Worcester County, Massachusetts Genealogy Guide
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Worcester County, Massachusetts (Map It) was created on April 2, 1731 from Hampshire County, Middlesex County and Suffolk County. The county was named for its county seat of Worcester, which is named in honor of the English city of Worcester and the English Civil War Battle of Worcester in 1651, a Parliamentarian victory. Learn More About State of Massachusetts History
Worcester County is bordered by Cheshire County, New Hampshire (north), Hillsborough County, New Hampshire (north/northeast), Middlesex County (east/northeast), Norfolk County (east/southeast), Providence County, Rhode Island (south/southeast), Windham County, Connecticut (south), Tolland County, Connecticut (south/southwest), Hampden County (west/southwest), Hampshire County (west), Franklin County (west/northwest).
Worcester County Cities and Towns include Ashburnham, Athol, Auburn, Barre, Berlin, Blackstone, Bolton, Boylston, Brookfield, Charlton, Clinton, Douglas, Dudley, East Brookfield, East Douglas, East Templeton, Fitchburg, Gardner, Grafton, Harvard, Holden, Hopedale, Hubbardston, Lancaster, Leicester, Leominster, Lunenburg, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, New Braintree, North Brookfield, North Grafton, Northborough, Oakham, Oxford, Paxton, Petersham, Phillipston, Princeton, Royalston, Rutland, Shrewsbury, South Grafton, South Royalston, Southborough, Southbridge, Spencer, Sterling, Sturbridge, Sutton, Templeton, Upton, Uxbridge, Warren, Webster, Westborough, West Boylston, West Brookfield, Westminster, Winchendon, and Worcester.
Worcester County, Massachusetts Courthouse Records
Worcester County, MA Courthouse
Old Worcester County Courthouse
The Worcester County Courthouse is located in Worcester, Massachusetts. The county government was abolished on July 1, 1998. Though Worcester County still remains, the county governmenthas been "abolished" , their offices being put under the direction of certain state offices. Example: the Registry of Deeds offices in abolished counties are now under the direction of the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Office; Sheriffs and jails are under the Secretary of Public Safety. Learn More About State of Massachusetts Court, Tax, Land and Probate Records.
Please contact the each clerk's department to confirm mailing address, hours, fees and other information before visiting or requesting information because contact information sometimes changes. The Clerk's Office DOES NOT DO RESEARCH. The documents are available to interested parties, barring confidential issues. Most staff will assist people in finding the materials, but it is up to the individual to do the research. For Town Records contact the City/Town Hall Clerk.
The following dates indicates what vital, land, probate, and court records are in Worcester county. The date listed for each category of record is usually the earliest registration filed. The earliest date does not indicate that there are numerous records for that year and does not mean that all such events were actually registered.
- Worcester County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1731. The County Register of Deeds is the place where all transactions of a Real Property nature are recorded so that the public is made aware of their existence. Deeds, mortgages, tax liens, water liens, declaration of homestead and many other kinds of documents regarding the title and ownership of real estate are noted permanently in official records.
- Worcester District includes the towns of Athol, Auburn, Barre, Berlin, Blackstone, Bolton, Brookfield, Charlton, Clinton, Douglas, Dudley, East Brookfield, Gardner, Grafton, Hardwick, Harvard, Holden, Hopedale, Hubbardston, Lancaster, Leicester, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Northboro, Northbridge, Oakham, Oxford, Paxton, Petersham, Phillipstown, Princeton, Royalston, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Southboro, Southbridge, Spencer, Sterling, Sturbridge, Sutton, Templeton, Upton, Uxbridge, Warren, Webster, Westboro, West Boylston, West Brookfield, Winchedon and Worcester.
- Northern District includes the towns of Ashburnham, Fitchburg, Leominster, Lunenburg and Westminster.
- Worcester County Clcerk of Probate Court has Probate Records from 1731. The County Clerk of Probate Court has many responsibilities which include the administration of estates, probate of wills, and the appointment of guardians, have been under the jurisdiction of the courts since the 1630s. County courts and later, county judges of probate, were responsible for these functions until 1783, when the probate courts were established. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the probate and family courts were given jurisdiction over adoptions, divorces, name changes, and domestic relations.
- Worcester County Clerk of Courts has Court Records from 1731. The County Clerk of Courts has jurisdiction over all civil, criminal, and equity cases.
- Worcester County Town Clerks has copies of vital records (birth, marriage, divorce and death records). Clerks respond to inquiries regarding vital records, since most have indexes available. They also have tax lists that may still be available at the town office. Earlier taxes for the towns exist as well.
Worcester County, Massachusetts Census Records
- Learn More: State of Massachusetts Census Records
- U.S. Federal Population Schedules: 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragmented), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940
- State Population Schedules: 1855, 1865
- U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules: 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880
- Selected U.S. Federal Census Agriculture Schedules: 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880
- Selected U.S. Federal Census Industry Schedules: 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880
- Union Veterans Schedules: 1890
Worcester County, Massachusetts Vital Records
- Learn More: State of Massachusetts Vital Records
- Birth, Marriage and Death Records: from late 1916 to present
- Divorce Records: Indexes from 1952 to present
- Locations: Massachusetts Office of Vital Statistics, Massachusetts State Archives (1841-1910)
- Vital Records Online: USAVital, VitalChek or Social Security Death Index
- Vital Records by Mail: Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate Death Certificate Applications.
Worcester County, Massachusetts Resources
- Guide to the manuscript collections in the Worcester Historical Society
- Central Massachusetts Genealogical Society
- American Antiquarian Society
- Boylston Historical Society
- Fitchburg Historical Society
- Grafton Historical Society
- Leicester Historical Society, 1136 Main St, Leicester, MA 01524; 508-892-9900
- Leominster Historical Society
- Northborough Historical Society
- Paxton Historical Commission
- Southborough Historical Society
- Sutton Historical Society
- Worcester Public Library
- Worcester County, Massachusetts Message Boards
- Worcester County, Massachusetts Genealogy Forum