William T. and Mary L. Hurley Library
Our research library specializes in materials pertaining to Southeastern Massachusetts prior to 1850, with special concentration on Taunton’s early European settlers. The library is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for on-site research.
We encourage you to make an appointment so that the staff can prepare for your visit in advance. Email the Curator of Collections at email@example.com and we’d be happy to schedule an appointment!
Quick tip: If you’ll be doing newspaper research on our new ScanPro 1100 digital microfilm reader/scanner we encourage visitors to bring a USB flash drive to save their research, which helps us cut down on printing and remain eco-friendly.
Some of our resources
Our research collection, which includes thousands of volumes in our non-circulating library and over 400 linear feet of archival material, embraces a wide range of topics. Some of the largest collections include:
- The non-circulating genealogy section of the Hurley Library contains more than 700 books representing 400 different local and regional family names. The closed stack collection also contains family papers, diaries and other unpublished manuscripts available on request.
- AmericanAncestors.org (New England Genealogical Historical Society database)
- This database, accessible on site at the Old Colony History Museum, provides access to more than 425 online catalogs with census records, deaths, births, marriages, selected church, and family records within the six New England States and New York from the early 1600s through the beginning of the Twentieth century. Similar records are included from England, Germany, Italy and four other Scandinavian countries along with the United State Census’ from 1790 through 1920.
- Indexed journals include The American Genealogist, Mayflower Descendant, New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Rhode Island Roots, The Connecticut Nutmegger and others.
- Local church records including the First Congregational Church of Raynham, the First Parish Church of Taunton and other numerous local parishes.
- Various cemetery records and gravestone transcriptions within Taunton, Berkley, Dighton and Rehoboth along with other family cemeteries in Norton, Freetown, Assonet, Somerset, Swansea and Fall River. The History Museum also has the cemetery lists compiled by Edgar Hodges Reed and Mary Presbrey, which denotes various epitaph’s in Taunton and surrounding towns through the year 1850.
- Vital Records of Taunton to The Year 1850. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1928
- This biographical register contains printed secondary source records of births, marriages, and deaths in three volumes for the city of Taunton through 1850.
- Hurley Library vital records case also contains similar information for more than 200 cities and towns in Massachusetts including the local towns of Attleboro, Assonet, Berkley, Bridgewater, Dighton, Norton, Raynham, and Rehoboth.
- Other various vital records of Taunton and Raynham past 1850 are available on microfilm.
- Arnold, James M. Vital Records of Rhode Island, 1636- Providence, RI: Narragansett Historical Publishing Company, 1891
- This 21-volume set includes records of births, marriages, and deaths within Rhode Island from its founding up through the year 1850.
- Volumes one through six contain municipality records, seven through 11 incorporate church documents and 12 through 21 are newspaper archives.
- Leclerc, Michael J., Ed. Genealogist’s Handbook for New England Research. 5th ed. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2012
- This genealogy handbook contains contact information for every repository, library and genealogical society in New England. Introductory essays for each section contain state-by-state suggestions of resources for vital, probate, church, court, and military records along with other miscellaneous archival material.
- Rapaport, Diane. New England Court Records. Burlington, MA: Quill Pen Press, 2012
- This volume includes essays about the history of the court system in New England and an index broken down by county with a timeline and additional locations for specific records. Other sections of the book detail helpful hints about court records in New England and an appendix contains contact information for various courts around the region.
- Savage, James. Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing, 1977
- This republished four-volume set features the original genealogical register compiled by Savage between 1860-62. It contains alphabetical genealogies and very brief biographical information of the first immigrants who settled in New England through May of 1692. Each entry is in paragraph form and branches out at least three generations.
- Mayflower Families Through Five Generations. Plymouth, MA: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1975-
- This index includes genealogies and brief biographical information of Mayflower descendants through 24 different volumes.
- Coverage includes more than 30 different pilgrim families through five or six generations with a bibliography in each section.
- Coldham, Peter Wilson. The Complete Book of Emigrants: 1700-1751. ed. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing, 1993
- Contains date by date listing of ship passengers bound for America, detailing names, ages, and occupations along with the place of origin for each record. In addition to immigrants, this volume includes information about indentured servants, legal records, citations from port books of various cities and towns in the United Kingdom.
- The Hurley Library also has copies of The Complete Book of Emigrants: 1607-1660, The Complete Book of Emigrants: 1661-1699, and The Complete Book of Emigrants: 1751-1776 for patrons to use in the genealogy room.
- Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995
- Anderson’s landmark genealogical three volume series compliments Savage’s Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England with expanded biographical information about passengers who arrived in New England between 1620-1633. Biographies include occupation histories, church associations, estate and marriage records, information about descendants and other miscellaneous notes.
