Barnstable, Barnstable Co., Mass., Guide for Genealogical Research

To learn more about the town records and reference, click on one of the subjects listed below:

Brief history - Historical data - Historic names

Vital records - Town histories - Library/historical society

Cemeteries - Churches - Newspapers


Brief History of Barnstable

This area was established at a part of Duxbury in 1645 by purchase from the Native Americans by 54 proprietors - most who did not settle there. Bridgewater was created on 3 June 1656 from Duxbury in Plymouth Colony. The town was placed in Plymouth County when counties were formed in 1685. For a brief time, the town was part of the Dominion of New England from 1686 to 1689. The town is still in Plymouth County, though was in limbo, until the "Colony" was merged with Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691 that became the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


Historical Data of Barnstable

Dates Events

5 Mar. 1638

Mentioned in a list of those town "allowed to exercise men in Armes ..." [Ply. Col. Rec., 11: 30-31]
17 June 1641
Border between Barnstable and Yarmouth established.
2 Mar. 1652
Border between Barnstable and Sandwich to be established.
11 Mar. 1658
Barnstable and Yarmouth agree upon bounds.
3 June 1662
More land granted to Barnstable.
10 June 1662
Border between Barnstable and Sandwich to be established.
29 Oct. 1672
Border between Barnstable and Sandwich established.
22 Jan. 1795
Border between Barnstable and the district of Mashpee established.
28 Mar. 1894
Border between Barnstable and the district of Mashpee established.
24 Apr. 1916
Border between Barnstable and the district of Mashpee established and part of Sandwich annexed.
11 Apr. 1989
City form of government established.


Names Associated with Barnstable

Barnstable, or parts, at times has been called Chequocket, Chuckomug, Coa,
Cokachoise, Cotachesett, Cotuit, Cummaquid, Kokachoise, Mattakeeset, Mistic,
Moskeehtucketqut, Peymechit, Santuite, Satuite, Sepese, Sepuit, Sipnesset,
Skonkonet, Skunkamug, Tamahappaseeacon, Waskotussoo, Wequaquet, and Yanno's Land .

Village or section names include Centerville, Cotuit, Craigville, Cummaquid, Grand Island,
Hyannis, Hyannis Port, Marston's Mills, Newtown (extinct), Osterville, Oyster Harbors,
Pondsville (extinct), Sandy Neck, Santuit, South Hyannis (extinct), West Barnstable,
West Hyannisport, Wianno.


Vital Records of Barnstable

The town's vital records are available in many locations:

  1. Bridgewater Town Clerk's Office, 64 Central Square, Bridgewater MA 02324, 508-697-0921, website.
  2. Vital Records of Bridgewater of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 (Boston, 1916), 2 v. Note: This includes, in part, church records from the Unitarian Church (C.R.1), Trinity Church (C.R.2), Central Square Congregational Church (C.R.3), Scotland Trinitarian Congregational Church (C.R.4), and Church of the New Jerusalem (C.R.5). Deaths are included from Mt. Prospect Cem. (G.R.1), Pratt-town Cem. (G.R.2), Cherry Street or Harlow Cem. (G.R.3), Conant Street Cem. (G.R.4), Hillside Cem. (G.R.5), Scotland Graveyard (G.R.6), Old Graveyard (G.R.7), Alden or Vernon Street Graveyard in Titicut (G.R.8), Keith or South Street Graveyard in Titicut (G.R.9), Trinity Church Graveyard (G.R.10), Japan Graveyard (G.R.11), Great Woods Graveyard (G.R.12), and Small Pox Graveyards (G.R. 13). These volumes were microfilmed by the Family History Library (FHL #164691-164692); abstracted online; and in electronic form (pdf files) at Internet Archive and Google books (vol. 1 and vol. 2).
  3. Microfilm of the originals created by the Family History Library, 1656-1853, FHL #910359-910364; 1843-1905, FHL #2079745.
  4. Microfiche of the originals created by the Holbrook Research Institute covering town records that included vital records and a few other town records, 1641-1908, on 176 fiche.
  5. Official state copy of vital records starting in 1841. See the guide to the state for more information here.


