Hampshire County, Massachusetts

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=== Towns and Cities  ===
 
=== Towns and Cities  ===
  
[[Image:Ma-hampshire.png|right|400px|Ma-hampshire.png]]The following list of present-day Middlesex 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.  
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[[Image:Ma-hampshire.png|right|400px|Ma-hampshire.png]]The following list of present-day Middlesex 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><br>
 
<center>[[Amherst, Massachusetts|Amherst (1775)]] | [[Belchertown, Massachusetts|Belchertown (1761)]] | [[Chesterfield, Massachusetts|Chesterfield (1762)]]<br>[[Cummington, Massachusetts|Cummington (1799)]] | [[Easthampton, Massachusetts|Easthampton (1809)]] | [[Goshen, Massachusetts|Goshen (1781)]]<br>[[Granby, Massachusetts|Granby (1768)]] | [[Hadley, Massachusetts|Hadley (1661)]] | [[Hatfield, Massachusetts|Hatfield (1670)]]<br>[[Huntington, Massachusetts|Huntington (1775)]] | [[Middlefield, Massachusetts|Middlefield (1783)]] | [[Northampton, Massachusetts|Northampton (1656)]]<br>[[Pelham, Massachusetts|Pelham (1743)]] | [[Plainfield, Massachusetts|Plainfield (1807)]] | [[South Hadley, Massachusetts|South Hadley (1775)]]<br>[[Southampton, Massachusetts|Southampton (1775)]] | [[Ware, Massachusetts|Ware (1775)]] | [[Westhampton, Massachusetts|Westhampton (1778)]]<br>[[Williamsburg, Massachusetts|Williamsburg (1775)]] | [[Worthington, Massachusetts|Worthington (1768)]]</center><br>  
 
<center>[[Amherst, Massachusetts|Amherst (1775)]] | [[Belchertown, Massachusetts|Belchertown (1761)]] | [[Chesterfield, Massachusetts|Chesterfield (1762)]]<br>[[Cummington, Massachusetts|Cummington (1799)]] | [[Easthampton, Massachusetts|Easthampton (1809)]] | [[Goshen, Massachusetts|Goshen (1781)]]<br>[[Granby, Massachusetts|Granby (1768)]] | [[Hadley, Massachusetts|Hadley (1661)]] | [[Hatfield, Massachusetts|Hatfield (1670)]]<br>[[Huntington, Massachusetts|Huntington (1775)]] | [[Middlefield, Massachusetts|Middlefield (1783)]] | [[Northampton, Massachusetts|Northampton (1656)]]<br>[[Pelham, Massachusetts|Pelham (1743)]] | [[Plainfield, Massachusetts|Plainfield (1807)]] | [[South Hadley, Massachusetts|South Hadley (1775)]]<br>[[Southampton, Massachusetts|Southampton (1775)]] | [[Ware, Massachusetts|Ware (1775)]] | [[Westhampton, Massachusetts|Westhampton (1778)]]<br>[[Williamsburg, Massachusetts|Williamsburg (1775)]] | [[Worthington, Massachusetts|Worthington (1768)]]</center><br>  
'''Extinct Towns:''' [[Enfield, Massachusetts|Enfield (1816-1938)]] | [[Greenwich, Massachusetts|Greenwich]] | [[Prescott, Massachusetts|Prescott]]<br>  
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'''Extinct Towns:'''<br><br>[[Enfield, Massachusetts|Enfield (1816-1938)]] | [[Greenwich, Massachusetts|Greenwich (1754-1938)]] | [[Prescott, Massachusetts|Prescott (1822-1938)]]<br>  
 
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<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>  
 
=== County Histories  ===
 
=== County Histories  ===
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{{MAHampshireTowns}}Works written on the county include:<br>  
 
{{MAHampshireTowns}}Works written on the county include:<br>  
  
IN PROGRESS
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*''Biographical Review: this volume contains biographical sketches of the leading citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts'' (Boston, 1896), 580 pp.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/4566730 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|213635|item|disp=FHL book 974.423 D3b and film 982097 Item 3}}.<br>Digital versions at [http://archive.org/details/cu31924028817827 Internet Archive] and [http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=27014 Ancestry] ($).<br>
 
