COLLECTION GUIDES

1827-1859

Guide to the Collection

Restrictions on Access

The bulk of the Bowditch collection of Boston conveyances is stored offsite and must be requested at least one business day in advance. Contact the Library at library@masshist.org or (617) 536-1608 to request materials. Please discuss your request with the reading room staff before requesting cartons by barcode.


Collection Summary

Abstract

This collection consists of Boston and Cambridge, Mass. real estate conveyances transcribed from Suffolk County records by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, as part of his ongoing work and interest in real estate law and genealogy.

Biographical Sketch

Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch (1805-1861), the son of Nathaniel Bowditch (1773-1838) and Mary Ingersoll Bowditch (1781-1834), was well-known as a lawyer who specialized in real estate transactions and conveyances. After graduating from Harvard University in 1822, Bowditch studied law in the office of B. R. Nichols, and in 1823 continued to gain legal experience while working with another attorney, William Prescott. In October 1825, Bowditch passed the bar exam, and entered into a partnership with Franklin Dexter. According to Boston street directories, Bowditch had his own law office by 1829. In 1835, he married Elizabeth B. Francis. Throughout his life, he was an active philanthropist; he supported the Massachusetts General Hospital and established scholarships at Harvard. He was also interested in genealogy and local history and was the author of several articles and publications, including Suffolk Surnames.

Collection Description

This collection consists of 53 volumes of real estate conveyances (mostly relating to Boston properties), 2 volumes of real estate dockets, 1 volume of cases regarding real estate, 4 index volumes, and 2 manuscript boxes containing small indexes to specific volumes. The dates of the collection and in the carton list indicate when titles were examined and researched. The content of the volumes--transcriptions of property deeds and probate records--span a wide range of dates. Many title searches include transcriptions from 17th-century records and trace the property up to the time of Nathaniel I. Bowditch's research. (Some volumes were updated with additional information a few years after initial searches were completed. For example, volume 1, page 210, refers to the title search of property of Benjamin Crombie, State House Avenue. The initial search ends with this notation: "Friday May 4, 1827, title examined, entered and recorded by N. I. Bowditch." An additional entry, written in different ink, reads: "May 1836, Mr. J. Cotton wishing to buy Barnes lot got me to look and I find 339 & 165 a mortgage of Barnes...."

Four separate index volumes exist for the title searches contained in volumes 1-50, and these index volumes are stored onsite. Volume 20 indexes volumes 1-19; volume 30 indexes volumes 21-29; volume 41A indexes volumes 31-40; and volume 50A indexes volumes 42-50. Each index volume contains two sections: personal names (of vendors or purchasers of the properties) and locations (streets) of the properties researched. Also stored onsite are small indexes to specific volumes; previously, these indexes had been removed from the volumes of titles and stored in two manuscript boxes. As the box list indicates, there are small indexes for only some of the 55 volumes of titles. Of note are separate indexes to volumes 52, 53, 54, and 55. The individual volumes of real estate conveyances (volumes 1-55) do not contain tables of contents. Volume 60, Cases, does include a small index listing people relating to the real estate cases contained therein.

Restrictions on Access

The bulk of the Bowditch collection of Boston conveyances is stored offsite and must be requested at least one business day in advance. Contact the Library at library@masshist.org or (617) 536-1608 to request materials. Please discuss your request with the reading room staff before requesting cartons by barcode.

Acquisition Information

Given to the Massachusetts Historical Society by the estate of Nathaniel I. Bowditch, 27 April 1861, but held in the office of Frederick C. Bowditch, conveyancer, until 1912. Bookplates in the volumes indicate MHS received the collection on 19 March 1912.

