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Massachusetts: Local History & Genealogy Resource Guide

Compiled by reference specialists at the Library of Congress, this guide identifies key print and online resources for pursuing family history, as well as state, county and municipal historical research, for the State of Massachusetts.


One of the original 13 colonies, Massachusetts looms large in the history of the United States. In part because some of its first European settlers sought to build a new model of community, attempts to record and document their time in Massachusetts began before they even set foot on land. Much that happened in Massachusetts would establish models for the development of other communities in the new country, including for the creation and keeping of records. A leader in the Revolutionary War with Great Britain, Massachusetts in 1788 became the sixth state to ratify the United States Constitution. Its capital, Boston, though settled in 1630, incorporated much later, in 1822.

This guide offers a selection of resources and strategies for Massachusetts local history and genealogy research. These include the print and digital collections of the Library of Congress, as well as external repositories and web sites key to finding forebears in the Bay State.

Carl Ernst Bohn. Massachusetts. [1796?]. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

About Local History & Genealogy Reference Services

The Library of Congress has one of the world's premier collections of U.S. and foreign genealogical and local historical publications, numbering more than 50,000 compiled family histories and over 100,000 U.S. local histories. The Library's genealogy collection began as early as 1815 with the purchase of Thomas Jefferson's library.