Settled 1628 - Incorporated 1643












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Cyndi's List has a vast number of resources listed. It also has a lot of "How-to" type information. The site is huge and can be overwhelming, but is worth the effort.


Guide to Essex County Cemeteries lists 131 cemetery locations in Essex County. Extracted from the USGS Geographic Names Information System.

Old Burial Hill - Marblehead, MA is one of the most picturesque graveyards in New England. It affords a view of Old Marblehead, the harbor, and the sea. Established in 1638, at the site of Marblehead's first meeting house, it is the burial site of an estimated 600 Revolutionary soldiers, although only a few of those graves are known and marked.

A Very Grave Matter run by Jenn Marcelais, contains many, many pictures from cemeteries in MA, ME & NH. Each cemetery contains an thumbnails of the headstones in that cemetery, usually alphbetical. Jenn also takes requests for cemeteries to photograph and she has a mailing list for those who would like to be kept up on additions. To sign up for her e-news or to request a cemetery, visit A Very Grave Matter.


Newspapers are a great source of information particularly for later residents. Obituaries were not generally published until the last half of the nineteenth century but significant snippets of information can garnered from earlier editions. In most cases newspapers are on microfilm at local public libraries.To determine what newspapers may be available for your Essex town go to:

Massachusetts Daily Newspapers is a directory of daily publications from 1815 to present.


Almost every town in Essex County has a public library and the larger towns have significant genealogy and history sections. Some even have specificrooms, manned by volunteers, devoted exclusively to genealogy and history. For the most part, the various town libraries can be reached through the town USGenWeb pages which can be reached at here.

Massachusetts Public Libraries Find any of the more than 1,700 libraries that are members of the six Massachusetts Regional Library Systems. Addresses, phone numbers, Web sites and e-mail, branches and departments, and library staff can be found here.

Boston Public Library

The LDS Family Search is one of the most resource rich genealogy sites on the internet. To the best of my knowledge, all databases are free to everyone. These centers, located nationwide, are the best starting point for those who do not have access to other major library collections. The LDS Church has microfilmed most Essex records and a significant number of the genealogy and history books of the county.

One of the most useful starting tools available from LDS is the International Genealogical Index (IGI). This is an index to the records that have beengathered by the LDS Church. In some cases the index refers to actual microfilm of records and in others it refers to index to records it is not a record. You must refer to the reference in the record and review that to see if the information meets the standards for inclusion in your genealogy.

There are two thousand Family History Centers worldwide and chances are, there is one near you. To find out, click here. Click on Family History Centers and follow the on screen instructions. The local Essex County center is:

  • LDS Family History Center, Lynnfield
    400 Essex Street, Lynnfield, MA
    Phone: (781) 334-5586


Essex Society of Genealogists
Dedicated to Essex County Genealogy - History, Activities, Membership Information, Publications, Links, Queries.

Peabody Essex Museum - It consists of the entire collection of the old Essex Institute, as well as the Peabody Museum's award winning collection of manuscripts and artwork. Included in the Museum's holdings are original documents for the Salem Witchcraft Trials.

Check with the individual towns for local historical societies.


The US Army Center of Military History - They have a photocopy service and lots of good info.

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War - Preserving the Memory of the Grand Army of the Republic and our Ancestors who Fought to Preserve the Union.

The On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies devoted to the research of those residents of North America who remained loyal to the British Crown during the American War for Independence.

Massachusetts National Guard Military Museum - The Massachusetts National Guard Museum has a rich collection of National Guard history including an extensive Civil War archive.


New England Naturalization Records - This page explains how to locate, research and request United States citizenship or naturalization records that occurred in various courts throughout New England. A link to a Fee Service is also provided.


State of Massachusetts Clerk Index Addresses for Clerks in all Massachusetts towns and cities

Unofficial Names of Essex County Communities   Unofficial Names and Unincorporated Villages/Sections

MA GenWeb Essex County Towns Town GenWeb pages


The Congregational Library and Archives - Guide to the Local Church Records.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.


Hubbard's 1667 map of New England This file will take a couple of minutes to load.

The United States Digital Map Library A project of the USGenWeb Archives

Old Maps, & Gazetteer Excerpts for Sale - Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut & New York Cities, Towns & Villages

The Library of Congress Map Collections some of these are bird's eye views which you can pan and zoom

New England Topo Maps


Family genealogies are a tremendous source of information on, particularly, the pre-1850 Essex families. Many of these genealogies were prepared by family members who had access to family records and individuals with first hand knowledge unavailable to us today. Having said that, it should be recognized that most of these genealogies carry no other source citation save the author'sname. Some were self-serving genealogies, prepared for a fee, to document a specific, predetermined lineage. They can be a great source of information but they can also contain misleading information. Important events should, as with any secondary source, be verified.

A number of Essex County family Genealogies are available in reprint at Higginson Books and some are available on google books.

Family genealogy webpages for Essex County MA families can be found here.

Essex Antiquarian

Vol I - 1897, Vol II - 1898, Vol III - 1899

Vol IV - 1900, Vol V - 1901, Vol VI - 1902

Vol VII - 1903, Vol VIII - 1904, Vol IX - 1905

Vol X - 1906, Vol XI - 1907, Vol XII - 1908

Vol XIII - 1909

Histories and Genealogies of Essex County, MA - Containing Town Histories of Amesbury, Andover, Haverhill, Ipswich, Lawrence, Lynn, Lynnfield, Merrimac, Methuen, Nahant, North Andover, Saugus, and Swampscot; Plus Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens - on CD-ROM. If anyone knows where this can be found, please let the County Coordinator know.

This CD-ROM contains 13 volumes of valuable historical and genealogical data pertaining to Essex County, MA - essential references for historical and genealogical researchers. Some of these files are available on Google Books or can be downloaded in pdf format by clicking on the links below.

In addition, a master index is included which facilitates research in the more than 4,000 pages presented by these works.

Another book of interest is "History of Essex County, MA with Biographical Sketches of Many of its Prominent Men" By Duane Hamilton Hurd available at google books.


American Local History Network - Massachusetts

Essex Co MAGenExchange - Genealogy Exchange & Surname Registry Site.

The American Colonists Library - Primary Source Documents Pertaining to Early American History

Essex County GenConnect - Web Sites at RootsWeb - Essex MA


Essex County Massachusetts Genealogy Project - Founded August 1996

Last Updated: 26 March, 2010

MA GenWeb Project US GenWeb Project