Merrimack County, New Hampshire Genealogy
- 1 County Courthouse
- 2 History
- 3 Places / Localities
- 4 Resources
- 5 Societies and Libraries
- 6 Web Sites
- 7 References
163 North Main St.
Concord, NH 03302-2880
If your ancestor lived in the area that is Merrimack County before 1823, you will need to determine if the town where your ancestor lived was in Hillsborough, Grafton, or Rockingham counties. Ancestry's Redbook: American State, County, and Town Sources, 3rd ed., Provo, Ut., 2004 (FHL book 973 D27) has a map of New Hampshire on page 437, and after the map there is a list of towns giving to which county the town belongs now, and to which county it belonged before 1823.
The eastern half of Merrimack County including the towns from Hookset, up to Concord, and up to and including Franklin was taken from Rockinginham County in 1823.
The nothern two towns of Danbury and Hill were taken from Grafton County in 1823.
The western towns of Merrimack County in the line of Dunbarton, Hopkinton, Boscowen, Salisbury, to Andover and westwards were taken from Hillsborough County in 1823.
One record source that would be helpful, but was destroyed, is the 1890 census. There was a fire in Washington, D. C. in 1921 which badly damaged the records. None of the New Hampshire population records remain. The 1890 census Civil War veterans' lists were kept in a different building and were saved. They are available on microfilms from the Family History Library, and at www.ancestry.com. You can search for veterans' or widows' names.
Places / Localities
Cities: The Family History Library has many records for Concord and Franklin.
Towns: The Family History Library has records for these towns:
Villages: The Family History Library only has records for Suncook of these villages:
West of Merrimack County (established 1823) is Sullivan County,
North is Grafton County (formed in 1771).
Northeast is Belknap County (organized in 1841).
East is Strafford County (a 1771 county).
Southeast is Rockingham County (an original 1771 county).
South is Hillsborough County (an original 1771 county).
You can click on the name of one of the counties below and see the wiki article for that county.
The New Hampshire Old Graveyard Association has the most complete list of cemeteries.
The Findagrave organization provides a way for you to request that a volunteer will take a photograph of a gravestone. Often a volunteer will respond and will e-mail you the photo and add it to the web site.
Another internet site may help you find gravestone records. See www.billiongraves.com.
If you know the town of residence and the ancestor's denomination, contact the town historical society, or the public library for that town. They may have information on available church records. You can also see the Church Records section in the general information for New Hampshire. That section lists archives and other record keepers for the various religious denominations.
If you do not know the denomination, search for a marriage record. This may give the name of the minister. Then you can contact a historical society and learn at which church he was the minister. Also search for an obituary, which may mention the church the person attended. The death certificate may list the name of the cemetery. You can then write to the cemetery and ask if it is affiliated with a local church. The death certificate may mention the funeral home. Their file may have the name of the church, cemetery, or a copy of the obituary. Also, relatives might know the denomination.
Different churches contain a variety of types of records. Many churches keep baptism, marriage, and burial records. Sometimes birth and death information is included. The church records of brothers and sisters, etc. may give clues.
The Merrimack County courthouse is located at 163 N. Main St., Concord, NH 03301. The court records began in 1824 after the county was taken off in 1823 from Hillsborough and Rockingham Counties. The Family History Library has microfilms of these records (look under Merrimack County, New Hampshire - Court Records):
Court of Common Pleas, 1840 to 1867 (staff will check on ending date of the last cases). Indexes are at the beginning of most volumes in all these court records below.
Superior Court, 1840 to 1865, and an index for 1824-1888.
Circuit Court, 1874-1875.
Supreme Judicial Court, 1856-1900, and an index for some years.
For court records before 1823 you will need to determine if the town where your ancestor lived was in Grafton, Hillsborough, or Rockingham Counties. (See the heading Parent County above near the beginning of this article.) Ancestry's Redbook: American State, County, and Town Sources, 3rd ed., Provo, Ut., 2004 (FHL book 973 D27) has a map of New Hampshire on page 437, and after the map there is a list of towns giving to which county the town belongs now, and to which county it belonged before 1823.
See the New Hampshire article in this wiki for background information about the various courts and when they began and ended.
Directories (city directories)
The Family History Library has many city directories on microfilm. See the Family History Library Catalog and look up the city or town - Directories. For example Concord, New Hampshire city directories are available on microfilms and/or microfiche for 1830 to 1935 with gaps for some years. Those directories also often include the names of persons living in other towns in the county.
