church Records section in the general information for New Hampshire. That section lists archives and other record keepers for the various religious denominations.
If you do not know the denomination, search for a marriage record. This may give the name of the minister. Then you can contact a historical society and learn at which church he was the minister. Also search for an obituary, which may mention the church the person attended. The death certificate may list the name of the cemetery. You can then write to the cemetery and ask if it is affiliated with a local church. The death certificate may mention the funeral home. Their file may have the name of the church, cemetery, or a copy of the obituary. Also, relatives might know the denomination.
Different churches contain a variety of types of records. Many churches keep baptism, marriage, and burial records. Sometimes birth and death information is included. The church records of brothers and sisters, etc. may give clues.
Most of the court records for Rockingham County for years after 1771 are at the county courthouse listed above. For records after 1771 the Family History Library has some records on microfilms:
Court of Common Pleas records, 1772-1819. For 1813-1816 the records are of the Circuit Court of Common Pleas). There are indexes as the beginning for most volumes. To find the film numbers see the Family History Library Catalog, New Hampshire, Rockingham, Court Records.
Superior Court, 1774- 1853 (for 1813-1816 the records are of the Supreme Court). You will find indexes at the beginning of most volumes.
For later records than these you will probably need to visit the courthouse or hire a researcher to look up records for you.
Some of the court records have been sent to theNew Hampshire State Archives in Concord, New Hampshire. You can consult their Guide to Archives at their internet site and see which records they have. As of June 2012 they have mostly docket books and cases for the 1920s and 1930s.
For the early period before 1771 the towns of Dover (now in Stratford County, New Hampshire), Exeter, Hampton, and Portsmouth were at times under the jurisdiction of the old Norfolk County, Massachusetts. These records have been published, and some are also on microfilm. See the New Hampshire state wiki, and see the Court Records section to learn of where the early court records were published. Also, records of the four towns mentioned are on microfilms for 1648-1681. See New Hampshire, Rockingham County, Court Records for the film numbers.
Directories (City Directories)
The Family History Library has many city directories on microfilm. See the Family History Library Catalog and look up the city or town - Directories. For example Exeter, New Hampshire city directories are available on microfilms and/or microfiche for 1872, 1908, 1911-1912, 1915-1929. Those directories also often include the names of persons living in other nearby towns in the county.
Many directories are also available on the internet at www.ancestry.com. Go to Ancestry's card catalog, and under Search Titles, then type New Hampshire City Directories. Then you can select the city and see for which years ancestry has digital images of the city directories.
Rockingham County deeds are at the county courthouse listed above. Some records such as road records have been transferred to the New Hampshire State Archives. You can go to their internet site, and see the Guide to Archives to learn which Rockingham County records are there.
The Family History Library has microfilms of the grantor (seller), and grantee (buyer) deed indexes for 1643-1882. You can find the film numbers by seeing the Family History Library Catalog, New Hampshire, Rockingham, Land and Property. The Family History Library also has the deed volumes for 1770-1852 on microfilms.
If you need deed records after 1852 you will need to visit the courthouse, or hire someone to look at the records for you.
There are very early deed records that go back to the 1640s. These are indexed in the grantor and grantee indexes, 1643-1882 mentioned above. To learn more about these very early records that pertain to Dover (now in Stratford County, New Hampshire), Exeter, Hampton, and Portsmouth, see the New Hampshire state wiki, Land and Property section.
There are local history books for most of the towns in Rockingham County. You will find these listed in the Family History Library Catalog under New Hampshire, Rockingham County, [name of town] - History. There are many local history books which contain a genealogy section. These are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under New Hampshire, Rockingham County, [name of town] - Genealogy. You can order many of these books on microfilms, and some are on the internet with digital images.
Town history books or collections with genealogical sections are at the Family History Library for: Candia, (includes Candia Four Corners region), Chester, Danville, Derry, Hampstead, Hampton (includes Hampton Beach region), Hampton Falls, Kensington, Londonderry, New Castle (data from cemeteries), Newfields, Newington, Northwood, Plaistow, Portsmouth, Raymond, Rye, Salem? (mostly historical?), Windham. Check the Family History Library now and then to see if new books have come in.
