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Tracing ancestors in Lowell, Massachusetts online and for free has been greatly enhanced by the University of Massachusetts in Lowell which has provided digitized version of a large quantity of the Lowell public records. Combined with the cemetery and census records available freely online, you should be able to easily trace your ancestors from the founding of Lowell in 1826 through 1940, the last year of available census records. To add color to the otherwise basic facts of your ancestors existence we provide access to a wide range of manuscripts on the history of Lowell, it’s manufactures and residents.

The city of Lowell owes its leading position among the manufacturing cities of New England to the enormous water power which was developed from the Merrimack, a river, at the turn of the 20th century, which turned more wheels than any stream of its class in the world. The Pawtucket Falls, the source of power at Lowell, was a favorite fishing place for the Indians in the past, and we must go back many centuries to find a time when the human voice was not heard in this vicinity. The town was established in 1826, and the name Lowell given in honor of a gentleman in Newburyport who introduced cotton manufacture into the United States.

Biographies of Lowell Massachusetts

Frederick Coburn wrote several volumes in 1920 on the History of Lowell Massachusetts and it’s people. The people section contains numerous biographies of Lowell’s citizens. Those biographies start half-way through volume 2 and consist of the entire volume 3. Surnames mentioned in the biographies:

Abbott, Ames, Anderson, Appleton, Archambault, Ayer, Bachelder, Bachman, Baker, Bancroft, Barlow, Barnes, Bartlett, Batchelder, Bates, Beaulieu, Bell, Bellefontaine, Bill, Blessington, Boott, Bowers, Brady, Brierly, Brown, Burrage, Butcher, Butler, Caisse, Cameron, Campbell, Carter, Chalifoux, Chase, Clogston, Coburn, Cognac, Colburn, Collins, Conant, Conway, Cruickshank, Cumnock, Cushing, Delany, Demers, Dempsey, Derby, Devine, Dickey, Donahue, Donehue, Donnelly, Donoghue, Douglas, Dunbar, Dunsford, Eames, Entwistle, Fairbanks, Fairburn, Farnham, Fisher, Flather, Flynn, Foye, French, Friend, Gage, Gagnon, Gallagher, Gamble, Gatsopoulos, Generales, Gilbride, Goldsmith, Grannis, Graves, Greeley, Green, Greene, Guillet, Haggerty, Hall, Halloran, Hally, Hamel, Harmon, Harrigan, Harrington, Harris, Hatch, Hebert, Hickey, Hood, Hovey, Howard, Howe, Huntoon, Hylan, Jackson, Johnson, Kelcher, Kelley, Kenney, Kimball, Kludjian, Knapp, Krasnye, Ladd, Laurin, Lawrence, Lees, Legare, Lennon, Lepine, Livingston, Lovejoy, Lowell, MacBrayne, Mack, Mahoney, Mansur, Marcopoulos, Marden, Marin, Marren, Martin, McDonough, McEvoy, McGilly, McKinley, McLean, McMahon, Meagher, Means, Meehan, Milliken, Mitchell, Molloy, Moody, Morrison, Morse, Munn, Murphy, Mussey, Nesmith, Newhall, O’Brien, O’Connell, O’Dea, O’Donnell, O’Neill, O’Sullivan, Olney, Osggod, Parker, Parsons, Patten, Perkins, Pinardi, Pitts, Pollard, Prince, Putnam, Qua, Ranlett, Regan, Reilly, Rice, Richardson, Robbins, Robinson, Rochette, Rogers, Rollinson, Rourke, Runels, Saunders, Sawyer, Scribner, Shaw, Shepard, Simpson, Slack, Sophos, Southworth, Spillane, Sprague, Stanley, Stevens, Stile, Strauss, Sullivan, Swapp, Taylor, Thompson, Tighe, Tripp, Trull, Tucke, Turcotte, Varnum, Wadleigh, Walsh, Ward, Welch, White, Willson, Wilson, Wood, and Wright.

