Middlesex County, Massachusetts

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This is a historical and genealogical guide to the county of Middlesex. 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.  
 
This is a historical and genealogical guide to the county of Middlesex. 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.  
  
== Essex County Massachusetts History  ==
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== Middlesex County Massachusetts History  ==
  
 
=== Brief History  ===
 
=== Brief History  ===
  
Middlesex County was one of the four original counties when [[https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Massachusetts_Bay_Colony%7CMassachusetts Bay Colony]] created counties in 1643. When established, it had no defined western or northern border. These borders were more clearly defined when Worcester County was created in 1731 on the west and the Province of New Hampshire in 1680 to the north, but this border remained in dispute until 1741. Early settlers in this county went north, west, and south to establish new settlements in the 1600s and 1700s. The oldest college in the United States was established in Cambridge in 1636 - Harvard College, now [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvard_University Harvard University]. Lowell, on the Merrimack River, became one of the centers of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-1800s that drew many immigrants to work in the mills, especially Irish and French-Canadian. The county government was abolished on 11 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 1997, Ch. 48, Sect. 1.</ref><br>  
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Middlesex County was one of the four original counties when [[Massachusetts Bay Colony|Massachusetts Bay Colony]] created counties in 1643. When established, it had no defined western or northern border. These borders were more clearly defined when [[Worcester County, Massachusetts|Worcester County]] was created in 1731 on the west and the Province of New Hampshire in 1680 to the north, but this border remained in dispute until 1741. Early settlers in this county went north, west, and south to establish new settlements in the 1600s and 1700s. The oldest college in the United States was established in Cambridge in 1636 - Harvard College, now [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvard_University Harvard University]. Lowell, on the Merrimack River, became one of the centers of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-1800s that drew many immigrants to work in the mills, especially Irish and French-Canadian. The 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 1997, Ch. 48, Sect. 1.</ref><br>  
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=== Historical Data  ===
 
=== Historical Data  ===
  
The basic data are from the historical county boundary series<ref>[http://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp/documents/MA_Individual_County_Chronologies.htm#SUFFOLK Massachusetts Atlas of Historical County Boundaries]</ref> with additions from various sources.  
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The basic data are from the historical county boundary series<ref>[http://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp/documents/MA_Individual_County_Chronologies.htm#MIDDLESEX Massachusetts Atlas of Historical County Boundaries]</ref> with additions from various sources.  
  
 
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| Redefined border between Reading and Lynnfield, Essex Co.
 
| Redefined border between Reading and Lynnfield, Essex Co.
 
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=== Towns and Cities  ===
 
=== Towns and Cities  ===
  
 
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.  
 
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.  
[[Image:Ma-middlesex.png|right|400px|Ma-middlesex.png]]<center>[[Acton, Massachusetts|Acton (1735)]] | [[Arlington, Massachusetts|Arlington (1807)]] | [[Ashby, Massachusetts|Ashby (1767)]] | [[Ashland, Massachusetts|Ashland (1846)]]<br>[[Ayer, Massachusetts|Ayer (1871)]] | [[Bedford, Massachusetts|Bedford (1729)]] | [[Belmont, Massachusetts|Belmont (1859)]] | [[Billerica, Massachusetts|Billerica (1655)]]<br>[[Boxborough, Massachusetts|Boxborough (1835)]] | [[Burlington, Massachusetts|Burlington (1799)]] | [[Cambridge, Massachusetts|Cambridge (1636)]] | [[Carlisle, Massachusetts|Carlisle (1780)]]<br>[[Chelmsford, Massachusetts|Chelmsford (1655)]] | [[Concord, Massachusetts|Concord (1635)]] | [[Dracut, Massachusetts|Dracut (1701)]] | [[Dunstable, Massachusetts|Dunstable (1673)]]<br>[[Everett, Massachusetts|Everett (1870)]] | [[Framingham, Massachusetts|Framingham (1700)]] | [[Groton, Massachusetts|Groton (1655)]] | [[Holliston, Massachusetts|Holliston (1724)]]<br>[[Hopkinton, Massachusetts|Hopkinton (1715)]] | [[Hudson, Massachusetts|Hudson (1866)]] | [[Lexington, Massachusetts|Lexington (1713)]] | [[Lincoln, Massachusetts|Lincoln (1754)]]<br>[[Littleton, Massachusetts|Littleton (1715)]] | [[Lowell, Massachusetts|Lowell (1826)]] | [[Malden, Massachusetts|Malden (1649)]] | [[Marlborough, Massachusetts|Marlborough (1660)]]<br>[[Maynard, Massachusetts|Maynard (1871)]] | [[Medford, Massachusetts|Medford (1630)]] | [[Melrose, Massachusetts|Melrose (1850)]] | [[Natick, Massachusetts|Natick (1781)]]<br>[[Newton, Massachusetts|Newton (1688)]] | [[North Reading, Massachusetts|North Reading (1853)]] | [[Pepperell, Massachusetts|Pepperell (1775)]] | [[Reading, Massachusetts|Reading (1644)]]<br>[[Sherborn, Massachusetts|Sherborn (1674)]] | [[Shirley, Massachusetts|Shirley (1775)]] | [[Somerville, Massachusetts|Somerville (1842)]] | [[Stoneham, Massachusetts|Stoneham (1725)]]<br>[[Stow, Massachusetts|Stow (1683)]] | [[Sudbury, Massachusetts|Sudbury (1639)]] | [[Tewksbury, Massachusetts|Tewksbury (1734)]] | [[Townsend, Massachusetts|Townsend (1732)]]<br>[[Tyngsborough, Massachusetts|Tyngsborough (1809)]] | [[Wakefield, Massachusetts|Wakefield (1812)]] | [[Waltham, Massachusetts|Waltham (1738)]] | [[Watertown, Massachusetts|Watertown (1630)]]<br>[[Wayland, Massachusetts|Wayland (1780)]] | [[Westford, Massachusetts|Westford (1729)]] | [[Weston, Massachusetts|Weston (1713)]] | [[Wilmington, Massachusetts|Wilmington (1730)]]<br>[[Winchester, Massachusetts|Winchester (1850)]] | [[Woburn, Massachusetts|Woburn (1642)]]</center><br>
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[[Image:Ma-middlesex.png|right|400px|Ma-middlesex.png]]
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<center>[[Acton, Massachusetts|Acton (1735)]] | [[Arlington, Massachusetts|Arlington (1807)]] | [[Ashby, Massachusetts|Ashby (1767)]] | [[Ashland, Massachusetts|Ashland (1846)]]<br>[[Ayer, Massachusetts|Ayer (1871)]] | [[Bedford, Massachusetts|Bedford (1729)]] | [[Belmont, Massachusetts|Belmont (1859)]] | [[Billerica, Massachusetts|Billerica (1655)]]<br>[[Boxborough, Massachusetts|Boxborough (1835)]] | [[Burlington, Massachusetts|Burlington (1799)]] | [[Cambridge, Massachusetts|Cambridge (1636)]] | [[Carlisle, Massachusetts|Carlisle (1780)]]<br>[[Chelmsford, Massachusetts|Chelmsford (1655)]] | [[Concord, Massachusetts|Concord (1635)]] | [[Dracut, Massachusetts|Dracut (1701)]] | [[Dunstable, Massachusetts|Dunstable (1673)]]<br>[[Everett, Massachusetts|Everett (1870)]] | [[Framingham, Massachusetts|Framingham (1700)]] | [[Groton, Massachusetts|Groton (1655)]] | [[Holliston, Massachusetts|Holliston (1724)]]<br>[[Hopkinton, Massachusetts|Hopkinton (1715)]] | [[Hudson, Massachusetts|Hudson (1866)]] | [[Lexington, Massachusetts|Lexington (1713)]] | [[Lincoln, Massachusetts|Lincoln (1754)]]<br>[[Littleton, Massachusetts|Littleton (1715)]] | [[Lowell, Massachusetts|Lowell (1826)]] | [[Malden, Massachusetts|Malden (1649)]] | [[Marlborough, Massachusetts|Marlborough (1660)]]<br>[[Maynard, Massachusetts|Maynard (1871)]] | [[Medford, Massachusetts|Medford (1630)]] | [[Melrose, Massachusetts|Melrose (1850)]] | [[Natick, Massachusetts|Natick (1781)]]<br>[[Newton, Massachusetts|Newton (1688)]] | [[North Reading, Massachusetts|North Reading (1853)]] | [[Pepperell, Massachusetts|Pepperell (1775)]] | [[Reading, Massachusetts|Reading (1644)]]<br>[[Sherborn, Massachusetts|Sherborn (1674)]] | [[Shirley, Massachusetts|Shirley (1775)]] | [[Somerville, Massachusetts|Somerville (1842)]] | [[Stoneham, Massachusetts|Stoneham (1725)]]<br>[[Stow, Massachusetts|Stow (1683)]] | [[Sudbury, Massachusetts|Sudbury (1639)]] | [[Tewksbury, Massachusetts|Tewksbury (1734)]] | [[Townsend, Massachusetts|Townsend (1732)]]<br>[[Tyngsborough, Massachusetts|Tyngsborough (1809)]] | [[Wakefield, Massachusetts|Wakefield (1812)]] | [[Waltham, Massachusetts|Waltham (1738)]] | [[Watertown, Massachusetts|Watertown (1630)]]<br>[[Wayland, Massachusetts|Wayland (1780)]] | [[Westford, Massachusetts|Westford (1729)]] | [[Weston, Massachusetts|Weston (1713)]] | [[Wilmington, Massachusetts|Wilmington (1730)]]<br>[[Winchester, Massachusetts|Winchester (1850)]] | [[Woburn, Massachusetts|Woburn (1642)]]</center>
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'''Annexed to Boston:''' [[Brighton, Massachusetts|Brighton (1806)]] | [[Charlestown, Massachusetts|Charlestown (1630)]]  
 
