Franklin County, Massachusetts

From FamilySearch Wiki

(Difference between revisions)
(removed US map)
(Added first third of content from the Mass Wiki Team)
Line 1: Line 1:
''[[United States|United States]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Massachusetts]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]]'' '''Franklin County'''  
+
''[[United States|United States]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Massachusetts Genealogy guide|Massachusetts]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]]'' '''Franklin County'''  
  
<br>  
+
This is a historical and genealogical guide to the county of Franklin. You will find help with town histories, vital records, deeds and land records, city directories, cemetery records and cemeteries, churches, town records, newspapers, maps, and libraries.<br>  
  
{{Infobox U.S. County
+
== Franklin County Massachusetts History  ==
| county = Franklin County  
+
| county_map = Ma-franklin.png
+
| state = Massachusetts
+
| latd =  
+
| longd =  
+
| founded year = 1811
+
| founded date = June 24
+
| seat = Greenfield
+
| building image =
+
| building address = Franklin County Courthouse<br>425 Main Street<br>Greenfield, MA 01301-3313<br>Phone: 413.774.7011 <br>[http://www.frcog.org/ '''Franklin County Website'''] }}
+
  
=== [http://lwvma.org/govcounty.shtml County Courthouse] ===
+
=== Brief History ===
  
The legislature approved special charters to allow Franklin and Hampshire counties to become regional councils of government.  
+
Franklin County was long settled by the time it was set off as its own county in 1811. Early settlers made their way into the region first along the Connecticut River. It was a crossroads for migrations from eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, and the gateway to Vermont and New Hampshire's river valley settlements. The county has always been sparsely settled. Franklin's county government was abolished on 1 July 1997, but its former jurisdiction is used for state offices as a district.<ref>[http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/cisctlist/ctlistcounin.htm Abolished County Governments - Secretary of State], Acts of 1996, Ch. 151, Sect. 567.</ref><br>
  
<br>
+
=== Historical Data  ===
  
Clerk Courts has divorce and court records from 1811; Registerof Probate has probate records; Register of Deeds has land records.<ref name="HBG">''Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America'', 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 329. {{WorldCat|50140092|disp=At various libraries (WorldCat)}}; {{FHL|1049485|item|disp=FHL Book 973 D27e 2002}}.</ref>  
+
The basic data are from the historical county boundary series<ref>[http://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp/documents/MA_Individual_County_Chronologies.htm#FRANKLIN Massachusetts Atlas of Historical County Boundaries]</ref> with additions from various sources.
  
=== History  ===
+
{| cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1"
 
+
Towns Organized Before 1800:<ref name="HBG" />
+
 
+
{| width="80%" class="FCK__ShowTableBorders"
+
 
|-
 
|-
| valign="top" |
+
! width="100" scope="col" | Dates
*Ashfield 1765
+
! width="500" scope="col" | Events
*Bernardston 1762
+
*Buckland 1779
+
*Charlemont 1765
+
*Colrain 1761
+
*Conway 1767
+
*Deerfield 1677
+
*Gil 1793
+
*Greenfield 1753&nbsp;
+
 
+
| valign="top" |  
+
*Hawley 1792
+
*Heath 1785
+
*Leverett 1774
+
*Leyden 1784
+
*Montague 1754
+
*New Salem 1753
+
*Northfield 1714
+
*Orange 1783&nbsp;
+
 
+
| valign="top" |
+
*Rowe 1785
+
*Shelburne 1768
+
*Shuetesbury 1761
+
*Sunderland 1714
+
*Warwick 1763
+
*Wendell 1781
+
*Whately 1771
+
*Williamsburg 1771
+
 
+
|}
+
 
+
==== Parent County  ====
+
 
+
*Created 24 June 1811 from [[Hampshire County, Massachusetts|Hampshire]] County.<ref name="HBG" />
+
<div style="float: left; width: 147%">
+
==== Boundary Changes  ====
+
 