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*William Burton Gay, comp., ''Gazetteer of Hampshire County, Mass., 1654-1887'' (Syracuse, N.Y., [1886?]), 2v. in 1.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/7313921 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|378204|item|disp=FHL book 974.423 E5g and film 905541}}.<br>Digital versions at [http://archive.org/details/gazetteerofhamps00gayw Internet Archive] and [http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=16851 Ancestry] ($).<br>
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*John P. Manwell, ''A History of the Hampshire Association of Congregational Churches and Ministers'' (Amherst, Mass., [1941?]), 43 pp.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/19012339 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; Not at FHL.<br>
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*Joseph Henry Smith, ed., ''Colonial Justice in Western Massachusetts, 1639-1702; the Pynchon Court Record, an original judges' diary of the administration of justice in the Springfield courts in the Massachusetts Bay Colony'' (Cambridge, Mass, 1961), ix, 426 pp.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/345561 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|537167|item|disp=FHL book 974.4 P2c}}.<br>
 
*[http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mahampsh/ The Hampshire County MA GenWeb Project], an member of [[MAGenWeb|The MAGenWeb Project]], an affiliate of [[USGenWeb|The USGenWeb Project]].<br>  
 
*[http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mahampsh/ The Hampshire 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#Hampshire The USGenWeb Archives Project] for Hampshire County.<br>  
 
*[http://usgwarchives.net/ma/mafiles.htm#Hampshire The USGenWeb Archives Project] for Hampshire County.<br>  
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<br>  
 
<br>  
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
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<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>  
 
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==== Superior Court  ====
 
==== Superior Court  ====
  
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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>  
 
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 Hampshire County'''</center> <center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>  
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<center>'''Federal Naturalization Records for Hampshire County'''</center>
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No federal records as yet digitized at NARA.<br>
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<center>'''Hampshire County Naturalization Records'''</center>
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{| width="100%" border="1" class="wikitable"
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|-
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! width="125" scope="col" | Record
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! width="100" scope="col" | Dates
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! width="125" scope="col" | Location
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! width="175" scope="col" | Index
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! width="350" scope="col" | Microfilm/Online
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|-
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| Superior Court
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| 1849-1988
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| [[#Archives|Judicial Archives]]
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| Card index at Archives
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| Records, 1849-1934, and Index, 1836-1986, [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/522181 FHL film 1508669 (1st of 17)]; Index, 1859-[1996], [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/781623 FHL film 2057085 (1st of 5)]
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|-
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| Northampton<br>District Court
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| 1885-1906
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| [[#Archives|Judicial Archives]]
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| Card index at Archives
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| Dockets and index, 1885-1906, [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/522178 FHL film 1578002 Items 2-5]
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|-
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| Ware<br>District Court
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| 1903-1906
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| [[#Archives|Judicial Archives]]
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| Card index at Archives
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| Final docket, 1903-1906, [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/572690 FHL film 1673945]
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|}
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<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
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=== Maps  ===
 
=== Maps  ===
 
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>  
 
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>  
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{{reflist}}  
 
{{reflist}}  
<center>'''Adjacent counties:''' [[Berkshire County, Massachusetts|Berkshire]] | [[Franklin County, Massachusetts|Franklin]] | [[Hampden County, Massachusetts|Hampden]] | [[Worcester County, Massachusetts|Worcester]]</center>  
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<center>'''Adjacent counties:''' [[Berkshire County, Massachusetts|Berkshire]] | [[Franklin County, Massachusetts|Franklin]] | [[Hampden County, Massachusetts|Hampden]] | [[Worcester County, Massachusetts|Worcester]]</center> <!--This was designed by Scott Andrew Bartley in conjunction with the Mass. Wiki Team on 5 September 2013--> </div>  
<!--This was designed by Scott Andrew Bartley in conjunction with the Mass. Wiki Team on 5 September 2013-->  
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</div>  
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[[Category:Hampshire_County,_Massachusetts]]
 
