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''[[United States|United States]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Massachusetts]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]]'' '''Worcester County'''  
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''[[United States Genealogy|United States]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Massachusetts Genealogy Guide|Massachusetts]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]]'' '''Worcester County'''<br>
  
<br>
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This is a historical and genealogical guide to the county of Worcester. 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.
  
{{MADC}}
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== Worcester County Massachusetts History  ==
  
<br>
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=== Brief History  ===
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Worcester County was created in the middle of the two largest counties with a third county throwing in another small part collecting the towns of Lancaster, Leicester, Lunenburg, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Westborough, and Worcester from Middlesex County; Hassanamisco [''later Grafton''], Medfield, Mendon, Oxford, Sutton, Uxbridge, and Woodstock from Suffolk County; and Brookfield and "the south town laid out to the Narraganset soldiers" [''likely Brimfield''] from Hampshire County. Settlement was mainly an outgrowth of the older settlements to the east and to a lesser degree from the Connecticut River Valley. There was an influx after the Revolutionary War that included migration up from Rhode Island and Connecticut in addition to the east. This is the largest county in area and there have been fifteen attempts to split the county though none were successful. The county seat is Worcester, the second largest city in all of New England. 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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<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>
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<br>
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=== Historical Data  ===
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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#WORCESTER Massachusetts Atlas of Historical County Boundaries]</ref> with additions from various sources.
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{| cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1"
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|-
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! width="100" scope="col" | Dates
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! width="500" scope="col" | Events
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|-
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| 10 July 1731
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| Worcester County was created from area along the undefined border between [[Hampshire County, Massachusetts Genealogy|Hampshire County]] to the west and [[Middlesex County, Massachusetts Genealogy|Middlesex County]] to the east plus the southwestern corner of [[Suffolk County, Massachusetts Genealogy|Suffolk County]] that included what is now [[Woodstock, Connecticut|Woodstock, Connecticut]]. [Prov. Laws, 2: 584]
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|-
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| 29 June 1732
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| Added land from Groton and Littleton in Middlesex Co. when the town of Harvard was established.
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|-
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| 14 June 1735
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| Added land from Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., when western half of town was set off as the new town of Upton, Worcester Co.
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|-
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| 16 Jan. 1741/2
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| Added land from Brimfield and Kingsfield [''now Palmer''], Hampshire Co., with western part of Brookfield to set off the new town of Western [''now Warren''].
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|-
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| -- May 1749
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| [[Woodstock, Connecticut]] seceded to Connecticut.
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|-
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| 12 Apr. 1753<br>9 June 1756
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| Borders redefined and dispute between Hardwick and Greenwich, Hampshire Co., settled.
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|-
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| 5 Jan. 1764
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| Small gain to Western [''now Warren''] from Palmer, Hampshire Co.
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|-
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| 5 Feb. 1765
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| Small loss when part of Hardwick annexed to Greenwich, Hampshire Co.
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|-
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| 6 Mar. 1767
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| Small loss when part of Ashburnham was annexed to northern half of Fitchburg, Middlesex Co., to set off the new town of Ashby, Middlesex Co.
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|-
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| 25 Feb. 1783
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| Small loss when part of Harvard annexed to Boxborough, Middlesex Co.
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|-
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| 15 Oct. 1783
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| Part of Athol and Royalton set off to create the new town of Orange, Hampshire Co.
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|-
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| 16 Mar. 1784
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| Small gain when parts of Bolton and Northborough set off to create the new town of Berlin with a small part annexed from Marlborough, Middlesex Co.
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|-
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| 7 Mar. 1786
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| Small gain when Southborough annexed part of Framingham, Middlesex Co.
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|-
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| 16 Nov. 1792
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| Large triangular piece of land in Ashburnham annexed to Ashby, Middlesex Co.
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|-
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| 15 July 1794
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| Small gain when Western [''now Warren''] annexed part of Palmer, Hampshire Co.
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|-
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| 18 Feb. 1801
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| Large gain when parts of Hardwick and Petersham set off to create the new town of Dana with a part annexed from Greenwich, Hampshire Co.
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|-
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| 20 June 1807
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| Small gain when Northborough annexed part of Marlborough, Middlesex Co.
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|-
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| 8 Mar. 1808
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| Small gain when Upton annexed part of Hopkinton, Middlesex Co.
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|-
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| 7 Feb. 1816
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| Small gain when Athol annexed part of Orange, Hampshire Co.
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|-
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| 8 Feb. 1823
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| Small loss when a part of Western [''now Warren''] was annexed to Ware, Hampshire Co.
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|-
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| 3 Nov. 1826
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| Irregularities of the county line with Windham Co., Conn., straightened.
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|-
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| 11 Feb. 1829
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| One acre gained when Bolton annexed part of Marlborough, Middlesex Co.
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|-
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| 3 Mar. 1829
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| Small loss when a part of Fitchburg was annexed to Ashby, Middlesex Co.
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|-
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| 5 Feb. 1830
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| Small gain when Athol annexed part of New Salem, Franklin Co.
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|-
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| 7 Feb. 1831
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| Small loss when a part of Western [''now Warren''] was annexed by Palmer, Hampden Co.
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|-
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| 27 Mar. 1835
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| Gained when Milford annexed part of Holliston and Hopkinton, Middlesex Co.
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|-
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| 16 Mar. 1837
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| Gained when Athol annexed part of New Salem, Franklin Co.
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|-
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| 16 Mar. 1838
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| Redefined border between Bolton and Marlborough, Middlesex Co.
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|-
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| 24 Mar. 1843
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| Small loss when a part of Southborough was annexed by Marlborough, Middlesex Co.
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|-
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| 3 Mar. 1846<br>25 Apr. 1848
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| Border redefined between Lunenburg and Shirley, Middlesex Co.
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|-
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| 1 Apr. 1859
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| Small gain when Milford annexed part of Holliston, Middlesex Co.
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|-
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| 20 Mar. 1868
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| Small loss when part of Bolton was annexed by Hudson, Middlesex Co.
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|-
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| 7 Mar. 1872
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| Exchanged between Mendon and Bellingham, Norfolk Co.
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|-
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| 16 May 1901<br>1 May 1905
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| Redefined border for Southborough and Berlin with Marlborough and Hudson, Middlesex Co.
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|-
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| 14 June 1906
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| Small loss when part of Harvard was annexed by Boxborough and Littleton, Middlesex Co.
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|-
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| 16 May 1907
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| Redefined border for Milford and Upton with Hopkinton, Middlesex Co.
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|-
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| 28 Apr. 1938
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| Large gain when Quabbin Reservoir created and "drowned" four towns. Petersham annexed part of Dana, and Greenwich and Prescott, Hampshire Co., and Hardwick annexed part of Greenwich.
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|}
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<div style="width: 147%"><center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center><br>  
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=== Towns and Cities  ===
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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-worcester.png|right|400px|Ma-worcester.png]]  
 