+
==== Record Loss  ====
+
 
+
=== Places / Localities  ===
+
 
+
==== Populated Places  ====
+
 
+
{{MAFraTowns}}'''City:''' &nbsp; • [[Greenfield, Massachusetts|Greenfield]]
+
 
+
'''Towns'''
+
 
+
{| width="51%" class="FCK__ShowTableBorders"
+
 
|-
 
|-
| valign="top" |  
+
| 2 Dec. 1811
*[[Ashfield, Massachusetts|Ashfield]]  
+
| Franklin County set off from the northern third of [[Hampshire County, Massachusetts|Hampshire County]]. [Mass. Acts, 1811, Ch. 61, p. 467]
*[[Bernardston, Massachusetts|Bernardston]]  
+
|-
*[[Buckland, Massachusetts|Buckland]]
+
| 7 Feb. 1816
*[[Charlemont, Massachusetts|Charlemont]]
+
| Small loss when part of Orange annexed to Athol, Worcester Co. [Mass. Acts, 1816, Ch. 62, p. 71]
*[[Colrain, Massachusetts|Colrain]]  
+
|-
*[[Conway, Massachusetts|Conway]]
+
| 28 Jan 1822
*[[Deerfield, Massachusetts|Deerfield]]
+
| Loss when part of New Salem was combined with Pelham, Hampshire Co., to create the new town of Prescott, Hampshire Co. [''now extinct'']. [Mass. Acts, 1822, Ch. 34, Sec. 1, p. 614]
*[[Erving, Massachusetts|Erving]]  
+
|-
*[[Gill, Massachusetts|Gill]]
+
| 21 Feb. 1822
 
+
| Gained when part of Rowe was combined with the Gore in Berkshire Co. to create the new town of Monroe in Franklin Co. [Mass. Acts, 1822, Ch. 93, Sec. 1, p. 707]
| valign="top" |
+
|-
*[[Hawley, Massachusetts|Hawley]]  
+
| 5 Feb. 1830<br>16 Mar. 1837
*[[Heath, Massachusetts|Heath]]
+
| Small loss when part of New Salem annexed to Athol, Worcester Co. [Mass. Acts, 1830, ch. 33, p. 300 and 1837, Ch. 80, Sec. 1, p. 70]
*[[Leverett, Massachusetts|Leverett]]
+
|-
*[[Leyden, Massachusetts|Leyden]]  
+
| 2 Apr. 1838
*[[Monroe, Massachusetts|Monroe]]
+
| Gain when part of the territory known as Zoar in Berkshire Co. was annexed to Charlemont and Rowe [Mass. Acts 1838, Ch. 56, Sec. 1, p. 344 and Ch. 57, Sec. 1, p. 345]
*[[Montague, Massachusetts|Montague]]
+
|-
*[[New Salem, Massachusetts|New Salem]]  
+
| 2 Feb. 1849
*[[Northfield, Massachusetts|Northfield]]
+
| Border between Whately and Williamsburg, Hampshire Co., clarified - no change. [Mass. Acts, 1849, Ch. 3, p. 198]
 
+
|-
| valign="top" |
+
| 27 Apr. 1911
*[[Orange, Massachusetts|Orange]]  
+
| Border between New Salem and Prescott, Worcester Co. [''now extinct''], redefined - no change. [Mass. Acts, 1911, Ch. 340, Sec. 1, p. 310]
*[[Rowe, Massachusetts|Rowe]]
+
|-
*[[Shelburne, Massachusetts|Shelburne]]
+
| 28 Apr. 1938
*[[Shutesbury, Massachusetts|Shutesbury]]  
+
| Large gain when Quabbin Reservoir created and "drowned" four towns. New Salem annexed parts of Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott, all in Hampshire Co. [Mass. Acts, 1827, Ch. 321, Sec. 1, p. 384; 1938, ch. 240, Sec. 1, p. 188]
*[[Sunderland, Massachusetts|Sunderland]]
+
*[[Warwick, Massachusetts|Warwick]]
+
*[[Wendell, Massachusetts|Wendell]]
+
*[[Whately, Massachusetts|Whately]]
+
 