Many directories are also available on the internet at www.ancestry.com. Go to Ancestry's card catalog, and under Search Titles, then type New Hampshire City Directories. Then you can select the city and see for which years ancestry has digital images of the city directories.
To learn about New Hampshire gazetteers, go to the New Hampshire article in this wiki. There is a section where New Hampshire gazetteers published in 1823, 1849, and 1874 are listed. Those gazetteers can be ordered on microfilms from the Family History Library. Check at your Family History Center to see if they already have the microfilm you are interested in.
Deeds since 1823 are kept at the Registry of Deeds in Concord, New Hampshire. The Family History Library has microfilms of indexes to the deeds for 1823-1900, and also has microfilms of the deed volumes for 1823 to about 1919. There are indexes to grantors (sellers) and grantees (buyers).
If before 1823 your ancestors lived in the area that is now Merrimack County, you will need to look in the records of Grafton County, Hillsborough County, or Rockingham County.
To determine if the town where your ancestor lived was in Grafton, Hillsborough, or Rockingham Counties before 1823 see the section Parent County above. See Ancestry's Redbook: American State, County, and Town Sources, 3rd ed., Provo, Ut., 2004 (FHL book 973 D27). This book has a map of New Hampshire on page 437, and after the map there is a list of towns mentioning to which county the town belongs now, and to which county it belonged before 1823.
There are town histories for most of the towns in Merrimack County, and there is often a genealogical section with a great deal of family history information. The Family History Library has microfilmed many of those books, and some are on the internet.
For the following towns the Family History Library has town histories or genealogical collections which include a good deal of genealogical information: Andover, Boscawen. Bow, Bradford, Canterbury, Concord, Dunbarton, Epsom, Henniker, Hopkinton, Loudon, New London, Northfield, Pembroke, Pittsfield, Salisbury, Sutton, and Webster.
For the other towns, Allenstown, Chichester, Danbury, Franklin, Hill, Hookset, Loudon, Newbury, Warner, and Wilmot the Family History Library usually has microfilms of births, marriages, and deaths, and often cemetery records.
To look up the books, go to familysearch.org, and see the Catalog tab. Type in the box the name of the town you are seeking. Select the reference to that town, then click the Search button. You will then see a list of items for that town. See if "History" or "Genealogy" are listed. If so, look at those items.
An interesting atlas published in 1892, with maps for most of the New Hampshire towns is The Town and City Atlas of the State of New Hampshire (click to see digital images), published in Boston in 1892 by the D. H. Hurd Company. The maps show the locations of homes, and the map gives the name of the person living in the home. The above web site is from the University of New Hampshire Library.
A town historical society may be an excellent place to obtain a map. The Association of Historical Societies of New Hampshire has a helpful list of historical societies. Town libraries may also have good maps.
There are two very good early atlases that show the county and town boundary lines. One was published in 1822 by H. C. Carey and I. Lea, A Complete, Historical, Chronological, and Geographical American Atlas: . . . Philadelphia: H. C. Carey and I. Lea, 1822 (FHL film 02083 item 6).
The second very useful early atlas was published in 1838 by T. G. Bradford, An Illustrated Atlas, Geographical, Statistical, and Historical, of the United States, and Adjacent Countries. Boston: Weeks, Jordan and Company, 1838 (FHL film 02083 item 7).
The most complete listing of New Hampshire Revolutionary War soldiers is found in volumes 14-17 of the New Hampshire State Papers. You can go to google.com, and look for New Hampshire State Papers with the link to ancestry.com. There you will find a name index to volumes 14-17, then you can go to the needed volume and page for information on the soldier. Often the place of residence is given.
For a military history of New Hampshire, see:
Potter, Chandler Eastman, The Military History of the State of New Hampshire. Concord, N.H.: McFarland & Jenks, 1866. (Family History Library film 1033664; fiche 6046858.) You can search this book on-line by going to google.com. Look for ancestry.com as the internet way to search this book. This history comprises events from the first settlements in New Hampshire to the rebellion in 1861. It includes biographical notices of many of the officers and explanatory notes.
Familysearch.org is a free source for locating names of Civil War soldiers and sailors. Ancestry.com is available free at FamilySearch Centers and is also valuable for finding names of soldiers and sailors.
