Genealogy

Welcome to the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds Genealogy Page. Norfolk County has an incredibly rich history highlighted by being the birth place of four U.S. Presidents, (John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy, and George H. W. Bush). Our hope is that the resources outlined on this page will help you discover the rich history of your own family!

Genealogy is quite simply, detective work. Its putting the piece together of a fascinating puzzle. And the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds may have some of the pieces you need to put that puzzle together.

The Registry is a wealth of historical information. We have scanned images of all recorded land documents dating back to our inception in 1793, the year Norfolk County was created through an act of the state legislature signed into law by Governor John Hancock.

Furthermore, the Registry has transcribed images of all recorded land documents from (1793-1900), transforming the old cursive handwriting style to an easy-to-read typed format. Having these transcribed images online is an effort by the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds to make “Make History Come Alive,” a transcription project that has received praise from noted Pulitzer Prize historian, David McCullough.

Both scanned images and the transcribed images of the Registry’s original documents are from all 28 communities comprising Norfolk County. These documents also include records for communities previously part of Norfolk County, but now incorporated in the city of Boston (Suffolk County) for the years prior to their annexation (dates shown): Roxbury (1867), Dorchester (1869), West Roxbury (1872), and Hyde Park (1911).

These records can provide a vast amount of information for those wishing to do genealogical study. For instance, land records can be especially useful to help establish the whereabouts of a person at a particular time and place. Deeds, used in conjunction with other documentation, can bridge gaps in historical research when other records fail to do so.

At the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, you will find Deeds, Mortgages, Death Certificates, Plans of Land, and old City/Town Atlases, along with other documents that are useful in examining the past. The records at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds are organized primarily by name and date. “Property Address” is a weaker starting point for a search, but nevertheless can be used with some success with later documents. All records held by the Registry of Deeds are “public records” available for anyone for reviewing and copying.

Come visit our Customer Service desk from 8:30AM to 4:30PM, Monday – Friday. Our courteous staff will be happy to get you “get started” on your genealogical journey..

William P. O’Donnell Norfolk County Register of Deeds

Genealogy: Research Resources

The Registry of Deeds information is just one of many tools in the tool box when undertaking genealogical research. Here are some additional links that might help you search your family’s history.

Ancestry Academy

A complete card catalogue of on-line resources

Ancestry.com

Search for the following categories:

  1. Census & Voter Lists
  2. Birth, Marriage & Death
  3. Military
  4. Immigration & Travel
  5. Newspapers & Publications
  6. Pictures
  7. Stories, Memories & Histories
  8. Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers
  9. Schools, Directories & Church Histories
  10. Wills, Probates, Land, Tax & Criminal
  11. Reference, Dictionaries & Almanacs

American Ancestors

New England Historic Genealogical Society
99-101 Newbury Street Boston, Massachusetts 02116-3007

Toll free: 1-888-296-3447
617-536-5740 Fax: 617-536-7307

About NEHGS: The nation’s founding resource for family history research

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is America’s founding genealogical organization and the most respected name in family history. Established in 1845, NEHGS is the nation’s leading comprehensive resource for family history research and the largest Society of its kind in the world. We provide expert family history services through our staff, original scholarship, data-rich website, educational opportunities, and research center to help family historians of all levels explore their past and understand their families’ unique place in history.

We offer the most comprehensive resources in the country for researching family history:

Website: We offer family history researchers the most-used genealogical society website in the world. AmericanAncestors.org provides access to more than 1.4 billion records spanning twenty-two countries covering the United States, the British Isles, continental Europe, and beyond, including one of the most extensive online collections of early American genealogical records, the largest searchable collection of published genealogical research journals and magazines, and the largest collection of U.S Catholic records online.

Education: We provide exclusive, in-depth learning opportunities through more than 100 annual lectures, seminars, intensive research programs, tours, online courses and webinars, and special events designed to benefit family history researchers of all levels.

Research Center: Named by USA Today as a top 10 world destination for family history, the public, members and visitors are invited to visit our eight-story library and archive where we offer the largest collection of original family history research materials in the country. Our collection, which continues to grow through acquisition and preservation activities, dates from the fourteenth century to the present and spans North America, Europe, and beyond. It includes more than 28 million diaries, letters, photographs, and other manuscripts, and more than 200,000 books and microforms.

Massachusetts State Archives

Reference:

  1. Reference Services
  2. Research Your Family’s History
  3. Search our Databases
  4. Researching Vital Records (1841-1920) on FamilySearch.org (PDF)
  5. Notice Concerning Vital Records, 1921-1925 (PDF)

Collections

  1. Collections Overview
  2. Collection Guides
  3. Massachusetts Archives Collection
  4. Genealogy and Family History
  5. Military Records
  6. Judicial Archives

Family History

Free search site created by Mormon Church …The collections of FamilySearch include documents such as civil registration records; church records; and probate, census, land, tax, and military records. The collection also contains compiled sources such as family histories, clan and lineage genealogies, oral pedigrees, and local histories.