Fortunately, the Family History Library has microfilms of birth, marriage, and death records, for most of the towns in Rockingham County, often from the date when the town was founded until the 1920s or 1930s, on microfilms. Thus, if there isn't a local history book with a genealogical section, you can: (1) check familysearch.org for birth, marriage, and death information, and (2) order a microfilm with birth, marriage, or death information.
- History of Rockingham County, New Hampshire and Representative Citizens, by Charles A. Hazlett - Chapter 34, Hampton - Soldiers of 1861-65
- Civil War service men from Rockingham County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are many companies or regiments that were formed from men of Rockingham County.
- - 1st Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies C, H, and K.
- - 2nd Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies B, E, and K.
- - 3rd Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies B, D, and H.
- - 4th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies B, C, H, I and K.
- - 5th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies D and K.
- - 6th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies C and H.
Newspaperarchive.com ($) has historical newspapers available on-line. Their database has Portsmouth newspapers (1898-2007) and the Lowell Sun Lowell, MA (1878-1977) that covered local news on Rockingham County residents as well as residents from surrounding counties.
The Rockingham County probate records and indexes to them for 1771 to about 1969 are available through the Family History Centers of the Family History Library. Hundreds of microfilms make up this valuable collection. See the Family History Library Catalog, New Hampshire, Rockingham County - Probate Records for the microfilm numbers of the indexes and records.
Valuable for family history research are especially the estate papers which are filmed. These are very likely the "case files." These often have bits of information not contained in the bound volumes. Thus it is good to check the index to the estate papers, 1771-1869 and the estate papers which are in numberical order. Then it is also good to check the bound probate records volumes also. They are numbered volume 21 to 330, for years 1771 to 1969.
In addition there is an index for 1847-1945 for wills filed but not probated, and there are copies of those wills on film for 1847-1970.
Some probate records have been transferred to the New Hampshire State Archives. As of June 2012 the State Archives has some of the probate records for the years 1772-1917. They also have an index to probate records for years 1772-1917. You can check with them to learn if they have received additional probate records.
Many of the probate records for 1635-1771 were published in volumes 31-39 of the New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers. These volumes contain abstracts of the probate records. Each volume is well indexed. For film, fiche, and book numbers see the New Hampshire wiki sections on Probate Records, and, Court Records.
For very early years, 1647-1714, Hampton, Exeter, and Strawberry Banke (now Portsmouth), were part of Massachusetts. Probate records for that time period are records of old Norfolk County. There is an index for 1647-1714, and there are also records for 1649-1714. These are on microfilms. See the Family History Library Catalog under New Hampshire, Rockingham County - Probate Records for film numbers.
Certified copies of of birth, death, and marriage records are available from the State Division of Vital Records Administration or from the local city and town clerk where the event took place. Original records are kept by the city or town clerk and copies are sent to the state.
In 1905, when the state created the Bureau of Vital Records and Health, printed cards were distributed to the local clerks and earlier vital records were transcribed onto the cards and submitted to the state.
- New Hampshire Birth Records, Early to 1900 are available online from FamilySearch.
- New Hampshire Marriage Records, 1637-1947 are available online from FamilySearch.
- New Hampshire Death Records, 1654-1947 are available online from FamilySearch.
Societies and Libraries
- Lane Memorial Library
2 Academy Ave.
Hampton, NH 03842
Telephone: (603) 926-3368
The New Hampshire Room offers genealogies, town histories, and items of local interest. Their website offers links to several genealogical resources.
Family History Centers
- The Rockingham County NHGenWeb Project, an member of The NHGenWeb Project, an affiliate of The USGenWeb Project.
- The USGenWeb Archives Project for Rockingham County
- The USGenWeb Archives Project for Rockingham County (backup site)
- FamilySearch.org Family History Library catalog for Rockingham County
- Rockingham County, New Hampshire Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 181. [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].