[[Image:Ma-worcester.png|right|400px|Ma-worcester.png]]  
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<center>[[Ashburnham, Massachusetts|Ashburnham (1765)]] | [[Athol, Massachusetts|Athol (1762)]] | [[Auburn, Massachusetts|Auburn (1778)]] | [[Barre, Massachusetts|Barre (1774)]]<br>[[Berlin, Massachusetts|Berlin (1812)]] | [[Blackstone, Massachusetts|Blackstone (1845)]] | [[Bolton, Massachusetts|Bolton (1738)]] | [[Boylston, Massachusetts|Boylston (1785)]]<br>[[Brookfield, Massachusetts|Brookfield (1718)]] | [[Charlton, Massachusetts|Charlton (1775)]] | [[Clinton, Massachusetts|Clinton (1850)]] | [[Douglas, Massachusetts|Douglas (1775)]]<br>[[Dudley, Massachusetts|Dudley (1732)]] | [[East Brookfield, Massachusetts|East Brookfield(1920)]] | [[Fitchburg, Massachusetts|Fitchburg (1764)]] | [[Gardner, Massachusetts|Gardner (1785)]]<br>[[Grafton, Massachusetts|Grafton (1735)]] | [[Hardwick, Massachusetts|Hardwick (1739)]] | [[Harvard, Massachusetts|Harvard (1732)]] | [[Holden, Massachusetts|Holden (1741)]]<br>[[Hopedale, Massachusetts|Hopedale (1886)]] | [[Hubbardston, Massachusetts|Hubbardston (1775)]] | [[Lancaster, Massachusetts|Lancaster (1653)]] | [[Leicester, Massachusetts|Leicester (1714)]]<br>[[Leominster, Massachusetts|Leominster (1740)]] | [[Lunenburg, Massachusetts|Lunenburg (1728)]] | [[Mendon, Massachusetts|Mendon (1667)]] | [[Milford, Massachusetts|Milford (1780)]]<br>[[Millbury, Massachusetts|Millbury (1813)]] | [[Millville, Massachusetts|Millville (1916)]] | [[New Braintree, Massachusetts|New Braintree (1775)]] | [[North Brookfield, Massachusetts|North Brookfield (1812)]]<br>[[Northborough, Massachusetts|Northborough (1775)]] | [[Northbridge, Massachusetts|Northbridge (1775)]] | [[Oakham, Massachusetts|Oakham (1775)]] | [[Oxford, Massachusetts|Oxford (1713)]]<br>[[Paxton, Massachusetts|Paxton (1775)]] | [[Petersham, Massachusetts|Petersham (1754)]] | [[Phillipston, Massachusetts|Phillipston (1786)]] | [[Princeton, Massachusetts|Princeton (1771)]]<br>[[Royalston, Massachusetts|Royalston (1765)]] | [[Rutland, Massachusetts|Rutland (1713)]] | [[Shrewsbury, Massachusetts|Shrewsbury (1727)]] | [[Southborough, Massachusetts|Southborough (1727)]]<br>[[Southbridge, Massachusetts|Southbridge (1816)]] | [[Spencer, Massachusetts|Spencer (1775)]] | [[Sterling, Massachusetts|Sterling (1781)]] | [[Sturbridge, Massachusetts|Sturbridge (1738)]]<br>[[Sutton, Massachusetts|Sutton (1714)]] | [[Templeton, Massachusetts|Templeton (1762)]] | [[Upton, Massachusetts|Upton (1735)]] | [[Uxbridge, Massachusetts|Uxbridge (1727)]]<br>[[Warren, Massachusetts|Warren (1742)]] | [[Webster, Massachusetts|Webster (1832)]] | [[West Boylston, Massachusetts|West Boylston (1808)]] | [[West Brookfield, Massachusetts|West Brookfield (1848)]]<br>[[Westborough, Massachusetts|Westborough (1717)]] | [[Westminster, Massachusetts|Westminster (1770)]] | [[Winchendon, Massachusetts|Winchendon (1764)]] | [[Worcester, Massachusetts|Worcester (1684)]]</center>
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<br> '''Ceded to Connecticut:''' [[Woodstock, Connecticut|Woodstock]]<br>
  
=== [http://lwvma.org/govcounty.shtml County Courthouse] ===
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'''Extinct Town:''' [[Dana, Massachusetts|Dana (1801-1938)]]<br>
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<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>
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<br>
  
[http://www.courtreference.com/Worcester-County-Massachusetts-Courts.htm Worcester County Courthouse]<br>2 Main Street; <br>Worcester, MA 01608-1116<br>Phone: 508.770.0825&nbsp;<br><br>Register&nbsp;of Deeds has land records Probate Court has <br>probate records from 1731; Town Clerks have birth, marriage<br>and death records<ref name="HB">''The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America'', 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002)Worchester County, Massachusetts, p.331.</ref>
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=== County Histories  ===
  
In 1997, the county governments of Middlesex, Berkshire, Essex, Hampden and Worcester were abolished.&nbsp; Their functions were turned over to state agencies.&nbsp; Sheriffs in these counties still administer jails but their employees are state employees.&nbsp; The legislation to abolish these county governments transferred Registeries of Deeds to the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Commonwealth. <br>Bristol, Dukes, Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth and Suffolk county governments remain substantially unchanged. <br><br>Towns Organized Before 1800: <br>Ashburnham 1765, <br>Athol 1762, <br>Auburn 1778, <br>Barre 1753, <br>Berlin 1784, <br>Bolton 1738, <br>Boylston 1786, <br>Brookfield 1673, <br>Charlton 1754, <br>Douglas 1746, <br>Fitchburg, 1764, <br>Gardner 1785, <br>Grafton 1735, <br>Greenwich 1754, <br>Hardwick 1739,<br>Harvard 1732, <br>Hubbardston 1767, <br>Lancaster 1653, <br>Leicester 1714,<br>Leominister 1740, <br>Lunenburg 1728, <br>Mendon 1667, <br>Milford 1780, <br>New Braintree 1751, <br>Northborough 1766, <br>Northbridge 1772, <br>Oakham 1762, <br>Oxford 1693, <br>Paxton 1765, <br>Petersham 1754, <br>Phillipston 1786,<br>Princeton 1759, <br>Royalston 1765,<br>Rutland 1714, <br>Shrewsbury 1720, <br>Southborough 1727,<br>Spencer 1753, <br>Sterling 1781, <br>Sutton 1714, <br>Templeton 1762, <br>Upton 1735, <br>Uxbridge 1742, <br>Warren 1742,<br>Westbourough 1717, <br>Westminister 1759, <br>Winchendon 1762, <br>Worcester 1684.
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{{MAWorCoMap}}Works written on the county include:  
<div style="float: left; width: 147%">
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=== History  ===
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==== Parent County ====
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*''Biographical Review ... containing life sketches of leading citizens of Worcester County, Massachusetts'' (Boston, 1899), 1229 pp.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1835328 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|220166|item|disp=FHL book 974.43 D3b and film 1698091 Item 4}} (with digital link).<br>Digital versions at [http://archive.org/details/biographicalreviwc1899biog Internet Archive] and [http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=25759 Ancestry] ($).<br>
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*Francis Everett Blake, ''Worcester County, Massachusetts, Warnings, 1737-1788'' (Worcester, Mass., 1899; rep. Camden, Me., 1992), 101 pp.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/25930764 WorldCat (Other Libraries)] (1992 ed.); {{FHL|739018|item|disp=FHL book 974.43 N2w}} (1992 ed.).<br>Digital versions at [http://archive.org/details/worcestercountym00blak Internet Archive] and [http://books.google.com/books?id=7ssTAAAAYAAJ Google Books].<br>
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*Rufus Choate, ''Argument for the Division of Worcester County on the petition of O. L. Huntley and others'' (Boston, 1854), 67 pp.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/12218246 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; Not at FHL.<br>Digital versions at [http://archive.org/details/argumentfordivi00choagoog Internet Archive], [http://books.google.com/books?id=T61i6E8_Wq0C Google Books], and [http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=16893 Ancestry] ($).<br>
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*Zelote Wood Coombs, "Worcester County: its history, with discussion of attempts to divide it" in ''Worcester Historical Society Publications'', New Series, 1 [1928-1935]: 169-184.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1812569 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|159413|item|disp=FHL book 974.43/W2 H25wa}}.<br>
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*Ellery Bicknell Crane, ''History of Worcester County, Massachusetts'' (New York, 1924), 3v.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/4395752 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|215225|item|disp=FHL book 974.43 H2c v. # and film 1573584 Item 5}} (with digital links for v. 1-2).<br>
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*[Isaac Goodwin], "A Catalogue of the Several Congregational Ministers in the County of Worcester" in ''Worcester Magazine and Historical Journal'', 2 [1826]: 371-375.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/6824311 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|62888|item|disp=FHL film 1698203 Item 5}}.<br>Digital versions at [http://archive.org/stream/worcestermagazinv2worc#page/n753/mode/2up Internet Archive] and [http://books.google.com/books?id=Y_07AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA371 Google Books].<br>
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*William B. Harding, "Origins of the Names of the Towns in Worcester County" in ''Proceedings of the Worcester Society of Antiquity'' 5 [1883], [http://archive.org/stream/collectionsofworv5worc#page/n487/mode/2up 97-117].<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/12787147 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|427662|item|disp=FHL book 974.43/W2 H25w v. #}}.<br>
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*D. Hamilton Hurd, ed., ''History of Worcester County, Massachusetts, with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men'' (Philadelphia, 1889), 2v. (1762 pp.).<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/11670942 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|521327|item|disp=FHL book 974.43 H2hd v. # and film 2055450 and 2055304}} and {{FHL|1922450|item|disp=FHL digital book}}.<br>Digital versions at Internet Archive ([http://archive.org/details/historyofworcest01hurd v. 1] and [http://archive.org/details/historyofworcest02hurd v. 2]) and [http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/008651228 Hathi Trust].<br>
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*Lincoln Newton Kinnicutt, ''Indian Names of Places in Worcester County, Massachusetts, with interpretations of some of them'' (Worcester, Mass., 1905), 59 pp.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/9596546 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|1880679|item|disp=FHL digital book}}.<br>Digital versions at [http://archive.org/details/indiannamesofpla00kinnic Internet Archive] and [http://books.google.com/books?id=JKcC6y383pQC Google Books].<br>
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*Kevin Joseph MacWade, "Worcester County, 1750-1774: a study of a provincial patronage elite," Ph.D. dissertation, Boston Univ., 1974, vii, 193 leaves.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1670606 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; Not at FHL.<br>
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*Abijah P. Marvin, ''History of Worcester County, Massachusetts, ... from its first settlement to the present time, with a history and description of its cities and towns'' (Boston, 1879), 2v.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1804192 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|215148|item|disp=FHL film 1321003 Item 1 and 1425612 Item 3}} (with digital link).<br>Digital versions at Internet Archive ([http://archive.org/details/historyofworcest01marv v. 1] and [http://archive.org/details/historyofworcest02marv v. 2]), Google Books ([http://books.google.com/books?id=zDydEUfKy20C v. 1] and [http://books.google.com/books?id=Rj4WqxsQu5UC v. 2]), and [http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009585742 Hathi Trust].<br>
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*Thomas Noyes, "Complete List of Congregational Ministers, in the County of Worcester, Mass., from its settlement to the present time" in ''American Quarterly Register'', 10 [1837-1838]: [http://archive.org/stream/americanquarterlv10amer#page/46/mode/2up 47-65].<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/145084550 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; Not at FHL.<br>
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*Peter Whitney, ''The History of the County of Worcester, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: with a particular account of every town from its first settlement to the present time; including its ecclesiastical state, together with a geographical description of the same, to which is prefixed, a map of the county, at large, from actual survey'' (Worcester, Mass., 1793), vi, 339 pp.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/62841132 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|216679|item|disp=FHL film 1321014 Item 3}}.<br>Digital versions at [http://archive.org/details/historyofcountyo00whit Internet Archive] and [http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/007675884 Hathi Trust].<br>
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*Henry Augustus Willis, "The Division of Worcester County" in ''Proceedings of the Fitchburg Historical Society'', 3 [1902]: 70-83.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1775360 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|215622|item|disp=FHL book 974.43/F1 H2f v.#}}.<br>Digital versions at [http://archive.org/stream/proceedingsoffit031895fitc#page/70/mode/2up Internet Archive], [http://books.google.com/books?id=gWwWAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA70 Google Books], and [http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009557919 Haiti Trust].<br>
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*[http://worcester.bettysgenealogy.org/ The Worcester County MAGenWeb Project], an member of The MAGenWeb Project, an affiliate of [http://www.usgenweb.org/ The USGenWeb Project]. <br>
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*[http://usgwarchives.net/ma/mafiles.htm#Worcester The USGenWeb Archives Project] for Worcester County
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*{{FHL|Massachusetts%2C+Worcester|subject|disp=FamilySearch.org}} FamilySearch Catalog for Worcester County
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<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>
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<br>
  
