Massachusetts Biography

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The FamilySearch moderator for Massachusetts is Lee Drew.

Biographies in Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • Biographical information is often found in state, county, and town histories.
  • Towards the end of the 19th century, began publishers soliciting short biographical/family histories from local founding families, offering to publish them in an upcoming local history. This then became an incentive for family members to buy a copy of the book.
  • Families represented were not necessarily prominent. Practically everyone living there, especially in the Midwest, counted as an early settler.
  • These biographies often start with the first member of the family to settle in the area, and detail their descendants at the time of publishing. They may tell where the family moved in from. Children's marriages often are given, with maiden names included.

Finding Biographies[edit | edit source]

  • The county Wiki page lists several county histories. It also lists local libraries, and societies which probably have copies of local histories.
  • Many histories are no longer under copyright and can be found in the following online, digitized book collections. Search with keywords "History" and "the name of your locality" (state, county, or town).
  • The FamilySearch library has extensive collections of these local histories. Many are digitized. Search the FamilySearch Catalog under your locality for the topics "Biography" and "History".

The American Genealogical-Biographical Index (described in Massachusetts, United States Genealogy) cites many references to biographies of Massachusetts residents. In addition, two comprehensive biographical encyclopedias are:

The American Historical Society. Encyclopedia of Massachusetts, Biographical-Genealogical. 13 vols. New York, NY: The American Historical Society, ca. 1916. FHL book 974.4 D3e and FHL fiche 6046891 The Family History Library has volumes 1–4, 6, and 10–13 only.}}

Eliot, Samuel Atkins. Biographical History of Massachusetts. 10 vols. Boston, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Biographical Society, 1911-18. FHL book 974.4 D3eL

Biographical sketches of many Plymouth Colony residents, including those who came on the Mayflower, are in:

Stratton, Eugene Aubrey. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620-1691. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, 1986. FHL book 974.4 H2s

See Massachusetts, United States Genealogy for additional references to biographies and genealogies for Massachusetts ancestors.

Online Resources[edit | edit source]