Local Sources For Genealogical Research

A selective list of Boston area archives and research libraries, including hours and access by MBTA.


Boston Public Library (Research Library)
Copley Square; (617) 536-5400; (T - Copley)
Hours: Mon-Thurs 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri & Sat 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun 1 p.m.-5 p.m. (October through May)
The Microtext Dept. has census records for Massachusetts; passenger arrival lists for the port of Boston (1820-1943; 1848-1891 is indexed); city directories from New England and selected U.S. cities dating to 1900; 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, indexes to printed genealogies, and histories of New England towns and cities are located in the Research Library (McKim building). Web page at http://www.bpl.org/

Federal Records Centers (Northeast Branch of the National Archives)
380 Trapelo Rd., Waltham; (781) 647-8100
Hours: Wed. and Thurs. 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Sat. 1st and 3rd of month, except preceeding Monday holiday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m..
Among its holdings are U.S. population records from 1790 through 1920; passenger arrival lists for the ports of Boston, New Bedford, Portland, Providence; naturalization records for immigrants living in New England. National Archives Web site at http://www.nara.gov/genealogy/genindex.html

Massachusetts State Archives
220 Morrissey Blvd, Boston; (617) 727-2816; (T - JFK/UMass Boston)
Hours: Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
The Archives holds Mass. vital records from 1841 through 1905. Records prior to 1841 are held by the local cities and towns. The Archives has one of the largest collections of 18th c. and 19th c. newspapers published in Boston and other localities. There 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 Mass. city and town records. They also have the first series of probate records for the counties of Essex, Suffolk, Middlesex, Plymouth, Duke and Worcester. Web page at http://www.magnet.state.ma.us/sec/arc/arcfam/famidx.htm

Note: Probate records from 1894 to present are at the new Suffolk Co. Courthouse on New Chardon St. (T-Haymarket).

Boston City Archives
Room 201, City Hall (T - Government Center)
Hours: Tues & Thurs 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Vital records of Boston from 1630s to 1848 and after - $6 fee.

Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
150 Mt. Vernon St., 1st floor, Dorchester (next to Bayside Expo Center; T-JFK/Umass); (617) 740-2600.
Hours: Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 9 a.m.-noon and 2:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

Repository for birth, marriage and death records from 1906 to the present. Fee for in-person research is $3 per hour. Copies of records are $6 each, in person or $11 by mail. A complete list of Mass. vital records available by county and by city or town is at http://vitalrec.com/ma.html

New England Historic Genealogical Society Library
101 Newbury St., Boston; (617) 536-5740; (T - Copley)
Hours: Tues, Fri, Sat 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wed and Thurs 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Closed Mondays and Saturdays preceding a Monday holiday.
Although the emphasis is on New England and eastern Canada records and genealogies, there are extensive collections for other parts of the country. Wide selection of CDs including the IGI. NEHGS is now a site for ordering microfilm from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Web site is http://www.nehgs.org/

Lynnfield Public Library
18 Summer St., Lynfield (781)334-5411
Hours: Mon-Thurs 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri and Sat 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Headquarters for the Essex Society of Genealogists. About 3,000 volumes of genealogies and town histories for the New England states and eastern Canada. Subscriptions to 20 genealogy journals.

© Compiled by R. Bairnsfather. Updated January 1, 2001.

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