Town Histories of Barnstable

Works written on the town include:

Nahum Mitchell, History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater, in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, including an extensive Family Register (Boston, 1840; rep. Bridgewater, Mass., 1897). This is an important early work on town history and genealogy. The latter is three-quarters of the 400-page book.
The family sketches include the families: Alden, Aldrich, Alger, Allen, Ames, Angiers, Bacon, Bailey, Barber, Barrell, Barrett, Bartlett, Bass, Bassett, Bates, Battles, Beal, Bearce, Belcher, Benson, Bessee, Bicknell, Bisbee, Blanchard, Blossom, Bolton, Bonney, Bowditch, Bosworth, Bradley, Brett, Brown, Bryant, Buck, Bowker, Burr, Butterfield, Byram, Carr, Carver, Cary, Caswell, Chamberlain, Chandler, Cheesman, Chipman, Churchill, Cleveland, Clift, Cobb, Cole, Colwell, Conant, Cook, Copeland, Corthrell, Cowing, Crafts, Crane, Crocker, Crooker, Cross, Curtis, Daniels, Davenport, Dawes, Dickerman, Dike, Downie, Drake, Dumphrey, Dunbar, Dyer, Eaton, Eddy, Edson, Egerton, Erskin, Faxon, Fearing, Field, Fillebrown, Fitzgerald, Flynn, Fobes, Freelove, French, Fuller, Fullerton, Gannett, Gay, Gilbert, Gilmore, Godfrey, Gould, Groves, Gurney, Haines, Hale, Hall, Hanks, Hamlin, Hanmer, Harden, Hamlin, Harlow, Harris, Hartwell, Harvey, Hatch, Hathaway, Hayden, Hayford, Hayward, Hearsey, Heiford, Hegene, Henry, Hewett, Higgins, Hill, Hobart, Holden, Holloway, Holman, Holmes, Hooper, Horton, How, Howard, Hudson, Hyde, Inglee, Jackson, Jacob, Jameson, Jenkins, Jennings, Johnson, Jones, Joslyn, Keen, Keith, Keyser, Kiff, King, Kingman, Kinsley, Knapp, Knowlton, Landers, Latham, Lathrop / Lothrop, Lawrence, Lawson, Lasell / Lazell, Leach, Lendall, Leonard, Lincoln, Lindsay, Littlefield, Loring, Lovell, Loveridge, Lowden, Manly, May, McBride, Mehurin, Mitchell, Monro / Munroe, Moore, Morse, Morton, Muxam / Maxim, Nash, Newbury, Newell, Newhall, Niles, Norton, Noyes, Orcutt, Orr, Osborne, Packard, Parris, Perkins, Perry, Pettingill, Phillips, Phinney, Pierce, Pinson / Pincin, Pool, Pope, Porter, Powers, Pratt, Price, Prior / Pryor, Ramsdell, Ratchford, Rathburn, Read / Reed, Rea, Reynolds, Richards, Richardson, Rickard, Rider / Ryder, Ripley, Robbins, Robinson, Rogers, Russell, Ryon, Sanger, Sawin, Seabury, Sealy / Seeley, Sears, Sever, Shaw, Shelly, Sherman, Shepard, Shurtliff, Silvester / Sylvester, Skinner, Smith, Snell, Snow, Soper, Sorein, Soule, Southworth, Sprague, Standish, Staples, Starr, Stetson, Storrs, Sturtevant, Swift, Taylor, Thaxter, Thayer, Thomas, Thompson, Tilden, Tilson, Tirrell, Tolman, Tompkins, Torrey, Trask, Tribou, Trow, Turner, Vail, Vaughn, Vickery, Vinton, Wade, Waldo, Wales, Ward, Warren, Washburn, Waterman, Wentworth, Wesley, West, Weston, Wharton, White, Whiting, Whitman, Whitmarsh, Wilbor, Williams, Willis, Wilmarth, Winslow, Wood, Woodward, Woodwiss, Wormal, and Young.
Next is more brief family sketches of some original proprietors of Bridgewater, but were never residents. These sketches include Allerton, Barnes, Bartlett, Bonney, Bradford, Brewster, Brown, Carver, Chandler, Church, Clark, Collier, Cushing, Cushman, Delano, Eaton, Faunce, Ford, Hall, Hobart, Howland, Hunt, Irish, Loring, Merrick, Morton, Nash, Partridge, Paybody / Peabody, Pierce, Prince, Sampson, Simmons, Soule, Wadsworth, West, Weston, and Winslow.
Records of John Cary, the first town clerk of Bridgewter, Mass., from 1656 to 1681 (Brockton, Mass., 1889), 14 pp.
Bridgewater Normal Association, Brief Sketch of the Pioneers in Establishing the First State Normal School in America [and] A Brief Sketch of the First Principals of the State Normal Schools, 1839-'40 (S.l., 1907), unpaginated.
Barbara M VanAmburg Delorey, A Coppying Out of ye Olde Recordes Beginning With ye 4th Chh of Christ in Bridgewater - 1740 ([Brockton, Mass.], 1980), 837 + [80] pp.
These are the verbatim transcript of the Fourth Parish Church of Bridgewater that became the First Parish Church of North Bridgewater in 1821 when that part of town broken off to form a separate town and that town was renamed Brockton in 1874.


