Rockingham County, New Hampshire Genealogy
This is a guide to Rockingham County New Hampshire genealogy, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, military records, and other records.
|Rockingham County, New Hampshire|
Location in the state of New Hampshire
|Founded||March 19, 1771|
|Address|| Rockingham County Courthouse|
99-119 North Road
Brentwood, NH 03833
Rockingham County Website
- 1 County Courthouse
- 2 History
- 3 Places / Localities
- 4 Resources
- 4.1 Cemeteries
- 4.2 Church
- 4.3 Court
- 4.4 Directories (City Directories)
- 4.5 Gazetteers
- 4.6 Genealogical Collections for the Period of the 1600s to about 1776
- 4.7 Land and Property
- 4.8 Local Histories
- 4.9 Maps
- 4.10 Military
- 4.11 Naturalization Records
- 4.12 Newspapers
- 4.13 Probate
- 4.14 Taxation
- 4.15 Town Records
- 4.16 Vital Records
- 5 Societies and Libraries
- 6 Web Sites
- 7 References
The courthouse is located at # 10 Rt. 125, Brentwood, NH 03833, tel. 603-642-5256. The Post Office Box is P.O. Box 1258, Kingston, NH 03848.
The clerks of the courts have divorce and court records from 1769.
Town or City Clerks have birth, marriage, death and burial records.
The Register of Probate has probate records from 1770.
The Register of Deeds has land records from 1643. 
Towns Organized Before 1800:
East Kingston 1738
Hampton Falls 1712
New Castle 1692
New Market 1727
North Hampton 1742
South Hampton 1742
- Rockingham County was first settled by Europeans moving north from the Plymouth Colony as early as 1623.
- The county was named for Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, who had been British Prime Minister in 1765-1766.
- The government was tightly linked to Massachusetts until 1679. The counties of New Hampshire were not introduced until 1769.
- Rockingham County was 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. See also Norfolk (old) County, Massachusetts.
- Merrimack County was set off as a separate county in 1823.
- If your ancestor lived in the area that is Merrimack County before 1823, you will need to determine if the town where your ancestor lived was in Hillsborough, Grafton, or Rockingham counties. Ancestry's Redbook: American State, County, and Town Sources, 3rd ed., Provo, Ut., 2004 (FHL book 973 D27) has a map of New Hampshire on page 437, and after the map there is a list of towns giving to which county the town belongs now, and to which county it belonged before 1823.
One record source that would be helpful, but was destroyed, is the 1890 census. There was a fire in Washington, D. C. in 1921 which badly damaged the records. None of the New Hampshire population records remain. However, the 1890 census Civil War veterans' lists were kept in a different building, and those from Kentucky to Wyoming were saved. They are available at familysearch.org, and ancestry.com, also on microfilms from the Family History Library. You can search for veterans' names or their widows' names.
Places / Localities
Small Existing Villages:
- Candia Four Corners
- Hampton Beach
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 is 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 concerning available church records. You can also see the Church Records section in the New Hampshire wiki. 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.
Many of the court records for Rockingham County for years from 1771 to the 1900s have been transferred to the New Hampshire State Aarchives at Concord, New Hampshire. The courthouse now has recent records such as from the 1970s to the present, and perhaps some earlier records also.
For court records beginning in 1771 the Family History Library has the following on films:
Court of Common Pleas records, 1772-1819. (For 1813-1816 the records are under the Circuit Court of Common Pleas). There are indexes at 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 under the Supreme Court). You will find indexes at the beginning of most volumes.
Supreme Court records, 1813-1816.
For the 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 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 select the year, and see the digital images of the city directories.
To learn about New Hampshire gazetteers, go to the New Hampshire article in this wiki. There is a section where New Hampshire gazetteers published in 1823, 1849, and 1874 are listed. Those gazetteers can be ordered on microfilms from the Family History Library. Check at your Family History Center to see if they already have the microfilm you are interested in.