*Created 5 April 1731 from [[Hampshire County, Massachusetts|Hampshire]], [[Middlesex County, Massachusetts|Middlesex]] and [[Suffolk County, Massachusetts|Suffolk]] counties <ref name="HBG">[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/50140092&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;referer=brief_results ''Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed.''] (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 181. [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].</ref>
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== Worcester County Massachusetts Genealogy Resources  ==
  
==== Boundary Changes ====
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=== Vital Records ===
  
==== Record Loss  ====
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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 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>
  
=== Places / Localities  ===
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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>
  
==== Populated Places  ====
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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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<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>
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<br>
  
{{MAWorcesterCitiesList}}
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=== Land Records  ===
  
'''Towns'''  
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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. Worcester County is divided into two districts. The county was one district until the creation of the Northern District on 1 August '''1884'''.
  
{| width="51%" class="FCK__ShowTableBorders"
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[http://www.sec.state.ma.us/rod/rodnw/nwidx.htm '''Worcester Northern District Registry of Deeds''']<br>Putnam Place<br>166 Boulder Drive, Suite 202<br>Fitchburg MA 01420<br>Phone 978-342-2132<br>Email [mailto:fitchreg@sec.state.ma.us fitchreg@sec.state.ma.us]<br>This district includes Ashburnham, Fitchburg, Leonminster, Lunenburg, and Westminster. Records date back to 1868.<br>
|-
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<center>'''Original records'''</center>
| valign="top" |
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<br> Records are available at the Registry. Most of the records are available [http://74.8.243.133/ '''ONLINE'''], they are:
*[[Ashburnham, Massachusetts|Ashburnham]]
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*[[Athol, Massachusetts|Athol]]
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*[[Auburn, Massachusetts|Auburn]]
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*[[Barre, Massachusetts|Barre]]
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*[[Berlin, Massachusetts|Berlin]]
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*[[Blackstone, Massachusetts|Blackstone]]
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*[[Bolton, Massachusetts|Bolton]]
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*[[Boylston, Massachusetts|Boylston]]
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*[[Brookfield, Massachusetts|Brookfield]]
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*Recorded Land indexes, 1955-present (Note: indexes prior to 1982 have not been verified).<br>
*[[Charlton, Massachusetts|Charlton]]
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*Recorded Land Scanned Index by name, 1868-1965 (Note: work in progress).<br>
*[[Clinton, Massachusetts|Clinton]]
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*Recorded Land images.<br>
*[[Douglas, Massachusetts|Douglas]]
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*Recorded Land Plan indexes and images.<br>
*[[Dudley, Massachusetts|Dudley]]
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*Land Court name index, 1899-present.<br>
*[[East Brookfield, Massachusetts|East Brookfield]]
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*Land Court document images, 1899-present.<br>
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*Land Court certificates, 1899-present.<br>
  
| valign="top" |
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There are no microfilmed records from this district.
*[[Grafton, Massachusetts|Grafton]]
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*[[Hardwick, Massachusetts|Hardwick]]
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*[[Harvard, Massachusetts|Harvard]]
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*[[Holden, Massachusetts|Holden]]
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*[[Hopedale, Massachusetts|Hopedale]]
+
*[[Hubbardston, Massachusetts|Hubbardston]]
+
*[[Lancaster, Massachusetts|Lancaster]]
+
*[[Leicester, Massachusetts|Leicester]]
+
*[[Lunenburg, Massachusetts|Lunenburg]]
+
*[[Mendon, Massachusetts|Mendon]]
+
*[[Milford, Massachusetts|Milford]]
+
*[[Millbury, Massachusetts|Millbury]]
+
*[[Millville, Massachusetts|Millville]]
+
*[[New Braintree, Massachusetts|New Braintree]]
+
  