'''Annexed to Boston:''' [[Brighton, Massachusetts|Brighton (1806)]] | [[Charlestown, Massachusetts|Charlestown (1630)]]  
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=== County Histories  ===
 
=== County Histories  ===
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*[http://usgwarchives.net/ma/mafiles.htm#Middlesex The USGenWeb Archives Project] for Middlesex County (backup site)  
 
*[http://usgwarchives.net/ma/mafiles.htm#Middlesex The USGenWeb Archives Project] for Middlesex County (backup site)  
 
*{{FHL|184215|subject-id|disp=FamilySearch.org}} Family History Library catalog for Middlesex County
 
*{{FHL|184215|subject-id|disp=FamilySearch.org}} Family History Library catalog for Middlesex County
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== Middlesex County Massachusetts Genealogy Resources  ==
 
== Middlesex County Massachusetts Genealogy Resources  ==
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=== Vital Records  ===
 
=== 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 1700. 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>  
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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 by 1800. An index to the county copy can be found at {{FHL|487768|item|disp=FHL film 1420474 Item 3}}. 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>  
  
 
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>  
 
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>  
  
 
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>  
 
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>  
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=== Land Records  ===
 
=== Land Records  ===
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[http://www.sec.state.ma.us/rod/rodmidsth/midsthidx.htm '''Middlesex South Registry of Deeds''']<br>208 Cambridge Street<br>Cambridge MA 02141<br>Phone 617-679-6300<br>Email [mailto:middlesexsouth@sec.state.ma.us middlesexsouth@sec.state.ma.us]<br>This district included the entire county up to '''1855''' and all southern towns not listed above after that.<br>  
 
[http://www.sec.state.ma.us/rod/rodmidsth/midsthidx.htm '''Middlesex South Registry of Deeds''']<br>208 Cambridge Street<br>Cambridge MA 02141<br>Phone 617-679-6300<br>Email [mailto:middlesexsouth@sec.state.ma.us middlesexsouth@sec.state.ma.us]<br>This district included the entire county up to '''1855''' and all southern towns not listed above after that.<br>  
<center>'''Original records'''</center>  
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<center>'''Original records'''</center>
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The original records are held by Registry office and your research will likely require a personal visit to the office. The only records '''online''' are: Deed indexes since 1974 and deed books since 1986 are available online from the main page that directs you to the [http://www.masslandrecords.com/MiddlesexSouth/ MassLandRecords.com] for Middlesex South.<br>  
 
The original records are held by Registry office and your research will likely require a personal visit to the office. The only records '''online''' are: Deed indexes since 1974 and deed books since 1986 are available online from the main page that directs you to the [http://www.masslandrecords.com/MiddlesexSouth/ MassLandRecords.com] for Middlesex South.<br>  
  
 
'''Note:''' Grantor indexes (NOT grantee) from 1896 to 1973 are available for sale on 8-disc DVD set from the [http://www.sec.state.ma.us/rod/rodmidsth/msDVD.htm Middlesex South Registry].<br>  
 
'''Note:''' Grantor indexes (NOT grantee) from 1896 to 1973 are available for sale on 8-disc DVD set from the [http://www.sec.state.ma.us/rod/rodmidsth/msDVD.htm Middlesex South Registry].<br>  
<center>'''Original records on microfilm'''</center>  
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<center>'''Original records on microfilm'''</center>
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'''Note:''' All these records ({{FHL|196141|item|disp=FHL film 532454 (1st of 1780)}}) listed below are online at [https://familysearch.org/search/image/index#uri=https%3A%2F%2Ffamilysearch.org%2Frecords%2Fwaypoint%2FM9QJ-FN8%3An709400660%3Fcc%3D2106411 FamilySearch.org] as a browsable collection only (as of Aug. 2013). Also, it is not clearly stated, but these records are for the entire county up to 1855, though only for Middlesex South after that.<br>  
 