Another gazetteer is The National Gazetteer: A Geographical Dictionary of the United States, compiled in 1884 by Auguste L. de Colange. This is a PDF file and you can look alphabetically for the town or city.
Genealogical Collections for the Period of the 1600s to about 1776
A helpful book for early settlers from the 1600s to about 1776 is the Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire. You can search this at www.ancestry.com. Go to ancestry.com, then see Search. Look for the Card Catalog. In the Title box type Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire. Two items are listed. One is a photo-reproduction of the book. The other is a search engine where you can type in an ancestor's name and then look at each place where the name is mentioned. This book was first published 1928-1939 by Sybil Noyes, Charles Thornton Libby, and Walter Goodwin Davis. It was reprinted in 1983 by Genealogical Publishing Co. (FHL book 974 D2n; film 476,892; fiche 6046621.)
Another good book with biographies of early setters before 1776 in New Hampshire and Maine is Piscataqua Pioneers, 1623-1775: Register of Members and Ancestors. This was edited by John Scales and published in 1919 at Dover, N.H., and is available online from The Library of Congress site archive.org. The biographical sketches are in alphabetical order, and you can use the search function to look up the name of an ancestor. Then you can study the page where that name is found. This book is also available on FHL film 928,026 item 5.
The Piscataqua Pioneers organization has deposited their membership applications with the University of New Hampshire Library in Durham, New Hampshire. These contain detailed information on lineages going back to the early settlers. The applications are also on Family History Library microfilms. Please see the New Hampshire wiki article, then go to the Genealogy section, then see Piscataqua Pioneers.
For other helpful genealogical collections see the New Hampshire wiki artilce, Genealogy section and Societies section.
Land and Property
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. The deeds are available with an index on films.
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, 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, or (2) order a microfilm with the town or city birth, marriage, or death records.
The New Hampshire State Library in Concord, New Hampshire has a vast collection of books about New Hampshire towns and counties. Check their internet catalog for a town of interest.
The New Hampshire Historical Society also in Concord has a very large collection of local history books and other publications.
An interesting atlas published in 1892, with maps for most of the New Hampshire towns is The Town and City Atlas of the State of New Hampshire (click to see digital images), published in Boston in 1892 by the D. H. Hurd Company. The maps show the locations of homes, and the map gives the name of the person living in the home. The above web site is from the University of New Hampshire Library.
A town historical society may be an excellent place to obtain a map. The Association of Historical Societies of New Hampshire has a helpful list of historical societies. Town libraries may also have good maps.
There are two very good early atlases that show the county and town boundary lines. One was published in 1822 by H. C. Carey and I. Lea, A Complete, Historical, Chronological, and Geographical American Atlas: . . . Philadelphia: H. C. Carey and I. Lea, 1822 (FHL film 02083 item 6). The second atlas was published in 1838 by T. G. Bradford, An Illustrated Atlas, Geographical, Statistical, and Historical, of the United States, and Adjacent Countries. Boston: Weeks, Jordan and Company, 1838 (FHL film 02083 item 7).
The most complete listing of New Hampshire Revolutionary War soldiers is found in volumes 14-17 of the New Hampshire State Papers. You can go to google.com, and look for New Hampshire State Papers with the link to ancestry.com. There you will find a name index to volumes 14-17, then you can go to the needed volume and page for information on the soldier. Often the place of residence is given.
For a military history of New Hampshire, see:
Potter, Chandler Eastman,The Military History of the State of New Hampshire. Concord, N.H.: McFarland & Jenks, 1866. (Family History Library film 1033664; fiche 6046858.) You can search this book on-line by going to google.com. Look for ancestry.com as the internet way to search this book. This history comprises events from the first settlements in New Hampshire to the rebellion in 1861. It includes biographical notices of many of the officers and explanatory notes.
War of 1812
See Chandler Potter's book directly above for information on the War of 1812.