+
 
|}
 
|}
 +
<div style="width: 147%"><center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center><br>
 +
=== Towns and Cities  ===
  
==== Neighboring Counties ====
+
[[Image:Ma-franklin.png|right|400px|Ma-franklin.png]]The following list of present-day Franklin County towns and cities links them to their individual pages. There you will find a list of other names used for the town or city and of villages and sections of the town or city.<br>
 +
<center>[[Ashfield, Massachusetts|Ashfield (1765)]] | [[Bernardston, Massachusetts|Bernardston (1762)]] | [[Buckland, Massachusetts|Buckland (1779)]]<br>[[Charlemont, Massachusetts|Charlemont (1765)]] | [[Colrain, Massachusetts|Colrain (1761)]] | [[Conway, Massachusetts|Conway (1775)]]<br>[[Deerfield, Massachusetts|Deerfield (1677)]] | [[Erving, Massachusetts|Erving (1838)]] | [[Gill, Massachusetts|Gill (1793)]]<br>[[Greenfield, Massachusetts|Greenfield (1775)]] | [[Hawley, Massachusetts|Hawley (1792)]] | [[Heath, Massachusetts|Heath (1785)]]<br>[[Leverett, Massachusetts|Leverett (1774)]] | [[Leydon, Massachusetts|Leydon (1809)]] | [[Monroe, Massachusetts|Monroe (1822)]]<br>[[Montague, Massachusetts|Montague (1775)]] | [[New Salem, Massachusetts|New Salem (1775)]] | [[Northfield, Massachusetts|Northfield (1723)]]<br>[[Orange, Massachusetts|Orange (1810)]] | [[Rowe, Massachusetts|Rowe (1785)]] | [[Shelburne, Massachusetts|Shelburne (1775)]]<br>[[Shutesbury, Massachusetts|Shutesbury (1761)]] | [[Sunderland, Massachusetts|Sunderland (1714)]] | [[Warwick, Massachusetts|Warwick (1763)]]<br>[[Wendell, Massachusetts|Wendell (1781)]] | [[Whately, Massachusetts|Whately (1771)]]</center> <center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>
 +
=== County Histories ===
  
[[Berkshire County, Massachusetts|Berkshire]] | [[Hampshire County, Massachusetts|Hampshire]] | [[Worcester County, Massachusetts|Worcester]] | [[Windham County, Vermont|Windham]] County, Vermont | [[Cheshire County, New Hampshire|Cheshire]] County, New Hampshire
+
{{MAFraTowns}}Works written on the county include:<br>
  
=== Resources  ===
+
IN PROGRESS
  
==== Cemeteries ====
+
*[http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mafrankl/ The Franklin County MA GenWeb Project], an member of [[MAGenWeb|The MAGenWeb Project]], an affiliate of [[USGenWeb|The USGenWeb Project]].<br>
 +
*[http://usgwarchives.net/ma/mafiles.htm#Franklin The USGenWeb Archives Project] for Franklin County.<br>
 +
*{{FHL|Massachusetts%2C+Franklin|subject|disp=FamilySearch.org}} Family History Library catalog for Franklin County.<br>
 +
*[http://www.massachusetts-genealogy.com/Franklin-County-Genealogy.cfm Massachusetts Genealogy] Franklin County Genealogy.<br>
 +
*[http://www.kindredtrails.com/MA_Franklin.html Kindred Trails] Franklin County Massachusetts Genealogy.<br>
 +
*[http://www.cyndislist.com/us/ma/counties/franklin/ Cyndi's List] for Franklin County.<br>
 +
*[http://home.att.net/~Local_History/MA-Franklin-Co.htm Local History and Genealogy Index] Franklin County, Massachusetts.<br>
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>
 +
== Franklin County Massachusetts Genealogy Resources ==
  