'''Note:''' All these records ({{FHL|196141|item|disp=FHL film 532454 (1st of 1780)}}) listed below are online at [https://familysearch.org/search/image/index#uri=https%3A%2F%2Ffamilysearch.org%2Frecords%2Fwaypoint%2FM9QJ-FN8%3An709400660%3Fcc%3D2106411 FamilySearch.org] as a browsable collection only (as of Aug. 2013). Also, it is not clearly stated, but these records are for the entire county up to 1855, though only for Middlesex South after that.<br>  
  
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*Deeds, v. 1 (1639) - v. 2790 (1899).<br>
 
*Deeds, v. 1 (1639) - v. 2790 (1899).<br>
 
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=== Probate Records  ===
 
=== Probate Records  ===
  
IN PROGRESS
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Probate and Family Court is organized on a county level in Massachusetts since the creation of the counties. The main records genealogists seek are testate (wills), intestate (administrations), guardianships, and divorces (since 1922), though there are many more that are valuable to any researcher, too. See a further discussion of the topic in general on the [[Massachusetts Genealogy Guide#court11|Massachusetts page]].<br>
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Middlesex County operates one office for the entire county holding all the records. Most probates are handled by one of the [http://www.mass.gov/courts/courtsandjudges/courts/middprobmain.html four satellite offices] in the county.<br>
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[http://www.middlesexprobate.com/Departments/Probate.htm '''Middlesex County Probate and Family Court''']<br>208 Cambridge Street<br>East Cambridge MA 02141<br>Phone 617-768-5858<br>Email [mailto:middlesexprobate@middlesexprobate.com middlesexprobate@middlesexprobate.com]<br>
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'''Cambridge Satellite Session'''<br>121 Third Street<br>Cambridge MA 02141<br>
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'''Concord Satellite Session'''<br>305 Walden Street<br>Concord MA 01742<br>
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'''Marlborough Satellite Session'''<br>45 Williams Street<br>Marlborough MA 01752<br>
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'''Lowell Satellite Session'''<br>360 Gorham Street<br>Lowell MA 01852<br>
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<center>'''Original records'''</center>
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The original records are likely still stored at the courthouse. That could not be confirmed by a telephone call to the court in August 2013.<br>
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<center>'''Original records online'''</center>
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There are no records available online, but the FamilySearch.org is scheduled to upload the [[Massachusetts, Middlesex County Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)|Middlesex County Probate records]] from 1648 to 1967 in the future. [''as of Aug. 2013'']<br>
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<center>'''Original records on microfilm'''</center>
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The following records are available at the {{FHL|263304|item|disp=FHL film 385978 (1st of 886)}}; [[Massachusetts Genealogy Guide#Archives|Massachusetts Archives]] through 1871 with record books to 1909 and file papers to 19846; and [http://library.nehgs.org/record=b1057999~S0 New England Historic Genealogical Society] through 1924 (1st series, complete) and through 1967 (2nd series, incomplete).<br>
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*For indexes, see published books below.<br>
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*Docket books, #1-45383.<br>
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*Record books, v. 1-609.<br>
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*File papers, #1-45383.<br>
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At {{FHL|313422|item|disp=FHL film 553248 (1st of 295)}}:<br>
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*Probate packets, 2nd series, 1872-1967, #1-19935.<br>
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At {{FHL|4769|item|disp=FHL film 385974}} and [[Massachusetts Genealogy Guide#Archives|Massachusetts Archives]]:<br>
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*Miscellaneous index and records, 1659-1692
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<center>'''Manuscript records'''</center>
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*Thomas Bellows Wyman, "Abstract of Middlesex Court files from 1649 [to 1675]," [http://library.nehgs.org/record=b1066909~S0 Mss 596, R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, New England Historic Genealogical Society], Boston ($) (with digital link).<br>
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<center>'''Published records'''</center>
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*Robert H. Rodgers, ''Middlesex County in the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay in New England: Records of Probate and Administration'' (Boston, 1999-2005), 3v.<br>Note: Vol. 1, 1649-1660; Vol. 2, 1661-1670; Vol. 3, 1671-1676.<br>WorldCat (Other Libraries) ([http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/42583863 WorldCat v. 1], [http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/49554669 v. 2], [http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/64484392 v. 3]; {{FHL|989265|item|disp=FHL book 974.44 P2r v. 1 or 2}} and does not have v. 3.<br>  
 
*Robert H. Rodgers, ''Middlesex County in the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay in New England: Records of Probate and Administration'' (Boston, 1999-2005), 3v.<br>Note: Vol. 1, 1649-1660; Vol. 2, 1661-1670; Vol. 3, 1671-1676.<br>WorldCat (Other Libraries) ([http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/42583863 WorldCat v. 1], [http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/49554669 v. 2], [http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/64484392 v. 3]; {{FHL|989265|item|disp=FHL book 974.44 P2r v. 1 or 2}} and does not have v. 3.<br>  
 
*''Index to the probate Records of the County of Middlesex, Massachusetts'' (Cambridge, Mass., 1912-1953), 10v.<br>First Series, 1648-1870; Second Series, 1871-1909; Third Series, 1910-1924; Fourth Series, 1925-1939; Fifth Series, 1940-1949.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/28453048 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|161764|item|disp=FHL book 974.44 P22m ser. 1 and film 385977}} (with digital link) and {{FHL|242491|item|disp=FHL book 974.44 P22m ser. 2 and films 385970-385973 (3rd-5th ser.)}}.<br>Digital versions at AmericanAncestors ($) [http://www.americanancestors.org/search.aspx?Ca=094&Da=133 First Series] and Internet Archives, Second Series ([http://archive.org/details/indextoprobatere21roge v. 1] and [http://archive.org/details/indextoprobatere22roge v. 2]).<br>  
 
*''Index to the probate Records of the County of Middlesex, Massachusetts'' (Cambridge, Mass., 1912-1953), 10v.<br>First Series, 1648-1870; Second Series, 1871-1909; Third Series, 1910-1924; Fourth Series, 1925-1939; Fifth Series, 1940-1949.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/28453048 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|161764|item|disp=FHL book 974.44 P22m ser. 1 and film 385977}} (with digital link) and {{FHL|242491|item|disp=FHL book 974.44 P22m ser. 2 and films 385970-385973 (3rd-5th ser.)}}.<br>Digital versions at AmericanAncestors ($) [http://www.americanancestors.org/search.aspx?Ca=094&Da=133 First Series] and Internet Archives, Second Series ([http://archive.org/details/indextoprobatere21roge v. 1] and [http://archive.org/details/indextoprobatere22roge v. 2]).<br>  
 
