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A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, vol. 7.jpg

Contents



Researchers searching for pre-1850 Bostonians should not overlook the published Boston Record Commissioners Reports. These reports include word for word transcriptions of Boston's earliest town and vital record books. Best of all, the Commissioners Reports can be accessed for free on the Internet.

History

In 1875 the City of Boston appointed Record Commissioners to “directly assist in perfecting the record of the vital statistics of Boston.” Their duty was “to complete, so far as practicable, the record of births, marriages and deaths, in the town and city of Boston, prior to A.D. 1849, and to receive and collect all documents obtainable therefor [sic].”[1] As a result of the hard work and dedication of the Record Commissioners, 39 volumes of records relating to the town and city of Boston were published between 1876 and 1909. Four of the volumes (vols. 9, 24, 28 and 30) pertain to vital records. The remaining 35 volumes are comprised of an assortment of record which includes town records, selectmen’s records, tax lists, censuses, directories, notarial records, warnings out, and miscellaneous papers. Also included are town records for Charlestown, Dorchester, and Roxbury.

Boston Record Commissioner Series (Vols. 1-39)

All 39 volumes of the record commissioners’ series can be accessed for free online in various digital formats. They are available at FamilySearch, Google Books, Heritage Quest Online ($), and Internet Archive. Below is a description of each record volume and links to at least one online digital version of the book.

  • Volume 1. First Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1876.  (FHL film 1698044 item 7). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 2. Second Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston; Containing the Boston Records, 1634-1660, and the Book of Possessions. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1877.  (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 2). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 3. Third Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing Charlestown Land Records, 1638-1802. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1878. (FHL fiche 6206760). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 4. Fourth Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, 1880, Dorchester Town Records. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, 1883. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 4). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 5. Fifth Report of the Record Commissioners, 1880. 2nd Ed. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1884. Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 6. A Report of the Record Commissioners, containing the Roxbury Land and Church Records. 2nd Ed. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1884. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 6). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 7. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing the Boston Records from 1660 to 1701. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1881. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 7). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 8. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing the Boston Records from 1700 to 1728. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1883. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 8). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 9. A Report of the Record Commissioners, containing Boston Births, Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths, 1630-1699. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1882. (FHL film 982237 item 1). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 10. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing Miscellaneous Papers. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1886. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 10). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 11. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing the Records of Boston Selectmen, 1701 to 1715. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1884. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 11). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 12. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing the Boston Records from 1729 to 1742. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1885. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 12). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 13. A Report of the Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing the Records of Boston Selectmen, 1716 to 1736. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1885. (FHL film 897129 item 2). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 14. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing the Boston Town Records, 1742 to 1757. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1885. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 14). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 15. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing the Boston Town Records, 1742 to 1757. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1885. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 15). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 16. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing the Records of Boston Selectmen, 1736 to 1742. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1886. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 16). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 17. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing the Boston Town Records, 1758 to 1769. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1886. (FHL film 897129 item 3). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 18. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing the Boston Town Records, 1770 through 1777. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1887. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 18). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 19. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing the Selectmen Minutes from 1754 through 1763. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1887. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 19). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 20. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing the Selectmen’s Minutes from 1764 through 1768. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1889. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 20). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 21. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing Dorchester Births, Marriages, and Deaths to the end of 1825. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1891. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 21). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 22. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing The Statistics of the United States Direct Tax of 1798, as assessed on Boston; and The Names of the Inhabitants of Boston in 1790, as Collected for the First National Census. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1899. (FHL film 897134 item 2). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 23. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing the Selectmen Minutes from 1769 through 1775. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1893. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 23). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 24. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing Boston Births from A.D. 1700 to A.D. 1800. Boston: Rockwell & Churchill, City Printers, 1894. (FHL film 14734). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 25. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing the Selectmen Minutes from 1776 through 1786. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1894. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 25). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 26. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing the Boston Town Records, 1778 to 1783. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1895. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 26). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 27. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing the Selectmen’s Minutes from 1787 through 1798. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1896. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 27). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 28. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing the Boston Marriages from 1700 to 1751. Boston: Municipal Printing Office, 1898. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 28). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 29. A Volume of Records Relating to the Early History of Boston, containing Miscellaneous Papers. Boston: Municipal Printing Office, 1900. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 29). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 30. A Volume of Records Relating to the Early History of Boston, containing Boston Marriages from 1752 to 1809. Boston: Municipal Printing Office, 1903. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 30). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 31. A Volume of Records Relating to the Early History of Boston, containing Boston Town Records, 1784 to 1796. Boston: Municipal Printing Office, 1903. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 31). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 32. A Volume Relating to the Early History of Boston, containing the Aspinwall Notarial Records from 1644 to 1651. Boston: Municipal Printing Office, 1903. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 32). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 33. A Volume of Records Relating to the Early History of Boston, containing Minutes of Selectmen’s Meetings, 1799 to, and including 1810. Boston: Municipal Printing Office, 1904. (FHL film 897133 item 2). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 34. Drake, Francis S. The Town of Roxbury, Its Memorable Persons and Places, Its History and Antiquities, with Numerous Illustrations of its Old Landmarks and Noted Personages. Boston: Municipal Printing Office, 1905. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 34). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 35. A Volume of Records Relating to the Early History of Boston, containing Boston Town Records, 1796 to 1813. Boston: Municipal Printing Office, 1905. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 35). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 36. Vital Records of the Town of Dorchester from 1826 to 1849. Boston: Municipal Printing Office, 1905. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 36). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 37. A Volume of Records Relating to the Early History of Boston, containing Boston Town Records, 1814 to 1822. Boston: Municipal Printing Office, 1906. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 37). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 38. A Volume of Records Relating to the Early History of Boston, containing Minutes of the Selectmen’s Meetings, 1811 to 1817, and Part of 1818. Boston: Municipal Printing Office, 1908. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 38). Digital version at Internet Archive

  • Volume 39. A Volume of Records Relating to the Early History of Boston, containing Minutes of the Selectmen’s Meetings from September 1, 1818 to April 24, 1822. Boston: City of Boston Printing Department, 1909. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 39). Digital version at Internet Archive

Learn More

Published Materials

  • Lainhart, Ann S. “Boston Record Commissioners Reports.” The Essex Genealogist 19 (August 1999): 131-134.
Note: Contains random examples of the type of content that can be found in the record series along with a case study focusing on the Gillam family in the 17th century. Also contains a list of titles and content of all 39 volumes.

  • Mason, Robin C. "Early Boston Record Books (also known as the Boston Record Commissioners Books) Online." Examiner.com, 13 November 2009. Online archives. examiner.com 2012.
Article contains a brief description of each of the 39 volumes as well as links to a digital version of each book.

  • Quigg, Marjorie Marsh. “Reports of the Record Commissioners of Boston.” The Maine Seine 10 (August 1988): 71-72.
Note: The author of this article provides a description of the contents found in each of the 39 volumes.

Websites


  1. First Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston (Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1876), 1.

 

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