A necrology of the physicians of Lowell and vicinity, 1826-1898
Prepared for the Massachusetts North District Medical Society. Contains biographical details on the following surnames:

Allen, Bartlett, Bradley, Bradt, Brown, Burnham, Butterfield, Buttrick, Campbell, Crosby, Dalton, Dickey, Edwards, Fisk, Fox, Gage, Gilman, Graves, Green, Grierson, Hildreth, Hoar, Howard, Howe, Huntington, Jewett, Kimball, Kittredge, Livermore, Manson, Mowe, Parker, Peirce, Perham, Phelan, Pillsbury, Ricker, sanborn, Savage, Savory, Skelton, Smith, Spalding, Sullivan, Thomas, Wells, Whiting, Willard, and Wyman.

Quaint bits of Lowell history
A literary look at the history of Lowell, MA. Contains a biographical sketch of Col. Marie Louis Amand Ansart De Marisquelles – A friend of Lafayette.

Biographies found within the Contributions of the Old Residents’ Historical Association, Lowell MA

Lowell, Mayors of the City of
Short biographical sketches of past mayors of Lowell Mass.: Elisha Bartlett, Luther Lawrence, Elisha Huntington, Nathaniel Wright, Jefferson Bancroft, Josiah Bowers French, James Hazen Brickett Ayer, Sewall Goodrich Mack, Ambrose Lawrence, Stephen Mansur, James Cook, Benjamin Carr Sargeant, Hocum Hosford, Josiah Greenough Peabody, George Francis Richardson, Jonathan Philbrick Folsom, Edward Fay Sherman, Francis Jewett, and Charles Adams Stott.

Brief Biographical Notices of Prominent Citizens of Lowell, 1826 to 1836, by C. C. Chase

Cemeteries of Lowell Massachusetts

The following cemetery transcriptions from Lowell were recorded as birth and death records in the Lowell Massachusetts Vital Records to 1849 series. See the section on Vital Records below to freely access all four manuscripts.

  • Edson Cemetery
  • English Cemetery
  • Lowell Cemetery
  • School Street Cemetery
  • St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery

History of Lowell Cemetery, by James S. Russell

FindAGrave

The following cemeteries in Lowell, Massachusetts, are represented on FindAGrave and may have photos of the headstones within them.

Census Records of Lowell Massachusetts

Census taking began in Lowell in 1830 after the town was formed. The following links will take you to free census transcriptions, images and indexes when available. If you don’t know the page number and reel/roll then consult the index first to find that information. Then lookup that page number in the free census rolls. Right click on any image in the roll to save it to your hard-drive.

  • 1830 Census
  • 1840 Census
  • 1850 Census
    • Film 326 – Images
      Middlesex County (part) and city of Lowell, ward 5
    • Film 327 – Images
      City of Lowell (excluding ward 5)
    • 1850 Census Index Search
      Look for the “affiliate film number” and household ID in the details of the person, and use that to find them in the free census rolls above. The census index includes basic information on family members, but you will want to reference the actual census images above for the full information.
  • 1860 Census
    • Roll 507 – Images
      Middlesex County (part), city of Lowell
    • 1860 Census Index Search
      Look for the page number reference in the index of the person, and use that to find them in the free census roll above.
  • 1870 Census
    • Film 000552126 – Images
      City of Lowell, wards 1 and 2
    • Roll 628 – Images
      City of Lowell, wards 3-6
    • 1870 Census Index Search
      Look for the ED and page number reference in the index of the person, and use that to find them in the free census rolls above.
  • 1880 Census
    • Roll 544 – Images
      City of Cambridge and city of Lowell (part: ED 441, sheet 39-ED 457, sheet 3)
    • Roll 545 – Images
      City of Lowell (cont’d: ED 457, sheet 3-ED 472, sheet 48)
    • 1880 Census Index Search
      Look for the ED and page number reference in the index of the person, and use that to find them in the free census rolls above.
  • 1890 Census
    The 1890 census was destroyed in a fire. Look at the Annual Reports for publication of vital records between 1880 and 1899.
  • 1900 Census
    • Roll 659 – Images
      EDs 752-780 ED 781, sheet 1
    • Roll 660 – Images
      ED 781, sheet 2-end, EDs 782-792, 1828, 793-806
    • Roll 661 – Images
      EDs 807-817, 1795, 818-830, 831, sheets 1-5
    • 1900 Census Index Search
      Look for the ED and page number reference in the index of the person, and use that to find them in the free census rolls above.
  • 1910 Census
    • Reel 599 – Images
      Middlesex (EDs 832-855, 1954) County.
    • Reel 600 – Images
      Middlesex (EDs 856-871) County.
    • Reel 601 – Images
      Middlesex (EDs 872-908) County.
    • 1910 Census Index Search
      Look for the ED and page number reference in the index of the person, and use that to find them in the free census rolls above.
  • 1920 Census
    • Reel 710 – Images
      Middlesex Co. (EDs 134-138, 143-147, 162-168, 174, 175), and Middlesex Co., Lowell City (EDs 170-173, 176, 559, 177, 566, 178-180, 571, 181, 182, 576, and 202-208).
    • Reel 711 – Images
      Middlesex Co., Lowell City (EDs 183-193, 565, 194-201,556, 554, 209-215, 230, 561, 569, 231-234, 562, 564, 235-237, and 557).
    • Reel 712 – Images
      Middlesex Co., Lowell City (EDs 216-217, 570, 572, 218, 553, 219-224, 560, 225-229, 555, 238-240, 567, 241-243, 115, 244, 579, 245-247, 577, 248-250, 568, and 251-253).
    • 1920 Census Index Search
      Look for the ED and page number reference in the index of the person, and use that to find them in the free census rolls above.
  • 1930 Census
    • Roll 920 – Images
      Middlesex, Lowell City EDs 77 to 109
    • Roll 921 – Images
      Middlesex, Lowell City EDs 110 to 138
    • Roll 922 – Images
      Middlesex, Lowell City EDs 139 to 157, 262 to 269, 274 to 276
    • 1930 Census Index Search
      Look for the ED and page number reference in the index of the person, and use that to find them in the free census rolls above.
  • 1940 Census