[[Category:Hampshire_County,_Massachusetts]]

Revision as of 19:27, 17 September 2013

United States Gotoarrow.png Massachusetts Gotoarrow.png Hampshire County

This is a historical and genealogical guide to the county of Hampshire. 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

Hampshire County Massachusetts History

Brief History

Hampshire County covered the western half of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the seat of the first settlements in this region. Migration was up the Connecticut River and from the east. It is where all the old probate records reside, but the the early deeds will be found in Springfield, Hampden Co. The county government was abolished on 1 January 1999, 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
7 May 1662 This county was formed around the settlements of Springfield, Northampton, and Hadley. The boundary was the southern line of Massachusetts Bay Colony and thirty (30) miles from these three towns so that its effectively became the entire western half of the Colony. [Mass. Recs., 4: 2: 52]
19 May 1669 The inhabitant of Woronoake belonging to Springfield petitioned and were granted the creation of a new town called Westfield [which then included Southwick] including land below the south line of the Colony that later was the source of a border dispute. [Mass. Recs., 4: 2: 432]
3 June 1674 The granting of the six-square-mile town of Suffield (being an abbreviation for Southfield) whose northern border is the south border of Springfield. The grant read "it being the southernmost toune that either at present is or like to be in that country, & neere adjoyning to the south border of our patent in those parts." [Mass. Recs., 5: 12-13]
16 May 1683 The granting of the town of Enfield starting at the mouth of the Longmeadow Brook [about one mile north of the present state line], for six miles south along the Connecticut River eastward from this river ten miles.
10 July 1731 Worcester]. [Mass. Col. Acts, Vol. 2, Ch. 8 [1730/1], Sec. 1, p. 584]
16 Jan. 1741/2 Loss when part of Brimfield was combined with parts of Brookfield and Kingsfield to set of the new town of Western (now Warren). [Mass. Col. Acts, Vol. 2, Ch. 17 [1741/2], Sec. 2, p. 1088]
-- May 1749 Large loss when Enfield and Somers [formerly the eastern part of Enfield] petitioned Connecticut to be annexed which was granted.
12 Apr. 1753 Hampshire County boundaries redefined to include all territory west of the Connecticut River. [Mass. Col. Acts, vol. 3, Ch. 27 [1752/3], p. 656]
9 June 1756 Border adjusted between Greenwich [now extinct] and Hardwick, Worcester Co., that resulted in no discernible change. [Mass. Col. Acts, vol. 15, ch. 51 [1756/7], p. 550]
30 June 1761 Large loss as western third of the county was set off to establish Berkshire county. [Mass. Col. Acts, vol. 4, Ch. 33 [1760/1], Sec. 1, p. 432]
5 Jan. 1764 Small loss when part of Palmer annexed to Western [now Warren], Worcester Co. [Mass. Col. Acts, Vol. 17, ch. 14 [1764/5], p. 516]
5 Feb. 1765 Small gain when Greenwich [now extinct] annexed part of Hardwick, Worcester Co. [Mass. Col. Acts, Vol. 17, ch. 218 [1764/5], p. 603]
30 June 1768 Gain when the town of Worthington was created in Hampshire Co. from Plantation #3 in Berkshire Co. [Mass. Col. Acts, Vol. 4, Ch. 16 [1768], Sec. 1, p. 1028]
in 1774 Loss when Connecticut unilaterally took over the southern part of what would become Southwick in 1775 that was south of the 1713 Provincial boundary.
23 June 1779 Cummington]] was created in Hampshire Co. from Plantation #5 in Berkshire Co. [Mass. Col. Acts, Vol. 5, Ch. 6 [1779/80], Sec. 1, p. 1072-1073]
12 Mar. 1783 Gained when parts of Chester, Prescott's Grant, and Worthington along with parts of Becket, Partridgefield [now Peru], and Washington, Berkshire Co., were included in the new town of Middlefield [Mass. Acts, 1783, Ch. 19, Sec. 1, p. 228]
15 Oct. 1783 Gain when parts of Athol and Royalston in Worcester Co. were combined to create the new town of Orange. [Mass. Acts, 1783, Ch. 2, Sec. 1, p. 38]
9 Feb. 1785 Gain when Myrifield Grant and unincorporated county land both in Berkshire Co. were combined to create the new town of Rowe in Hampshire Co. [Mass. Acts, 1785, Ch. 2, Sec. 1, p. 230]
9 Mar. 1793 Gain when Hawley annexed part of Plantation #7, Berkshire Co. [Mass. Acts, 1793, Ch. 18, Sec. 1, p. 242]
15 July 1794 Small loss when part of Palmer was annexed to Western [now Warren], Worcester Co.
18 Feb. 1801 Loss when parts of Greenwich [now extinct] was combined with parts of Hardwick and Petersham in Worcester Co. to create the new town of Dana in Worcester Co. [Mass. Acts, 1801, Ch. 14, Sec. 1, p. 453]
in 1804 Gained back the "Southwick Jog" that Connecticut annexed in 1774 being the portion of the former town grant below the 1713 Provincial boundary.
2 Dec. 1811 Large loss when the northern third was set off to create Franklin County. [Mass. Acts, 1811, Ch. 61, p. 467]
1 Aug. 1812 Large loss when the northern half was set off to create Hampden County. [Mass. Acts, 1812, Ch. 137, p. 291]
28 Jan. 1822 Gained when parts of Pelham and New Salem, Franklin Co., combined to create the new town of Prescott (now extinct). [Mass. Acts, 1822, Ch. 34, Sec. 1, p. 614]
8 Feb. 1823 Small gain when Ware annexed part of Western [now Warren], Worcester Co. [Mass. Acts, 1823, Ch. 76, p. 114]
2 Feb. 1849 The border between Williamsburg and Whately, Franklin Co. clarified - no change. [Mass. Acts, 1849, Ch. 3, p. 198]
25 May 1853 Gain when Norwich [now Huntington] annexed parts of Chester and Blandford, both in Hampden Co. [Mass. Acts, 1853, Ch. 421, Sec. 1, p. 639]
9 June 1909 Loss when part of Northampton annexed by Holyoke, Hampden Co. [Mass. Acts, 1909, ch. 480, Sec. 1, p. 498]
29 Mar. 1910 Border between Ware and Palmer, Hampden Co., redefined - no change. [Mass. Acts, 1910, Ch. 471, Sec. 1, p. 422]
28 Apr. 1938 Loss when Quabbin Reservoir created and "drowned" four towns. Parts of Greenwich and Prescott annexed to Petersham, Worcester Co.
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Towns and Cities

