Difference between revisions of "Strafford County, New Hampshire Genealogy"

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United States Gotoarrow.png New Hampshire Gotoarrow.png Strafford County

This is a guide to Strafford County, New Hampshire genealogy, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, military records, and other records.

link=http://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/New Hampshire_Online_Genealogy_Records New Hampshire
Online Records

Strafford County, New Hampshire
Map of New Hampshire highlighting Strafford County
Location in the state of New Hampshire
Founded March 10, 1771
County Seat Dover
Address Strafford County Courthouse
250 County Farm Rd
PO Box 799
Dover, NH 03820
Phone: 603.742.3065
Strafford County Website

County Courthouse

The Town Clerk or City Clerk has birth, marriage, death and burial records.
The Clerk of the Superior Court has divorce and court records.
The Register of Probate has probate records.
The Register of Deeds has land records from 1773. [1]

Towns Organized Before 1800:
Barrington 1722
Dover 1623
Durham 1732
Farmington 1798
Lee 1766
Madbury 1755
Middleton 1778
New Durham 1762
Rochester 1722
Somersworth 1754


  • Strafford County, New Hampshire was named for William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford in the mistaken belief that he was the ancestor of Governor John Wentworth. Although they were distantly related, William had no descendants.

Parent County

Boundary Changes

  • Belknap County was established from lands taken off from Strafford County on 22 December 1840.[1]

Record Loss

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 were saved. They are available at familysearch.org, and ancestry.com, also on microfilms from the Family History Library. You can search for veterans' or their widows' names.

Places / Localities

Populated Places






  • Bow Lake
  • Burton
  • Center Strafford
  • East Rochester
  • Gonic
  • Milton Mills
  • North Rochester
  • Salmon Falls

Neighboring Counties

Belknap | Carroll | Merrimack | Rockingham | York County, Maine



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. Another internet site is billiongraves.com.

Many cemetery records are available on film from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. See the Library Catalog, click on the name of the town, then select the heading Cemeteries. In the Library Catalog see also Strafford County, Cemeteries.


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 Strafford County for years after 1773 are at the county courthouse listed above. For records after 1773 the Family History Library has some records on microfilms and the records have indexes in most volumes:

Court of Common Pleas, 1773-1816, and 1840-1859. (After 1859 see Superior Court.)

Superior Court, 1773-1874, 1901-1920.

Supreme Court, 1855-1874, 1876-1901. (For 1874-1876 see Circuit Court.)

Circuit Court, 1874-1876.

Some Stafford County court records are at the New Hampshire State Archives in Concord, New Hampshire. As of July 2012 these include: court records 1780-1859, 1870-1874; docket books 1820-1874 (some gaps); and road records for 1840s - 1850s.

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. There are city directories available for some towns, for some years, from 1830-1935.

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.


You can go to google.com and do a search for the name of a city, town, or village in New Hampshire and you will often find helpful information. This may lead you to a Wikipedia article, or the official internet site for that city, town, or village.

Another gazetteer is The National Gazetteer: A Geographical Dictionary of the United States, compiled in 1884 by Auguste L. de Colange. This is an internet PDF file and you can look alphabetically for the town or city.

To learn about New Hampshire gazetteer books, 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.

Genealogical Collections for the Period of about 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.


Strafford County deeds are at the county courthouse listed above. The Family History Library has microfilms of the following deed records, which can be requested through Family History Centers:

Grantor (seller) indexes, 1773-1900.  Most of the indexes are for ten-year time periods.

Granteer (buyer) indexes, 1773-1900. The indexes are mostly for ten-year periods.

Deed volumes, 1773-1901, volumes 1-325.

Land transfer index, 1933-1989.

There is also a land owners' map for 1856 available on two microfiche from the Family History Library (FHL map # 435, on two fiche # 6079672).  On the map you will see printed the names of persons who owned the pieces of land.

Local Histories

There are local history books at the Family History Library for Barrington, Dover, Durham, Lee, Madbury, Middleton, Rochester, and Somersworth. You will find these listed in the Family History Library Catalog under New Hampshire, Strafford County, [name of town] - History.

There are some local history books which contain a genealogy section. These are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under New Hampshire, Strafford County, [name of town] - Genealogy. You can order some of these books on microfilms, and the two volumes for Durham are on the internet with digital images. These books are available at the Family History Library for Dover, Durham, New Durham, Rochester, and Rollinsford.

Fortunately, the Family History Library Catalog lists films of Vital Records (birth, marriage, and death records), for most of the cities and towns in Strafford 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 birth, marriage, or death information.

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.

The Dimond Library at the University of New Hampshire has a large collection of history books, family papers, maps, diaries, etc. relating to New Hampshire.


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.

There is also a land owners' map for 1856 available on two microfiche from the Family History Library (FHL map # 435, on two fiche # 6079672).

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 very useful early 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). Nhstafford.jpg


Revolutionary War

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 at that site 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 and Jenks, 1866. (Family History Library film 1033664; fiche 6046858.) You can search part one of this book online by going to ancestry.com. Part one has information to about to 1808. The volumes include biographical notices of many of the officers and include explanatory notes.

War of 1812

See Chandler Potter's book (see section on Revolutionary War above), but see part 2, which is on film or fiche. The Family History Library indicates volume two is available on film or fiche. Part 2 does not currently (July 2013) appear to be available at ancestry.com.