*William A. Richardson, "Judges of Probate, County of Middlesex, Mass." in the ''New England Historical and Genealogical Register'', 29 [1875]: [http://archive.org/stream/newenglandhistor1875wate#page/n149/mode/2up 61-66].<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/7030049 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|127567|item|disp=FHL book 974 B2ne v. 29 and film 962859}}.<br>Digital version also at [http://www.americanancestors.org/PageDetail.aspx?recordId=241613128 AmericanAncestors.org] ($).<br>
 
*William A. Richardson, "Judges of Probate, County of Middlesex, Mass." in the ''New England Historical and Genealogical Register'', 29 [1875]: [http://archive.org/stream/newenglandhistor1875wate#page/n149/mode/2up 61-66].<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/7030049 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|127567|item|disp=FHL book 974 B2ne v. 29 and film 962859}}.<br>Digital version also at [http://www.americanancestors.org/PageDetail.aspx?recordId=241613128 AmericanAncestors.org] ($).<br>
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=== Other Court Records  ===
 
=== Other Court Records  ===
  
IN PROGRESS
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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]
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==== County Court  ====
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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].<br>
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The records microfilmed:<br>
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*"Card index to births, deaths, wills, and miscellaneous court records, 1600-1799," {{FHL|487768|item|disp=FHL film 1420474 Item 3}}.<br>
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*"Folio index cards, 1650-1800, {{FHL|487256|item|disp=FHL films 1420472-1420474}}.<br>
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*Court records, original and transcribed, 1649-1699, {{FHL|267196|item|disp=FHL films 892250-892251}}.<br>
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*County court papers and index, 1648-1798 (includes vital records), {{FHL|210946|item|disp=FHL film 541432 (1st of 34)}}.<br>
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At the [[Massachusetts Genealogy Guide#Archives|Massachusetts Archives]]:<br>
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*County Court Folio Collection, card index.<br>
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*County Court, file papers, folio collection, folios 1-303, 1649-1728; 1B-200A, 1693-1790.<br>
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*County Court, file papers, folio collection, index.<br>
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*County Court, file papers, folio collection, contents, folios 1-251B, 1-4.<br>
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*County Court, record books, 1649-1663, 1671-1686 (Pulsher trans.).<br>
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Derivative records published:<br>
 +
 
 +
*Melinde Lutz Sanborn, ''Ages from Court Records 1636 to 1700'' (Baltimore, 2003), 227 pp.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/52271854 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|1121823|item|disp=FHL book 974.4 P22s v. 1}}.<br>Digital version at [http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=49021 Ancestry] ($).<br>
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
==== 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.<br>
 +
 
 +
The records microfilmed:<br>
 +
 
 +
*"Card index to births, deaths, wills, and miscellaneous court records, 1600-1799," {{FHL|487768|item|disp=FHL film 1420474 Item 3}}.<br>
 +
*"Folio index cards, 1650-1800, {{FHL|487256|item|disp=FHL films 1420472-1420474}}.<br>
 +
*County court papers and index, 1648-1798 (includes vital records), {{FHL|210946|item|disp=FHL film 541432 (1st of 34)}}.<br>
 +
*Court and session records, 1686-1799, {{FHL|518271|item|disp=FHL films 1435716-1435717}}.<br>
 +
*Court records, 1686-1809 (includes some early Inferior Court of Common Pleas records), {{FHL|268282|item|disp=FHL films 892252-892254}}.<br>
 +
*"Court of Sessions" records, 1808-1831, {{FHL|268839|item|disp=FHL film 892255}}.<br>
 +
 
 +
At the [[Massachusetts Genealogy Guide#Archives|Massachusetts Archives]]:<br>
 +
 
 +
*Court of General Sessions, record books, 1686-1831.<br>
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
==== 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.<br>
 +
 
 +
The records microfilmed:<br>
 +
 
 +
*"Card index to births, deaths, wills, and miscellaneous court records, 1600-1799," {{FHL|487768|item|disp=FHL film 1420474 Item 3}}.<br>
 +
*"Folio index cards, 1650-1800, {{FHL|487256|item|disp=FHL films 1420472-1420474}}.<br>
 +
*County court papers and index, 1648-1798 (includes vital records), {{FHL|210946|item|disp=FHL film 541432 (1st of 34)}}.<br>
 +
*Court of General Sessions of the Peace records, 1686-1809 (includes some early Inferior Court of Common Pleas records), {{FHL|268282|item|disp=FHL films 892252-892254}}.<br>
 +
*Court records, 1699-1783, {{FHL|199994|item|disp=FHL films 892256-892260, 893856 Items 1-2}}.<br>
 +
*Court records, 1783-1811, 1821-1847, {{FHL|129699|item|disp=FHL film 893856 Item 3 (1st of 33)}}.<br>
 +
*Court records, 1812-1821, {{FHL|129655|item|disp=FHL film 901509 (1st of 9)}}.<br>
 +
 
 +
At the [[Massachusetts Genealogy Guide#Archives|Massachusetts Archives]]:<br>
 +
 
 +
*Court of Common Pleas, 1686-1689, 1699-1847.<br>
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
==== 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.<br>
 +
 
 +
*Divorce docket books 1887-1938, {{FHL|982519|item|disp=FHL film 2200592 (1st of 8)}} and at [[Massachusetts Genealogy Guide#Archives|Massachusetts Archives]].<br>
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
==== 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.<br>
 +
 