Ma-hampshire.png
The following list of present-day Middlesex 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.

Amherst (1775) | Belchertown (1761) | Chesterfield (1762)
Cummington (1799) | Easthampton (1809) | Goshen (1781)
Granby (1768) | Hadley (1661) | Hatfield (1670)
Huntington (1775) | Middlefield (1783) | Northampton (1656)
Pelham (1743) | Plainfield (1807) | South Hadley (1775)
Southampton (1775) | Ware (1775) | Westhampton (1778)
Williamsburg (1775) | Worthington (1768)

Extinct Towns:

Enfield (1816-1938) | Greenwich (1754-1938) | Prescott (1822-1938)

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County Histories

MassachusettsHampshire CountyBerkshire CountyBerkshire CountyHampshire CountyFranklin CountyWorcester CountyMiddlefieldWorthingtonCummingtonPlainfieldGoshenChesterfieldHuntingtonWesthamptonSouthamptonEasthamptonNorthamptonWilliamsburgHatfieldHadleySouth HadleyGranbyAmherstPelhamBelchertownWareSavoyWindsorHinsdalePeruWashingtonBeckettOtisSandisfieldTollandBlandfordChesterGranvilleRussellMontgomeryWestfieldWest SpringfieldHolyokeChicopeeLudlowSpringfieldWilbrahamMonsonPalmerBrimfieldWarrenWest BrookfieldNew BraintreeHardwickBarrePetershamAtholNew SalemShutesburyWendellMontagueLeverettSunderlandWhatelyDeerfieldConwayShelburneBucklandAshfieldHawley
Modern town and city borders in Hampshire County, Massachusetts.