| valign="top" |
+
[http://www.worcesterdeeds.com/ '''Worcester South District Registry of Deeds''']<br>90 Front Street<br>Worcester MA 01608<br>Phone: 508-798-7717<br>This district included the entire county up to '''1884''' and all southern towns not listed above after that.<br>
*[[North Brookfield, Massachusetts|North Brookfield]]  
+
<center>'''Original records'''</center>
*[[Northborough, Massachusetts|Northborough]]
+
<br> The original records are held by the Registry. All their records are available '''ONLINE''' at [http://www.masslandrecords.com/worcester/ www.masslandrecords.com/worcester]. Deeds are searchable by index since 1961. The older deeds can be viewed on the site, but only by volume and page. The records fully indexed online are:<br>
*[[Northbridge, Massachusetts|Northbridge]]
+
*[[Oakham, Massachusetts|Oakham]]
+
*[[Oxford, Massachusetts|Oxford]]
+
*[[Paxton, Massachusetts|Paxton]]
+
*[[Petersham, Massachusetts|Petersham]]
+
*[[Phillipston, Massachusetts|Phillipston]]
+
*[[Princeton, Massachusetts|Princeton]]
+
*[[Royalston, Massachusetts|Royalston]]
+
*[[Rutland, Massachusetts|Rutland]]
+
*[[Shrewsbury, Massachusetts|Shrewsbury]]
+
*[[Southborough, Massachusetts|Southborough]]
+
*[[Spencer, Massachusetts|Spencer]]
+
  
| valign="top" |
+
*Deeds [''recorded land''], 1961-present.<br>
*[[Sterling, Massachusetts|Sterling]]
+
*Plans, 1900-present.<br>
*[[Sturbridge, Massachusetts|Sturbridge]]
+
*Registered Land [''Land Court''], 1899-present.<br>
*[[Sutton, Massachusetts|Sutton]]
+
*Registered Land Plans, 1899.<br>
*[[Templeton, Massachusetts|Templeton]]
+
*[[Upton, Massachusetts|Upton]]
+
*[[Uxbridge, Massachusetts|Uxbridge]]
+
*[[Warren, Massachusetts|Warren]]
+
*[[Webster, Massachusetts|Webster]]
+
*[[West Boylston, Massachusetts|West Boylston]]
+
*[[West Brookfield, Massachusetts|West Brookfield]]
+
*[[Westborough, Massachusetts|Westborough]]
+
*[[Westminster, Massachusetts|Westminster]]
+
*[[Winchendon, Massachusetts|Winchendon]]
+
  
|}
+
Note: To see records before 1961, you must first go to the SEARCH OUR DOCUMENTS option from the Registry page at the left that takes you to the masslandrecords.com website for "Southern" Worcester District. 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 period up to 1839. Later periods to 1960 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.<br>
 +
<center>'''Original records on microfilm'''</center>
 +
<br> Note: All these records ({{FHL|210594|item|disp=FHL film 842930 (1st of 416)}}) listed below are online at [https://familysearch.org/search/image/index#uri=https%3A%2F%2Ffamilysearch.org%2Frecords%2Fwaypoint%2FM9QJ-FNN%3A2018826800%3Fcc%3D2106411 FamilySearch.org] as a browsable collection only (as of Aug. 2013).<br>
  
==== Neighboring Counties  ====
+
*Grantor indexes, 1731-1889, 22 reels.<br>
 +
*Grantee indexes, 1731-1889, 18 reels.<br>
 +
*Deeds, v. 1 (1722) - v. 716 (1866).<br>
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>
 +
<br>
  
[[Franklin County, Massachusetts|Franklin ]]| [[Hampden County, Massachusetts|Hampden ]]| [[Hampshire County, Massachusetts|Hampshire ]]| [[Middlesex County, Massachusetts|Middlesex ]]| [[Norfolk County, Massachusetts|Norfolk ]]| '''Connecticut '''counties: [[Tolland County, Connecticut|Tolland ]]| [[Windham County, Connecticut|Windham ]]| '''New Hampshire''' counties: [[Cheshire County, New Hampshire|Cheshire ]]| [[Hillsborough County, New Hampshire|Hillsborough ]]| [[Providence County, Rhode Island|Providence County]], Rhode Island
+
=== Probate Records  ===
  
=== Resources  ===
+
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>
  
==== Cemeteries  ====
+
[http://worcesterprobate.com/ '''Worcester Probate and Family Court''']<br>225 Main Street Suite 2001<br>Worcester MA 01608<br>508 831-2200<br>
 +
<center>'''Original records'''</center>
 +
<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]<br>
 +
<center>'''Original records online'''</center>
 +
<br> There are no records available online, but the FamilySearch.org is scheduled to upload the [[Massachusetts, Worcester Probate Files (FamilySearch Historical Records)|Worcester Probate Files]] from 1731 to 1925 in the future. [as of Aug. 2013].<br>
 +
<center>'''Original records on microfilm'''</center>
 +
<br> The following records are available at the [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/275965 FHL film 859169 (1st of 319)]; [https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Massachusetts_Genealogy_Guide#Archives Massachusetts Archives]; and [http://library.nehgs.org/record=b1051144~S0 New England Historic Genealogical Society] with records through v. 469 (1881).
  
BillionGraves:
+
*Indexes, 1731-1881, see published books below.<br>
 +
*Docket books, no. 1-68399.<br>
 +
*Record books, v. 1-833, 1731-1915.<br>
 +
*Signed releases, 1865-1879 (only at Massachusetts Archives).<br>
  
*[http://www.billiongraves.com/pages/cemetery/cemetery.php?cemetery_id=48896 Evergreen Cemetery, Leominster]  
+
At [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/275947 FHL film 868526 Item 1]:  
*[http://www.billiongraves.com/pages/cemetery/cemetery.php?cemetery_id=48843 Harvard Center Cemetery, Harvard]
+
*[http://www.billiongraves.com/pages/cemetery/cemetery.php?cemetery_id=48989 Mooreland Cemetery, Paxton]
+
*[http://www.billiongraves.com/pages/cemetery/cemetery.php?cemetery_id=48900 Notre Dame Cemetery, Worcester]
+
*[http://billiongraves.com/pages/cemetery/cemetery.php?cemetery_id=48875 Saint Leo Cemetery, Leominster]
+
*[http://billiongraves.com/pages/cemetery/cemetery.php?cemetery_id=48859 St. Patricks Cemetery, Whitinsville]
+
  
==== Census  ====
+
*Probate records, 1798-1854.<br>Note: Needs to be viewed to see if it is different than the records above.<br>
 +
<center>'''Manuscript records'''</center>
 +
<br>
  
{{Census|Massachusetts}}
+
*Janet K. Pease, "Worcester County, Massachusetts, Probate Abstracts, 1748-1751" (S.l., 1979), 47 leaves, [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/213299 FHL film 1033623 Item 7].<br>
 +
<center>'''Published records'''</center>
 +
<br>
  