Libraries and Historical Societies of Barnstable

The following is list of research facilities in town:

  1. Bridgewater Public Library, 15 South St., Bridgewater MA 02324, 508-697-3331, website.
  2. Maxwell Library, Bridgewater State College, 10 Shaw Rd., Bridgewater MA 02324, 508-531-1394, website.
  3. Old Bridgewater Historical Society, 162 Howard St., West Bridgewater MA 02379, 508-559-1510, website.


Cemeteries of Barnstable

The following is a list of cemeteries in present-day Bridgewater. Remember that the "old" town included present-day East Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, and Brockton. For more details regarding these cemeteries, see the state guide under cemeteries for books on the subject.

  1. Alden's Bridge Cemetery, 18th century.
  2. Auburn Street Cemetery, 18th century.
  3. Benson Town Cemetery, 19th century.
  4. Cherry Street / Harlow Cemetery, 1826. (B)
  5. Conant Street Cemetery, 1821. (B)
  6. First / South Parish Cemetery, 1716. (A)
  7. Hillside Cemetery, 1813. (B)
  8. Japan Graveyard, 1766. (B)
  9. Jennings Hill Cemetery, 1750. (A, B [as Old Graveyard])
  10. Mount Prospect Cemetery, 1842. (B)
  11. Orange Street Cemetery, n.d.
  12. Pine Street Cemetery, 1833.
  13. Pratt Town Burial Ground, 1828. (B)
  14. Roman Catholic Cemetery, 1867.
  15. St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Burial Ground, 1854.
  16. Scotland Burial Ground, 1753. (A, B)
  17. Small Pox Cemetery, 1785. (A, B)
  18. South Street / Keith Cemetery, 1756. (A, B)
  19. Titicut / Great Woods Cemetery, 1793. (A, B)
  20. Trinity Episcopal Church Cemetery, 1748. (A, B)
  21. Vernon Street / Alden Cemetery, 1751. (A, B)

Abstracts of the cemeteries above are marked and keyed to:

(A). William Latham, Epitaphs in Old Bridgewater, Massachusetts (Bridgewater, Mass., 1882).
(B). Vital Records of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 (Boston, 1916).


Churches of Barnstable

The following is a list of churches established in town in order of organization date (if known) and condition of records in the 1889 survey if listed. All churches in existance by 1850 were used in the:

  1. First Congregational Church (now First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church), 1716, records good
  2. Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church, 1747, records good
  3. Bridgewater Congregational Church (now Central Square Congregational Church [United Church of Christ]), 1821, records good
  4. New Jerusalem Church [Swedenborgian], 1833, records good
  5. Scotland Congregational Church (now Scotland Trinitian Church), 1836, records good
  6. Saint Thomas Aquinas's Roman Catholic Church, 1855, records good
  7. Methodist Episcopal Church (now Gammons Memorial United Methodist Church), 1874, records good
  8. Christian Science Church, no date
  9. Faith Chapel Assemblies of God, no date
  10. First Baptist Church, no date
  11. South Shore Community Church, 1994
  12. Trinity Covenant Church, 1983


Newspapers in Barnstable

The Bridgewater Independent and Enterprise was xxxx. [add newspaper history here]

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Researched and created by Scott Andrew Bartley
© Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, Braintree, Mass., 2009

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Page updated 23 January 2009