- Old Colony History Museum collection also includes Anderson’s The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635 and The Winthrop Fleet: The Massachusetts Bay Colony Immigrants to New England, 1629-1630.
- Representative men and old families of Southeastern Massachusetts. Chicago, IL: J.H. Beers, 1912
- This three volume source contains genealogical and biographical records of prominent and historical families who lived in Bristol, Plymouth and Barnstable Counties. Some roots are traced back as many as eight generations. The source also contains portraits of selected individuals and includes a full index
- Cutter, Richard M. New England Families, genealogical and memorial. New York, NY: The American Historical Society, Inc., 1916.
- This four-volume set includes genealogical and biographical records of notable men and women who lived in New England. Books contain origins, dates of birth, marriages, and deaths along with portraits of selected individuals.
- Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary Wars. Boston, MA: Wright & Potter, 1896
- This 17-volume register contains alphabetical listings of soldiers from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York who served during the American Revolution between 1774 through 1782. The index includes enlistment and discharge date, term served, station and battalion assignment.
- Massachusetts, Adjutant General’s Office. (1931). Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the Civil War. Norwood, MA: Norwood Press, 1931
- This seven-volume index includes a regiment breakdown of volunteers from Massachusetts who served in the American Civil War. Each list includes a brief history of division, officers, non-commissioned staff, band, and company. Individual listings highlight residence, age, occupation, date of enrollment, death cause (if applicable) and discharge date.
- Proprietors records for the Taunton region (Original documents available on request)
- Military records and accounts from the 17th through the 20th century
- Materials related to prominent local industries
- Collection of maritime records – including diaries, ships’ logs, etc. (Available on request)
- Account books of local merchants, businesses, and citizens (Available on request)
- Selected Bristol County court records (Available on request)
- Newspapers– Taunton Daily Gazette (June 1848 – March 2001) on microfilm; other newspapers on microfilm and bound copies as early as 1821
- Periodicals – Complete set of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register and various issues of The Silver Lining (Company newsletter of Reed & Barton)
- Taunton City Directories. (1850-2007)
- This nearly complete set of city directories includes addresses and other information for residences, businesses, and municipal offices.
- Listings also include street-by-street addresses starting in 1927 and the full directory of residential phone numbers begins in 1955. Select editions also contain folded paper maps of the city.
- Taunton Street Assessors Lists (1902-05, 1912, 1928, 1930, 1934, 1939, 1950, 1963)
- These volumes contain addresses and occupations of registered voters in the City of Taunton in the early part of the 20th century. Lists are broken down by ward with separate sections for men and women.
- Various local city and town municipal records (Fire Department, Police Department, Public Schools, School Department, Water Department)
- Emery, Samuel Hopkins. History of Taunton, Massachusetts: From its Settlement to the Present Time. Syracuse, NY: D. Mason &, 1893
- This defining work by Emery contains a complete history of the City of Taunton from its founding through the late 19th century. The work includes information about industries, social organizations, and family genealogies.
- Hanna, William. A History of Taunton, Massachusetts. Taunton, MA: Old Colony Historical Society, 2007
- This modern history of Taunton includes an analysis of the city from its early days in the 1630’s through the early 2000’s as it builds on Emery’s History of Taunton. Along with numerous illustrations, the volume also discusses the men of Taunton who served in war and includes many primary source materials to expand on local industries, key events, and other social organizations.
- Hutt, Frank Walcott. A History of Bristol County, Massachusetts. New York, NY: Lewis Historical, Publishing Company, Inc., 1924
- Three-volume set contains a complete history of Bristol County with its cities and towns. The portions of the second volume and the entire third contain biographical and historical sketches of selected prominent citizens with some family genealogies.
- New topographical atlas of surveys, Bristol County, Massachusetts. Philadelphia, PA: Everts and Richards, 1895
- Historical, full-colored atlas contains 59 different maps detailing roads, residences, factories, hospitals, parks, bodies of water and railroad lines for every city in Bristol County around the year 1895.
- In addition to 24 different business directories, detailed inset maps are featured for the municipalities of Fall River, New Bedford, Taunton, Attleboro, Dartmouth, Berkley, Rehoboth, Easton, Berkley and other area villages.
- Atlas of Bristol County, Massachusetts: From actual surveys. New York, NY: F.W. Beers & Co., 1871
- Historical, colored atlas features 33 street maps which include notations of personal residences for every city and town in Bristol County around the year 1871.
In addition to a comprehensive business directory on nearly every plate, detailed inset maps are featured for Attleboro, Dartmouth, Fall River, Norton, New Bedford, Swansea, Somerset and Taunton along with individual maps for more than 50 other villages.