Norfolk (old) County, Massachusetts Genealogy
Old Norfolk County, Massachusetts and New Hampshire was one of the four original counties of Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was created 10 May 1643 on land partially in present-day Essex County, Massachusetts, and partially in present-day Rockingham and Strafford counties, New Hampshire. The old Norfolk County included these six towns:
- in Massachusetts: Haverhill and Lawrence north of the Merrimack River, and Methuen
- in New Hampshire: Atkinson, a southern wedge of Hampstead, Plaistow, and the southeast corner of Salem
- in Massachusetts: Salisbury (or Colchester), Amesbury, and Merrimac
- in New Hampshire: a northeast wedge of Hampstead, southern Kingston, Newton, South Hampton, and Seabrook
- Exeter now in Rockingham County, New Hampshire including the present-day towns of Exeter, Brentwood, Epping, Fremont, Newfields, and Newmarket
- Hampton now in Rockingham County, New Hampshire including present-day towns of Hampton, Danville, Hampton Falls, Kensington, northern Kingston, East Kingston, North Hampton, southern Rye, and eastern Sandown
- Portsmouth now in Rockingham County, New Hampshire including the present-day towns of Portsmouth (or Strawberry-bank), Greenland, New Castle, Newington, northern Rye, and Stratham
- Dover now in Strafford County, New Hampshire including the present-day towns of Dover (or Cocheco), Durham, Lee, Madbury, Rollinsford, and Somersworth
Discontinued. Old Norfolk County was for most purposes discontinued 22 January 1679/1680 when the Province of New Hampshire was formed. The northern four towns were transferred to New Hampshire. The towns of Haverhill and Salisbury were added to Essex County, Massachusetts for court purposes. But officials permitted deeds to be added to the old Norfolk County records as late as 1714 from all parts of the old county.
Records. Land deeds 1639-1714 of the old Norfolk County and her towns are housed at the Essex County Registry of Deeds in Salem, Massachusetts. These records were partially abstracted and published in:
- "Old Norfolk County Records," Essex Antiquarian 1, no. 2 (February 1897): 19-24 continuing forward in each volume from 1897-1909. At least partially covering Norfolk County deeds from 1639-1675, and some marriages. Each volume indexed. Part of NEHGS American Ancestors Search. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Film 599729 Item 2+; Book 974.45 B2a.