Boston, Massachusetts Genealogy
- 1 Historical Facts
- 2 Resources
- 2.1 Almanacs
- 2.2 Biography
- 2.3 Cemeteries
- 2.4 Census
- 2.5 Church history and Records
- 2.6 Correctional institutions
- 2.7 Court records
- 2.8 Directories
- 2.9 Emigration and immigration
- 2.10 Genealogy
- 2.11 Guides
- 2.12 History
- 2.13 Jewish records
- 2.14 Land and property
- 2.15 Maps
- 2.16 Medical Records
- 2.17 Military History and Records
- 2.18 Minorities
- 2.19 Naturalization and citizenship
- 2.20 Newspapers
- 2.21 Notarial records - Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
- 2.22 Obituaries
- 2.23 Orphans and orphanages
- 2.24 Poorhouses
- 2.25 Probate records
- 2.26 Schools
- 2.27 Taxation
- 2.28 Town records
- 2.29 Vital records
- 3 Repositories
- 4 Societies
- 5 Websites
- 6 References
|17 Sept. 1630||First settled by the Puritans from England as part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (not to be confused with the Plymouth Colony founded by the Pilgrims (Separatists).|
|23 Feb. 1822||Boston incorporated as a city.|
|6 January 1868||City of Roxbury annexed to Boston.|
|3 January 1870||Town of Dorchester annexed to Boston.|
|5 January 1874||City of Charlestown annexed to Boston.|
|5 January 1874||Town of Brighton annexed to Boston.|
|5 January 1874||Town of West Roxbury annexed to Boston.|
|1 January 1912||Town of Hyde Park annexed to Boston. |
Geographic location: Google
One City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201
- Dickinson, S.N. The Boston Almanac for the Year 1842. Boston: Thomas Groom & Co., 1842. A digital copy of this book is available online at Internet Archive.
- Dickinson, S.N. The Boston Almanac for the Year 1844. Boston: Thomas Groom & Co., 1844. A digital copy of this book is available online at Internet Archive.
- Coolidge, George. The Boston Almanac for the Year 1850. Boston: B.B. Mussey & Co. and Thomas Groom, 1850. A digital copy of this book is available online at Internet Archive.
- The Boston Almanac and Business Directory for the Year 1872. Boston: Sampson, Davenport & Co., 1872. A digital copy of this book is available online at Internet Archive
- The Boston Almanac and Business Directory for the Year 1879. Boston: Sampson, Davenport & Co., 1878. A digital copy of this book is available online at Internet Archive
Also see: Genealogy, History
- Central Burying Ground, Boston BillionGraves
- Granary Burying Ground, Boston BillionGraves
- Kings Chapel Burying Ground, Boston BillionGraves
Church history and Records
- Fold3.com ($) has 116 years of Boston City Directories spanning 1789-1926 available online.
- DistantCousin.com users can access the following Boston city directories: 1800, 1860, and 1904.
- Internet Archive has made the following Boston city directories available online:
- 1789, 1805,1825, 1831, 1834, 1835, 1836, 1848-1849, 1849, 1852, 1855, 1856, 1858, 1862, 1879, 1916 pt.1, 1916 pt. 2, 1922, 1955 (A-K), 1955 (L-Z),1956 (A-K), 1956 (L-Z), 1957 (A-K), 1957 (L-Z), 1958 (A-K), 1958 (L-Z), 1959 (A-K), 1959 (L-Z), 1960 (A-K), 1960 (L-Z),1961 (A-K), 1961 (L-Z), 1962, 1962 (L-Z), 1963 (A-K), 1963 (L-Z), 1964, 1964 (L-Z), 1965, 1966, 1967 (A-K), 1967 (L-Z), 1968 (A-K), 1968 (L-Z), 1969 (A-K), 1969 (L-Z), 1970 (A-K), 1970 (L-Z), 1971 (A-K), 1971 (L-Z), 1972, 1972 (L-Z), 1973 (A-K), 1973 (L-Z), 1974-1975 (A-K), 1974-1975 (L-Z)
- Google Books has the following Boston city directories available online:
Emigration and immigration
Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:
- Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1891 (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1891-1943 (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Lainhart, Ann S. A Researcher’s Guide to Boston. Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2003. (FHL book 974.461 D27L)
- Lainhart, Ann S. “Research in Boston through the Centuries.” New England Ancestors 2 (Spring 2001): 11-17.
- Morton, Sunny McClellan. "Boston: City Guide." Family Tree Magazine 12 (March 2011): 33-36.
Also see: Biography, Genealogy
- Cook, A.M. Boston Goes to Massachusetts. Boston: The Church House, 1945. FHL fiche 6019387.
- Holman, Louis A. Boston: The Place and the People. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1903.
FHL film 1710436 . Digital version at Internet Archive.
- Scudder, Horace E. Boston Town. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1881. FHL film 1482273. Digital version at Internet Archive.
