Settled 1628 - Incorporated 1643

From the standpoint of record and resource availability, Essex County Massachusetts is as close to "genealogist's heaven" as is possible. Organized, published records for most events are available back into the 1630s.

In spite of the above, it must be recognized that diligence and perseveranceare still required in your research efforts. One pitfall in Essex County research is the plethora of information available, ranging from family genealogies, town histories published over the years, published vital records through 1849 (unique to Massachusetts), Internet web sites, online archived materials and helpful fellow genealogists, to name a few. Additionally, the Essex Researcher has the respected, Essex Society of Genealogists as a reliable resource for Essex County information. That ESOG has nearly 1000 members, making it oneof the largest U.S. societies, speaks for the interest in Essex County research nationwide. Unfortunately, the old genealogist's caveat "check your sources"becomes more meaningful when there are so many. View the Standards of Sound Genealogical Research as recommended by the National Genealogical Society.

Below is a detailed breakdown of Essex County sources along with some research tips for use of them as tools in your research.

ESSEX COUNTY VITAL RECORDS

Earliest through 1849

All Essex County towns were included in the "Official Records Series" funded by the state and published by various agencies in the early 1900's. These are available in many libraries and through LDS FamilyHistory Centers, generally on microfilm. John Slaughter is currently managing the MA Vital Records Project. To access this information click here.

In addition, Jane Devlin and Ray Brown are both working on making transcriptions available for Essex county and surrounding areas.

Google Books also has scanned versions of several Essex county towns. These books can be downloaded in pdf format for viewing offline. Below is a list of Essex towns and a link to a pdf of the available information. Please note that some towns are multi volume sets and are noted with an *. The table below includes what was currently available (3/15/2010).