Pam Fox, author of "Farm Town to Suburb: The History and Architecture of Weston, Massachusetts, 1830-1980" has discovered a dusty old book at the Weston Town Hall. Apparently it has been there since 1798 but nobody paid much attention to it. The volume is labeled District #5, Fifth Division Mass., and covers the towns of Weston, Newton and Waltham. Any genealogist with ancestors in those towns in 1798 will be interested in this book.
The book probably had been stored in the basement of Town Hall in a space that used to be a jail. "It was very dark and cramped and hard to work there," according to Fox. Earlier this year, however, when Fox was helping to unpack the municipal documents that had been put in storage during the renovation of the Town Hall, she saw the book and brought it to the attention of both the Weston and the Massachusetts Historical commissions.
The book lists all the farms and houses in the towns, including the name of the occupant, the name of the owner, square footage of the house, number of stories and windows, square feet of glass, materials and valuation of each property. The numbers and sizes of windows were important because they were among the criteria used to determine the amount of tax.
The Massachusetts Historical Commission released a statement, "This really provides an opportunity to have a good look at Middlesex County in 1798."
You can read more at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=77230.