[[LDS Cemetery Records|LDS Cemetery Records]]
+
=== Vital Records ===
 
+
*US Vol. 24
+
**page 87 - Atwood Family cemetery
+
 
+
==== Census ====
+
 
+
{{Census|Massachusetts}}
+
 
+
===== State Census  =====
+
 
+
'''''1855 Massachusetts State Census—'''''A free searchable index and images to the 1855 Massachusetts State Census can be viewed on the [https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/show#uri=http://www.familysearch.org/searchapi/search/collection/1459985 FamilySearch Record Search]. This index includes every name listed on the census and is linked to an image including information about each person’s residence and age in 1855, birthplace, occupation, other family members, and neighbors.
+
 
+
'''''1865 Massachusetts State Census'''''—A free searchable index and images to the 1865 Massachusetts State Census can be viewed on the [https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/show#uri=http://www.familysearch.org/searchapi/search/collection/1410399 FamilySearch Record Search] This index includes every name listed on the census and is linked to an image including information about each person’s residence and age in 1865, birthplace, occupation, other family members, and neighbors.
+
 
+
==== Church  ====
+
 
+
==== Court  ====
+
 
+
{| style="float: right;" border="0"
+
|-
+
| {{Adoption RootsWorks Research}}
+
|-
+
| align="center" | {{Wikipedia|Franklin County, Massachusetts}}
+
|}
+
  
==== Gazetteers  ====
+
In Massachusetts, the original vital records (of births, marriages, and deaths) have been created and maintained by the town or city in which the event occurred. In very early colonial times, copies of these records were submitted to the county, but that practice died out long before this county was established. There were marriage intentions commonly recorded in the bride's home town and additional recordings maybe found in the groom's home town and their current residence.<br>
  
==== Land  ====
+
Massachusetts was the first state to bring a unified state-level recording of these events (but not marriage intentions) in 1841 (Boston excluded until 1850). The associated records of divorce and adoption are handled by the courts. The state has maintained a state-wide index to divorces since 1952, but adoption records will require more researching to discover.<br>
  
==== Local Histories ====
+
It is easiest to start with the state vital records for events since 1841, though realize the original record is with the town or city. More details can be found on the [[Massachusetts Genealogy Guide#Vital_Records|Massachusetts Genealogy Guide]] page.<br>
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>
 +
=== Land Records  ===
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>
 +
=== Probate Records ===
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>
 +
=== Other Court Records  ===
  
==== Maps ====
+
The court system can appear to be complex. The system was reorganized in 1686/1692, 1859, and 1978. Described below are the most commonly used records for history and genealogy, but realize that this list is incomplete. For more detailed information regarding court structure, see [[Massachusetts Genealogy Guide#Court_System|Understanding the Massachusetts Court System]].<br><br>Older records are held by:<br>[http://www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arccol/colidx.htm#court '''Supreme Judicial Court Archives''']<br>(administration - records stored in several off-site facilities and the Mass. Archives)<br>16th Floor, Highrise Court House<br>3 Pemberton Square<br>Boston MA 02109<br>Phone 617-557-1082<br>Email [mailto:Elizabeth.Bouvier@sjc.state.ma.us Elizabeth.Bouvier@sjc.state.ma.us]
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
==== Quarterly Court of General Sessions of the Peace ====
  
*[http://www.old-maps.com/ma/ma-fk-1858.htm 1858 map of Franklin County]
+
This court was active from 1812 to 1827. The court heard criminal cases and had authority over county affairs that included levying taxes, reviewing town bylaws, highways, licensed liquor, regulated jails, supervised the administration of the poor laws, and appointed some county officials.<br>
*[http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~26366~1100040:Franklin-County---H-F--Walling-&-O-?qvq=q:franklin+county+massachusetts;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=0&trs=7 1871 map of Franklin County]
+
*[http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~26513~1100446:Massachusetts--Greenfield-sheet--Pr?qvq=q:franklin+county+massachusetts;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=2&trs=7 1890 map of Greenfield area]
+
*[http://www.livgenmi.com/1895/MA/County/franklin.htm 1895 map of Franklin County]
+
  