Familysearch.org is a free source for locating names of Civil War soldiers and sailors. Ancestry.com and fold3.com are available free at FamilySearch Centers and are also valuable for finding names of soldiers and sailors. Ancestry.com has Civil War draft registration records, soldier's records, and an index to Civil War pension applications.
You can go to ancestry.com and search for names in The Revised Register of the Soldiers and Sailors of New Hampshire in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, by Augustus D. Ayling. When you find a name click on it and you will see the page of the book. This book gives the age, residence, and service information about approximately 32,000 New Hampshire Civil War veterans. The book is also available on microfilm or microfiche from the Family History Library.
Town history books are available through the Family History Library, historical societies, and local libraries, for many of the towns in Hillsborough County. They often contain extensive information concerning the war and the soldiers. Following are examples of some of the histories:
- 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.
- - 1st Regiment, New Hampshire Cavalry, Troops H, L,and M.
- - 1st Regiment, New Hampshire Heavy Artillery, Companies A, C, D, E, K, L, and M.
- - 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.
- - 8th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies B, D, F, G, and H.
- - 9th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies A and H.
- - 10th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies A and G.
- - 11th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies A, B, C, E, and I.
- - 12th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Company F.
- - 13th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies C, E, F, and K.
- - 14th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Company D.
- - 15th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies D, E, H, I and K.
- - 16th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Company K.
- - New Hampshire Sharpshooters, 2nd Company F.
- - 18th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Company D.
- - Martin Guards, New Hampshire Militia
World War I
A very helpful source for World War I is an index at www.ancestry.com of World War I draft registration records, 1917-1918. All men between ages eighteen and forty-five were required to register. Their birth date and often the town or city of birth, address, occupation, and sometimes the name of nearest kin, are listed on the card. Many of these men served in the war.
World War II
There is an index at www.ancestry.com of the 1942 World War II draft registrations for New Hampshire, of men forty-five to sixty-five. Some of these men served in that war. The records contain name, address, birth date and place, name of kin or friend, name and address of employer, and signature. (See www.ancestry.com for further information.)
At ancestry.com you can also search the index, and information given in, the U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946. The information includes name, birth year, state or country of birth, city or county of residence, enlistment date and city, occupation, marital status, and education.
The original naturalization records were at the county courthouse. Many have been transferred to the New Hampshire State Archives at Concord, New Hampshie where they have indexes for 1771-1991. They also have declarations of intention from 1906-1982 and petitions from 1907-1991.
The Family History Library has microfilms of the card index for 1771-1906. The Library also has additional films of the declarations of intention for 1906-1929 and indexes for 1922-1956. Also on films are the petitions for 1907-1933, and indexes for 1919-1964.
Naturalization records for 1771-1905 will be included in the court records. The index for 1771-1906 will give you the name of the person, the name of the court, the volume and page and names of witnesses.
The New Hampshire Newspaper Project began microfilming newspapers in the early 1990's. A list of the titles filmed, the range of date of publication, and the reel number can be found at the New Hampshire State Library. Films of newspapers may be able to be borrowed on interlibrary loan through your local public library or university library.
Newspaperarchive.com has historical newspapers available online. You can search this free at Family History Centers. Their database has Portsmouth newspapers (1898-2007) and the Lowell Sun, of Lowell, Massachusetts (1878-1977) that covered local news on Rockingham County residents as well as residents from surrounding counties. Other internet sites with newsapers include ancestry.com and genealogybank.com.
The Rockingham County probate records and indexes to them for 1771-1869, and 1870-1969 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, especially the wills, for 1635-1771 were published in volumes 31-39 of the New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers. These volumes contain the full wills, and some other abstracts of the probate records. Each volume is well indexed. You can go to google.com, and look for New Hampshire State Papers with the link to ancestry.com. There you will find an every-name index to volumes 1-40.