===== State Census =====
+
*''Index to the Probate Records of the County of Worcester, Massachusetts'' [1731-1920] (Worcester, Mass., 1898-1920), 5v.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/4323697 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|222800|item|disp=FHL book 974.43 P2h v. #}} (with digital link for up to 1881).<br>Digital versions at Internet Archive: [http://archive.org/details/indextoprobatere04mass Series A, 1731-1881, A-King], [http://archive.org/stream/indextoprobatere03mass#page/n3/mode/2up Series A, 1731-1881, K-Z], [http://archive.org/details/indextoprobatere02mass Series B, 1881-1897], [http://archive.org/stream/indextoprobatere01mass#page/n7/mode/2up Series B, 1897-1909], [http://archive.org/stream/indextoprobatere00mass#page/n3/mode/2up Series B, 1910-1920]; [http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009565728 Hathi Trust - 5v.]; and [http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=5189 Ancestry] ($) (1731-1881).<br>
 +
*Shirley R. Pizziferri, "Early Worcester County Probate Records" in ''Mayflower Descendant'', 37 [1987]: [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md37/MD37-001-002.pdf 1-2], [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md37/MD37-173-176.pdf 173-176]; 38 [1988]: [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md38/MD38-033-038.pdf 33-38], [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md38/MD38-165-168.pdf 165-168]; 39 [1989]: [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md39/MD39-031-034.pdf 31-34], [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md39/MD39-157-160.pdf 157-160]; 40 [1990]: [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md40/MD40-037-038.pdf 37-38], [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md40/MD40-155-158.pdf 155-158]; 41 [1991]: [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md41/MD41-037-044.pdf 37-44], [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md41/MD41-175-178.pdf 175-178]; 42 [1992]: [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md42/MD42-037-040.pdf 37-40], [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md42/MD42-133-136.pdf 133-136]; 43 [1993]: [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md43/MD43-031-036.pdf 31-36], [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md43/MD43-175-182.pdf 175-182]; 44 [1994]: [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md44/MD44-047-050.pdf 47-50], [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md44/MD44-175-180.pdf 175-180]; 45 [1995]: [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md45/MD45-047-050.pdf 47-50], [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md45/MD45-165-170.pdf 165-170]; 46 [1996]: [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md46/MD46-021-024.pdf 21-24], [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md46/MD46-145-146.pdf 145-146]; 47 [1997]: [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md47/MD47-009-012.pdf 9-12], [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md47/MD47-105-108.pdf 105-108]; 48 [1998]: [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md48/MD48-043-046.pdf 43-46], [http://www.massmayflower.org/publications/md/md48/MD48-149-156.pdf 149-156]; 49 [2000]: 62-76; 50 [2001]: 154-164; 52 [2003]: 73-79; 51 [2002]: 105-116.<br>Note: These are abstracts from the original file papers arranged in chronological order as the cases were filed covering July 1731 to March 1746.<br>
 +
*Ruth Q. Wellner, "Worcester County, Massachusetts, Probate Abstracts" in ''Mayflower Descendant'', 53 [2004]: 171-178; 54 [2005]: 13-26, 137-151; 55 [ 2006]: 53-71; 56 [2007]: 32-46; 58 [2009]: 11-26.<br>Note: These are abstracts from the original file papers arranged in chronological order as the cases were filed covering May 1746 to September 1747 and a continuation from the previous item.<br>
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>
 +
=== Other Court Records ===
  
'''''1855 Massachusetts State Census—'''''A free Internet index and images to the 1855 Massachusetts State Census can be viewed on [https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/show#uri=http://www.familysearch.org/searchapi/search/collection/1459985 FamilySearch Historical Records]. This index includes every name listed on the census and is linked to an image including information about each person’s residence and age in 1855, birthplace, occupation, other family members, and neighbors.  
+
The court system can appear to be complex. The system was reorganized in 1686/1692, 1859, and 1978. Described below are the most commonly used records for history and genealogy, but realize that this list is incomplete. For more detailed information regarding court structure, see [[Massachusetts Genealogy Guide#Court_System|Understanding the Massachusetts Court System]].<br><br>Older records are held by:<br>[http://www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arccol/colidx.htm#court '''Supreme Judicial Court Archives''']<br>(administration - records stored in several off-site facilities and the Mass. Archives)<br>16th Floor, Highrise Court House<br>3 Pemberton Square<br>Boston MA 02109<br>Phone 617-557-1082<br>Email [mailto:Elizabeth.Bouvier@sjc.state.ma.us Elizabeth.Bouvier@sjc.state.ma.us]
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
==== Quarterly Court of General Sessions of the Peace  ====
  
'''''1865 Massachusetts State Census'''''—A free Internet index and images to the 1865 Massachusetts State Census can be viewed on [https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/show#uri=http://www.familysearch.org/searchapi/search/collection/1410399 FamilySearch Historical Records.] This index includes every name listed on the census and is linked to an image including information about each person’s residence and age in 1865, birthplace, occupation, other family members, and neighbors.  
+
This court was active from 1731 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>
  
==== Church  ====
+
The records microfilmed at the Family History Library:<br>
  
==== Court ====
+
*Court sessions, v. 1-20, 1731-1862, {{FHL|301449|item|disp=FHL films 859239-859250}}.<br>These films will need to be viewed to see what the post-1827 record contain as the court no longer existed then.<br>
  
==== Gazetteers  ====
+
The records microfilmed at the [https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Massachusetts_Genealogy_Guide#Archives Massachusetts Archives]:<br>
  
=== Genealogy  ===
+
*Court of General Sessions, v. 1-8, 1731-1827.<br>
  
Moorhouse, B-Ann.&nbsp; A Moorhouse Family of Dublin, Carlow and Kildare.&nbsp; Pictures and Genealogy of Moorhouse family in Ireland, Dublin, Carlow, Kildare, with small amount in Worcester Mass. and New York, covering years 1672-1945.&nbsp; Article in The Irish Ancestor, vol.IX, no.1, 1977, Family History Library Ref. 941.5 B2i v9.
+
Derivative records published:<br>
  
==== Land ====
+
*Franklin P. Rice, ed., ''Records of the Court of General Sessions of the Peace for the County of Worcester, Massachusetts, from 1731 to 1737'' (Worcester, Mass., 1882), 197 pp.<br>[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/13497556 WorldCat (Other Libraries)]; {{FHL|427781|item|disp=FHL book 974.43/W2 H25w v. 5 and film 864091 Item 4}}.<br>Digital versions at [http://archive.org/details/recordsofcourtof00rice Internet Archive], [http://books.google.com/books?id=jjY0AQAAMAAJ Google Books], and [http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/010464295 Hathi Trust].<br>
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
==== Inferior Court of Common Pleas ====
  
==== Local Histories  ====
+
This court was active from 1731 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>
  
==== Maps  ====
+
The records microfilmed at the Family History Library:<br>
  
==== Military  ====
+
*Court records, v. 1-11, 1731-1784; Executions, 1774-1792, {{FHL|277027|item|disp=FHL film 868526 Items 2-3 (1st of 8)}}.<br>
 +
*Court records, v. 12-131, 1784-1859, {{FHL|269893|item|disp=FHL film 894969 (1st of 56)}}.<br>
  
*''Names and ranks of men in the military service, 1781-1840'', (microfilm of original records in Grafton, Massachusetts, Salt Lake City, Utah&nbsp;: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1971), {{FHL|275438|item|disp=FHL film  855361 Item 4}}.
+
The records microfilmed at the [https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Massachusetts_Genealogy_Guide#Archives Massachusetts Archives]:<br>
  
==== Newspapers ====
+
*Court of Common Pleas, executions, record book, [1744-1765].<br>
 +
*Court of Common Pleas, record books, v. 1-131, 1731-1859.<br>
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
==== Superior Court ====
  
*[http://www.newspaperarchive.com/ Newspaperarchive.com] ($) has historical newspapers available on-line. Their database has [http://www.newspaperarchive.com/BrowseLocations.aspx?cntry=7&st=50&ci=3091 {{nowrap|Boston newspapers}}], [http://www.newspaperarchive.com/BrowseLocations.aspx?cntry=7&st=50&ci=9894 {{nowrap|Fitchburg newspapers}}] (1868-1977), and [http://www.newspaperarchive.com/BrowseLocations.aspx?cntry=7&st=50&ci=16919 {{nowrap|The Lowell Sun}}] (1878-1977) that covered local news on Worcester County residents as well as residents from surrounding counties.<br>
+
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>  
  
==== Probate ====
+
*Superior Court, divorce index, 1887-1936, at [https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Massachusetts_Genealogy_Guide#Archives Massachusetts Archives].
 +
*Superior Court, divorce docket books, v. 2-11, 1888-1936 [v. 1 missing], at [https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Massachusetts_Genealogy_Guide#Archives Massachusetts Archives].
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
==== Supreme Judicial Court ====
  
==== Taxation  ====
+
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>
  
==== Vital Records  ====
+
*Supreme Judicial Court, record books, v. 1-30, 1797-1887, {{FHL|973544|item|disp=FHL film 2200257 (1st of 10)}} and [https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Massachusetts_Genealogy_Guide#Archives Massachusetts Archives].
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
==== Naturalization Records  ====
  
=== Societies and Libraries  ===
+
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>
 +
<br>
  