==== Military  ====
+
The records microfilmed:<br>
  
==== Newspapers ====
+
*
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
==== Inferior Court of Common Pleas ====
  
[http://www.newspaperarchive.com/ Newspaperarchive.com] ($) has historical newspapers available on-line. Their database has [http://www.newspaperarchive.com/BrowseLocations.aspx?cntry=7&st=50&ci=20562 North Adams, MA newspapers] (1895-1977), [http://www.newspaperarchive.com/BrowseLocations.aspx?cntry=7&st=50&ci=23022 Pittsfield, MA newspapers] (1858-1977), and [http://www.newspaperarchive.com/BrowseLocations.aspx?cntry=7&st=50&ci=9894 Fitchburg. MA newspapers] (1868-1977) covering local news that included Franklin County residents.<br>  
+
This court was active from 1812 to 1859. The court heard all civil cases over 40s unless a case involved freehold or was appealed from a justice of the peace.<br>  
  
==== Probate  ====
+
The records microfilmed:<br>
  
==== Taxation ====
+
*
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
==== Superior Court ====
  
==== Vital Records  ====
+
The Quarterly Court of General Sessions was merged into the Inferior Court of Common Pleas in 1827, and that court was reorganized in 1859 to created the Superior Court as the new lower (i.e. trial) court. It covers both criminal and civil matters.<br>
  
=== Societies and Libraries ===
+
*
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
==== Supreme Judicial Court ====
  
==== Family History Centers  ====
+
The Supreme Judicial Court was established by the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 that combined the former Governor and Council with the Superior Court of Judicature creating the highest state court. This court hears appeals, writ of error, capital offenses, and crimes against the public good. That included divorces until that action was moved to the lower court in 1887.<br>
  
*[[Introduction to LDS Family History Centers]]
+
*
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
==== Naturalization Records  ====
  
=== Web Sites ===
+
Naturalization records were created on a variety of governmental levels from the Federal down to the city at the same time. The county records for all levels are outlines below. For more information, see the [[Massachusetts Genealogy Guide#Naturalization_Records|Massachusetts state page]] for more on naturalization.<br>
 +
<center>'''Federal Naturalization Records for Franklin County'''</center> <center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
=== Maps ===
  
*[http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mafrankl/ The Franklin County MA GenWeb Project], an member of [[MAGenWeb|The MAGenWeb Project]], an affiliate of [[USGenWeb|The USGenWeb Project]].
+
*[http://www.livgenmi.com/1895/MA/County/franklin.htm 1895 map of Franklin County].<br>
*[http://usgwarchives.net/ma/mafiles.htm#Franklin The USGenWeb Archives Project] for Franklin County
+
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>
*[http://usgwarchives.net/ma/mafiles.htm#Franklin The USGenWeb Archives Project] for Franklin County (backup site)
+
== Franklin County Massachusetts Genealogy Societies  ==
*{{FHL|Massachusetts%2C+Franklin|subject|disp=FamilySearch.org}} Family History Library catalog for Franklin County  
+
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>
*[http://www.massachusetts-genealogy.com/Franklin-County-Genealogy.cfm Massachusetts Genealogy] Franklin County Genealogy
+
== Franklin County Massachusetts Genealogy References  ==
*[http://www.kindredtrails.com/MA_Franklin.html Kindred Trails] Franklin County Massachusetts Genealogy
+
*[http://www.cyndislist.com/ma-local.htm#F Cyndi's List] Franklin County
+
*[http://home.att.net/~Local_History/MA-Franklin-Co.htm Local History and Genealogy Index] Franklin County, Massachusetts
+
  