Church Histories and Records

The following church transcriptions were recorded as baptismal, birth and death records in the Lowell Massachusetts Vital Records to 1849 series. See the section on Vital Records below to freely access all four manuscripts.

  • First Congregational Church
  • St. Anne’s Episcopal Church
  • St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
  • St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church
  • St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church
  • St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church

Illustrated history of Lowell Massachusetts
Contains a general church history of Lowell from page 86-102.

The Semi-centennial Volume of the Eliot Church, Lowell , Mass.
Containing a sermon from each pastor, papers and letters furnished for the jubilee celebration, confessions of faith, etc. Outside of it’s historical contribution to Lowell history, this manuscript provides the genealogist with a chronological and alphabetical list of all current and past members of the church.

History of Pawtucket Church and Society
With reminiscences of pastors and founders, sketches of Congregational churches in Lowell, and a brief outline of Congregationalism.

Irish Catholic genesis of Lowell
George F. O’Dwyer penned this manuscript in 1920 to provide a history of the Irish Catholic settlement in Lowell, from the first 30 Irish Catholic settlers who walked from Charlestown, a distance of 25 miles, to build arteries and widen the old Pawtucket canal. These Irish settlers were quickly reinforced by hundreds more and soon a Catholic Church was established within the town of Lowell.

Memoir of Horatio Wood
For twenty-four years minister-at-large in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Souvenir des noces d’or religieuses du R.P. André Marie Garin, O.M. I.
Religious golden anniversary of Father André Marie Garin, pompously celebrated in Lowell, Mass, Sunday, November 6, 1892

A Series of Temperance Sermons: Delivered in the City Hall, Lowell
While consisting of little genealogical value, this does provide the sentiment of at least a few of the clergyman during the temperance movement.

St. Luke’s Church, Lowell, by James S. Russell

St. Anne Church

Directories of Lowell Massachusetts

Lowell Massachusetts City Directories 1832-1876
The following are 29 free digitized directories found online for the city of Lowell Massachusetts covering the years of 1832-1876 (incomplete). Directories can provide such information on an individual such as their employment and address during the year issued. They may also indicate whether they were renting or residing with somebody else at the time.

Government Records of Lowell Massachusetts

Lowell Massachusetts Annual Reports 1862-1928
Most towns in New England started publishing annual reports of the town's public business in the 1800's and many smaller towns still carry on that trait today. The following list of 52 free annual reports for Lowell Massachusetts covers the years of 1862-1928 (incomplete). Each town provided different reports in it's annual publications, but they generally contain information on vital records (births, marriages and deaths) for the year of publication (not always included in early years), lists of public officials, lists of police officers, firemen, and other government workers, including school teachers. Don't overlook the town's expenditures list, as it often included payments made to town citizens for work they performed in the town's behest. Also, many towns include payments made for the support of the indigent within the town.

