As an outgrowth of the pilot project to create free, detailed guides for Massachusetts counties and towns [see Plymouth County), I am happy to announce that the Suffolk County and Boston guides are now available online.
The Suffolk County guide covers a brief history of the county, a table of county border changes, a list of towns and cities in the county (and those annexed by Boston) with links to their separate pages, a clickable town outline map of the county and surrounding area, notable histories that include cataloging and digital online version links, discussion of land, probate, court (detailed) records and online sources, maps, and research libraries in the county.
Boston being so large, the annexed towns have their own detailed guides and include:
- Brighton (1807-1874) https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Brighton,_Massachusetts
- Charlestown (1630-1874) https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Charlestown,_Massachusetts
- Dorchester (1630-1870) https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Dorchester,_Massachusetts
- Hyde Park (1868-1912) https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Hyde_Park,_Massachusetts
- Roxbury (1630-1868) https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Roxbury,_Massachusetts
- West Roxbury (1851-1874) https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/West_Roxbury,_Massachusetts
Other Suffolk County places with the same data as the annexed towns are:
- Chelsea (1739) https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Chelsea,_Massachusetts
- Revere (1846) https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Revere,_Massachusetts
- Winthrop (1852) https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Winthrop,_Massachusetts
The largest section of the Boston guide and never before available is the church guide. In downtown, there were 108 churches established by 1846 (the current stopping point of this guide). Entries for churches up to 1800 detail their every name change, location, notes about the church, a list of known records and where to find them, online resources, all historical and genealogical publications (with links), and a list of ministers (most go to the present). This minister list feature allows the user who has a civil marriage record that names a minister to go to this guide and search it using the browser’s find to identify the church your ancestor married in. Churches up to 1830 have less research regarding their locations or publications, but all other data is presented. Churches after 1830 have only their names, locations, notes, and location of records if not found with the church itself. Several new churches appear on this list and no other.
Another new section is an inventory of the records for the town (1630-1822) and city (1822-present) in all the major Boston repositories. There has never been a complete guide to these records until now. This guide identifies all major groups of records (i.e. not individual documents) that historians and genealogists might find helpful to round out any type of research on individuals or businesses of Boston. Many who want to know every place their ancestor lived will find the List of Residents (1909-1960), used in conjunction with the census and city directories, useful to lay out these often yearly moves. These street by street lists walk you down every block in the city giving the name of every male of voting age their occupation, current age, and previous year’s address (it adds women after 1922). In the next few years, we will be adding links to online access of the voter registration lists now being digitized.
A recent newly accessible source for researchers is newspapers. This guide lists in chronological order every newspaper published in the city up to 1855. The papers running over 30 years and those over 75 years are noted. If there is a digital copy (most all up to 1830 are digitized), you will learn where to find it in this list.
This guide would not have been possible without the help of archival and librarian staff at:
- City of Boston Archives http://www.cityofboston.gov/archivesandrecords/default.asp
- New England Historic Genealogical Society http://www.americanancestors.org
- Boston Public Library – Rare Books and Manuscripts, and Microtext http://www.bpl.org/
- Congregational Library http://www.congregationallibrary.org/
- Massachusetts Historical Society http://www.masshist.org/
- Andover Newton Theological School http://www.ants.edu/
- Harvard Divinity School through their detailed online guides http://www.hds.harvard.edu/
- Boston University School of Theology through their detailed online guides http://www.bu.edu/sth/
- Bostonian Society http://www.bostonhistory.org/
- Boston Athenaeum http://bostonathenaeum.org/