- Snow, Caleb H. A History of Boston, the Metropolis of Massachusetts from Its Origin to the Present Period; with Some Accounts of the Environs. Boston: Abel Bowen, 1825. FHL book 974.461 H2sc. Digital version at Internet Archive.
- Sumner, William H. A History of East Boston; with Biographical Sketches of Its Early Proprietors, and an Appendix. Boston: J.E. Tilton and Company, 1858. FHL book 974.461 H2sw. Digital version at Internet Archive.
Land and property
The Norman B Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library has 200,000 historic maps and 5,000 atlases documenting the evolution. The geographical focus of these maps, atlases, and globes is the World, Europe, and America, with particular attention to New England, Massachusetts, and Boston from the 15th century to the present day.
Military History and Records
Naturalization and citizenship
- Newspaperarchive.com ($) has historical newspapers available on-line including Boston City newspapers. Some libraries including the Boston Public Library provide free access to this database.
- Boston Globe and the Boston Herald obituaries 1953-2010 available from the Boston Public Library.
Notarial records - Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
Early notarial records for the city of Boston were published in volume 32 of the Boston Record Commissioners Reports.
- Volume 32. A Volume Relating to the Early History of Boston, containing the Aspinwall Notarial Records from 1644 to 1651. Boston: Municipal Printing Office, 1903. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 32). Digital version at Internet Archive
Orphans and orphanages
- Holloran, Peter C. Boston's Waywards Children: Social Services for Homeless Children, 1830-1930. Boston: Northeastern University Press, c1989. FHL book 974.461 J3h.
- Downer, Lawrence W. "The Indentures of Boston's Poor Apprentices: 1734-1805," The Colonial Society of Massachusetts (Mar. 1962):417-434. Digital version at Primary Research - free.
- Nellis, Eric and Anne Decker Cecere. ed. The Eighteenth-Century Records of the Boston Overseers of the Poor. Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, c2007. FHL book 974.4 B4cs v. 69.
Early vital records for the city of Boston were published in volumes 9, 24, 28 and 30 of the Boston Record Commissioners Reports.
- Volume 9. A Report of the Record Commissioners, containing Boston Births, Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths, 1630-1699. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1882. (FHL film 982237 item 1). Digital version at Internet Archive
- Volume 24. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing Boston Births from A.D. 1700 to A.D. 1800. Boston: Rockwell & Churchill, City Printers, 1894. (FHL film 14734). Digital version at Internet Archive
- Volume 28. A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, containing the Boston Marriages from 1700 to 1751. Boston: Municipal Printing Office, 1898. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 28). Digital version at Internet Archive
- Volume 30. A Volume of Records Relating to the Early History of Boston, containing Boston Marriages from 1752 to 1809. Boston: Municipal Printing Office, 1903. (FHL book 974.461 H2b v. 30). Digital version at Internet Archive
- Dunkle, Robert J. and Ann S. Lainhart. Deaths in Boston 1700 to 1799. 2 Vols. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, c1999. FHL Book 974.461 V2dr v.1-2.
City of Boston Archives
201 Rivermoor Street
West Roxbury, Massachusetts 02132
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. by appointment only
The Congregational Library has an impressive collection of records documenting the history of American Congregationalism for the last 300 years. Equally impressive is their collection of New England local, town, and family histories. They also have a strong collection of published Massachusetts vital records. Congregational church records include membership lists, dismissals, baptisms, marriages, minutes of meetings, etc.
The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has a substantial collection of published New England genealogies and local histories. They also have a strong microform collection that contains copies of original town, probate, land, and vital records; censuses; city directories; and immigration records for most of the New England states and neighboring Canadian provinces. Their manuscript department, which is open only to members, houses over 2 million manuscript items. Some of the items date to the late fourteenth century. Much of the collection emphasizes the New England area. Included in the collection are thousands of unpublished family histories and genealogies, bibles and bible records, church, cemetery, town, and vital records, maps, photographs, etc.
- FamilySearch.org Family History Library Catalog for the City of Boston
- Mass. Acts 1867, ch. 359, sec. 1, p. 754.
- Mass. Acts 1869, ch. 349, sec. 1, p. 646.
- Mass. Acts 1873, ch. 286, sec. 1, p. 716; ch. 303, sec. 1, p. 747; ch. 314, sec. 1, p. 810.
- Mass. Acts 1911, ch. 469, sec. 1, p. 450, and ch. 583, sec. 1, p. 600.
- Francis William Galvin, Historical Data Relating to Counties, Cities and Towns in Massachusetts (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1997), 21-22.
Adjacent towns: Suffolk Co.: Brighton | Charlestown | Chelsea | Dorchester | Hyde Park | Revere | Roxbury | West Roxbury | Winthrop | Middlesex Co.: Cambridge | Everett | Medford | Newton | Somerville | Watertown | Norfolk Co.: Brookline | Canton | Dedham | Milton | Needham | Quincy | Plymouth Co.: Hull