When you know the volume and page, you can go to the University of New Hampshire's internet site and look up that volume and page online. For film, fiche, and book numbers see the New Hampshire wiki sections on Probate Records, and, Court Records.
For very early years, 1642-1679, and 1690-1692, Hampton, Exeter, and Strawberry Banke (now Portsmouth), were part of Massachusetts. Probate records for that time period are records of old Norfolk County. The probate records of Norfolk County were included in the New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers (see the paragraph above). For 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.
Many town tax records have been preserved by town clerks and town tax officials. Town tax records were generally taken each year. The Family History Library has many town records on microfilms. For microfilm numbers see the Family History Library Catalog under New Hampshire - Rockingham County - [name of town] - Town Records. You may wish to contact the Town Clerk's Office to see if they have addtional tax records.
There is an index to the town records (which include many tax records) from the early settlement of the town to about 1850. This is the Index to Early Town Records, New Hampshire, Early to 1850 (FHL films 14942-15052). The index cards list volume and page numbers for the town records, many of which are on Family History Library microfilms. On some index cards you will see M.R. This means the item is a marriage record. Cards may have F.R. This means there is information about the family members. You will see the name of the town plus the volume and page. You can then order the microfilm that has that volume and page of the town records.
Many town records are still in the town office buildings. Many are on film at the Family History Library. Town records are an important source of family history information from the 1600s to about the 1940s. The early New Hampshire town records to about 1850 have an every-name index, Index to Early Town Records, New Hampshire, Early to 1850. (For more information see the Taxation section just above.)
To look up the film numbers of town records, go to the Catalog tab at familysearch.org. Click on place name search. Then type in the name of the town. Select the reference to that town in New Hampshire. Then click on Search. You will see a list of subjects. Look for the subject "Town Records." Click on that heading to see information about the records including book or film numbers.
To see the types of family history information you might find in town records please go to the heading Town Records in our New Hampshire wiki article.
Fortunately, most of the New Hampshire birth records to 1900, and marriage and death records to 1947, are on the internet at familysearch.org. where you can view a digital image of the actual record. (See the births, marriages, and deaths headings below.)
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. The Family History Library has films of Rockingham County town and city birth, marriage, and death records often to the 1920s or 1930s. These are listed in the Library Catalog under New Hampshire, Rockingham County, (name of town or city ) - Vital Records.
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. Many of those records are available on Family History Library microfilms. Following are links to online searches with indexes and records:
- 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
The Association of Historical Societies of New Hampshire has an internet site where you can find information about historical societies in many cities and towns of Rockingham County. These historical societies can often be a great source of information for your family history research.
The New Hampshire Society of Genealogists publishes a magazine regularly. They also publish books containing records. You may want to view their interenet site.
When you learn the name of the town or city where your ancestor lived, contact the public library and the historical society there to see if they have information in their files. For a listing of local historical societies click here. Following are several local libraries that have family history collections:
- 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.
Exeter Public Library, 4 Chestnut St,, Exeter, NH 03833, Telephone (603) 772-3101
Portsmouth Athenaeum, 6-8 Market Square 3rd floor, Portsmouth, NH 03801, Telephone (603) 431-2538, open Tues. and Thurs. 1-4, Sat. 10-4
Family History Centers
- Introduction to LDS Family History Centers
- Exeter New Hampshire Family History Center
- You will also find family history centers at Concord, Derry, and Nashua, and other cities in New Hampshire. Click here to see a map and address information.
- The Rockingham County NHGenWeb Project, a member of The NHGenWeb Project, an affiliate of The USGenWeb Project.
- nhhistory.org, the site of the New Hampshire Historical Society. They have an extensive collection of family and local history information.
- 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).
- americanancestors.org, the site of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Their site indexes their genealogical periodical, plus many other records.
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Rockingham County, New Hampshire page 453, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002. Cite error: Invalid
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- Michael J. Leclerc, Genealogist's Handbook for New England Research, 5th ed. (Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2012), 277. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 974 D27g 2012.