Chelmsford History

Chelmsford is a suburban community located in northern Middlesex County approximately 24 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. Chelmsford was incorporated in 1655 and has grown from a small rural community to a thriving residential suburban town of more than 33,000 people.


Local History Resources Online

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 or 978-256-5521.

Chelmsford High School Yearbooks

Downloadable PDF scans of CHS yearbooks. Thanks to the Historical Society and the Chelmsford High School Alumni Association for sharing their collections with the library, and Fred Merriam for scanning the entire set at the Historical Society.

Chelmsford Independent

Full-text content of weekly newspaper of Chelmsford, Massachusetts (published every Thursday). Paid advertisements are excluded. [12/8/2005-Current]

Chelmsford newspapers available on microfilm: Chelmsford Independent 1986-present; Chelmsford Newsweekly 1940-1993

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 or 978-256-5521 x1211 (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 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.



Additional Recommended Resources

Chelmsford Town-Wide History Project

Research the history of Chelmsford, or participate in the documenting and preserving project

Historic Photos of Chelmsford

  • Library Photo Archive – A collection of photographs taken in and around Chelmsford and North Chelmsford, MA, throughout history. Included here are the Royal Shawcross photos, focusing on the North Chelmsford area around 1901, historical photos of the MacKay Branch, and general historical photos of Chelmsford. This collection is possible due to a collaboration with the Chelmsford Historical Society and Chelmsford Telemedia to digitize the historic photographs held in the library’s archive.
  • Town of Chelmsford Photo Archive – Photo archive maintained by Fred Merriam, includes both historical and modern photos of Chelmsford.

Chelmsford Library’s Genealogy Subject Guide

A listing of resources available in the Library or online useful for genealogical and historical research.

Local Organizations

  • Chelmsford Genealogy Group
    This informal group meets monthly at the Chelmsford Library (first Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.) to share of information and ideas, host speakers, and provide genealogical information on Chelmsford and surrounding towns.
  • Chelmsford Historical Society
    This is the official Web site of the town’s Historical Society with information on the Society’s Museum, the Barrett-Byam Homestead.
  • Chelmsford’s Garrison House
    This site presents information on the “Old Chelmsford” Garrison House,” one of 19 garrisons in Chelmsford in 1691-92, used to protect residents against Indian attacks. It also includes a link to a description of the “Old Byam” Blacksmith Shop.
  • Chelmsford Historical Commission
    This site includes detailed information on most historical sites in Chelmsford, arranged by street address, and includes official Town records, historical background, newspaper clippings and an extensive collection of photographs.
  • Middlesex Canal Association
    Dedicated to the Preservation and Restoration of the Historic Middlesex Canal.
  • Chelmsford Veterans Memorial Park
    A peaceful setting open to the public, designed to honor the dedication to duty and sacrifices made by all veterans in our community. Located at 248 North Rd, Chelmsford, MA.

History of the Chelmsford Libraries

Written histories compiled about Chelmsford’s two library buildings:

Chelmsford Cemetery Records

In addition to the printed cemetery records available in our Local History Room and the Town of Chelmsford’s cemetery archive, the files below are available in pdf format (compiled and donated by Jane Drury):

Chelmsford and The Simpsons

An exploration of the connection between Chelmsford, MA, and a popular animated television shows