Civil War

Familysearch.org is a free source for locating names of Civil War soldiers and sailors. Ancestry.com is available free at FamilySearch Centers and is 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. 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, and other large libraries, for most of the towns in Strafford County. They often contain extensive information concerning the war and the soldiers. Following is an example of some of the histories:

  • Civil War service men from Strafford 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 Strafford County.
- 1st Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies A, B, C, and K.
- 1st Regiment, New Hampshire Cavalry, Troops B and K.
- 1st Regiment, New Hampshire Heavy Artillery, Companies D and M.
- 2nd Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies D and H.
- 3rd Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies D, I, and K.
- 4th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies A, B, F, and G.
- 5th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies A and D.
- 6th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies D and H.
- 8th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies G and I.
- 11th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Company K.
- 12th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Company A.
- 13th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies B, C, E, and F.
- 14th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Company E.
- 15th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies D, G, and I.
- 18th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Company C.
- Littlefield's Company, Strafford 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, 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 anindex on 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.


Most of the Strafford County naturalization records remain at the county courthouse. The Family History Library has microfilms of many of these records. In familysearch.org see the Catalog and type in New Hampshire, Strafford County, then see the items under Naturalization. These microfilms include:


Indexes to declarations of intention [the first papers in the process of naturalization] 1861-1936.

Indexes to Petitions for naturalizations [the second papers in the process] 1861-1936.

There are also films of indexes with docket volumes:

Declarations of Intention Index and Docket, 1890-1906.

Naturalization Index and Docket, 1890-1906.

Naturalization declarations of intention, and, petitions:

Naturalization Records, 1842-1861.

Naturalization Papers, 1861-1906.

Declarations of Intention, 1871-1906 [Declarations are the first papers in the naturalization process].

Declarations of Intention, 1906-1931.

Petitions of Naturalization, 1861-1900 [Petitions are the second papers in the process].

Naturalization Petitions and Records, 1907-1931.

If you are searching for naturalization records before 1842, search the various Strafford County court records.


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's internet site. Films of newspapers may be able to be borrowed on interlibrary loan through your local public library or university library.

The New Hampshire State Library in Concord, New Hampshire has a vast collection of New Hampshire newspapers on microfilms. In their catalog search box you can type in the name of a town and add newspapers, for example Somersworth newspapers.

See www.genealogybank.com for Dover, New Hampshire newspapers. Those for 1790-1818, 1825-1829 are online and indexed (as of August 2012). They will very likely be adding additional newspapers.

The University of New Hampshire Library, in Durham, New Hampshire has collected newspapers and other publications from many towns in Strafford County. You can go to their library catalog and then search for a town or city - newspapers. 

Newspaperarchive.com ($) has historical newspapers available on-line. This data base is available free at Family History Centers. Their database has Portsmouth,NH newspapers from the early 1900's covering local news that included residents from Stafford County communities.

Finding More New Hampshire Newspapers

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Strafford County, New Hampshire Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:


Most of the probate records for Strafford County, New Hampshire are at the Strafford Courty court house at 259 County Farm Rd., Dover, NH 03820, tel. 1-603-742-2550, email: strafford.probate@courts.state.nh.us.

The Family History Library has microfilms of alphabetical by persons' names probate indexes for 1773-1892, and 1879-1989. Also the probate records volumes 1-171, for 1773- about 1946 are available on microfilms through the family history centers.

A book is available, Abstracts of the Probate Records of Stafford County, New Hamsphire, 1771-1799, by Helen F. Evans, published in 1983. This is available from Heritage Books, Bowie, Maryland. A copy is available at the Family History Library (FHL book 974.25 P2).

If you are researching more recent time periods, the Family History Library has microfilms listing property transfers by will from one person to another. These films are listed in the Family History Library Catalog - Strafford Courty - Probate Records, as Property Transfer Index, 1933-1989.


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 - Strafford 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 of 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.

Ancestry.com has online images of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax lists for New Hampshire and many other states for 1862-1866. Only persons who owned businesses, or valuable items such as carriages, were listed. You may wish to check ancestry.com to see if your ancestor was listed. The record gives the person's name, town of residence, business or valuable item, and amount of tax.

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. The index and film numbers are listed just above in the Taxation section.

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.

Vital Records

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 Strafford County town and city birth records to about 1900, and marriage, and death records often to the 1940s. These are listed in the Library Catalog under New Hampshire, Strafford 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. The indexes and online records are listed below: 

  • New Hampshire Birth Records, Early to 1900 are available online from FamilySearch. When you search this index for the name of your ancestor you can add information about birth date range, birth place, marriage date and place, residence, death date and place, as well as spouse's name and parents' names, if you have that information. You can also browse the records to look at records of persons of a surname.
  • New Hampshire Marriage Records, 1637-1947 are available online from FamilySearch. You can search the index for the name of your ancestor. You can add what you know about the date and place of marriage, birth date and place, and the name of the spouse. You can also browse through the marriage cards of persons who have a particular surname.
  • New Hampshire Death Records, 1654-1947 are available online from FamilySearch. When you do your search for the name of your ancestor, it may help a great deal if you can add information about your ancestor's birth date and place, marriage date and place, residence, death date range and place, spouse's name, and parents' names, if you have the information. Note that you can also browse the collection for death records of persons of a surname.

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 Strafford 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.

You may also want to go to the internet and type in the name of the town in New Hampshire. Often you will find there is a public library. They can often help you with your family history questions.

The University of New Hampshire Library Milne Special Collections, at Durham, New Hampshire has many history books, genealogical collections, family papers, and diaries. See their internet site for genealogy, local history, and family papers information. Their telephone number is 603-862-2714, and their email address is reference.desk@unh.edu.

Family History Centers

Web Sites


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Strafford County, New Hampshire page 453, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "HBG" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "HBG" defined multiple times with different content