Centennials and Celebrations of Lowell Massachusetts

Towns liked to publish their centennial celebrations and often included in those the addresses delivered. These addresses often contained personal reminiscences of the speaker concerning the town as they remembered it. Consider them another form of oral history, except nobody is asking the speaker specific questions. For the genealogist, these addresses often contain personal remembrances of  individuals within the town and may provide some color to the usual vital facts for our ancestors.

Histories of Lowell Massachusetts

The following are printed histories of Lowell Massachusetts, placed in order from newer to older publications.

Lowell Massachusetts, the Story of an Industrial City
A guide to Lowell National Historical Park and Lowell Heritage State Park. Produced by the Division of Publications, National Park Service. This book is both an illustrated account of the changing fortunes of Lowell’s industry and its working people and a guide to surviving sites.

History of Lowell and its People
Frederick Coburn published several volumes in 1920 on the History of Lowell Massachusetts and it’s people. The history section starts in vol 1 and continues through half of volume 2. The people section contains numerous biographies of Lowell’s citizens.

Quaint bits of Lowell history
A literary look at the history of Lowell, MA written in 1913 by Sara Swan Griffin. Contains information on the old homes and historic byways of Lowell, the Acadian exiles about Lowell, Lowell’s share in the Battle of Bunker Hill, the story of Wannalancet, and a biographical sketch of Col. Marie Louis Amand Ansart De Marisquelles. A friend of Lafayette.

The Lowell Massachusetts Book
Published in 1899 by George H. Ellis. Brief historical notices about the history of Lowell. Contains a lot of historical photographs.

Lowell: past, present and prospective
Published in 1891 by the Citizen Newspaper Company, this pamphlet was compiled and prepared with a view to presenting in a concise and available form, certain important facts regarding the city of Lowell – its industries, its enterprises and its prospects.

Illustrated history of Lowell Massachusetts
Charles Cowley penned the Illustrated history of Lowell in an effort to revise his original “hand book of business in Lowell” he published in 1856. With an additional 12 years of research and collection of material he succeeded in greatly expanding his original manuscript.

A hand book of business in Lowell, with a history of the city
Written by Charles Cowley in 1856 – Two objects were sought to be compassed by this work: One, to exhibit, by cards and advertisements, a sort of daguerreotype view of the business of Lowell; the other was to present a concise view of the history of Lowell up to 1856.

Memories of the Indians and Pioneers of Lowell Region
An address delivered frequently by Charles Cowley on the early pioneers and their interaction with the Indians of the Lowell area. Before industrial Lowell, before rural Chelmsford, Algonquian-speaking Pennacook Indians came to the Pawtucket Falls to take fish from the Merrimack River.

Lowell, as it Was, and as it is
Written by Rev. Henry A. Miles in 1845, this manuscript provides a general history of Lowell Mass. up to 1845, concentrating on the industrial and manufacturing history.

Agricultural History of Lowell Massachusetts

While Lowell is principally known for its manufacturing, early in it’s existence it also served as farm land.

Ethnic History of Lowell Massachusetts

Foreign Colonies of Lowell, by Charles Cowley

French Canadian
Irish
  • Irish Catholic genesis of Lowell
    George F. O’Dwyer penned this manuscript in 1920 to provide a history of the Irish Catholic settlement in Lowell, from the first 30 Irish Catholic settlers who walked from Charlestown, a distance of 25 miles, to build arteries and widen the old Pawtucket canal. These Irish settlers were quickly reinforced by hundreds more and soon a Catholic Church was established within the town of Lowell.

Industrial History of Lowell Massachusetts

Lowell, Massachusetts was America’s first large-scale planned industrial city in 1826, Lowell was celebrated for its innovative textile technology and its unique workforce of young Yankee farm women. Its mills helped transform American life with high-volume mechanized manufacturing, the rise of the corporation, and the growth of an urban working class.

The chief industry was the manufacture of cotton goods, but there was also an enormous production of woolens, carpetings, hosiery, patent medicines, etc.