 +
*"Folio index cards, 1650-1800, {{FHL|487256|item|disp=FHL films 1420472-1420474}}.<br>
 +
*Court records, 1797-1850, {{FHL|303619|item|disp=FHL film 901537 (1st of 8)}} and at [[Massachusetts Genealogy Guide#Archives|Massachusetts Archives]].<br>
 +
*Court records 1851-1887 (includes divorces), {{FHL|982495|item|disp=FHL films 2200481-2200484}} and at [[Massachusetts Genealogy Guide#Archives|Massachusetts Archives]].<br>
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
==== 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 Genealogy Guide#Naturalization_Records|Massachusetts state page]] for more on naturalization.<br>
 +
<center>'''Federal Naturalization Records for Middlesex County'''</center>
 +
{| width="100%" border="1" class="wikitable"
 +
|-
 +
! width="125" scope="col" | Record
 +
! width="100" scope="col" | Dates
 +
! width="125" scope="col" | Location
 +
! width="175" scope="col" | Index
 +
! width="350" scope="col" | Microfilm/Online
 +
|-
 +
| Ct. of Common Pleas<br>Supreme Judicial Ct.
 +
| 1809-1906
 +
| [http://www.archives.gov/boston/ National Archives - Waltham]
 +
| Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, [http://www.archives.gov/boston/holdings/rg-050-099.html#85 NARA M1299], {{FHL|19737|item|disp=FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117)}}
 +
| {{FHL|2109612|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7117754 (1st of 15)}} (part of above); Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 New England Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| First Dist. Ct.<br>No. Middlesex (Ayer) - Records
 +
| 1887-1906
 +
| [http://www.archives.gov/boston/ National Archives - Waltham]
 +
| Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, [http://www.archives.gov/boston/holdings/rg-050-099.html#85 NARA M1299], {{FHL|19737|item|disp=FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117)}}
 +
| {{FHL|2109613|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7117737, 7117739}} (part of above); Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 New England Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| First Dist. Ct.<br>So. Middlesex (Framingham) - Records
 +
| 1885-1906
 +
| [http://www.archives.gov/boston/ National Archives - Waltham]
 +
| Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, [http://www.archives.gov/boston/holdings/rg-050-099.html#85 NARA M1299], {{FHL|19737|item|disp=FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117)}}
 +
| {{FHL|2109617|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7137302 (1st of 3)}} (part of above); Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 New England Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| First Dist. Ct.<br>E. Middlesex (Malden) - Records
 +
| 1885-1906
 +
| [http://www.archives.gov/boston/ National Archives - Waltham]
 +
| Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, [http://www.archives.gov/boston/holdings/rg-050-099.html#85 NARA M1299], {{FHL|19737|item|disp=FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117)}}
 +
| {{FHL|2109615|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7156001 (1st of 13)}} (part of above); Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 New England Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| First Dist. Ct.<br>E. Middlesex (Waltham) - Records
 +
| 1885-1906
 +
| [http://www.archives.gov/boston/ National Archives - Waltham]
 +
| Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, [http://www.archives.gov/boston/holdings/rg-050-099.html#85 NARA M1299], {{FHL|19737|item|disp=FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117)}}
 +
| {{FHL|2109614|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7173060-7173066}} (part of above); Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 New England Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| Fourth Dist. Ct.<br>E. Middlesex (Woburn) - Records
 +
| 1885-1906
 +
| [http://www.archives.gov/boston/ National Archives - Waltham]
 +
| Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, [http://www.archives.gov/boston/holdings/rg-050-099.html#85 NARA M1299], {{FHL|19737|item|disp=FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117)}}
 +
| {{FHL|2109607|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7173043-7173047}} (part of above); Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 New England Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| Lowell Dist Ct. - Records
 +
| 1836-1906
 +
| [http://www.archives.gov/boston/ National Archives - Waltham]
 +
| Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, [http://www.archives.gov/boston/holdings/rg-050-099.html#85 NARA M1299], {{FHL|19737|item|disp=FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117)}}
 +
| {{FHL|2109616|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7137236 (1st of 55)}} (part of above); Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 New England Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| Marlborough Dist. Ct. - Records
 +
| 1885-1906
 +
| [http://www.archives.gov/boston/ National Archives - Waltham]
 +
| Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, [http://www.archives.gov/boston/holdings/rg-050-099.html#85 NARA M1299], {{FHL|19737|item|disp=FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117)}}
 +
| {{FHL|2109610|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7173056-7173059}} (part of above); Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 New England Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|}
 +
<center>'''Middlessex County Naturalization Records'''</center>
 +
{| width="100%" border="1" class="wikitable"
 +
|-
 +
! width="125" scope="col" | Record
 +
! width="100" scope="col" | Dates
 +
! width="125" scope="col" | Location
 +
! width="175" scope="col" | Index
 +
! width="350" scope="col" | Microfilm/Online
 +
|-
 +
| Superior Court
 +
| 1842-1991
 +
| [[#Archives|Judicial Archives]]
 +
| Card index
 +
| Records, 1906-1944, at [[#Archives|Mass. Arch. RR]]; Records, 1841-1884, {{FHL|145215|item|disp=FHL film 963672-963676}}; Declarations, 1906-1945, {{FHL|956632|item|disp=FHL film 2156992 (1st of 10)}}; Petitions, 1911-1945, {{FHL|959722|item|disp=FHL film 2188907 (1st of 30)}} and [[#Archives|Mass. Arch. RR]]; Card index, 1800-1885, {{FHL|487757|item|disp=FHL film 1420474 Item 2}}; Index, 1906-1984, at [[#Archives|Mass. Arch. RR]] and {{FHL|955303|item|disp=FHL film 2155887 (1st of 14)}}
 +
|-
 +
| Lowell<br>District Court
 +
| 1885-1906
 +
| [[#Archives|Judicial Archives]]
 +
| Docketed
 +
| NO microfilm
 +
|-
 +
| Malden<br>District Court
 +
| 1885-1906
 +
| [[#Archives|Judicial Archives]]
 +
| Docketed
 +
| NO microfilm
 +
|-
 +
| Newton<br>District Court
 +
| 1885-1906
 +
| [[#Archives|Judicial Archives]]
 +
| Card index
 +
| NO microfilm
 +
|-
 +
| Somerville<br>District Court
 +
| 1886-1906
 +
| [[#Archives|Judicial Archives]]
 +
| Docketed, 1894-1906
 +
| NO microfilm
 +
|-
 +
| Woburn<br>District Court
 +
| 1894-1906
 +
| [[#Archives|Judicial Archives]]
 +
| Docketed, 1892-1906
 +
| NO microfilm
 +
|}
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
 
 +
<center>'''Published records and articles'''</center>
 +
 
  
 
*Hendrik Hartog, "The Public Law of a County Court: Judicial Government in Eighteenth Century Massachusetts" in ''American Journal of Legal History'', 20 [1976]: 282-329.<br>A study of the records of the Middlesex County Court of General Sessions, 1728-1803.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1480152 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|117210|item|disp=FHL book 973 B2ajL v. 20}}.<br>Digital version at [http://www.jstor.org/stable/844858 Jstor] ($).<br>  
 
*Hendrik Hartog, "The Public Law of a County Court: Judicial Government in Eighteenth Century Massachusetts" in ''American Journal of Legal History'', 20 [1976]: 282-329.<br>A study of the records of the Middlesex County Court of General Sessions, 1728-1803.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1480152 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|117210|item|disp=FHL book 973 B2ajL v. 20}}.<br>Digital version at [http://www.jstor.org/stable/844858 Jstor] ($).<br>  
 