=== References  ===
+
{{reflist}} <!--This was designed by Scott Andrew Bartley in conjunction with the Mass. Wiki Team on 5 September 2013-->
<references />{{Massachusetts|Massachusetts}} {{Massachusetts-stub}} </div>  
+
</div>  
 
[[Category:Franklin_County,_Massachusetts]]
 
[[Category:Franklin_County,_Massachusetts]]

Revision as of 17:18, 5 September 2013

United States Gotoarrow.png Massachusetts Gotoarrow.png Franklin County

This is a historical and genealogical guide to the county of Franklin. You will find help with town histories, vital records, deeds and land records, city directories, cemetery records and cemeteries, churches, town records, newspapers, maps, and libraries.

Contents

Franklin County Massachusetts History

Brief History

Franklin County was long settled by the time it was set off as its own county in 1811. Early settlers made their way into the region first along the Connecticut River. It was a crossroads for migrations from eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, and the gateway to Vermont and New Hampshire's river valley settlements. The county has always been sparsely settled. Franklin's county government was abolished on 1 July 1997, but its former jurisdiction is used for state offices as a district.[1]

Historical Data

The basic data are from the historical county boundary series[2] with additions from various sources.

Dates Events
2 Dec. 1811 Franklin County set off from the northern third of Hampshire County. [Mass. Acts, 1811, Ch. 61, p. 467]
7 Feb. 1816 Small loss when part of Orange annexed to Athol, Worcester Co. [Mass. Acts, 1816, Ch. 62, p. 71]
28 Jan 1822 Loss when part of New Salem was combined with Pelham, Hampshire Co., to create the new town of Prescott, Hampshire Co. [now extinct]. [Mass. Acts, 1822, Ch. 34, Sec. 1, p. 614]
21 Feb. 1822 Gained when part of Rowe was combined with the Gore in Berkshire Co. to create the new town of Monroe in Franklin Co. [Mass. Acts, 1822, Ch. 93, Sec. 1, p. 707]
5 Feb. 1830
16 Mar. 1837
Small loss when part of New Salem annexed to Athol, Worcester Co. [Mass. Acts, 1830, ch. 33, p. 300 and 1837, Ch. 80, Sec. 1, p. 70]
2 Apr. 1838 Gain when part of the territory known as Zoar in Berkshire Co. was annexed to Charlemont and Rowe [Mass. Acts 1838, Ch. 56, Sec. 1, p. 344 and Ch. 57, Sec. 1, p. 345]
2 Feb. 1849 Border between Whately and Williamsburg, Hampshire Co., clarified - no change. [Mass. Acts, 1849, Ch. 3, p. 198]
27 Apr. 1911 Border between New Salem and Prescott, Worcester Co. [now extinct], redefined - no change. [Mass. Acts, 1911, Ch. 340, Sec. 1, p. 310]
28 Apr. 1938 Large gain when Quabbin Reservoir created and "drowned" four towns. New Salem annexed parts of Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott, all in Hampshire Co. [Mass. Acts, 1827, Ch. 321, Sec. 1, p. 384; 1938, ch. 240, Sec. 1, p. 188]
Top of Page

Towns and Cities

Ma-franklin.png
The following list of present-day Franklin County towns and cities links them to their individual pages. There you will find a list of other names used for the town or city and of villages and sections of the town or city.
Ashfield (1765) | Bernardston (1762) | Buckland (1779)
Charlemont (1765) | Colrain (1761) | Conway (1775)
Deerfield (1677) | Erving (1838) | Gill (1793)
Greenfield (1775) | Hawley (1792) | Heath (1785)
Leverett (1774) | Leydon (1809) | Monroe (1822)
Montague (1775) | New Salem (1775) | Northfield (1723)
Orange (1810) | Rowe (1785) | Shelburne (1775)
Shutesbury (1761) | Sunderland (1714) | Warwick (1763)
Wendell (1781) | Whately (1771)
Top of Page