  • Lowell – an industrial dream come true
    This is probably the premier history of cotton manufacturing in Lowell, providing a concise history of cotton manufacturing along with Lowell’s participation in that history. I find the article on wages and the cost of living (p. 105-118) particularly interesting.
  • Introduction of the Power Loom; And, Origin of Lowell
    Written by Nathan Appleton in 1858, this manuscript takes a look at the history of Lowell, Mass as it related to the invention of the power loom. An intriguing look into the Lowell loom, and invention of Francis C. Lowell, by whom the town received it’s name.
  • A hand book of business in Lowell, with a history of the city
    Written by Charles Cowley in 1856 – Two objects were sought to be compassed by this work: One, to exhibit, by cards and advertisements, a sort of daguerreotype view of the business of Lowell; the other was to present a concise view of the history of Lowell up to 1856.
  • Lowell, as it Was, and as it is
    Written by Rev. Henry A. Miles in 1845, this manuscript provides a general history of Lowell Mass. up to 1845, concentrating on the industrial and manufacturing history.
  • The industrial advantages of Lowell, Mass. and environs
    South Lowell, North Chelmsford, South and East Chelmsford, Chelmsford Center, Dracut, Billerica, North Billerica, Ayer’s City, Collinsville and Willow Dale
  • Industries of Massachusettes
    Historical and descriptive review of Lynn, Lowell , Lawrence, Haverhill, Salem, Beverly, Peabody, Danvers, Gloucester, Newburyport, and Amesbury, and their leading manufacturers and merchants.

Lowell Heritage State Park History and Lowell National Historical Park

Lowell National Historical Park and Lowell Heritage State Park preserves many scenes of the city’s industrial past.

The Lowell Offering

Medical History of Lowell Massachusetts

Maps of Lowell Massachusetts

 

Military Records of Lowell Massachusetts

Native American History of Lowell Massachusetts

Newspapers of Lowell Massachusetts

Pictures of Lowell Massachusetts

Surnames of Lowell Massachusetts

Vital Records of Lowell Massachusetts

Vital records for Lowell Massachusetts were published in 1930 by the Essex Institute in Salem Mass. They consist of all the births, marriages and deaths recorded in Lowell up to 1849.

Yearbooks of Lowell Massachusetts

  • Yearbooks of the Rogers Hall School, Lowell MA 1900-1973
    The University of Massachusetts at Lowell digitized 35 bound volumes of the Rogers Hall School monthly paper during the years of 1900-1973. The paper during this period was known as "The Spindle". Each volume contains several years of the Rogers Hall school papers. School papers often provide a window into student life. From sports teams to clubs, fashions to hairstyles, these volumes document the changing attitudes and culture of high school students year by year.
  • Yearbooks of Lowell High School, Lowell MA 1926-2008
    The University of Massachusetts at Lowell digitized 35 of the Lowell High School yearbooks during the years of 1946-2008. The yearbook during this period was known as "The Spindle". Yearbooks provide a window into student life. From sports teams to clubs, fashions to hairstyles, these volumes document the changing attitudes and culture of high school students year by year.
  • Yearbooks for the University of Massachusetts Lowell, 1976-2011
    The University of Massachusetts at Lowell digitized 34 of the yearbooks during the years of 1976-2011. The yearbook during this period was known as the "Sojourn". Yearbooks provide a window into student life. From sports teams to clubs, fashions to hairstyles, these volumes document the changing attitudes and culture of college students year by year.
  • Yearbooks for the Lowell Textile School, Lowell MA 1906-1975
    The University of Massachusetts at Lowell digitized 62 of the yearbooks during the years of 1906-1975. The yearbook during this period was known as the "Pickout". Yearbooks provide a window into student life. From sports teams to clubs, fashions to hairstyles, these volumes document the changing attitudes and culture of college students year by year.
  • Yearbooks for the State Teachers College at Lowell, MA 1934-1974
    The University of Massachusetts at Lowell digitized all 38 of the yearbooks provided by the senior class during the years of 1936-1974 and known as "The Knoll". They also digitized 1 earlier yearbook when it was known as "The Marm". Yearbooks provide a window into student life. From sports teams to clubs, fashions to hairstyles, these volumes document the changing attitudes and culture of college students year by year.