*Nathaniel Harris, ''Records of the Court of Nathaniel Harris, one of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace within and for the county of Middlesex, holden at Watertown from 1734 to 1761 ...'' (Watertown, Mass., 1938), 135 pp.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/8083887 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|1880678|item|disp=FHL digital link}}.<br>  
 
*Nathaniel Harris, ''Records of the Court of Nathaniel Harris, one of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace within and for the county of Middlesex, holden at Watertown from 1734 to 1761 ...'' (Watertown, Mass., 1938), 135 pp.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/8083887 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|1880678|item|disp=FHL digital link}}.<br>  
 
*[Alicia Crane Williams], "Handlist of Middlesex County Massachusetts Fornication cases, 1649-1749" (S.l., typ., 1979), 23 pp.<br>Not on WorldCat; Not at FHL; [http://www.massmayflower.org/research/library/lib-mass-state-county.htm Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants Library].<br>
 
*[Alicia Crane Williams], "Handlist of Middlesex County Massachusetts Fornication cases, 1649-1749" (S.l., typ., 1979), 23 pp.<br>Not on WorldCat; Not at FHL; [http://www.massmayflower.org/research/library/lib-mass-state-county.htm Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants Library].<br>
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
=== Maps  ===
  
=== Taxation Records  ===
+
There are so many published maps of interest to genealogists and historians that this list will not be recreated here. The focus is with resources you can access online.<br>
  
IN PROGRESS
+
*F. W. Beers, [http://www.historicmapworks.com/Atlas/US/6764/ ''Middlesex County, Massachusetts''] (1875), for view or sale at Historic Map Works.<br>
 
+
*Newberry Library, Chicago, online version of their [http://historical-county.newberry.org/website/Massachusetts/viewer.htm Massachusetts Historical Counties].<br>
=== Maps  ===
+
*Henry F. Walling, [http://maps.bpl.org/id/12690 ''Map of Middlesex County, Massachusetts''] (1856), at the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, Boston Public Library.<br>
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>
  
IN PROGRESS
 
  
 
== Middlesex County Massachusetts Genealogy Societies  ==
 
== Middlesex County Massachusetts Genealogy Societies  ==
  
IN PROGRESS
+
[http://massachusettssocietyofgenealogists.org/index.php '''Massachusetts Society of Genealogists''']<br>PO Box 215<br>Ashland MA 01721<br>Email [mailto:president@msoginc.org president@msoginc.org]<br>
  
 +
[http://www.woburnpubliclibrary.org '''Woburn Public Library''']<br>45 Pleasant Street<br>Woburn MA 01801<br>Phone 781-933-0148<br>[http://www.woburnpubliclibrary.org/what-we-have/archives-local-history/ Archives and Local History room]<br>
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>
 
== Middlesex County Massachusetts Genealogy References  ==
 
== Middlesex County Massachusetts Genealogy References  ==
  
 
{{reflist}} <!--This was designed by Scott Andrew Bartley in conjunction with the Mass. Wiki Team on 23 August 2013-->  
 
{{reflist}} <!--This was designed by Scott Andrew Bartley in conjunction with the Mass. Wiki Team on 23 August 2013-->  
</div>  
+
</div>
[[Category:Middlesex_County_Massachusetts]]
+
[[Category:Middlesex_County,_Massachusetts]]

Revision as of 15:12, 4 September 2013

United States go to Massachusetts go to Middlesex County

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

Middlesex County Massachusetts History

Brief History

Middlesex County was one of the four original counties when Massachusetts Bay Colony created counties in 1643. When established, it had no defined western or northern border. These borders were more clearly defined when Worcester County was created in 1731 on the west and the Province of New Hampshire in 1680 to the north, but this border remained in dispute until 1741. Early settlers in this county went north, west, and south to establish new settlements in the 1600s and 1700s. The oldest college in the United States was established in Cambridge in 1636 - Harvard College, now Harvard University. Lowell, on the Merrimack River, became one of the centers of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-1800s that drew many immigrants to work in the mills, especially Irish and French-Canadian. The county government was abolished on 1 July 1997, but its former jurisdiction is used for state offices as a district.[1]

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Historical Data

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

Dates Events
10 May 1643 Middlesex County created as one of the four original counties formed out of Massachusetts Bay Colony with no defined western boundary. [Mass. Rec., 2: 38]
26 May 1658 Billerica lost 15 acres to Andover, Essex Co.
10 July 1731 Worcester County created from the western portion.
29 June 1732 Land from Groton and Stow, and Lancaster, Worcester Co., taken to form the new town of Harvard in Worcester Co. that altered the border there.
14 June 1735 Small lost when Upton, Worcester Co., was created on its border.
6 Mar. 1767 Small gain when Ashby was created from Townsend with small parts of Ashburnham and Fitchburg in Worcester Co.
25 Feb. 1783 Gained when Boxborough annexed part of Harvard, Worcester Co.
16 Mar. 1784 Small lost when Berlin was created from Bolton and Northborough (all in Worcester Co.) and Marlborough.
7 Mar. 1786 Small lost when Southborough, Worcester Co., annexed from Framingham.
16 Nov. 1792 Gained large triangular piece when Ashby annexed it from Ashburnham, Worcester Co.
22 June 1797 Sizable loss when Natick and Needham, Norfolk Co., exchanged land to straighten out border.
20 June 1807 Small lost when Northborough, Worcester Co., annexed a part of Marlborough.
8 Mar. 1808 Small lost when Upton, Worcester Co., annexed a part of Hopkinton.
11 Feb. 1829 One acre lost when Bolton, Worcester Co., annexed a part of Marlborough.
27 Mar. 1835 Redefined border between Hopkinton and Holliston, and Milford, Worcester Co.
16 Mar. 1838 Redefined border between Marlborough and Bolton in Worcester Co.
23 Apr. 1838 Sizable loss when Roxbury, Norfolk Co., annexed a part of Newton.
24 Mar. 1843 Small area gained when Marlborough annexed a part of Southborough, Worcester Co.
3 Mar. 1846
25 Apr. 1848
Redefined border between Shirley and Lunenburg, Worcester Co.
10 Apr. 1854 Reading annexed a part of Lynnfield, Essex Co.
7 Jan. 1858 North Reading annexed a part of Lynnfield, Essex Co.
1 Apr. 1859 Small lost when Milford, Worcester Co., annexed a part of Holliston.
20 Mar. 1868 Hudson annexed a small part of Bolton, Worcester Co.
5 Jan. 1874 Suffolk County annexed all of Brighton and Charlestown.
29 May 1874
1 July 1875
Redefined border between Newton and Boston, Suffolk Co.
4 May 1891 Redefined border between Somerville and Boston, Suffolk Co.
29 Mar. 1898
16 May 1898
Redefined border in Charles River with Cambridge and land with Newton, with Boston, Suffolk Co.
16 May 1901 Redefined border with Marlborough and Southborough, Wocester Co.
21 May 1903-
2 May 1905
Several redefined borders with Tewksbury, North Reading, and Reading with Essex Co. towns.
1 May 1905 Redefined border between Hudson and Marlborough with Berlin, Worcester Co.
14 June 1906 Small gain when Littleton annexed a part of Harvard, Worcester Co.
28 Mar. 1907 Redefined border between Newton and Brookline, Norfolk Co.
16 May 1907 Redefined border between Hopkinton with Milford and Upton, Worcester Co.
29 Mar. 1910 Redefined border in Charles River with Cambridge with Boston, Suffolk Co.
18 Sept. 1933 Small gain when Wakefield annexed a part of Saugus, Essex Co.
10 Apr. 1947 Redefined border between Reading and Lynnfield, Essex Co.
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Towns and Cities

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.