==== Family History Centers  ====
+
{| 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
 +
| 1837-1906
 +
| [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)}}
 +
| Petitions, v. 1-37, {{FHL|2126512|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7254629 (1st of 50)}}; Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| Court of Common Pleas
 +
| 1798-1859
 +
| [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)}}
 +
| Petitions, {{FHL|2126513|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7254571 (1st of 5)}}; Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| Western Worcester District Court (Brookfield)
 +
| 1902-1906
 +
| [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)}}
 +
| Petitions, {{FHL|2115473|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7239085}}; Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| First Eastern Worcester District Court (Westborough)
 +
| 1892-1906
 +
| [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)}}
 +
| Petitions, {{FHL|2126524|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7254581}}; Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| Second Eastern Worcester District Court (Clinton)
 +
| 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)}}
 +
| Petitions, {{FHL|2115470|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7239092 (1st of 9)}}; Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| First Northern Worcester District Court (Gardner)
 +
| 1883-1906
 +
| [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)}}
 +
| Petitions (#2-1244), {{FHL|2126525|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7254585 (1st of 6)}}; Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| First Southern Worcester District Court (Southbridge)
 +
| 1898-1905
 +
| [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)}}
 +
| Petitions (#1-576){{FHL|2126526|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7254595}}; Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| Third Southern Worcester District Court (Milford)
 +
| 1900-1903
 +
| [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)}}
 +
| Petitions (#1-445), {{FHL|2126529|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7254634-7254635}}; Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| Central Worcester District Court
 +
| 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)}}
 +
| Petitions, v. 1-29, {{FHL|2142588|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7270457 (1st of 29)}}; Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| Fitchburg Police Court
 +
| 1885-1904
 +
| [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)}}
 +
| Petitions (#1-2272){{FHL|2126528|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7239079 (1st of 7)}}; Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| Winchendon District Court
 +
| 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)}}
 +
| Petitions (#9-46), {{FHL|2126511|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7254559}}; Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| Worcester Police Court
 +
| 1851-1854
 +
| [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)}}
 +
| Petitions, {{FHL|2142634|item|disp=FHL Digital Capture 7283185-7283187}}; Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|}
 +
<center>'''Worcester County Naturalization Records'''</center>
 +
<br>
  
*[[Introduction to LDS Family History Centers]]  
+
{| width="100%" border="1" class="wikitable"
*[[Worcester Massachusetts Family History Center]]
+
|-
 +
! 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
 +
| 1809-1991
 +
| [[#Archives|Judicial Archives]]  
 +
| Card index
 +
| Records, 1906-1945, at [[#Archives|Mass. Arch. RR]]<br>Petitions, 1906-1945, v. 1-165 (#1-43193), and Petition index, 1885-1939, 1939-1949, {{FHL|738770|item|disp=FHL film 2111407 (1st of 123)}}<br>Declarations, 1909-1945, v. 1-101 (#1-57057), {{FHL|819045|item|disp=FHL film 2132429 (1st of 32)}}<br>Returns of naturalization, 1916-1929, {{FHL|700468|item|disp=FHL film 1902579}}<br>Naturalization records index, 1943-1978, and Declarations index, 1943-1978, {{FHL|737641|item|disp=FHL film 2110956 (1st of 10)}}
 +
|-
 +
| Clinton District Court
 +
| 1891-1896
 +
| [[#Archives|Judicial Archives]]
 +
| Card index
 +
| NO microfilm
 +
|-
 +
| Dudley/Webster District Court
 +
| 1885-1906
 +
| [[#Archives|Judicial Archives]]
 +
| Card index
 +
| NO microfilm
 +
|-
 +
| Fitchburg District Court
 +
| 1885-1906
 +
| [[#Archives|Judicial Archives]]
 +
| Card index
 +
| NO microfilm
 +
|-
 +
| Grafton/Westborough District Court
 +
| 1885-1906
 +
| [[#Archives|Judicial Archives]]
 +
| 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)}}
 +
| Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|-
 +
| Worcester District Court
 +
| 1850-1855<br>1885-1906
 +
| [[#Archives|Judicial Archives]]  
 +
| 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)}}
 +
| Part of the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1840474 United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906]
 +
|}
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]] | [[#Other_Court_Records|Top of Court]]</center>
 +
=== Maps  ===
  
=== Web Sites  ===
+
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 and in the Family History Library.<br>
  
*[http://worcester.bettysgenealogy.org/ The Worcester County MAGenWeb Project], an member of [[MAGenWeb|The MAGenWeb Project]], an affiliate of [[USGenWeb|The USGenWeb Project]].
+
*F. W. Beers, ''Atlas of Worcester County, Massachusetts'' (1870), {{FHL|220568|item|disp=FHL book Large Q 974.43 E5b}} (1971 rep.) and {{FHL|1174001|item|disp=FHL CD-ROM no. 1481}}, or online for view or sale at [http://www.historicmapworks.com/Atlas/US/6715/ Historic Map Works].<br>
*[http://usgwarchives.net/ma/mafiles.htm#Worcester The USGenWeb Archives Project] for Worcester County
+
*Newberry Library, Chicago, online version of their [http://historical-county.newberry.org/website/Massachusetts/viewer.htm Massachusetts Historical Counties].<br>
*[http://usgwarchives.net/ma/mafiles.htm#Worcester The USGenWeb Archives Project] for Worcester County (backup site)
+
*Henry F. Walling, [http://maps.bpl.org/id/10120 ''Map of Worcester County, Massachusetts''] (1857), at the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, Boston Public Library.<br>
*{{FHL|Massachusetts%2C+Worcester|subject|disp=FamilySearch.org}} Family History Library catalog for Worcester County
+
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>
 +
== Worcester County Massachusetts Genealogy Societies and Libraries  ==
 +
 
 +
[http://massachusettssocietyofgenealogists.org/worcester.php '''Massachusetts Society of Genealogists - Worcester Chapter''']<br>PO Box 215<br>Ashland MA 01721<br>Email [mailto:president@msoginc.org president@msoginc.org]<br>
 +
 
 +
[http://www.americanantiquarian.org/ '''American Antiquarian Society''']<br>185 Salisbury Street<br>Worcester MA 01609<br>Phone 508-755-5221<br>Email [mailto:library@americanantiquarian.org library@americanantiquarian.org]<br>This is the largest collection of U.S. printed material to 1876 in the United States. It has extensive newspaper and manuscripts holdings and a strong genealogical collection. A [http://www.americanantiquarian.org/collections.htm detailed guide] to the collection by subject is available online and also find items in their [http://catalog.mwa.org/ online catalog].<br>
 +
<center>[[#top|Top of Page]]</center>
 +
=== Family History Centers ===
 +
 
 +
{{FamilySearch Centers Intro}}
 +
 
 +
== Worcester County Massachusetts Genealogy References  ==
 +
 
 +
{{reflist}}
 +
<center>'''Adjacent counties:''' '''''Massachusetts:''''' [[Franklin County, Massachusetts Genealogy|Franklin]] | [[Hampden County, Massachusetts Genealogy|Hampden]] | [[Hampshire County, Massachusetts Genealogy|Hampshire]] | [[Middlesex County, Massachusetts Genealogy|Middlesex]] | [[Norfolk County, Massachusetts Genealogy|Norfolk]]<br>'''''Connecticut:''''' [[Tolland County, Connecticut Genealogy|Tolland]] | [[Windham County, Connecticut Genealogy|Windham]]<br>'''''New Hampshire:''''' [[Cheshire County, New Hampshire Genealogy|Cheshire]] | [[Hillsborough County, New Hampshire Genealogy|Hillsborough]]<br>'''''Rhode Island:''''' [[Providence County, Rhode Island Genealogy|Providence County]]</center>
 +
<br>
 +
</div>
 +
<!--This was designed by Scott Andrew Bartley in conjunction with the Mass. Wiki Team on 29 August 2013-->
  
=== References  ===
+
[[Category:Worcester_County,_Massachusetts]][[Category:Massachusetts_counties]]
<references />{{Massachusetts|Massachusetts}}<br><br>{{Massachusetts-stub}} </div>
+
[[Category:Worcester_County,_Massachusetts]]
+

