Genealogy & Obituaries

Featured Online Resources

American Ancestors (available in library)

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is the oldest genealogical society in the country. For over 150 years, NEHGS has helped new and experienced researchers trace their heritage in New England and around the world. Their databases contain a wide assortment of genealogical information, some overlapping what Ancestry Library provides.


Ancestry Library (available in library)

Contains the U.S. Census Collection; U.S. Data Collection; U.K. and Ireland Collection; Birth, Marriage, and Death Records; Immigration Collection; Military Collection; Family and Local History Records; Court, Land, and Probate Records; and more.


Chelmsford Cemetery Archive

A spreadsheet indexing all of the names of people buried in Chelmsford cemeteries, from 1690 – 2008. This file, which can be opened in programs like Microsoft Excel, covers Fairview, Forefathers, Heart Pond, Pine Ridge, and Riverside cemeteries. For an up-to-date list, please contact the Chelmsford Cemetery Department at 978-250-5245.
Note: This file requires spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel to open. If you have trouble using it, please contact the Reference Desk at askus@mvlc.org or 978-256-5521.


Chelmsford Newspapers Obituary Search

A PDF index to the obituaries listed in the Chelmsford Newsweekly (6/20/1940 – 8/26/1993) and the Chelmsford Independent (1/2/1986 – present). When you locate the correct obituary, you can use the newspaper name, date, and page number to look up the obituary text on our microfilm records, or contact the Reference Desk at askus@mvlc.org or 978-256-5521 x211 (with the obituary citation information) and we can email you the obituary.

Note: Obituaries not in this archive may have appeared in the Lowell Sun newspaper, which is available on microfilm at Lowell’s Pollard Memorial Library. You can also contact the Lowell Sun’s obituary department at obituaries@lowellsun.com or 978-970-4652.


Chelmsford Residents Lists and Lowell Directories

Digitized scans of List of men and women alphabetical and by streets : town of Chelmsford, Massachusetts (volumes from 1930s – 1960s) and The Lowell suburban directory for Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Tewksbury, Tyngsboro and Westford : containing an alphabetical list of the inhabitants and business firms, streets, town offices, societies, churches and other miscellaneous matter (volumes from 1890s through 1930s). The documents are full-text searchable, and you can read them online or download them in a variety of formats. This archive was funded by a Boston Public Library grant and hosted by the Internet Archive, scanned from the collections of the Chelmsford Historical Society, Chelmsford Library, and private collections. See all Library documents on the Internet Archive.


Chelmsford Town Annual Reports Archive

Searchable archive of the Annual Reports for the Town of Chelmsford from 1874 to present. The reports are full-text searchable, and you can read them online or download them in a variety of formats. This archive was funded by a Boston Public Library grant and hosted by the Internet Archive, scanned from the collections of both the Chelmsford Historical Society and Chelmsford Library. See all Library documents on the Internet Archive.


Heritage Quest

Over 20,000 Family and Local Histories; 1790-1930 U.S. Federal Census; Periodical Source Index (PERSI); Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files; Freedman’s Bank Records; and more.


Legacy.com Obituary Search

Legacy.com is a well-respected source for online obituaries. Although some of the services they provide require payment, their obituary search is free and searches obituaries from across the country back to 2001. Local significant newspapers include the Chelmsford Independent, Lowell Sun, and Boston Globe.


 

Local History Room

Main Library, Lower Level

The Local History Room holds a valuable collection of books and other documents about the history of the Chelmsford area and people. A shelf listing of these materials is available through our catalog. These materials do not circulate, but are open for any library visitor to use. A few examples are:

  • Towns: Books of Towns – Birth, Marriage, Death up to 1849 for many MA towns; History of various towns in MA
  • General Information: How to start your genealogy; Research by country (Irish, French etc.)
  • Families: Genealogy of various families (i.e. Richardson, Foote, Spalding)
  • Early Ancestry: Examples include: Genealogy of New England Families; Genealogy of CT families; Mayflower Families
  • Colonial Life: Mill life in Lowell
  • Military: MASS Army and Navy – 1861-65 (2 vol.); MASS Soldiers and Sailors & Marines in Civil War (8 vol.); Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolution War (17 vol.); various military books by towns, regiments, and time-frames
  • Chelmsford Genealogies & Cemeteries: Located in white notebooks; Jane Drury and the Chelmsford Historical Society have been working on documenting all headstones in Chelmsford Cemeteries
  • Chelmsford High School Yearbooks: For the years 1944-1951, 1961, 1975, 1982, 1988-1992, 1996, 2004-2014 (donations for missing years are accepted)
  • Magazine Subscriptions: Everton’s Genealogy Helper (not available to check out)
  • Chelmsford Annual Reports: 1878-current
  • Chelmsford Garden Club Archives: 1923-current
  • Chelmsford Organizations: sporadic years only; this publication was replaced by our website listing of Community Organizations
  • Chelmsford School Reports: mid- to late-1800s
  • Chelmsford Water District Commissioner’s Report: 1921-current
  • Finance Committee Reports: 1937-current
  • List of Residents: 1975-current (the most current edition is held at the Reference Desk)

 

Circulating Genealogy Collection

Main Library, Lower Level

These books are located on the Genealogy Subject Table outside the Local History Room. They include genealogy how-to guides, some research material, and circulating duplicate copies of items in the Local History Room.

 

Microfilm Periodicals

Main Library, Lower Level

For those local periodicals not held in print or available electronically, the Library has microfilm and a microfilm reader/printer located near the Local History Room. Our current holdings are:

  • Chelmsford Newsweekly: 1940-1993
  • Chelmsford Independent: 1986-present
  • Boston Globe: 1985-2004

 

FamilySearch History Library Affiliate
(for Microfilm Records)

Main Library, Lower Level

The Chelmsford Library is an Affiliate Library of the Family History Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This affiliate status allows Chelmsford patrons to order microfilm directly from the LDS library in Salt Lake City ($7.50 for a 90-day loan), to be sent to the Chelmsford Library and used on our microfilm machine.

Start your search at the FamilySearch catalog. You will need to create a free account with FamilySearch, if you do not already have one, and order whichever films you’d like to view. When the film arrives, you will be contacted to let you know it is available to be used at the Chelmsford Library. For more information, please contact the Reference Desk at askus@chelmsfordlibrary.org or 978-256-5521., or read the Introduction to the Family History Library Catalog.