Local History/Genealogy Questions

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Local History/Genealogy Questions Form

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General Reference Questions

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Research - General Reference Questions

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Lowell Maps

  • 1879 City Atlas of Lowell - PDF | JPGs published by G.M. Hopkins, 1879. Digitized by The State Library of Massachusetts
  • 1906 City Atlas of Lowell - PDF | JPGs published by L.J. Richards & Co., 1906. Digitized by The State Library of Massachusets

Lowell Area Yearbooks

Jack Kerouac Links

Lowell Mills and the Mill Girls

General Local History History Links

Local History FAQ 

Q: Who was Lowell named after?
A: Francis Cabot Lowell (1774-1817). Son of Judge John Lowell. 1793 graduate of Harvard College. Established Boston Manufacturing Co in 1813 with Patrick Tracy Jackson and Nathan Appleton. He is famous for adapting English engineering plans for water powered turbines for use in American textile manufacturing. Lowell died before the city that bears his name was founded.

Q: When was Lowell founded?
A: Town of Lowell incorporated March 1, 1826—Population 2,500
City of Lowell April 1, 1836—Population  18,000

Q: Do you have Lowell High School yearbooks?
A: The library does not collect yearbooks of any kind. Lowell High School Library has a
small collection of LHS Yearbooks. We would suggest you follow up with the particular school to see if they have a similar collection.

Q: Are there any fiction books about Lowell?
A: Plenty. Lowell has been the muse for and setting of many a work of fiction. We have
created a partial list that’s available here Lowell in Fiction. If you know of a work that’s not included please let us know on our comment form.

Q: How do I research my home?
A: We have a number of resources which will help you research the history of your home.

    1. Your home might be listed in the Lowell Cultural Resources Inventory or the Lowell Neighborhoods: Historical Survey both of which have been digitized by UMass Lowell Libraries. We have bound print copies of the former survey in the our Reference Room.
    2. You may want to come in and look at our Lowell atlases: 1879, 1897, 1906, 1927, 1936  and City Directories from 1832 to present. Often times the atlases will show footprint information for structures and a listing of the owner at time of publication.
    3. You will want to check out the City of Lowell Geographic Information System. This handy resource features an interactive map with many “layers” allowing you to view municipal data, roadways, school districts, neighborhoods and more. Along with current information about particular properties, their assessed values, history and sales information. Lowellians are lucky to have such a rich online treasure-trove of community data.
Q: How can I obtain obituaries?
A: 1) Microfilm. We have The Lowell Sun on microfilm dating back to 1878 plus other area
newspapers (full list available on our collections page [research-collections]). You are welcome to use what microfilm we have during normal business hours. Requests for our reference department to do the research for you may be made in writing by postal mail attn: Reference Department or by filling out the form on our Ask a Question page or by sending your request in writing to: Attn: Local History Pollard Library, 401 Merrimack St., Lowell, MA 01852. There is a small charge of $5.00 for the first 15 minutes of research.   If your request takes longer than 15 minutes, the charge is $15.00 per hour.   
2) Online. We have a subscription to Access Newspaper Databases available for
in-library use. This database covers the years roughly 1900—1970.  You can search by the person’s name or keyword to obtain a full text .pdf of the appropriate newspaper page. Please come in to the library and we can set you up and show you how to search.

Genealogy Overview

To help you get started on your family research we’ve put together this page of books, magazines, and microfilm from our collection. There is also a list of helpful websites you may find useful to get you started filling in your family tree.

Don’t forget we have a lot of great material in our Local History Collection including Census Records, City Directories and Vital Records which will help you in your search. See the main Local History page for a full listing of the collection. As always, if you have any questions please visit our Ask a Question page and a member of our reference department will be glad to help guide your search.

Books at Pollard Memorial Library to get you started:

  • Allen, Desmond Wall. First Steps in Genealogy: a beginner's guide to researching your family history - CALL NUMBER: S.C. 929.1 ALL
  • Carmack, Sharon DeBartolo. A Genealogist's guide to discovering your female ancestors: special strategies for uncovering hard-to-find information about your female lineage - CALL NUMBER: S.C. 929.108 CAR
  • Crawford-Oppenheimer, Christine. Long-distance genealogy - S.C. 929.1072 CRA
  • Croom, Emily Anne. Unpuzzling your past: the best-selling basic guide to genealogy - CALL NUMBER: S.C. 929.1072 CRO
  • Richley, Pat. The everything on-line genealogy Book: use the web to discover long lost relations, trace your family tree back to royalty, and share your history with far flung cousins - CALL NUMBER: S.C. 929.10285 RIC
  • Rose, Christine and Ingalls, Kay Germain. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Genealogy - CALL NUMBER: S.C. 929.1 ROS Ref
  • Warren, Paula Stuart. Your guide to the Family History Library - CALL NUMBER: S.C. 026.9292 WAR

Magazines available at Pollard Memorial Library

  • American Ancestors- published quarterly
  • Lowell Offering - October 1840-December 1845 (microfilm)
  • New England Historical and Genealogical Register - published quarterly

Sample of newspapers on microfilm-(check with our Reference Staff for others):

