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.
From 1890-1903, the Dedham Historical Society in Dedham Massachusetts printed a quarterly pamphlet for it’s historical society called the “Dedham Historical Register.” In this pamphlet a variety of genealogical data was published on families of Dedham and the villages emanating from the early residents of Dedham, such as Dorchester, Franklin, Medfield, Medway, Needham, and Sharon, etc.
This is a collection of 191 free town vital records books, otherwise known as “Tan Books” for Massachusetts towns. Generally these records go up to 1849/1850 at which, the genealogist can use the census records to assist in identifying the family connections further. Included with this article is an account of why and how these manuscripts were published.
Most Connecticut researchers are as familiar with the Barbour Collection of town records as Massachusetts researchers are with their “tan books” of town vital records. For those not familiar, in short, the Barber Collection provides a transcription and index of pre-1870 Connecticut vital records on a town by town basis. The Lucius Barnes Barbour Collection, as it is officially known has been housed in the Connecticut State Library since Lucius created it. For non local researchers, microfilm copies have been widely distributed over the years. Finally, it’s now becoming available online in an even wider distribution. The 123 volumes are arranged in alphabetical order according to town name. Within each town, the records are arranged in alphabetical order according to surname. Each marriage record is so arranged that all the vital records for a person is together, so birth and death records may also be found within the marriage records database. Unfortunately, it’s not all available online for free. We have provided the links for each town below depending on it’s availability at a free website, and then as a backup to Ancestry if the specific resource is not available for free.
A listing of birth announcements extracted from various newspaper records for the years of 1868-1932. These are not all inclusive.