Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Resource Gem for "Old Newbury" Researchers

The Tristram Coffin house, the oldest house in Newbury
Many Americans can trace their roots back to "Old Newbury", a region located in northeastern Massachusetts.  Today Old Newbury is comprised of the towns of Newbury, West Newbury, and Newburyport.  Newbury was founded in 1635 and the many founding fathers include familiar names such as Lunt, Noyes, Dummer, Jaques, Little, Coffin, Follansbee, March, Richardson, Morse, Woodman, Swett and many others.

I am not an expert on Old Newbury but I have had the pleasure of working on a Newbury research project for the past six months.  The history of the area, combined with its beautiful architecture and inspiring scenery, make it a perfect place for a summer research trip.

If you decide to come this way for a visit be sure to put the Newburyport Archival Center, located at the Newburyport Public Library, at the top of your research list.

Hidden in the basement of the library, the Archival Center contains rich resources for Newbury and surrounding areas.  They maintain a large selection of families histories for local families.  I was particularly impressed to see a number of additional, more recent family manuscripts donated by current genealogists providing updated family history information.

There is a large selection of published histories, vital records, indexes for probate and deeds and, for the house historian in me, a selection of Newbury area architectural books and house surveys.  They maintain a collection of microfilm and maps too.

Computers are available in the archival center to access databases such as Ancestry.com and AmericanAncestors.org and microfilm readers are there too.

You will be asked to stow most of your belongings in lockers in the hallway and to leave your pens behind.  Plenty of pre-sharpened pencils sit atop each table.  Photocopies are a very modest 15 cents each. Parking is available in a small municipal across the street from the library (expect to pay 50 cents per hour to the meters).

The very knowledgeable and helpful archivist, Jessica Gill, is a pleasure to work with.

My recommendation, if researching in this part of Massachusetts, would be to stop by the Newburyport Archival Center first.  Then, if you can't find something you are looking for, try other locations.  You will be amazed at just how much research you'll be able to get done in one place.

Thanks to my friend, author Marge Armstrong, for introducing me to such a wonderful resource.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Marian,

    In July 2008, I visited Newburyport with my son, his girlfriend and husband. Most of the pics I took were of buildings and street-scapes. Hopefully you can see them here: https://picasaweb.google.com/104524426817841604562/Newburyport#

    Cheers from Linda