  • American Citizen - 5/20/1854-5/1862
  • Centralville News - 5/5/1916-11/3/1916
  • Chelmsford Phoenix - 6/28/1825-2/24/1826
  • Evening Star - 3/31/1890-9/19/1896
  • L'Etoile - 9/16/1886-4/7/1899
  • Le National - 6/13/1890-10/4/1895
  • Lowell Advertiser/Lowell Evening Advertiser - January 1838-December 1862
  • Lowell Courier-Citizen - Morning edition: 1/5/1837-2/1906 Evening edition: 3/1906-12/1921
  • Lowell sun - Weekly: 8/10/1878-8/27/1892 Daily sun - 9/1/1892 to date
  • Lowell Sunday Telegram - 4/1899 - 9/1952
  • New England Greek Messenger Weekly - 3/11/1915-12/26/1917
  • Star of Bethleham - 1/2/1841-5/2/1846

Helpful Genealogy Links

Websites for beginners

  • Dear Myrtle's Beginning Genealogy Lessons - Lessons on line for beginning genealogist
  • Genealogy.com - If you are a brand-new genealogist or need a refresher course, this is a great place to learn the basics of hunting for ancestors
  • Introduction to Genealogy - Free, Interactive Online Course Learn how to research your family history for free with fellow classmates from around the world.
  • Rootsweb.com - The primary purpose and function of RootsWeb.com is to connect people so that they can help each other and share genealogical research. Whether you're just starting out or you've been doing genealogy forever, here are some useful general information files.

General Genealogy Websites:

  • The American Family Immigration History Center - This database provides information on 22 million immigrants and ship's crews who arrived at Ellis Island and the Port of New York between 1898 and 1924. Searchable by name, including alternate spelling, results provide date of arrival, age, marital status, ethnicity, residence, gender, ship, and port of departure. Information on each ship and ship manifests are also available.
  • Ancestry.com - A commercial site with genealogical information, such as how to search for family records and create a family tree, and many message boards and other ways to share information. Most other features require a paid subscription.
  • Ancient Faces - Thousands of family pictures
  • City Clerk - The Lowell City Clerk’s office has information on births, deaths, and marriages.
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Family History Center
  • Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet - A collection of over 100,000 links. This site is one of the richest resources for genealogy studies
  • Family History Library - The largest genealogical society in the world. You can access their card catalog and key databases online. If you only go to one site, this is it. It is packed with information, indexes, and practical tools. Included is the complete SourceGuide™ with hundreds of finding aids and research papers.
  • Family Tree Maker - Includes how-to articles, extensive annotated directory of related internet resources, research services and much more.
  • Family Search - Sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). Vital records extraction project 35+ million names in its Ancestral File, 360+ million names in the International Genealogical Index and Family History Library Catalog with records from more than 2 million rolls of microfilm
  • Free Genealogy Charts and Forms
  • Genealogy.org - Hosted by Rootsweb.
  • New England Historic Genealogical Society
  • Northern Middlesex Registry of Deeds
  • Roots Web Guide to Tracing Family Trees - An outstanding beginner's guide as well as tips for more advanced genealogists
  • ROOTS-L HomePage - Genealogy discussion list Web site. Contains: the ROOTS-L library, with hundreds of files, including how to obtain vital records, useful tips for beginners, book lists, etc.; the Roots Surname List or RSL, a list of over 900,000 surnames and contact information for the almost 100,000 people researching them; GENSERV, a massive database comprised of the GEDCOMs of over 11,000 submitters; the U. S. Civil War Units file; United States Resources: A Web page for every state in the United States, with links to genealogical and historical resources; and the ROOT-L archives, searchable
  • Roots Web.com - Billing itself as "The Oldest & Largest FREE Genealogy Site," RootsWeb includes search engines and databases, family trees (over 70 million names), surname and geographical mailing lists, and message boards.
  • Saint Patrick Cemetery - Contains genealogy burial listings from 1895 thru 2011
  • Social Security Death Index - The Social Security Death File Index is a basic source for assisting genealogists. Searches can be limited by city, county, or state and even modified by birth year, month, or day. Useful for beginning or advanced researchers.
  • US Genweb Project - Links to all the state genealogy web sites, special archiving projects on census, cemetery tombstones, guides to doing research
  • The World Gen Web Project - This online resource for international genealogists "is a non-profit, volunteer based organization dedicated to providing genealogical and historical records and resources for world-wide access." Divided into eleven world regions, it is searchable by countries, provinces, states, and other administrative divisions.
  • United States Historical Census Data Browser - Population and economic data from the U.S. Census, 1790-1960.
  • Vital Records Information
  • Where to Write for Vital Records - Information for accessing vital records by state

Libraries/Research sites

  • Archdiocese of Boston Archives
  • Boston Public Library
  • Digital Public Library of America - Access to millions of items—photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more—from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States. 
  • NARA Genealogy - A source for archival research and genealogy.
  • National Archives and Records Administration, Genealogy Page - This outstanding site is packed with genealogical tips, guides, and practical information for obtaining federal records (census, military, passenger lists, etc.) as well as indexes like the Index to all Veterans Who Died in the Korean War, which is searchable by name or by state.
  • Newberry Library - An independent research library open to the public, the Newberry Library in Chicago serves over 10,000 people annually. The library is known for its extensive genealogy materials, as well as its collections on the history and literature of Western Europe and the Americas.

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