Massachusetts Archives and Libraries
|Massachusetts Wiki Topics|
|Local Research Resources|
see the Massachusetts Genealogy Guide page.
These repositories preserve sources, maintain indexes, and provide services to help genealogists document their ancestors who lived in Massachusetts.
Wiki Articles on Major Repositories in Massachusetts
Allen County Public Library · American Antiquarian Society · Berkshire Athenaeum · Boston Massachusetts Family History Center · Boston Public Library · Dedham Historical Society Library · Harvard University Houghton Library · Haverhill Public Library · Jones Library · Massachusetts Historical Society · Massachusetts State Archives · National Archives at Boston · New England Historic Genealogical Society · New York Public Library · Onondaga Historical Association Library · Peabody Essex Museum · Pittsfield Federal Records Center · Plymouth Public Library · Springfield History Library and Archives · State Library of Massachusetts · University of Massachusetts Amherst Library · Vermont Historical Society
Online Records of Massacusetts
Links to online databases and indexes that may include vital records, biographies, cemeteries, censuses, histories, immigration records, land records, maps, military records, naturalizations, newspapers, obituaries, or probate records.
American Antiquarian Society
- The AAS is best known for its U.S. newspaper collection of over 18,000 bound volumes 1704-1820, history, genealogy, Bibles, maps, biography, directories, Native Americans, women, canals, railroads, photos, manuscripts.
National Archives at Boston
| National Archives at Boston|
380 Trapelo Road
Waltham, MA 02452-6399
Phone: (781) 663-0130
Fax: (781) 663-0154
Website: National Archives at Boston
Pittsfield Federal Records Center
- The Pittsfield Center has CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT federal government agency and court documents. Their large genealogy microfilm collection has been transferred to the Berkshire Athenaeum listed below.
New England Historic Genealogical SocietyNew England Historic Genealogical Society
101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116-3007
Telephone: 617-536-5740; Library 617-226-1231
- Best overall collection for New England vital records and probates, and excellent collection for Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, and Europe. The manuscript collection for members only has diaries, letters, account books, business papers, church and town records, sermons, maps, wills, deeds, unpublished town and family genealogies, photos, and papers of the region's best genealogists since 1850.
Massachusetts Historical Society LibraryMassachusetts Historical Society Library
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215-3695
E-mail: Contact Us
Website: Massachusetts Historical Society
- Excellent historical materials, original town records, newspapers and genealogies. This collection does not repeat the New England Historic Genealogical Society collection.
Massachusetts State ArchivesMassachusetts State Archives
220 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125
Phone: (617) 727–2816
Website: Massachusetts Archives Division
- Government records, censuses, military records, land records, naturalizations, divorces, probate, name changes, and adoptions. Only 18 of the 328 volumes of the excellent Massachusetts Archives Collection, aka Felt Collection, of 1629-1799 history are indexed online. The Archives' online searchable collections include:
- The Massachusetts Archives Collection Database (1629-1799) serves as a searchable, descriptive index and catalog for documents of eighteen volumes of the Massachusetts Archives Collection.
- Index to Passenger Manifests (1848-1891)
- Index to Vital Records (1841-1910)
State Library of MassachusettsState Library of Massachusetts
State House, Room 341
24 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: (617) 727–2590
Fax: (617) 727–5819
Website: State Library of Massachusetts
- Published books, periodicals, state and town histories, government publications, city directories, maps, tax records, newspapers and indexes.
Berkshire AthenaeumBerkshire Athenaeum
1 Wendell Ave
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Website: Berkshire Athenaeum Pittsfield Public Library
- Best genealogical respository in western Massachusetts, including newspapers, books, and family histories. Now includes the former Pittsfield Federal Records Center's 71,000 microfilms of censuses, Revolutionary War pension and bounty land warrants, service records 1784-1901, Mexican War, Civil War, World War I, New England naturalizations, 1791-1966, passenger arrivals at Boston, New York, Philadelphia and east coast ports, Canadian border crossings, Indian enrollment cards, Russian Consular records, Barbour Collection for Connecticut, and Vermont vital records index.  
Boston Massachusetts Family History Center
- The largest Family History Center in New England. Can order microfilms from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. They have published town and county histories of New England, social histories, vital records, family histories, and major indexes.
Boston Public LibraryBoston Public Library
700 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: (617) 536–5400
Fax: (617) 536–4306
Website: Boston Public Library
- Their collection includes New England newspapers, city directores, town records, county and local histories, and genealogies.
Dedham Historical Society Library
- Great collection of manuscripts including deeds, vital and town records from the 15 towns created from old Dedham (south of Boston).
Harvard University Houghton LibraryHarvard University Houghton Library
Cambridge, MA 02138
Website: Houghton Library
- Manuscripts and rare books from many nations, but especially New England, Britain and Europe, historical archives of publishing history, political and missionary archives, paintings and artifacts. Largest volume of primary historical documents.
Haverhill Public LibraryHaverhill Public Library
99 Main Street
Haverhill, MA 01830
Website: Haverhill Public Library Special Collections
- One of New England's largest collections of original manuscripts, books, genealogical periodicals, and surname folders, local history collection, genealogy databases, Massachusetts vital records to 1910, federal and state censuses, 9,000 New England town and family histories. 
