Massachusetts GenealogyEdit This Page
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Most archives, historical societies, and genealogical societies have special collections and indexes of genealogical value. These must usually be searched in person. The following are some of the major published and manuscript collections helpful for Massachusetts research.
Many genealogies have been researched and published for the colonial states. Names of the earliest immigrants and settlers have been identified. Examples of numerous published collections are:
Cutter, William Richard. Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts. Four Volumes. New York, NY: Lewis Historical Publishing, 1910. FHL films 905528-29 and FHL fiche 6051241.
This and other series by Cutter relating to Massachusetts and New England are indexed in:
Ireland, Norma Olin and Winifred Irving. Cutter Index: A Consolidated Index of Cutter's Nine Genealogy Series. Fallbrook, California: Ireland Indexing Service, [197-]. FHL film 1036507 item 6 and FHL fiche 6046737.
Greenlaw, William Prescott. The Greenlaw Index of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Two Volumes. Boston, Massachusetts: G. K. Hall, 1979. FHL 974 D22g vols. 1-2. This is an index to many local histories and genealogies published between 1900 and about 1940.
New England Historic Genealogical Society. English Origins of New England Families: from the New England Historical and Genealogical Register. First Series, Three Volumes, 1984. Second Series, Three Volumes, 1985. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing. Series FHL fiche 6047919, First Series and FHL fiche 6047922, Second Series. Multi-generation genealogies several pages long.
Pope, Charles Henry. The Pioneers of Massachusetts. 1900. Reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1965. FHL film 924405 and FHL fiche 6046669. This includes genealogical information found in various local records for 1620–1650.
Rider, Fremont, ed. American Genealogical- Biographical Index. Volumes 1-186+. Middletown, Connecticut: Godfrey Memorial Library, 1952-. FHL book 973 D22am ser. 2; on 31 FHL films. This is a continuing series. An earlier version of 48 volumes was published as The American Genealogical Index, 1942-1951. Over 4 million brief citations (name, date, and source) to manuscripts, periodicals, books, and the Boston Transcript. The earlier version indexed 350 sources. The second version includes the original 350 sources and an additional 800 sources.
To help understand the source citations and to locate the original sources, use the colored pages in some volumes of:
Clark, Patricia L. and Dorothy Huntsman, eds. Key Title Index to the American Genealogical-Biographical Index. Salt Lake City,Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1990. FHL film 1698167 item 4 and FHL fiche 6088377. Lists sources that are at the Family History Library and their call numbers.
Savage, James. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England. Four Volumes. 1860-62. Reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1965. films 496426-28. Alphabetical list showing three generations of immigrants who arrived in America before 1692. Brief sketches and genealogies of the families, with dates.
New England Historic Genealogical Society. This society has several important manuscript collections. The society's card catalog is on microfilm at the Family History Library:
New England Genealogical Society (Boston, Massachusetts). Genealogical Card Catalog, A-Z. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1970. (On 19 Family History Library films.)
One of the Society's manuscript collections is:
Corbin, Walter E. Corbin Manuscript Collection in New England Historic Genealogical Society. [S.l.: s.n.], 1982. FHL films 928633–92.) This collection covers central and western Massachusetts and includes local histories, church records, town records, genealogies, and Bible and cemetery transcripts. It is helpful for the years 1650–1850.
Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Collections
Daughters of the American Revolution (Massachusetts). Genealogical Collection. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1971. FHL film 859313 (first of 39 films) This important collection includes transcripts of many Bible, cemetery, church, obituary, and other records of individuals born about 1700–1900.
Massachusetts Historical Society Collections. Manuscript collections at this society are described in:
Catalog of Manuscripts of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Seven Volumes. Boston, Massachusetts: G.K. Hall and Co., 1969. FHL book Q 974.4 A3m
Massachusetts Archives Collection
Massachusetts. State Archives. Card Index to the Massachusetts Archives. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1972–1973. FHL film 543878 (first of 57 films. These 328 volumes contain copies of historical documents from 1629 to 1799. They are at the Massachusetts State Archives. The index is listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under MASSACHUSETTS - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES - INDEXES.
Family History Library
This index is especially useful for New England research:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Genealogical Department, Library Division. Old Surname Index File. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1976. FHL films 1058446–85 and 1058322–3 This is a surname index of some manuscripts, periodicals, books, and films collected by the Family History Library before 1964.
Writing and Sharing Your Family History
Sharing your own family history is valuable for several reasons:
- It helps you see gaps in your own research and raises opportunities to find new information.
- It helps other researchers progress in researching ancestors you share in common.
- It draws other researchers to you who already have information about your family that you do not yet possess.
- It draws together researchers with common interests, sparking collaboration opportunities. For instance, researchers in various localities might choose to do lookups for each other in remote repositories. Your readers may also share photos of your ancestors that you have never seen before.
- See also:
Many records of Mayflower and Plymouth Colony families are at the Family History Library and other libraries. The Family History Library has obtained many published and microfilmed records from the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. The society is currently involved in a project to identify five generations of descendants of the Mayflower passengers. Twelve volumes, representing 17 Mayflower passengers, have been published to date FHL book 974.4 D2mf and volumes 1–3 are on FHL fiche 6049584–6 Also being prepared is Mayflower Families in Progress, representing four generations of 11 names. See this title in the Author/Title Search of the Family History Library Catalog.
Some Mayflower genealogies are in:
Genealogies of Mayflower Families: From the New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Three Volumes. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1985. (Family History Library.)
The largest documented source on Mayflower genealogy by a leading Mayflower authority is:
Bowman, George Ernest. Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants: The Bowman Files. Boston, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1983. FHL fiche 6331448–71. Includes 232 microfiche cards grouped by family name, showing the descendants of the passengers.
Two helpful periodicals are:
- The Mayflower Descendant
- The Mayflower Quarterly
Genealogy and History Websites
- Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants
- National Society of Daughters of American Revolution
- National Society of Sons of American Revolution
- The Massachusetts GenWeb Project, an affiliate of The USGenWeb Project
- Massachusetts Genealogy at Access Genealogy
- Massachusetts History and Genealogy
- Massachusetts Genealogy at Kindred Trails
- Massachusetts Genealogy
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