Where in Worcester?

Many times the most difficult part of obtaining historical records is knowing where to go to find them. In Worcester, there are many institutions that maintain the records of our rich history.

To assist and guide you through your search for historical records, we organized finding records by institution. These recordkeepers work together to assist you, the public, in your search.

Please contact the particular institution in advance of a visit so your request for records may be as pleasant and fruitful as possible.

Worcester Resources

American Antiquarian Society (AAS), 185 Salisbury Street Worcester, MA 01609, 508-755-5221, www.americanantiquarian.org

Guy Burnham Map and Aerial (GBM) Photography Library, Clark University, 950 Main Street Worcester, MA 01610, 508-793-7322, www.clarku.edu/research/maplibrary/

Worcester City Clerk's Office (WCC), Worcester City Hall, 455 Main Street Worcester MA 01609, 508-799-1121, http://www.worcesterma.gov/city-clerk

Worcester Historical Museum (WHM), 30 Elm Street Worcester, MA 01609, 508-753-8278, www.worcesterhistory.org

Worcester Probate Court 225 Main Street Worcester, MA 01608, 508-831-2200 www.mass.gov/locations/worcester-probate-and-family-court

Worcester Registrar of Deeds (WRD), 90 Front Street Worcester MA 01608, 508-798-7717, www.masslandrecords.com

Worcester Public Library (WPL), 3 Salem Square Worcester, MA 01608, 508-799-1655, http://mywpl.org/


Massachusetts State Archives (MSA), 220 Morrissey Blvd. Boston, MA 02125, 617-727-2816, https://www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/

National Archives at Boston, 380 Trapelo Road (NARA-W) Waltham, MA 02452, 866-406-2379 www.archives.gov/boston

National Guard (MNG) Museum and Archives, 91 Everett Street Concord, MA 01742, 978-369-4807, www.thenationsfirst.org/national-guard-museum---archives.html

Where Can I Find?


AAS; MNG collections document: the MA Militia and National Guard from 1780-1940; MSA; NARA-P; NARA-W;WHM (Worcester companies, families,and related institutions)


AAS (nationwide); WHM & WPL MA primarily; WPL digitized national Collection on Heritage Quest.


AAS (one of the largest collections in the US with a national focus to 1880); WHM & WPL have both city directories and house directories and specialized directories for Worcester. WPL also has directories for other MA cities.


WHM has files from the early 1800's-to the present, WPL has files from circa 1960 to the present.


MSA; NARA -W; the Worcester Probate Court has records from 1955 on at the Courthouse and 1731-1954 in off-site storage. WHM & WPL have indexes to Worcester Probate Court from 1731 - 1897. WPL has indexes for other MA county Courts as well.


The Registrar of Deeds at the Worcester County Courthouse has images of land records from 1731- present online At www.masslandrecords.com indexing from 1966- present.


NARA-P & NARA-W have all federal census material nationwide. WHM has transcriptions of the MA Manuscript Federal Census Schedules 1790,1800,1810,1820,1830 and 1840 also Transcriptions of 1798 Federal Direct Tax and 1826 Worcester District School Tax List; WPL has all Federal census material from 1790 - 1930 for MA;1790 -1870 for all New England States; online access to all nation-wide censuses and indexing of same via Ancestry.


AAS (nationwide) ; WHM, MA primarily but others as well; WPL, MA, microfiche collection and digitized collection accessible on Heritage Quest, nationwide in scope.


AAS extensive collection, nation-wide to 1876, WHM Worcester related publications, WPL nationwide collection 18th and 19th century, Worcester related publications.


AAS to 1876; GBM has extensive collection, local, national, worldwide; WHM atlases of MA, 100 maps of Worcester 1683 - present and Clarendon Harris's Worcester Center Village Map and Directory reconstituted and transcribed; WPL atlases of MA, maps of Worcester, Sanborn maps of MA on microfilm, digitized Sanborn maps of New England. Cities; WCC has Sanborn maps of Worcester as well.


AAS has printed volumes on military units from many states; MNG has collections of MA military records, artifacts and books regarding MA Militia and National Guard from 1775 to the present; NARA-W; WHM has a militia collection, information on the Civil War, Revolutionary War, and Spanish American War; WPL has information on the Civil War, Revolutionary War, histories of Civil War military units, and the Civil War Veteran Census of 1890.


MSA; WPL has the Indexes to naturalization applications for the New England States 1793-1906; NARA-W; NARA-P.


AAS has one of the finest collections of Early American newspapers in the country, nationwide in scope to 1876. WPL has a collection of Worcester and MA newspapers from 1704 to the present. In addition,WPL has the complete Worcester Telegram and Gazette to the present, the Boston Globe 1960 - the present, and the complete New York Times 1855 - present.


NARA-P; NARA-W; WPL has indexes to and passenger lists for arrivals at the Port of Boston, New York etc. online and on microfilm. 1820 -1920.


WHM has an extensive collection of photographs (100,000) and photographic negatives (200,000) of street views, portraits, group portraits, and others organized by subject. WPL has a small collection of photos of Worcester buildings and streets.

Vital Records: Births, Deaths & Marriages

The WCC has all Records for the City of Worcester only. WHM has an almost complete collection of MA printed records organized by city and town to 1850; WPL has all MA Vital Records, organized by city and town, that have been microfilmed to date. These records occasionally include town records and church records. WPL also has the collection of MA printed records to 1850. WPL has vital records from other New England states as well, including the Barber Collection, the Corbin Collection and the Hale Collection. Many vital records now available online.


WCC has all Worcester city documents including an online index to Worcester city council meetings, reports of various city departments and other administrative documents. WHM has the bound set of the City of Worcester Annual Reports, also some Fire Department records and log books. WPL has all city of Worcester Annual Reports to the present, including reports of various city agencies and departments.


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