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Massachusetts Libraries


W. E. B. Dubois Library
University of Massachusetts Amherst 
Amherst MA 01003
An academic library with wide reference collection. Their strength is in the microfilm holdings that include the Mass. Archives Collection, some probate and town records from Franklin, Hampshire, and Suffolk counties, and special focus on the Conn. River Valley towns. Their online catalog includes the five area colleges. Check their online guide to genealogy first.



Sturgis Library
3090 Main St., PO Box 606 
Barnstable MA 02630
This is the largest research library on Cape Cod. It has an extensive Mass. reference collection with many manuscripts and original material for Barnstable County including a collection of pre-fire (i.e. 1827) deeds. Their online catalog is part of a network on the Cape. Finding aids are available for most archival collections.



Massachusetts Historical Society 
1154 Boylston St.
Boston MA 02215
This library specifically does not try to duplicate the collections of the NEHGS (below), but has many things useful when dealing with probelmatic research. This is the oldest historical society in the nation and thus has extensive and broad manuscript holdings. Their holdings are in their online catalog.


Boston Public Library
Copley Square
Boston MA 02117
The library has a huge collection though it is in closed stacks. They have extensive microforms holdings feature the newspapers of New England and elsewhere, city directories (pdf list), and the complete set of Holbrook fiche of town records. There are many databases available from their electronic resources page - some may require a free library card number. Their online catalog does not include everything from their "old catalog" file. 

New England Historic Genealogical Society 
99-101 Newbury St.
Boston MA 02116
user fee
This is the oldest genealogical library in the country. Its print and manuscript collections are legendary. Patrons have access to many online subscription and society-produced databases (available online to members only). The focus is New England (vital records to at least 1900 and probates for most of the six states), New York, Quebec, and the Maritimes. They feature a large city directory collection, the most extensive Quebec collection in one location, and a manuscripts collection that occupies one entire floor. The online catalog has all the print collection and a large majority of the manuscript collection. This is a loan center for FHL microfilm.



Haverhill Public Library 
99 Main St.
Haverhill MA 01830
Good collection of published books for New England and an extensive holding of genealogical periodicals. They have the Mass. Vital Records to 1900. They have access to all the major genealogical databases online. The Mass. DAR Collection is no longer (2009) here.



Lynnfield Public Library
18 Summer St.
Lynnfield MA 01940
Good collection of Essex County research material maintained by the Essex Society of Genealogist.


New Bedford

New Bedford Public Library
613 Pleasant St.
New Bedford MA 02740
This library focuses on southeastern Mass., bordering Rhode Island towns, and French-Canadian material. They hold the local newspapers, Mass. Vital Records to 1900,and immigration records that documents the large Portguese-Azores-Cape Verdean population. Their online catalog is part of a consortium.



James Duncan Phillips Library
Peabody Essex Museum
132 Essex St.
Salem MA 01970
978-745-9500 x3053
This is the premier repository for Essex County research. The have large print and manuscript collections focused on pre-1860 material. This is the facility for government records on Essex County including the original court records, customhouse records, maritime records, and (on microfilm) probate records. The paper catalog is in process of conversion to their online catalog.



Springfield History Library and Archives
220 State St.
Springfield MA 01103
413-263-6800 X230
The holdings of the Conn. River Valley focus on Springfield, but include a large French-Canadian collection, Mass. Vital Records to 1905, large microfilm collection, and an extensive manuscript collection.



Old Colony Historical Society
66 Church Green
Taunton MA 02780
user fee
The "Old Colony" refers to Plymouth Colony, the focus of their collection that is now further refined to the Taunton area. It has a good local print collection and manuscripts that include some local churches. A general guide to their holdings is online.



American Antiquarian Society
185 Salisbury St.
Worcester MA 01609
This is the largest collection of U.S. printed material to 1876 in the United States. It has extensive newspaper and manuscripts holdings and a strong genealogical collection. A detailed guide to the collection by subject is available online. Their catalog is online, but see the caveat.