Fall River, Massachusetts

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United States Gotoarrow.png Massachusetts Gotoarrow.png Bristol County Gotoarrow.png Fall River

Town Clerk

Board Of Elections
1 Government Center, RM 636
Fall River, MA 02722
Phone: 508-324-2633
Email: lcamara@fallriverma.org
Website

Brief History

In 1653, Freetown, Massachusetts was settled at Assonet Bay by members of the Plymouth Colony, as part of Freeman's Purchase, which included the northern part of what is now Fall River. In 1683 Freetown was incorporated as a town within the colony. The southern part of what is now Fall River was incorporated as the town of Tiverton, as part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1694, a few years after the merger with the Plymouth Colony. In 1746, in the settlement of a long colonial boundary dispute between Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Tiverton was annexed to Rhode Island, along with Little Compton and what is now Bristol County, Rhode Island. The state boundary was placed approximately at what is now Columbia Street.

In 1703, Benjamin Church, a prominent veteran of King Philip's War, established a sawmill, a gristmill and a fulling mill on the Quequechan River. In 1714, Church sold his land, including the water rights, to Richard Borden of Tiverton and his brother Joseph.

Cemeteries

Cemetery records often reveal birth, marriage, death, relationship, military, and religious information.

John Perry, Director 765 Prospect Street, Fall River, MA 02722 T: 508-324-2750 | F: 508-324-2751 E: jperry@fallriverma.org
  • [The Cemeteries Division is a branch of the Department of Community Maintenance. It is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of Fall River’s two public cemeteries, Oak Grove Cemetery and North Burial Ground. Both North Burial Ground and Oak Grove Cemeteries are registered with the National Registry of Historic Places. The Cemeteries Division is overseen by the Board of Park Commissioners.]
  • [North Burial Ground is over 30 acres and is located on North Main St. between Brightman and Cory Streets.North Burial Ground. 1360 N. Main St. Fall River, Mass. 02722. (508) 672-3041. Established 1810.]
  • [Oak Grove Cemetery. 765 Prospect St. Fall River MA 02720. 508-324-2750. Established c. 1873. Oak Grove Cemetery is over 120 acres and is located in the historic Highlands neighborhood of Fall River. Oak Grove has been the final resting place of Fall River’s most notable citizens.
Historical Note: burial place of Lizzie Borden (1860-1927), acquitted of murdering her father and stepmother in 1892.]

Jewish Cemeteries

  • [Beth El Cemetery. N. Main St. Fall River, Mass. 02722. Contact: Temple Beth El. (508) 674-3529.]
  • [Hebrew Cemetery. McMahon St. Contact: Adas Israel Synagogue. 508-674-9761.]

Catholic Cemeteries

  • [Our Lady of Light Cemetery. Fall River, Mass. 02722. (508) 672-1207. Contact: Notre Dame Cemetery.]
  • [St. John's Cemetery. 258 Brightman St. Fall River, Mass. 02722. (508) 679-2535. Burials: 1858-1891.]
  • [St. Mary's Cemetery. Amity St. Fall River, Mass. 02722. (508) 679-2535. Burials: 1875-1891.]
  • [St. Patrick's Cemetery. 2233 Robeson St. Fall River, Mass. 02720. (508) 679-2535. Established 1876.]

Fall River Library

Newspapers

  • [Our collection of newspapers on microfilm includes the Herald News (1929-present)]
  • [ the Daily Evening News (1862-1929)]
  • [ the Daily Globe (1885-1929)]
  • [ the Daily Herald (1877-1904)]
  • [the Evening Herald (1905-1928)]
  • [There are also reels of microfilm with other early Fall River newspapers, a few dating from before the Civil War.]
  • [Recent issues of the Herald News are available in print, and online access goes back to 2000.]
  • [Old newspapers can be a valuable source of information as well as providing a portrait of daily life in different time periods; unfortunately, they are not indexed and often lack a table of contents, so researchers should be prepared to spend some time, especially with 19th century materials. Also note that newspaper obituaries were not standard until around the 1920s; ancestors who died in the 19th or early 20th century may not have had a printed obituary.]
  • [Obituary Index - Our staff is in the process of compiling an index to local obituaries from the Fall River Herald News. (No index is provided by the newspaper itself.) Some years are currently available in an Excel database format and can be accessed online; others are available in the library. Please ask a reference librarian for assistance.]

City Directories

  • [Available on microfilm (1853-1967) and in print (1967-present).]
  • [Older directories can be a valuable source of family information. Not only do they provide a list of people living in Fall River, they also list home addresses and sometimes business addresses and occupations. They may also include dates of death if someone died in the preceding year. These do have limitations, however: they list heads of household rather than complete families, and they cover the city of Fall River only, not outlying areas.]
  • [Local History Online - The Durfee High School Library has many historical images and texts available online, including photographs and postcards, high school yearbooks, books, and news articles.]
  • [Historic Atlas - Pages from an 1883 atlas of Fall River can be viewed and individually downloaded on Flickr, or the entire file (warning: a large download) is available in PDF on the Massachusetts State Library archives page.]

Vital Records

Family Search

  • [Vital records, 1762-1900 [Fall River, Massachusetts]
  • [Authors: Fall River (Massachusetts). City Clerk (Main Author) Fall River (Massachusetts). City Clerk (Repository)]
  • [Format: Manuscript/Manuscript on Film]
  • [Language:English]
  • [Publication:Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1995]
  • [Physical:6 microfilm reels ; 35 mm.]
  • [References: (Digital Collection) Massachusetts town records, ca. 1638-1961]



Adjacent towns: Bristol Co.: Dartmouth | Freetown | Somerset | Swansea | Westport | Rhode Island: Bristol Co.: Bristol | Warren | Newport Co.: Portsmouth | Tiverton

Part of  Newport County  Rhode Island 1747-1862.