Other Local Sources For Genealogical Research

A selective list of Boston area archives and research libraries.

Boston Public Library www.bpl.org (Research Library) Copley Square; 617-536-5400. Hours: Mon-Thurs 9 am – 9 pm; Fri & Sat 9 am – 5 pm; Sun 1 pm – 5 pm (Oct.-May). The Microtext Department has census records for Massachusetts; passenger arrival lists for the port of Boston (1820-1943; 1848-1891 is indexed); early city directories from New England and selected U.S. cities; files of Colonial, U.S. and Mass. newspapers from 1704; indexes to obituaries found in selected Boston & New England newspapers (1704-1840 & 1875 to date). Genealogies of New England families, and histories of New England towns and cities are located in the Research Library.

Family History Centers 1] L.D.S. Church Branch Library, Cambridge, MA. 2 Longfellow Park, Cambridge (across from the H.W. Longfellow House on Brattle Street). 617-491-4749. Hours: Tues 6 pm – 9 pm; Saturday 9 am – 3 pm. 2] L.D.S. Church Branch Library, Belmont, MA. 15 Ledgewood Place, Belmont; 617-489-9375. Hours: Tues-Thurs; 7 pm – 9 pm; Sat 9 – noon. Email Belmont.FHC@verizon.net

Each library has computer access to the main catalog of books and 2 million microfilm reels available on loan from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT. These records  include city and town records, family genealogies and town histories from all over the world. A Fee of $5 is charged for each roll ordered and the loan period is 30 days.

Federal Records Center  http://www.archives.gov/boston(Northeast Branch of the National Archives) 380 Trapelo Rd, Waltham; 781-663-0130. Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri 7 am – 4:30 pm; Thurs 7am to 9 pm. See web site for Saturday open hours. Among its holdings: U.S. Census from 1790 through 1930; passenger lists for the ports of Boston, New Bedford, Portland, Providence; naturalization records for immigrants living in New England; military records. See their web site for details on their records. They also hold classes on searching their various records.

Massachusetts State Archives  www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arcgen/genidx.htm 220 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, (T – JFK/UMass); 617-727-2816. Hours: Mon-Fri 9 am – 5 pm; Sat 9 am – 3 pm. They hold Mass. vital records from 1841 through 1915. Records prior to 1841 are held by the local cities or towns. The State Archives have one of the largest collections of 18th century and 19th century newspapers published in Boston and other localities. Other collections are muster rolls from 1710 through the Revolutionary War, Civil War records, lists of alien passengers entering the port of Boston (1849-1890), state census for 1855 and 1865 and microfilm of Massachusetts city and town records. They also have the first series of probate records for the counties of Essex, Suffolk, Middlesex, Plymouth, Duke and Worcester. Note: Probate records from 1895 to present are at the new Suffolk Co. Courthouse on New Chardon St. (T – Haymarket).

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) Library www.americanancestors.org/index.aspx 101 Newbury Street, Boston (T – Copley Sq.); 888-296-3447. Hours: Staff is virtually available Monday to Saturday 9 AM to 5 PM. There is a charge of $20 per visit for non-members to use the library. Although emphasis is on New England and eastern Canada records and genealogies, there are collections for other parts of the country. They have an extensive collection of CD-ROMs and records on microtext. NEHGS now orders microfilm on loan from the Family History Library at Salt Lake City. Another benefit for members is access to on-line databases. See their web site for a current list.

Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics  http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/admin/dmoa/vitals/ The Registry collects, processes, corrects and issues copies of vital records (birth, death and marriage) that occurred in Massachusetts from 1926 to the present. Records for events that occurred from 1841-1925 are available at the State Archives (617) 727-2816. Earlier records may be available at the City or Town of Occurrence.

In Addition: Genealogist’s Handbook for New England Research edited by Marcia D. Melnyk. 4 th ed. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1999. An excellent guide to civil, church, newspaper and court records and library and society genealogical holdings. Compiled by R. Bairnsfather & Peter Engeldrum. Updated April 2017.


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