Works written on the county include:

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Hampshire 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 1800. 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.

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Land Records

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Probate Records

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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

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County Court

This court was active from 1636 (called a quarterly court and then the county court when Suffolk was created in 1643) to 1692. The court heard all civil causes up to 10 shillings (raised to 40 shillings in 1647) and all criminal causes not concerning life, limb, or banishment. These were all jury trials. Some records can be found in the [Suffolk_County,_Massachusetts#Suffolk_Files|Suffolk Files].

The records microfilmed:

At the Massachusetts Archives:

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Quarterly Court of General Sessions of the Peace

This court was active from 1692 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:

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Inferior Court of Common Pleas

This court was active from 1692 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:

Until population warranted it, criminal and civil court cases were included in the same court records. The first 24 volumes in Hampshire County include civil cases from the Inferior Court of Common Pleas and criminal court cases from the Court of General Sessions of the Peace:[3][4]

Volume # Vol. Letter Date Range FHL Film Item Notes
1

1677-1728
886420 item 1
Includes County Court and Quarter Sessions
2
A
1728-1735
886420 item 2

3
B
1735-1740
886421

4
C
1741-1745
886421
Includes executions, 1716-1765
5
D
1746-1757
886422

6
E
1758-1762
886422
Includes a few marriages
7
F
1762-1764
886423 item 4
Includes a few marriages
8
G
1764-1766
886424

9
H
1766-1770
886424

10

1766-1771
886425 item 1
Cataloged only under General Sessions
11
I
1770-1773
886425 item 2

12
K
1773-1780
886426

13
M
1771-1781
886426

14

May 1781-Jan 1790
886427 item 1
Cataloged only under General Sessions
15
N
1782-1783
866427 item 2

16
O
1783-1784
886428

17
P
1784-1785
886428

18
Q
Aug 1785-Sep 1788
886429

19
R
1790-1799
886429

20
A
1715-1790, Feb 1789-Jan 1790
886430 item 1
Includes executions, 1715-1764
21
S
1791-1794
886430 item 2

22
T
1794-1795
886410

23
U-V
1796-1797
886410

24
W
1797-1798
886411 item 1

These volumes are completely indexed. After these 24 volumes, subsequent volumes were numbered restarting with 1. When part of Hampshire County became Hampden County in 1812, clerks copied applicable cases into the new county's records. For such cases, if you are unable to read one of the records, you may be able to read the copy in the other county.


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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.

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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.

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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 Hampshire County


No federal records as yet digitized at NARA.

Hampshire County Naturalization Records


Record Dates Location Index Microfilm/Online
Superior Court 1849-1988 Judicial Archives Card index at Archives Records, 1849-1934, and Index, 1836-1986, FHL film 1508669 (1st of 17); Index, 1859-[1996], FHL film 2057085 (1st of 5)
Northampton
District Court
1885-1906 Judicial Archives Card index at Archives Dockets and index, 1885-1906, FHL film 1578002 Items 2-5
Ware
District Court
1903-1906 Judicial Archives Card index at Archives Final docket, 1903-1906, FHL film 1673945
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Maps

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Hampshire County Massachusetts Genealogy Societies

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Hampshire County Massachusetts Genealogy References

  1. Abolished County Governments - Secretary of State, Acts of 1998, Ch. 300, Sect. 11.
  2. Massachusetts Atlas of Historical County Boundaries
  3. Linda E. Brinkerhoff, "New England Research: A Matter of Jurisdiction," Arlene H Eakle's Genealogy Blog (http://www.arleneeakle.com/wordpress/2009/11/19/new-england-research-new-strategies-that-work/ : accessed 30 November 2009), para. 3-4; citing Grace Pittman.
  4. Family History Library Catalog, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 30 November 2009).
Adjacent counties: Berkshire | Franklin | Hampden | Worcester