Ma-middlesex.png
Acton (1735) | Arlington (1807) | Ashby (1767) | Ashland (1846)
Ayer (1871) | Bedford (1729) | Belmont (1859) | Billerica (1655)
Boxborough (1835) | Burlington (1799) | Cambridge (1636) | Carlisle (1780)
Chelmsford (1655) | Concord (1635) | Dracut (1701) | Dunstable (1673)
Everett (1870) | Framingham (1700) | Groton (1655) | Holliston (1724)
Hopkinton (1715) | Hudson (1866) | Lexington (1713) | Lincoln (1754)
Littleton (1715) | Lowell (1826) | Malden (1649) | Marlborough (1660)
Maynard (1871) | Medford (1630) | Melrose (1850) | Natick (1781)
Newton (1688) | North Reading (1853) | Pepperell (1775) | Reading (1644)
Sherborn (1674) | Shirley (1775) | Somerville (1842) | Stoneham (1725)
Stow (1683) | Sudbury (1639) | Tewksbury (1734) | Townsend (1732)
Tyngsborough (1809) | Wakefield (1812) | Waltham (1738) | Watertown (1630)
Wayland (1780) | Westford (1729) | Weston (1713) | Wilmington (1730)
Winchester (1850) | Woburn (1642)


Annexed to Boston: Brighton (1806) | Charlestown (1630)

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County Histories

MassachusettsNew HampshireMiddlesex CountyNorfolk CountyWorcester CountyEssex CountySuffolk CountyHillsborough CountyRockingham CountyHollistonHopkintonAshlandFraminghamMarlboroughHudsonStowBoxboroughLittletonAyerShirleyTownsendAshbyGrotonPepperellDunstableTyngsboroughWestfordActonMaynardSudburyConcordCarlisleChelmsfordLowellDracutNatickSherbornWaylandLincolnBedfordBillericaTewksburyWilmingtonBurlingtonLexingtonWalthamWestonNewtonWatertownBelmontArlingtonWinchesterWoburnWilmingtonNorth ReadingReadingStonehamMedfordSomervilleCambridgeEverettMaldenMelroseWakefieldRevereChelseaWinthropBostonSaugusLynnLynnfieldPeabodyDanversBoxfordGeorgetownGrovelandHaverhillMethuenLawrenceAndoverNorth AndoverMiddletonBellinghamFranklinMedwayMillisMedfieldDoverWellesleyNeedhamDedhamWestwoodWalpoleNorwoodCantonMiltonQuincyRudolphBraintreeHolbrookBrooklineBlackstoneMendonHopedaleMilfordUptonWestboroughSouthboroughNorthboroughBerlinBoltonHarvardLancasterLunenburgFitchburgAshburnhamWestminsterPrincetonRutlandPaxtonLeicesterCharltonDudleyWebsterDouglasUxbridgeNorthbridgeSuttonOxfordAuburnMillburyGraftonShrewsburyWorcesterHoldenWest BoylstonBoylstonClintonSterlingLeominsterSalemWindhamPelhamHudsonNashuaHollisBrooklineMasonGreenvilleNew Ipswich
Modern city and town borders in Middlesex County, Massachusetts.

Works written on the county include:

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Middlesex 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 by 1800. An index to the county copy can be found at FHL film 1420474 Item 3. 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

Land transfers, commonly called deeds, are recorded on the county level in Massachusetts. Not all deeds were recorded as is common practice today. The earliest transactions were charters or grants from the English Crown. Once local government was established, the colony would grant land to settlers directly or to towns to dole out. Some towns first start out as proprietorship and records were recorded there. Once towns were established, deeds were recorded on the county level. Middlesex County is divided into two districts. The county was one district until the creation of the Northern District in 1855.

Middlesex North Registry of Deeds
360 Gorham Street
Lowell MA 01852
Phone 978-322-9000
Email lowelldeeds@comcast.net
This district includes Billerica, Carlistle, Chelmsford, Dracut, Dunstable, Lowell, Tweksbury, Tyngsborough, Westford, and Wilmington.

Original records


The original records are held by the Registry but closed to the public. All their records are available ONLINE at LowellDeeds.com. Deeds are searchable by index since 1976. The older deeds, books 1 through 2789, can be viewed on the site, but only by volume and page. Deeds for this district prior to its creation in 1855 were copied from the southern district by town. This is available online, too, but without an index and it does not correspond to the southern district's volume and page.

Note: To see records before 1976, you must first go to the SEARCH option that takes you to the masslandrecords.com website for Northern Middlesex. Under the link at the top left called "Search Criteria," you can select the grantor or grantee index. From the new search page, you can search for a surname or exact name. The default is the pre-district period up to 1855. Later periods to 1975 can be selected before your search. These indexes will give you the volume and page you need for the Registry's main search page of older records by volume and page, town, a brief description, and the type of deed. The pre-1856 index includes the original volume and page found in the Middlesex South distict.

There are no microfilmed records from this district.

Middlesex South Registry of Deeds
208 Cambridge Street
Cambridge MA 02141
Phone 617-679-6300
Email middlesexsouth@sec.state.ma.us
This district included the entire county up to 1855 and all southern towns not listed above after that.

Original records


The original records are held by Registry office and your research will likely require a personal visit to the office. The only records online are: Deed indexes since 1974 and deed books since 1986 are available online from the main page that directs you to the MassLandRecords.com for Middlesex South.

Note: Grantor indexes (NOT grantee) from 1896 to 1973 are available for sale on 8-disc DVD set from the Middlesex South Registry.

Original records on microfilm


Note: All these records (FHL film 532454 (1st of 1780)) listed below are online at FamilySearch.org as a browsable collection only (as of Aug. 2013). Also, it is not clearly stated, but these records are for the entire county up to 1855, though only for Middlesex South after that.