You can go to ancestry.com and search for names in The Revised Register of the Soldiers and Sailors of New Hampshire in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, by Augustus D. Ayling. This book gives the age, residence, and service information about approximately 32,000 New Hampshire Civil War veterans. The book is also available on microfilm or microfiche from the Family History Library.
Town history books are available through the Family History Library, and other large libraries, for most of the towns in Hillsborough County. They often contain extensive information concerning the war and the soldiers. Following are examples of some of the histories:
- History of Chichester, Merrimack County, New Hampshire - Citizens of the town who enlisted and were mustered into the service of the United
States during the Rebellion
- History of Hill, Merrimack County, New Hampshire - Volunteer soldiers from the town of Hill.
- History of Wilmot, Merrimack County, New Hampshire - Some Wilmot residents who participated in the Civil War.
- Civil War service men from Merrimack County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are many companies or regiments that were formed from men of Merrimack County.
- - 2nd Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies B, C, E, and H.
- - 3rd Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies B and E.
- - 4th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies D, E, and I.
- - 5th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies A, E, F, and I.
- - 6th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Company I.
- - 8th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Company H.
- - 9th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies A, B, and I.
- - 10th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies D and E.
- - 11th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Companies D, E, and F.
Newspaperarchive.com ($) has historical newspapers available on-line. Their database has Portsmouth,NH newspapers from the early 1900's covering local news that included residents from Merrimack County communities.
Another internet source is www.genealogybank.com. This site has Concord, New Hampshire newspapers from 1790 to 1890, (as of June 2012).
The original probate record volumes, 1-421, and indexes for the years 1824-1984, have been transferred to the New Hampshire State Archives in Concord, New Hampshire. If you are able to visit there you can search the index and request to look at the volumes.
Fortunately microfilms of the record volumes 1-145, for 1823 to about 1925, and indexes for 1823-1988 can be ordered through the Family History Centers of the Family History Library. See the Catalog, and in the place name box type New Hampshire, Merrimack County. The courthouse may have the probate case files which often contain additional information. (Will call and ask if this is so.)
Many town tax records have been preserved by town clerks and town tax officials. Town tax records were generally taken each year. The Family History Library has many town records on microfilms. For microfilm numbers see the Family History Library Catalog under New Hampshire - Merrimack County - [name of town] - Town Records. You may wish to contact the Town Clerk's Office to see if they have addtional tax records.
There is an index to the town records (which include many tax records) from the early settlement of the town to about 1850. This is the Index to Early Town Records of New Hampshire, Early to 1850 (FHL films 14942-15052). The index cards list volume and page numbers for the town records, many of which are on Family History Library microfilms.
Many town records are still in the town office buildings. Many are on film at the Family History Library. Town records are an important source of family history information from the 1600s to about the 1940s. The early New Hampshire town records to about 1850 have an every-name index. The index and film numbers are listed just above in the Taxation section.
To look up the film numbers of town records, go to the Catalog tab at familysearch.org. Click on place name search. Then type in the name of the town. Select the reference to that town in New Hampshire. Then click on Search. You will see a list of subjects. Look for the subject "Town Records." Click on that heading to see information about the records including book or film numbers.
To see the types of family history information you might find in town records please go to the heading Town Records in our New Hampshire wiki article.
The birth, marriage, and death indexes below are on cards sent to the state of New Hampshire. If you do not find the record you are seeking, you could search a microfilm of records for the town, or you could write to the city or town clerk. In 1905, when the state created the Bureau of Vital Records and Health, printed cards were distributed to the local town clerks and earlier vital records were transcribed onto the cards and submitted to the state.
Certified copies of of birth, death, and marriage records are also available from the State Division of Vital Records Administration or from the local city and town clerk where the event took place. Original records are kept by the city or town clerk and copies are sent to the state.
- New Hampshire Birth Records, Early to 1900 are available online from FamilySearch.
- New Hampshire Marriage Records, 1637-1947 are available online from FamilySearch.
- New Hampshire Death Records, 1654-1947 are available online from FamilySearch.
Societies and Libraries
Family History Centers
- The Merrimack County NHGenWeb Project, an member of The NHGenWeb Project, an affiliate of The USGenWeb Project.
- The USGenWeb Archives Project for Merrimack County
- The USGenWeb Archives Project for Merrimack County (backup site)
- FamilySearch.org Family History Library catalog for Merrimack County
- Merrimack County, New Hampshire Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium).
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 181. [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].