Other Institutions to Explore

New England is home to many institutions that collect and care for materials that document Massachusetts, New England, and American history. This list provides an introduction to the historical resources available for research at repositories other than the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Genealogy/Family History

New England Historic Genealogical Society

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is the best place to begin researching your New England ancestors. The NEHGS library has a strong collection of published genealogies and local histories, as well as genealogical experts on staff. Visit the NEHGS website for more information. If you are unable to visit Boston, review the research services section of their website.

New England Historic Genealogical Society
101 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116

The Registry of Vital Records and Statistics

The Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, a division of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, holds most post-1840 official birth, death, and marriage records for towns in Massachusetts. Their genealogy page explains how to access and request copies of vital records for genealogical research.

Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
150 Mount Vernon St., 1 st Fl.
Dorchester, MA 02125-3105

The Massachusetts State Archives

The Massachusetts State Archives holds important materials for genealogical research including passenger lists, census schedules, and military records. Explore their Researching your Family's History page for more information about their genealogical holdings.

Massachusetts State Archives
220 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125

The National Archives and Records Administration

The National Archives and Records Administration maintains a Northeast Regional Branch in Waltham, Massachusetts. The holdings of this branch include federal census records, passenger arrival lists, and Revolutionary War military service records.

Frederick C. Murphy Federal Center
380 Trapelo Road
Waltham, MA 02452-6399

Local Libraries

Many Massachusetts public libraries have rich local history collections which should not be overlooked for community and genealogical research. The Massachusetts Library & Information Network maintains an online directory of Massachusetts public libraries.

The best place to begin a search of published sources on local history in New England is the Bibliographies of New England History series, published by the Committee for a New England Bibliography. This series provides a bibliography for each of the six New England states and a New England regional volume, as well as several supplemental volumes, with extensive entries arranged by county and town. These volumes are available at many area libraries.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society has the best centralized collection of published Massachusetts and New England local histories.

Historic Sites and Homes

Massachusetts Historical Commission

Researchers often confuse the Massachusetts Historical Society with the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC). The MHC is the state agency responsible for the oversight and preservation of historic sites and homes in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Historical Commission
220 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125

Boston Landmarks Commission

The Boston Landmarks Commission maintains a list of resources for researching historical properties in Boston, including contact information for the various goverment agencies that hold relevant collections of materials.

Historic New England

Historic New England owns and operates as museums many historic homes throughout New England. Historic New England also provides an Old House Maintenance Adviser service for advice about the preservation and renovation of historic properties.

Historic New England Administrative Offices
141 Cambridge Street
Boston, MA 02114

The American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) produces The Official Museum Directory, a comprehensive listing of museums that includes historic sites and homes. The directory is published by National Register Publishing and is available at many public and academic libraries.

Military Records

Published Records

The standard compilations of Massachusetts Revolutionary and Civil War veterans are Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War, prepared and published by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, 1891, and Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War, compiled and published by the Adjutant General, 1931. These books, available in many libraries, indicate when and with what regiment war veterans served. Several commercial genealogy websites also provide electronic access to the information in these volumes.

NPS Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System

The National Park Service Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System contains very basic facts about men who served in both the Union and Confederate Armies and Navies during the American Civil War. The information in the database was gathered from records that are indexed to many millions of other documents about Union and Confederate Civil War soldiers maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration.

Massachusetts State Archives

The Massachusetts State Archives holds official military records covering conflicts dating from the 17th through the 20th centuries.

Massachusetts State Archives
220 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125

The Massachusetts Adjutant General's Office

The Massachusetts Adjutant General's Office holds a large collection of military records relating to all military servicemen and women involved in engagements beginning with the Mexican War.

Massachusetts National Guard Museum (pre-1940 records)
44 Salisbury Street
Worcester, MA 01609

Military Records Branch (post-1940 records)
50 Maple Street
Milford, MA 01757

Upcoming Events

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar; The Irish Atlantic

Moving News, Affecting Relief: The Irish Famine’s Trans-Atlantic Circulations

28Mar 5:15PM 2017

The ships that carried Irish famine victims across the Atlantic also carried tragic accounts of those left behind; in response, North Americans sent millions of dollars ...

Brown Bag

An Actor’s Tale: Theater, Culture, and Everyday Life in Nineteenth-Century U.S. America

29Mar 12:00PM 2017

Hughes will discuss her monograph-in-progress, inspired by the diary of U.S. actor Harry Watkins (1825-1894). In “An Actor’s Tale,” she deploys ...

Author Talk; Politics of Taste

Tea Sets and Tyranny: The Politics of Politeness in Early America

29Mar 6:00PM 2017
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm.

Even as eighteenth-century thinkers from John Locke to Thomas Jefferson struggled to find effective means to restrain power, contemporary discussions of society gave ...

From our Blog

This Week @ MHS

Even though March is on its way out, it seems bent on imposing its will. Escape the late-winter bluster in the week ahead with some history: - Monday, 27 March, 6:00PM : First up this week is a ...

Gertrude Codman Carter’s Diary, March 1917

Today we return to the 1917 diary of Gertrude Codman Carter. You may read the previous entries here: Introduction | January | February All but the last page of March 1917 is sliced out of the diary; ...

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