Latest revision as of 03:43, 6 February 2015

United States Gotoarrow.png Massachusetts Gotoarrow.png Worcester County

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

Worcester County Massachusetts History

Brief History

Worcester County was created in the middle of the two largest counties with a third county throwing in another small part collecting the towns of Lancaster, Leicester, Lunenburg, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Westborough, and Worcester from Middlesex County; Hassanamisco [later Grafton], Medfield, Mendon, Oxford, Sutton, Uxbridge, and Woodstock from Suffolk County; and Brookfield and "the south town laid out to the Narraganset soldiers" [likely Brimfield] from Hampshire County. Settlement was mainly an outgrowth of the older settlements to the east and to a lesser degree from the Connecticut River Valley. There was an influx after the Revolutionary War that included migration up from Rhode Island and Connecticut in addition to the east. This is the largest county in area and there have been fifteen attempts to split the county though none were successful. The county seat is Worcester, the second largest city in all of New England. The county government was abolished on 1 July 1997, but its former jurisdiction is used for state offices as a district.[1]

Top of Page


Historical Data

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

Dates Events
10 July 1731 Worcester County was created from area along the undefined border between Hampshire County to the west and Middlesex County to the east plus the southwestern corner of Suffolk County that included what is now Woodstock, Connecticut. [Prov. Laws, 2: 584]
29 June 1732 Added land from Groton and Littleton in Middlesex Co. when the town of Harvard was established.
14 June 1735 Added land from Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., when western half of town was set off as the new town of Upton, Worcester Co.
16 Jan. 1741/2 Added land from Brimfield and Kingsfield [now Palmer], Hampshire Co., with western part of Brookfield to set off the new town of Western [now Warren].
-- May 1749 Woodstock, Connecticut seceded to Connecticut.
12 Apr. 1753
9 June 1756
Borders redefined and dispute between Hardwick and Greenwich, Hampshire Co., settled.
5 Jan. 1764 Small gain to Western [now Warren] from Palmer, Hampshire Co.
5 Feb. 1765 Small loss when part of Hardwick annexed to Greenwich, Hampshire Co.
6 Mar. 1767 Small loss when part of Ashburnham was annexed to northern half of Fitchburg, Middlesex Co., to set off the new town of Ashby, Middlesex Co.
25 Feb. 1783 Small loss when part of Harvard annexed to Boxborough, Middlesex Co.
15 Oct. 1783 Part of Athol and Royalton set off to create the new town of Orange, Hampshire Co.
16 Mar. 1784 Small gain when parts of Bolton and Northborough set off to create the new town of Berlin with a small part annexed from Marlborough, Middlesex Co.
7 Mar. 1786 Small gain when Southborough annexed part of Framingham, Middlesex Co.
16 Nov. 1792 Large triangular piece of land in Ashburnham annexed to Ashby, Middlesex Co.
15 July 1794 Small gain when Western [now Warren] annexed part of Palmer, Hampshire Co.
18 Feb. 1801 Large gain when parts of Hardwick and Petersham set off to create the new town of Dana with a part annexed from Greenwich, Hampshire Co.
20 June 1807 Small gain when Northborough annexed part of Marlborough, Middlesex Co.
8 Mar. 1808 Small gain when Upton annexed part of Hopkinton, Middlesex Co.
7 Feb. 1816 Small gain when Athol annexed part of Orange, Hampshire Co.
8 Feb. 1823 Small loss when a part of Western [now Warren] was annexed to Ware, Hampshire Co.
3 Nov. 1826 Irregularities of the county line with Windham Co., Conn., straightened.
11 Feb. 1829 One acre gained when Bolton annexed part of Marlborough, Middlesex Co.
3 Mar. 1829 Small loss when a part of Fitchburg was annexed to Ashby, Middlesex Co.
5 Feb. 1830 Small gain when Athol annexed part of New Salem, Franklin Co.
7 Feb. 1831 Small loss when a part of Western [now Warren] was annexed by Palmer, Hampden Co.
27 Mar. 1835 Gained when Milford annexed part of Holliston and Hopkinton, Middlesex Co.
16 Mar. 1837 Gained when Athol annexed part of New Salem, Franklin Co.
16 Mar. 1838 Redefined border between Bolton and Marlborough, Middlesex Co.
24 Mar. 1843 Small loss when a part of Southborough was annexed by Marlborough, Middlesex Co.
3 Mar. 1846
25 Apr. 1848
Border redefined between Lunenburg and Shirley, Middlesex Co.
1 Apr. 1859 Small gain when Milford annexed part of Holliston, Middlesex Co.
20 Mar. 1868 Small loss when part of Bolton was annexed by Hudson, Middlesex Co.
7 Mar. 1872 Exchanged between Mendon and Bellingham, Norfolk Co.
16 May 1901
1 May 1905
Redefined border for Southborough and Berlin with Marlborough and Hudson, Middlesex Co.
14 June 1906 Small loss when part of Harvard was annexed by Boxborough and Littleton, Middlesex Co.
16 May 1907 Redefined border for Milford and Upton with Hopkinton, Middlesex Co.
28 Apr. 1938 Large gain when Quabbin Reservoir created and "drowned" four towns. Petersham annexed part of Dana, and Greenwich and Prescott, Hampshire Co., and Hardwick annexed part of Greenwich.
Top of Page

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-worcester.png
Ashburnham (1765) | Athol (1762) | Auburn (1778) | Barre (1774)
Berlin (1812) | Blackstone (1845) | Bolton (1738) | Boylston (1785)
Brookfield (1718) | Charlton (1775) | Clinton (1850) | Douglas (1775)
Dudley (1732) | East Brookfield(1920) | Fitchburg (1764) | Gardner (1785)
Grafton (1735) | Hardwick (1739) | Harvard (1732) | Holden (1741)
Hopedale (1886) | Hubbardston (1775) | Lancaster (1653) | Leicester (1714)
Leominster (1740) | Lunenburg (1728) | Mendon (1667) | Milford (1780)
Millbury (1813) | Millville (1916) | New Braintree (1775) | North Brookfield (1812)
Northborough (1775) | Northbridge (1775) | Oakham (1775) | Oxford (1713)
Paxton (1775) | Petersham (1754) | Phillipston (1786) | Princeton (1771)
Royalston (1765) | Rutland (1713) | Shrewsbury (1727) | Southborough (1727)
Southbridge (1816) | Spencer (1775) | Sterling (1781) | Sturbridge (1738)
Sutton (1714) | Templeton (1762) | Upton (1735) | Uxbridge (1727)
Warren (1742) | Webster (1832) | West Boylston (1808) | West Brookfield (1848)
Westborough (1717) | Westminster (1770) | Winchendon (1764) | Worcester (1684)


Ceded to Connecticut: Woodstock

Extinct Town: Dana (1801-1938)

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County Histories

MassachusettsNew HampshireConnecticutRhode IslandWorcester CountyFranklin CountyHampshire CountyHampden CountyMiddlesex CountyNorfolk CountyTolland CountyWindham CountyProvidence CountyCheshire CountyHillsborough CountyWorcesterWarrenWest BrookfieldNorth BrookfieldEast BrookfieldBrookfieldSturbridgeSouthbridgeDudleyWebsterDouglasUxbridgeMillvilleBlackstoneMendonNorthbridgeSuttonOxfordCharltonSpencerLeicesterAuburnMillburyGraftonUptonMilfordHopedaleWestboroughSouthboroughNorthboroughBerlinBoltonHarvardLancasterClintonBoylstonShrewsburyWest BoylstonSterlingLeominsterLunenburgFitchburgWestminsterPrincetonHoldenPaxtonRutlandHubbardstonGardnerAshburnhamWinchendonRoyalstonAtholPetershamHardwickNew BraintreeOakhamBarrePhillipstonTempletonWarwickOrangeWendellNew SalemPelhamBelchertownWarePalmerMonsonWalesHollandBrimfieldMedwayBellinghamFranklinAshbyTownsendPepperellDunstableTyngsboroughWestfordGrotonShirleyAyerLittletonBoxboroughActonMaynardStowHudsonMarlboroughSudburyFraminghamAshlandHopkintonHollistonStaffordEllingtonTollandWillingtonUnionAshfordEastfordWoodstockThompsonBurrillvilleGlocesterSmithfieldNorth SmithfieldWoonsocketCumberlandLincolnWinchesterRichmondFitzwilliamRindgeNew IpswichGreenvilleMasonBrooklineHollisNashuaHudson
Modern city and town borders in Worcester County, Massachusetts.

