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Welcome to Massachusetts

Genealogy Trails

Scroll down to see a clickable link of the counties

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Includes Famous Firsts and People, Physicians prior to 1878, Judges of 1858, Pioneer Families, the Mayflower
Almshouse Visitation Reports, Poor House Laws and other data

Updates

4/19/14:

Military Data

The Grant family comes to America

Obituaries of Edward Kennedy and his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver added

 

 

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This Massachusetts Genealogy Trails site needs a host. 

Massachusetts is so vital to just about any researcher!  Our ancestors should be proud of the excellant record keeping they did.  Little did they know hundreds of years later we would want to know more about them, whether they were farmers or lawyers!

 



Massachusetts takes its name from the Massachusetts tribe of Native Americans, who lived in the Great Blue Hill region, south of Boston. The Indian term supposedly means "at or about the Great Hill".

There are, however, a number of interpretations of the exact meaning of the word. The Jesuit missionary Father Rasles thought that it came from the word Messatossec, "Great-Hills-Mouth": "mess" (mass) meaning "great"; "atsco" (as chu or wad chu) meaning "hill"; and sec (sac or saco) meaning "mouth". The Reverend John Cotton used another variation: "mos" and "wetuset", meaning "Indian arrowhead", descriptive of the Native Americans hill home. Another explanation is that the word comes from "massa" meaning "great" and "wachusett", "mountain-place".

Massachusetts, like Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky, is called a "Commonwealth". Commonwealths are states, but the reverse is not true. Legally, Massachusetts is a commonwealth because the term is contained in the Constitution. In the era leading to 1780, when the state Constitution was ratified, a popular term for a whole body of people constituting a nation or state was the word "Commonwealth." This term was the preferred usage of some political writers. There also may have been some anti-monarchic sentiment in using the word "Commonwealth." The name, which in the eighteenth century was used to mean "republic", can be traced to the second draft of the state Constitution, written by John Adams and accepted by the people in 1780. In this second draft, Part Two of the Constitution, under the heading "Frame of Government", states, "that the people...form themselves into a free, sovereign, and independent body politic, or state by the name of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts." The people had overwhelmingly rejected the first draft of the Constitution in 1778, and in that draft and all acts and resolves up to the time between 1776 and 1780, the name "State of Massachusetts Bay" had been used.

John Adams utilized this term when framing the Massachusetts Constitution, therefore. In his "Life and Works", Adams, wrote: "There is, however, a peculiar sense in which the words republic, commonwealth, popular state, are used by English and French writers, who mean by them a democracy, a government in one centre, and that centre a single assembly, chosen at stated periods by the people and invested with the whole sovereignty, the whole legislative, executive and judicial power to be included in a body or by committees as they shall think proper."

Massachusetts! Massachusetts!
Lovely Bay State by the sea,
Chosen by the Pilgrim Fathers
In their search for liberty.

Massachusetts! Massachusetts!
How we love your Indian name!
Meaning "Great Blue Hill" in Boston,
Named before the white men came.

Excerpt from "Blue Hills of Massachusetts"

by Katherine E. Mullen of Barre, Official Poem of the Commonwealth

Massachusetts is bordered on the
north by
New Hampshire and Vermont
on the west by
New York;
on the south by
Connecticut and Rhode Island; and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean.

Governor: Deval Patrick
State Colors: Blue, Cranberry, Green
Bird: Chickadee
Tree: American Elm
Flower: Ground Mayflower
Counties: 14
Capitol: Boston
Nickname: Bay State
Pro Sports Teams:

  • Boston Bruins (NHL) - Boston
  • Boston Celtics (NBA) - Boston
  • Boston Red Sox (MLB) - Boston
  • New England Patriots (NFL) - Foxboro
  • New England Revolution (MLS) - Foxboro

    Song: All Hail to Massachusetts



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    since 20 June 2006

    Massachusetts was admitted to statehood  February 6, 1788

    The state consists of 14 Counties:

    COUNTY

    COUNTY SEAT

    DATE OF INC.

    Barnstable

    Barnstable

    June 2, 1685

    Berkshire

    Pittsfield

    April 21, 1761

    Bristol

    Taunton

    June 2, 1685

    Dukes

    Edgartown

    June 22, 1695

    Essex

    Salem

    May 10, 1643

    Franklin

    Greenfield

    June 24, 1811

    Hampden

    Springfield

    February 25, 1812

    Hampshire

    Northampton

    May 7, 1662

    Middlesex

    Cambridge

    May 10, 1643

    Nantucket

    Nantucket

    June 22, 1695

    Norfolk

    Dedham

    March 26, 1793

    Plymouth

    Taunton

    June 2, 1685

    Suffolk

    Boston

    May 10, 1643

    Worcester

    Worcester

    April 2, 1743


     
    County Map


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