Historical Documents

Genealogical Research

Winchester Historical Society

The Winchester Historical Society's web site provides a list of resources for genealogical research.

Winchester Public Library

The Library provides access to the following online resources specializing in genealogical research.

American Ancestors (Previously New England Ancestors).
Dozens of genealogical databases from the New England Historic Genealogical Society, including full text of the New England Historical and Genealogical Record, The Search for Missing Friends, and Massachusetts Vital Records 1841–1910. Available: WPL online within the library only.

Ancestry Library Edition
The Ancestry Library Edition collection has approximately 4,000 databases including key collections such as U.S. Federal Census images and indexes from 1790 to 1930; the Map Center containing more than 1,000 historical maps; American Genealogical Biographical Index (over 200 volumes); Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage (over 150 volumes); The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1630; Social Security Death Index (updated monthly); WWI Draft Registration Cards; Federal Slave Narratives; and a strong Civil War collection. Ancestry Library Edition updates continually, with more indexes and original images added all the time. Available: WPL: Online within the library only.

HeritageQuest Online™ combines digital, searchable images of U.S. federal census records with the digitized version of the popular UMI® Genealogy & Local History collection and other valuable content. This online database is an essential collection of unique material for both genealogical and historical researchers, with coverage dating back to the late 1700s. Researchers can use Heritage Quest Online to find their ancestors, trace their paths across America, and learn what life was like in the areas where they settled.

HeritageQuest Online includes all of the images, and extensive indexing, from the 1790–1930 U.S. federal censuses. It offers more than 20,000 book titles, including nearly 8,000 family histories and over 12,000 local histories. Additionally, there are more than 250 primary-source documents such as tax lists, city directories, probate records, and more. 

Many other distinctive and invaluable sources of information can be found within HeritageQuest Online. These include Periodical Source Index (PERSI), a widely recognized resource guide, updated annually, that covers more than 6,300 genealogy and history periodicals written in English and French (Canada) since 1800. There are other valuable collections such as the Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, which identifies more than 80,000 American military, naval, and marine officers and enlisted men. The Freedman’s Bank Records is a database that documents more than 70,000 bank depositors and their dependants and heirs.  All of these resources are fully searchable through HeritageQuest Online’s easy-to-use Web interface. Available: The Winchester Public Library, online within the library for everyone and from home for Winchester residents.

Massachusetts State Archives

Searchable Collections

Massachusetts Archives Collection Database (1629–1799)

Index to Passenger Manifests (1848–1891)

Index to Vital Records (1841–1910)

Available: Online

New England Historic Genealogical Society

This resource provides dozens of genealogical databases and documents including the New England Historical and Geneaological Register, Massachusetts Vital Records (1841–1910), New York Probate Records (1787–1835), Social Security Death Index (SSDI) records, city and town directories, court records, census, tax, and voter lists, diaries and journals, land records, military records, and published genealogies and biographies.  The web site has a number of freely available resources that can be accessed without subscription or login, for example, online seminars on various aspects of conducting genealogical research, a number of online exhibits featuring documents from the 17th to the 20th century. Access to the databases is available by personal membership or in the Reference Room of WPL. Available:  Winchester Public Library, online within the library.