Arrangement of the Collection

The volumes are arranged chronologically by the date on which the titles were examined and researched by Nathaniel I. Bowditch.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Carton 1SH 12L2 SVol. 1
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 25 Jan. 1827-24 July 1827.
Carton 1SH 12L2 SVol. 2
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 25 July 1827-15 Dec. 1827.
Carton 1SH 12L2 SVol. 3
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 17 Dec. 1827-28 April 1828.
Carton 1SH 12L2 SVol. 4
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 28 April 1828-2 Sept. 1828.
Carton 1SH 12L2 SVol. 5
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch,2 Sept. 1828-23 Feb. 1829.
Carton 2SH 12L3 TVol. 6
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 23 Feb. 1829-30 June 1829.
Carton 2SH 12L3 TVol. 7
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 2 July 1829-[Nov. 1829].
Carton 2SH 12L3 TVol. 8
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 13 Nov. 1829-20 March 1830.
Carton 2SH 12L3 TVol. 9
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, March 1830-24 July 1830.
Carton 2SH 12L3 TVol. 10
Docket or Book of Attachments upon Real Estate in the City of Boston, by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 30 May 1831-2 Aug. 1842.
Carton 3SH 12L4 UVol. 11
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 28 July 1830-20 Dec. 1830.
Carton 3SH 12L4 UVol. 12
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 21 Dec. 1830-2 April 1831.
Carton 3SH 12L4 UVol. 13
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 10 April 1831-9 July 1831.
Carton 3SH 12L4 UVol. 14
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 27 June 1831-14 Oct. 1831.
Carton 3SH 12L4 UVol. 15
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 15 Oct. 1831-[Feb. 1832].
Carton 4SH 12L5 VVol. 16
Land Titles in Lowell, Chelmsford, &c, &c; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 15 Nov. 1831-[July 1832].
Carton 4SH 12L5 VVol. 17
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 25 Feb. 1832-20 June 1832.
Carton 4SH 12L5 VVol. 18
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 16 April 1832-22 Aug. 1832.
Carton 4SH 12L5 VVol. 19
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 24 Aug. 1832-22 Dec. 1832.
Vol. 20
General Index to volumes 1-19 inclusive, of Land Titles; created by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch March 1833-3 Feb. 1834.Stored ONSITE at Ms. N-2044 (Tall).
Carton 4SH 12L5 VVol. 21
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 31 Dec. 1832-1 May 1833.
Carton 5SH 12L6 WVol. 22
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 17 Jan. 1833-3 Aug. 1833.
Carton 5SH 12L6 WVol. 23
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 1 Aug. 1833-14 Jan. 1834.
Carton 5SH 12L6 WVol. 24
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 17 Jan. 1834-17 Sept. 1834.
Carton 5SH 12L6 WVol. 25
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 27 Feb. 1834-14 Nov. 1834.
Carton 5SH 12L6 WVol. 26
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 18 Nov. 1834-20 July 1835.
Carton 6SH 12L7 XVol. 27
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 23 Mar. 1835-18 Dec. 1835.
Carton 6SH 12L7 XVol. 28
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 18 Dec. 1835-12 Sept. 1836.
Carton 6SH 12L7 XVol. 29
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 17 Sept. 1836-3 May 1837.
Vol. 30
Index to Land Titles, vols. 21 to 29; created by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch 15 Nov. 1837-27 Dec, 1839.Stored ONSITE at Ms. N-2044 (Tall).
Carton 6SH 12L7 XVol. 31
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 19 May 1837-20 March 1838.
Carton 6SH 12L7 XVol. 32
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 22 March 1838-17 Nov. 1838.
Carton 7SH 12L8 YVol. 33
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 10 Nov. 1838-21 June 1839.
Carton 7SH 12L8 YVol. 34
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 24 June 1839-20 April 1840.
Carton 7SH 12L8 YVol. 35
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 17 April 1840-10 Feb. 1841.
Carton 7SH 12L8 YVol. 36
Records of Land Titles, South Cove, Boston; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 27 April 1849-[1859].
Carton 7SH 12L8 YVol. 37
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 20 Feb. 1841-7 Nov. 1841.
Carton 7SH 12L8 YVol. 38
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 13 Nov. 1841-13 Sept. 1842.
Carton 8SH 12L9 ZVol. 39
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 15 Sept. 1842-[April 1843].
Carton 8SH 12L9 ZVol. 40
Docket, or list of Debtors and Bankrupts, 1842-1849; 4 August 1842-16 March 1849.
Carton 8SH 12L9 ZVol. 41
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 30 April 1843-3 Feb. 1844.
Vol. 41A
Index to volumes 31-41.Stored ONSITE at Ms. N-2044 (Tall).
Carton 8SH 12L9 ZVol. 42
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 5 Feb. 1844-8 Feb. 1845.
Carton 8SH 12L9 ZVol. 43
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 11 Feb. 1845-7 Oct. 1845.
Carton 9SH 12LA -Vol. 44
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 9 Oct. 1845-9 Sept. 1846.
Carton 9SH 12LA -Vol. 45
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 2 Oct. 1846-20 July 1847.
Carton 9SH 12LA -Vol. 46
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 29 July 1847-24 April 1849.
Carton 9SH 12LA -Vol. 47
Records of Land Titles, [many relate to South Boston properties]; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 1 Oct. 1847-[1857].
Carton 9SH 12LA -Vol. 48
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 1 May 1849-27 July 1850.
Carton 10SH 12LB .Vol. 49
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 3 August 1850-9 July 1851.
Carton 10SH 12LB .Vol. 50
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 18 August 1851-27 Jan. 1853.
Vol. 50A
Index to Land Titles, vols. 42-50, including 16 (or Lowell Titles), 3 August 1854.Stored ONSITE at Ms. N-2044 (Tall).
Carton 10SH 12LB .Vol. 51
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 10 Feb. 1853-14 March 1854.
Carton 10SH 12LB .Vol. 52
[Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 1854-1858.]
Carton 10SH 12LB .Vol. 53
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 22 March 1855-7 Nov. 1856.
Carton 11SH 12LCVol. 54
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 5 Nov. 1856-[Feb. 1858].
Carton 11SH 12LCVol. 55
Records of Land Titles; transcribed by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, 17 Feb. 1858-[April 1859].
Carton 11SH 12LCVol. 58
Docket of Real Estate Attachments,28 March 1849-16 Sept. 1857 kept by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch.
Carton 11SH 12LCVol. 59
Docket of Attachments of Real Estate 1857-1858, kept by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch.
Carton 11SH 12LCVol. 60
Cases.
Box 1 (onsite)
Indexes to Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 1-9 (streets), 1-9 (personal names), 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18.Stored ONSITE at Ms. N-2044 (Tall), Box 1.
Box 2 (onsite)
Indexes to Volumes 19, 23, 29, 52, 53, 54, 55, and loose notes removed from volumes.Stored ONSITE at Ms. N-2044 (Tall), Box 2.

Preferred Citation

Bowditch collection of Boston conveyances, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.

Subjects:

Conveyancing--Massachusetts--Boston.
Land titles--Massachusetts--Boston.
Real property, Exchange of--Massachusetts--Boston.
Real property--Massachusetts--Boston.