Press the Play button above to view our tutorial on using HeritageQuest via Niche Academy.
HeritageQuest can be accessed from anywhere with your library card number. Search Census records, city directories, books, Revolutionary War records, 1850 and 1860 slave schedules, U.S. Indian census rolls, mortality schedules, agricultural and industrial schedules, 1890 Veterans schedule, and more.
Local History Collection
The library’s local history reference collection is shelved in the general reference area and can be accessed during open library hours. The library also maintains a vertical file of clippings, which is not indexed online.
Recommended Topsfield History Resources
(All of these titles can also be read online – see links from the online catalog for “Electronic Access”)
- The History of Essex County, Massachusetts: with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men / D. Hamilton Hurd (1888): R 974.45/V.1+ 2
- History of Topsfield Massachusetts / George Francis Dow (1940): R 974.45 DOW
- Houses and Buildings of Topsfield, Massachusetts / Charles Lawrence Bond (1989 update): R 974.45 BOND
- Historical Collections of the Topsfield Historical Society Vols. I—XXXIV: R 974.45 TOPSFIELD
The library has reference and circulating copies of all volumes, and reference copies of the index. All volumes have been digitized – see our individual listing.
- Topsfield’s Annual Reports: the library has print reports going back to 1827. The library maintains an individual listing of reports which are available online.
- The early history of Topsfield: adapted from the National Register of Historic places documentation for the Historic Farms and Rural Retreats of Topsfield, MA. Prepared by Gretchen G. Schuler & Anne M. Forbes, Preservation Consultants, April 2005. Posted on the excellent Historic Ipswich website. (full pdf document can be accessed on the National Park Service site).
- The Topsfield Times: the library’s local history wiki.
- Historic Ipswich: a very informative website, which includes a number of in-depth articles about Topsfield.
- Vital Records of Topsfield, Massachusetts, Vol. I (to the End of the Year 1849) and Vol. II: 1850-1899: 929.3 TOPSFIELD/V. 1 + 2
- See also: www.ma-vitalrecords.org
Other Local Resources
- Local newspapers: a list of Topsfield-area papers, and how to access the archives.
- Maps at the Topsfield Town Library (including links to online maps)
- Topsfield cemeteries: the library has binders with listings for the Boston Street, Lake Family, Pine Grove, and South Side Cemeteries. The Massachusetts Gravestones Photo Project includes images from the Boston Street and Pine Grove cemeteries.
- Topsfield High School yearbooks: the following volumes are held by the Topsfield Historical Society, but are not available online: 1945; 1948-1959
- Masconomet Regional High School yearbooks (1960-current) are owned by Middleton’s Flint Public Library. Most can be viewed online at the Internet Archive. The most current digitized editions (2016 -) can be viewed on this Tri-Town Digital Archive.
- Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds: has digitized records dating back to 1640.
Other Local History Collections and Organizations
- Topsfield Historical Society: Browse their digitized volumes and images at the Internet Archive and the Digital Commonwealth.
- Boxford Historic Document Center
- Essex Society of Genealogists
- Haverhill Public Library’s Special Collections
- Newburyport Public Library’s Archival Center
- The Phillips Library of the Peabody Essex Museum
Getting Started with Genealogy Research?
- Research Guide to Genealogy (Boston Public Library)
See also: Genealogy-related blog posts on the BPL website.
- Research Guides from American Ancestors (New England Historic Genealogical Society. Create a free guest account to log in)
- Fun Family History Activities for Kids (New England Historic Genealogical Society)
- Start Your Genealogy Research (National Archives)
- Beginning Genealogy: How to Get Started the Right Way (FamilySearch)
- 10 Steps to Get Started on Your Family Tree (Family Tree Magazine)