Genealogy & Obituaries

Featured Online Resources

American Ancestors (available in library)

In-Library Access:

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.

AtoZ Maps Online

Digital Information Products for Libraries | World Trade PressAtoZ Maps Online provides a wide variety of city, state, and country maps – both current and historical. You can find climate, ecology, and topographic maps. There are historical maps and maps about empires and exploration. It even includes a section about world flags!

Chelmsford Cemetery Archive

A spreadsheet indexing all of the names of people buried in Chelmsford cemeteries, from 1900- 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 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.

FamilySearch Historical Records (available in library)

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 patrons to view restricted online records when in the Library. Start your search at the FamilySearch catalog. For more information, please contact the Reference Desk at or 978-256-5521 x1211.

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. Obituary Search 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 library visitors may access the Local History collection by appointment during our open hours. To book a research session in the Local History room please visit our Meeting Rooms reservation page.

Some of the Local History materials include:

  • 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 – limited availability in print (donations accepted); complete set available online.
  • 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:

  • Boston Globe: 1985-2004
  • Chelmsford Newsweekly: 1940-1993
  • Chelmsford Independent: 1986-present
  • Other Microfilm Records:
    • Chelmsford Church Records 1741-1842 – baptisms, marriages, deaths
    • Chelmsford Town and Vital Records – Taxes, Proprietor Records, etc.
    • City Directories 1882-1959 (some exclusions)
    • Early MA Records of Middlesex County
    • NE Church Records 1558-1765

Additional Online Resources

Global Archives and General Information:

  • British National Archives – Includes guides to genealogical record types.
  • Cyndi’s List – A categorized index to genealogy sites online. More than 300,000 sites in over 200 categories!
  • Danish Demographic Database – Danish Nationla Archives include census data starting in 1787 and a probate index for several counties.
  • Digitalarkivet – National Archives of Norway include many searchable parish records, census data, land and probate papers, and emigration records.
  • Library and Archives Canada – Among other data, the archive includes census data, vital records, military records, immigration lists, and land records.
  • National Archives & Records Administration – Allows you to order veteran’s records and research German and Russian passenger lists and WWII enlistment records.
  • National Archives of Ireland – Among other data, includes census data, will collections, marriage records, tithe applotments, and pensioner records.
  • Wie Was Wie – Of particular interest for those with Dutch ancestry. Over 200 million records and 80 million historical documents.

American History:

  • Access Genealogy – Includes Native American resources, yearbooks, land management tracts, and family and local histories.
  • Civil War Soldiers & Sailors Database – Essential resource for researching both Union and Confederate ancestors. Over 6 million servicemen from both sides.
  • Daughter of the American Revolution – Includes a Genealogical Research System for Revolutionary War patriots and their families.
  • eHistory – Global in scope, but of particular interest for the US history offerings, including a searchable version of the 128 volume set Official Records of the Civil War.
  • Reclaim the Records – Nonprofit public-records advocacy group. They use open data requests and freedom of information laws to unlock records that states have locked.
  • US Gen Web – A volunteer run site that includes state and county pages along with many other records.


  • DNA Land – More than 150,000 genomes and many free reports. You can upload your results from major DNA tests such as AncestryDNA, 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, and My Heritage DNA.
  • DNA Painter – Includes color-coding and custom segment labels.
  • GED Match – You can match with others who have shared their atDNA.
  • International Society of Genetic Genealogy Wiki – Hundreds of articles on DNA genealogy including: testing for adoptees, beginner’s guides, and abbreviations.