If you have ancestors from Massachusetts, you might be interested in the Reconnaissance Survey Town Reports, produced for the Massachusetts Historical Commission's Statewide Reconnaissance Survey between 1979 and 1987.
These reports provide the historical development of each of the Commonwealth’s municipalities. Each report contains an historic overview, a description of topography, and political boundaries. Each report evaluates the town’s existing historic properties inventory, highlights significant historic buildings and settlement patterns, and presents threats to these resources. A bibliography lists key secondary resources.
In most cases, you won't find names of individual residents listed. You will, however, find information about the place in which they lived and perhaps obtain a better insight to the events that influenced their lives.
These reports are not new; they have been available in print since 1987 and were placed online on the Massachusetts Historical Commission's web site some time ago. However, newsletter reader Sandy Mackay brought them to my attention today and wrote that the reports "provide a lot of very interesting information on what life in the towns was like at various points in history. They also mention some individuals important in developments in the town."
You can find the Massachusetts Town Reconnaissance Survey Reports on the Massachusetts Historical Commission's web site at http://www.sec.state.ma.us/mhc/mhchpp/townsurveyrpts.htm.
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