  • Grantor indexes, 1639-1950, 358 reels.
    As 1639-1799 (3); 1800-1835 (3); 1836-1846 (2); 1847-1859 (6); 1860-1869 (14); 1870-1880 (21); 1881-1890 (22); 1891-1895 (15); 1896-1950 (272).
  • Grantee indexes, 1639-1905, 95 reels.
    As 1639-1799 (3); 1800-1835 (3); 1836-1846 (2); 1847-1859 (6); 1860-1869 (11); 1870-1880 (18); 1881-1890 (16); 1891-1895 (13); 1896-1905 (23).
  • Deeds, v. 1 (1639) - v. 2790 (1899).
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Probate Records

Probate and Family Court is organized on a county level in Massachusetts since the creation of the counties. The main records genealogists seek are testate (wills), intestate (administrations), guardianships, and divorces (since 1922), though there are many more that are valuable to any researcher, too. See a further discussion of the topic in general on the Massachusetts page.

Middlesex County operates one office for the entire county holding all the records. Most probates are handled by one of the four satellite offices in the county.

Middlesex County Probate and Family Court
208 Cambridge Street
East Cambridge MA 02141
Phone 617-768-5858
Email middlesexprobate@middlesexprobate.com

Cambridge Satellite Session
121 Third Street
Cambridge MA 02141

Concord Satellite Session
305 Walden Street
Concord MA 01742

Marlborough Satellite Session
45 Williams Street
Marlborough MA 01752

Lowell Satellite Session
360 Gorham Street
Lowell MA 01852

Original records


The original records are likely still stored at the courthouse. That could not be confirmed by a telephone call to the court in August 2013.

Original records online


There are no records available online, but the FamilySearch.org is scheduled to upload the Middlesex County Probate records from 1648 to 1967 in the future. [as of Aug. 2013]

Original records on microfilm


The following records are available at the FHL film 385978 (1st of 886); Massachusetts Archives through 1871 with record books to 1909 and file papers to 19846; and New England Historic Genealogical Society through 1924 (1st series, complete) and through 1967 (2nd series, incomplete).

  • For indexes, see published books below.
  • Docket books, #1-45383.
  • Record books, v. 1-609.
  • File papers, #1-45383.

At FHL film 553248 (1st of 295):

  • Probate packets, 2nd series, 1872-1967, #1-19935.

At FHL film 385974 and Massachusetts Archives:

  • Miscellaneous index and records, 1659-1692
Manuscript records


Published 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:

  • County Court Folio Collection, card index.
  • County Court, file papers, folio collection, folios 1-303, 1649-1728; 1B-200A, 1693-1790.
  • County Court, file papers, folio collection, index.
  • County Court, file papers, folio collection, contents, folios 1-251B, 1-4.
  • County Court, record books, 1649-1663, 1671-1686 (Pulsher trans.).

Derivative records published:

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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:

At the Massachusetts Archives:

  • Court of General Sessions, record books, 1686-1831.
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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:

At the Massachusetts Archives:

  • Court of Common Pleas, 1686-1689, 1699-1847.
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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 Middlesex County
Record Dates Location Index Microfilm/Online
Ct. of Common Pleas
Supreme Judicial Ct.
1809-1906 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) FHL Digital Capture 7117754 (1st of 15) (part of above); Part of the New England Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
First Dist. Ct.
No. Middlesex (Ayer) - Records
1887-1906 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) FHL Digital Capture 7117737, 7117739 (part of above); Part of the New England Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
First Dist. Ct.
So. Middlesex (Framingham) - Records
1885-1906 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) FHL Digital Capture 7137302 (1st of 3) (part of above); Part of the New England Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
First Dist. Ct.
E. Middlesex (Malden) - Records
1885-1906 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) FHL Digital Capture 7156001 (1st of 13) (part of above); Part of the New England Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
First Dist. Ct.
E. Middlesex (Waltham) - Records
1885-1906 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) FHL Digital Capture 7173060-7173066 (part of above); Part of the New England Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
Fourth Dist. Ct.
E. Middlesex (Woburn) - Records
1885-1906 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) FHL Digital Capture 7173043-7173047 (part of above); Part of the New England Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
Lowell Dist Ct. - Records 1836-1906 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) FHL Digital Capture 7137236 (1st of 55) (part of above); Part of the New England Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
Marlborough Dist. Ct. - Records 1885-1906 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) FHL Digital Capture 7173056-7173059 (part of above); Part of the New England Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
Middlessex County Naturalization Records
Record Dates Location Index Microfilm/Online
Superior Court 1842-1991 Judicial Archives Card index Records, 1906-1944, at Mass. Arch. RR; Records, 1841-1884, FHL film 963672-963676; Declarations, 1906-1945, FHL film 2156992 (1st of 10); Petitions, 1911-1945, FHL film 2188907 (1st of 30) and Mass. Arch. RR; Card index, 1800-1885, FHL film 1420474 Item 2; Index, 1906-1984, at Mass. Arch. RR and FHL film 2155887 (1st of 14)
Lowell
District Court
1885-1906 Judicial Archives Docketed NO microfilm
Malden
District Court
1885-1906 Judicial Archives Docketed NO microfilm
Newton
District Court
1885-1906 Judicial Archives Card index NO microfilm
Somerville
District Court
1886-1906 Judicial Archives Docketed, 1894-1906 NO microfilm
Woburn
District Court
1894-1906 Judicial Archives Docketed, 1892-1906 NO microfilm
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Published records and articles


  • Hendrik Hartog, "The Public Law of a County Court: Judicial Government in Eighteenth Century Massachusetts" in American Journal of Legal History, 20 [1976]: 282-329.
    A study of the records of the Middlesex County Court of General Sessions, 1728-1803.
    WorldCat (Other Libraries); FHL book 973 B2ajL v. 20.
    Digital version at Jstor ($).
  • Nathaniel Harris, Records of the Court of Nathaniel Harris, one of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace within and for the county of Middlesex, holden at Watertown from 1734 to 1761 ... (Watertown, Mass., 1938), 135 pp.
    WorldCat (Other Libraries); FHL digital link.
  • [Alicia Crane Williams], "Handlist of Middlesex County Massachusetts Fornication cases, 1649-1749" (S.l., typ., 1979), 23 pp.
    Not on WorldCat; Not at FHL; Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants Library.
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Maps

There are so many published maps of interest to genealogists and historians that this list will not be recreated here. The focus is with resources you can access online.

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Middlesex County Massachusetts Genealogy Societies

Massachusetts Society of Genealogists
PO Box 215
Ashland MA 01721
Email president@msoginc.org

Woburn Public Library
45 Pleasant Street
Woburn MA 01801
Phone 781-933-0148
Archives and Local History room

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Middlesex County Massachusetts Genealogy References