Works written on the county include:

Top of Page


Worcester 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 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.

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

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

Top of Page


Land Records

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. Worcester County is divided into two districts. The county was one district until the creation of the Northern District on 1 August 1884.

Worcester Northern District Registry of Deeds
Putnam Place
166 Boulder Drive, Suite 202
Fitchburg MA 01420
Phone 978-342-2132
Email fitchreg@sec.state.ma.us
This district includes Ashburnham, Fitchburg, Leonminster, Lunenburg, and Westminster. Records date back to 1868.

Original records


Records are available at the Registry. Most of the records are available ONLINE, they are:

  • Recorded Land indexes, 1955-present (Note: indexes prior to 1982 have not been verified).
  • Recorded Land Scanned Index by name, 1868-1965 (Note: work in progress).
  • Recorded Land images.
  • Recorded Land Plan indexes and images.
  • Land Court name index, 1899-present.
  • Land Court document images, 1899-present.
  • Land Court certificates, 1899-present.

There are no microfilmed records from this district.

Worcester South District Registry of Deeds
90 Front Street
Worcester MA 01608
Phone: 508-798-7717
This district included the entire county up to 1884 and all southern towns not listed above after that.

Original records


The original records are held by the Registry. All their records are available ONLINE at www.masslandrecords.com/worcester. Deeds are searchable by index since 1961. The older deeds can be viewed on the site, but only by volume and page. The records fully indexed online are:

  • Deeds [recorded land], 1961-present.
  • Plans, 1900-present.
  • Registered Land [Land Court], 1899-present.
  • Registered Land Plans, 1899.

Note: To see records before 1961, you must first go to the SEARCH OUR DOCUMENTS option from the Registry page at the left that takes you to the masslandrecords.com website for "Southern" Worcester District. 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 period up to 1839. Later periods to 1960 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.

Original records on microfilm


Note: All these records (FHL film 842930 (1st of 416)) listed below are online at FamilySearch.org as a browsable collection only (as of Aug. 2013).

  • Grantor indexes, 1731-1889, 22 reels.
  • Grantee indexes, 1731-1889, 18 reels.
  • Deeds, v. 1 (1722) - v. 716 (1866).
Top of Page


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.

Worcester Probate and Family Court
225 Main Street Suite 2001
Worcester MA 01608
508 831-2200

Original records


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

Original records online


There are no records available online, but the FamilySearch.org is scheduled to upload the Worcester Probate Files from 1731 to 1925 in the future. [as of Aug. 2013].

Original records on microfilm


The following records are available at the FHL film 859169 (1st of 319); Massachusetts Archives; and New England Historic Genealogical Society with records through v. 469 (1881).

  • Indexes, 1731-1881, see published books below.
  • Docket books, no. 1-68399.
  • Record books, v. 1-833, 1731-1915.
  • Signed releases, 1865-1879 (only at Massachusetts Archives).

At FHL film 868526 Item 1:

  • Probate records, 1798-1854.
    Note: Needs to be viewed to see if it is different than the records above.
Manuscript records


  • Janet K. Pease, "Worcester County, Massachusetts, Probate Abstracts, 1748-1751" (S.l., 1979), 47 leaves, FHL film 1033623 Item 7.
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

Top of Page | Top of Court

Quarterly Court of General Sessions of the Peace

This court was active from 1731 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 Family History Library:

  • Court sessions, v. 1-20, 1731-1862, FHL films 859239-859250.
    These films will need to be viewed to see what the post-1827 record contain as the court no longer existed then.

The records microfilmed at the Massachusetts Archives:

  • Court of General Sessions, v. 1-8, 1731-1827.

Derivative records published:

Top of Page | Top of Court

Inferior Court of Common Pleas

This court was active from 1731 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 Family History Library:

The records microfilmed at the Massachusetts Archives:

  • Court of Common Pleas, executions, record book, [1744-1765].
  • Court of Common Pleas, record books, v. 1-131, 1731-1859.
Top of Page | Top of Court

Superior Court

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

Top of Page | Top of Court

Supreme Judicial Court

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

Top of Page | Top of Court

Naturalization Records

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

Federal Naturalization Records for Middlesex County


Record Dates Location Index Microfilm/Online
Superior Court 1837-1906 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) Petitions, v. 1-37, FHL Digital Capture 7254629 (1st of 50); Part of the United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
Court of Common Pleas 1798-1859 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) Petitions, FHL Digital Capture 7254571 (1st of 5); Part of the United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
Western Worcester District Court (Brookfield) 1902-1906 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) Petitions, FHL Digital Capture 7239085; Part of the United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
First Eastern Worcester District Court (Westborough) 1892-1906 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) Petitions, FHL Digital Capture 7254581; Part of the United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
Second Eastern Worcester District Court (Clinton) 1885-1906 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) Petitions, FHL Digital Capture 7239092 (1st of 9); Part of the United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
First Northern Worcester District Court (Gardner) 1883-1906 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) Petitions (#2-1244), FHL Digital Capture 7254585 (1st of 6); Part of the United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
First Southern Worcester District Court (Southbridge) 1898-1905 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) Petitions (#1-576)FHL Digital Capture 7254595; Part of the United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
Third Southern Worcester District Court (Milford) 1900-1903 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) Petitions (#1-445), FHL Digital Capture 7254634-7254635; Part of the United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
Central Worcester District Court 1885-1906 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) Petitions, v. 1-29, FHL Digital Capture 7270457 (1st of 29); Part of the United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
Fitchburg Police Court 1885-1904 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) Petitions (#1-2272)FHL Digital Capture 7239079 (1st of 7); Part of the United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
Winchendon District Court 1906 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) Petitions (#9-46), FHL Digital Capture 7254559; Part of the United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
Worcester Police Court 1851-1854 National Archives - Waltham Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) Petitions, FHL Digital Capture 7283185-7283187; Part of the United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
Worcester County Naturalization Records


Record Dates Location Index Microfilm/Online
Superior Court 1809-1991 Judicial Archives Card index Records, 1906-1945, at Mass. Arch. RR
Petitions, 1906-1945, v. 1-165 (#1-43193), and Petition index, 1885-1939, 1939-1949, FHL film 2111407 (1st of 123)
Declarations, 1909-1945, v. 1-101 (#1-57057), FHL film 2132429 (1st of 32)
Returns of naturalization, 1916-1929, FHL film 1902579
Naturalization records index, 1943-1978, and Declarations index, 1943-1978, FHL film 2110956 (1st of 10)
Clinton District Court 1891-1896 Judicial Archives Card index NO microfilm
Dudley/Webster District Court 1885-1906 Judicial Archives Card index NO microfilm
Fitchburg District Court 1885-1906 Judicial Archives Card index NO microfilm
Grafton/Westborough District Court 1885-1906 Judicial Archives Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) Part of the United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
Worcester District Court 1850-1855
1885-1906
Judicial Archives Part of Card Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906, NARA M1299, FHL film 1429671 (1st of 117) Part of the United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
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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 and in the Family History Library.

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Worcester County Massachusetts Genealogy Societies and Libraries

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

American Antiquarian Society
185 Salisbury Street
Worcester MA 01609
Phone 508-755-5221
Email library@americanantiquarian.org
This is the largest collection of U.S. printed material to 1876 in the United States. It has extensive newspaper and manuscripts holdings and a strong genealogical collection. A detailed guide to the collection by subject is available online and also find items in their online catalog.

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Family History Centers

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See Family History Centers for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.

Worcester County Massachusetts Genealogy References

Adjacent counties: Massachusetts: Franklin | Hampden | Hampshire | Middlesex | Norfolk
Connecticut: Tolland | Windham
New Hampshire: Cheshire | Hillsborough
Rhode Island: Providence County



 

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  • This page was last modified on 6 February 2015, at 03:43.
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