County Histories

MassachusettsNew HampshireVermontFranklin CountyHampshire CountyWorcester CountyBerkshire CountyBennington CountyWindham CountyCheshire CountyMonroeRoweHeathColrainLeydenBernardstonNorthfieldWarwickOrangeNew SalemShutesburyLeverettSunderlandWhatelyConwayAshfieldHawleyCharlemontBucklandShelburneGreenfieldGillErvingWendellMontagueDeerfieldStamfordReadsboroWhitinghamHalifaxGuilfordVernonHinsdaleWinchesterRichmondTroyFitzwilliamRoyalstonAtholPetershamHardwickWareBelchertownPelhamAmherstGranbySouth HadleyHadleyHatfieldWilliamsburgGoshenChesterfieldWorthingtonMiddlefieldPeruCummingtonPlainfieldWindsorSavoyFloridaChesterHuntingtonWesthamptonNorthampton
Modern town and city borders in Franklin County, Massachusetts.

Works written on the county include:

IN PROGRESS

Top of Page

Franklin County Massachusetts Genealogy Resources

Vital Records

In Massachusetts, the original vital records (of births, marriages, and deaths) have been created and maintained by the town or city in which the event occurred. In very early colonial times, copies of these records were submitted to the county, but that practice died out long before this county was established. There were marriage intentions commonly recorded in the bride's home town and additional recordings maybe found in the groom's home town and their current residence.

Massachusetts was the first state to bring a unified state-level recording of these events (but not marriage intentions) in 1841 (Boston excluded until 1850). The associated records of divorce and adoption are handled by the courts. The state has maintained a state-wide index to divorces since 1952, but adoption records will require more researching to discover.

It is easiest to start with the state vital records for events since 1841, though realize the original record is with the town or city. More details can be found on the Massachusetts Genealogy Guide page.

Top of Page

Land Records

Top of Page

Probate Records

Top of Page

Other Court Records

The court system can appear to be complex. The system was reorganized in 1686/1692, 1859, and 1978. Described below are the most commonly used records for history and genealogy, but realize that this list is incomplete. For more detailed information regarding court structure, see Understanding the Massachusetts Court System.

Older records are held by:
Supreme Judicial Court Archives
(administration - records stored in several off-site facilities and the Mass. Archives)
16th Floor, Highrise Court House
3 Pemberton Square
Boston MA 02109
Phone 617-557-1082
Email Elizabeth.Bouvier@sjc.state.ma.us

Top of Page | Top of Court

Quarterly Court of General Sessions of the Peace

This court was active from 1812 to 1827. The court heard criminal cases and had authority over county affairs that included levying taxes, reviewing town bylaws, highways, licensed liquor, regulated jails, supervised the administration of the poor laws, and appointed some county officials.

The records microfilmed:

Top of Page | Top of Court

Inferior Court of Common Pleas

This court was active from 1812 to 1859. The court heard all civil cases over 40s unless a case involved freehold or was appealed from a justice of the peace.

The records microfilmed:

Top of Page | Top of Court

Superior Court

The Quarterly Court of General Sessions was merged into the Inferior Court of Common Pleas in 1827, and that court was reorganized in 1859 to created the Superior Court as the new lower (i.e. trial) court. It covers both criminal and civil matters.

Top of Page | Top of Court

Supreme Judicial Court

The Supreme Judicial Court was established by the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 that combined the former Governor and Council with the Superior Court of Judicature creating the highest state court. This court hears appeals, writ of error, capital offenses, and crimes against the public good. That included divorces until that action was moved to the lower court in 1887.

Top of Page | Top of Court

Naturalization Records

Naturalization records were created on a variety of governmental levels from the Federal down to the city at the same time. The county records for all levels are outlines below. For more information, see the Massachusetts state page for more on naturalization.

Federal Naturalization Records for Franklin County
Top of Page | Top of Court

Maps

Top of Page

Franklin County Massachusetts Genealogy Societies

Top of Page

Franklin County Massachusetts Genealogy References