National Archives

Trapelo Rd, Waltham, MA

Subscription Databases Free on National Archives Computers

Use these links on a National Archives facility computer to access these subscription-only websites for free. (Free access can also often be found from local public and university libraries.)

If you use the same link from outside the National Archives facility, there will be a fee.

Learn more about each of these Subscription Databases.

Details about Subscription Databases

These websites are free only when accessed from a link on Archives.gov while at a National Archives facility computer.

If you use the same link from outside the National Archives facility, there will be a fee.

America: History & Life 

This database offers access to:

  • Complete bibliographic reference to the history of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present.
  • 490,000 bibliographic entries for periodicals dating back to 1954.
  • Over 2,000 journals published worldwide. Produced by ABC-CLIO.

Click on subscription access link to browse the database.

America: History & Life is also available to staff and researchers on CD-ROM in the library at the National Archives at Washington, DC.

Ancestry.com 

Ancestry is a subscription service offering extensive resources for researching family history including databases containing billions of digitized historical documents, message boards, educational materials, and family trees contributed by individual researchers. Over 1.2 billion records in over 3,000 databases, including census images from 1790 onward, immigration and passenger lists, military draft cards, city directories, and much more.

You may want to start your Genealogy research here with searches of recent Census records:

CIA Records Search Tool (CREST)

CREST is the name of the CIA database of declassified intelligence documents. The database, searchable by title, data, and text content, includes Directorate of Operations reports on the role of intelligence in the post WW-II period; material on the creation, organization, and role of the CIA within the U.S. Government; a collection of foreign scientific articles, ground photographs and associated reference materials; and the CIA’s first release of motion picture film.

An online CREST Finding Aid to research availability of CIA documents declassified and loaded onto CREST through 2008 is now available through the CIA website (formerly at NARA). Data for the remaining years up to the present (CREST deliveries have been ongoing) will be placed on the site at later dates.

Digital National Security Archive

  • Contains comprehensive set of declassified government documents.
  • Covers critical world events, countries, and U.S. policy decisions from post World War II through the 21st century.
  • Includes glossaries, chronologies, bibliographies, overviews, and photographs.
  • Documents available in PDF format.

Fold3

Fold3 (Formerly Footnote.com) presents millions of digitized historical documents that can be searched and browsed. The site covers a wide variety of topics, including Civil War records, Native American resources, newspapers, photographs and much more. They now specialize in military records.

You may want to start here if you are searching for Military and Military Pension records:

GaleNet

Biography and Genealogy Master Index
Comprehensive index to nearly 12 million biographical sketches in more than 2700 volumes.

Declassified Documents Reference System
Provides online access to over 500,000 pages of previously classified government documents covering major international events from the Cold War to the Vietnam War and beyond.

Ingenta (Articles)

Search databases and tables of contents.
For instructions, tutorials, and other Ingenta databases see the Ingenta Home Page.

Place orders directly by credit card.
NARA staff can obtain articles by contacting the ALIC library at 301-837-3415 or by e-mail.

JSTOR 

Offers core journals in economics, history, political science, and sociology, as well as in other key fields in the humanities and social sciences. Includes 119 titles in twenty-one disciplines. Collection can be searched or browsed by discipline, title, or publisher.

ProQuest/UMI

ArchivesUSA

Directory of Archives and Manuscript Repositories in the United States: Information on over 5,480 repositories and 132,300 collections of primary source material across the United States.
National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC): published since 1959, and contains over 93,100 records.
National Inventory of Documentary Sources – US (NIDS-US): complete indexing of over 58,600 records. Distributed by ProQuest
Archives USA is also available to staff and researchers on CD-ROM in the library at both the National Archives in Washington, DC and at College Park, MD.

ProQuest Direct
ProQuest Direct includes citations, abstracts, and/or full text of over 1000 newspapers and journals, including:

  • Newspaper abstracts and/or full text from 1985- (including the full text New York Times for the most recent 90 days).
  • Full text of the Washington Post from 1877-1989
  • Full text of the New York Times from 1851-2002
  • Abstracts for over 1000 journals from 1986-
  • Full text for over 700 journals from 1992-

U.S. Serial Set Digital Collection

The U.S. Serial Set is a collection of U.S. Government publications compiled under directive of the Congress. It contains comprehensive and often detailed information on an extremely wide range of subjects. The LexisNexis® U.S. Serial Set Digital Collection contains hundreds of thousands of documents and over 52,000 maps, ranging from 1789 to the present.

You may want to search here to see if your ancestors had any interactions with Congress, such as letters for assistance, petitions on behalf of neighbors, and regarding pension or land matters.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds will be closed on Thursday, July 4th in celebration of Independence Day. We are open Friday, July 5th.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is closed Today, July 4th in celebration of Independence Day. We are open Friday, July 5th.