Jones LibraryJones Library
43 Amity Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Website: Jones Library
- The Boltwood Collection includes 20,000 documents, genealogies, family folders, genealogy periodicals, newspapers, and local histories with an emphasis on Amherst and the Pioneer Valley. 
Peabody Essex MuseumPeabody Essex Museum
1 Second Street (temporarily)
Peabody, MA USA
Telephone: 978-745-9500, or 866-745-1876
For the Hearing Impaired: 978-740-3649
Website: Peabody Essex Museum
- Essex County books, manuscripts, and government records such as probate records, customs records, and maritime records. Can often help find trans-Atlantic ship logs, and ship images.
Plymouth Public Library
- Almost all published histories and genealogies of early Massachusetts settlers are here.
Springfield History Library and Archives
Springfield History Library and Archives (formerly Connecticut Valley Historical Museum Library)
21 Edwards Street
Springfield, Massachusetts 01103
Website: Springfield History Library and Archives
- Can help identify Massachusetts emigrants headed west using vital records, land records, and probate records from many New England towns. They also have French Canadian records, the Loiselle Index, New York passenger arrivals, computer databases, over 20,000 genealogy books, 6,000 microforms, 50,000 photos and 2.5 million manuscripts including diaries, and account books. 
University of Massachusetts Amherst LibraryUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst Library
154 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003
Website: UMass Amherst Libraries, and their Online Guide to Genealogy
- Very large set of biographies, genealogies, and never-published histories, and church, business, fraternal, insurance, and manufacturing records. They also have the Massachusetts Archives Collection microfilms, Franklin, Hampshire, and Suffolk counties' probate records, especially Connecticut River Valley towns.
- For additional information, see also Massachusetts Repositories.
Outside of Massachusetts Repositories
Allen County Public LibraryAllen County Public Library
900 Library Plaza
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
Website: Genealogy Center ACPL
- This is the second-largest genealogy collection in the United States and the largest genealogy collection in a public library. Its holdings include more than 350,000 printed volumes and 513,000 items on microfilm and microfiche. It has a premier genealogical periodical collection, local histories, genealogies, databases, military, censuses, directories, passenger lists, ethnic sources, and Canadians. They have a great eastern seaboard and Massachusetts collection.
New York Public LibraryNew York Public Library
U.S. History, Local History & Genealogy
Irma and Paul Milstein Division
First Floor, Room 121
Schwarzman Main Branch
Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street
New York, New York 10018-2788
Website: NYPL home page
- The Genealogy Division has an outstanding collection of American history at national, state and local levels; international genealogy and heraldry in Roman alphabets; Dorot Jewish collection; manuscripts, photos; New York censuses, directories, vital records, Revolutionary War soldiers, Irish in America, and Massachusetts records.
Onondaga Historical Association Library
Onondaga Historical Association Library
321 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, New York 13202
E-mail: Contact Us
Website: Onondaga Historical Association Collections and Archives
- 10,000 family folders for northeastern families, including many from Massachusetts.
Vermont Historical Society Leahy LibraryVermont Historical Society Leahy Library
Vermont History Center
60 Washington Street
Barre, Vermont 05641-4209
Website: Vermont Historical Society Leahy Library
- Their collection includes a comprehensive name index of Massachusetts people, strong collection of family and town histories of New England, vital records, cemetery transcripts, genealogical periodicals, manuscripts, maps, and photos.
For Further Reading
- Historical Records Survey (Massachusetts). Preliminary Edition of Guide to Depositories of Manuscript Collections in Massachusetts (Boston, Massachusetts: Historical Records Survey, 1939). At various libraries (WorldCat). FHL Book 974.4 A2hg. This work lists major manuscript collections and their locations.
- Carroll D. Wright, Report on the Custody and Condition of the Public Records of Parishes, Towns, and Counties (Boston, Massachusetts: Wright and Potter, 1889). At various libraries (WorldCat). FHL Film 865449 item 2; Fiche 6046869; Book 974.4 A3cr. Gives a brief description of the town records that existed in 1889 and which may still be available.
- Dollarhide and Bremer, 59.
- William Dollarhide and Ronald A. Bremer. America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest, 1998), 124. WorldCat 39493985. FHL Ref Book 973 J54d.
- Genealogy Resources in Berkshire Athenaeum (accessed 14 November 2013).
- Dollarhide and Bremer, 5, 57, and 59.
- Dollarhide and Bremer, 57.
- Dollarhide and Bremer, 124-25.
- Genealogy Resources in Haverhill Public Library (accessed 14 November 2013).
- Collections and Finding Aids in Jones Library - Special Collections (accessed 14 November 2013).
- Springfield History Library and Archives in Springfield Museums (accessed 14 November 2013).
- Allen County Public Library in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 28 April 2010).
- Genealogy Center in Allen County Public Library (accessed 28 April 2010).
- Genealogy Center Collections in Genealogy Center (accessed 27 February 2015).
- Dollarhide and Bremer, 81.
- Genealogy Research at the Vermont Historical Society in Vermont Historical Society (accessed 14 November 2013).