Local History Resources
Family Genealogies in Local History
Browse our catalog for the family genealogies we have in our collection.
Gloucester City Directories
Gloucester City Directories dating from 1860 – 1999 are available upon request from the Information Services desk. These directories provide a listing of residents, streets, businesses, and organizations, and give their location in Gloucester at the time of publication.
Gloucester High School Year Books
Copies of the Flicker, Gloucester High School's yearbook, are available upon request from the Information Services desk. Hard copies include volumes from 1923 to the present. Digital copies are also available online.
Records on Microfilm
Our state of the art microfilm reader is located on the Mezzanine level near the Local History collection. The Information Services staff will be happy to assist you with getting started. The following are resources available:
- List of passengers arriving in Gloucester 1820-1870. Copies of passenger lists for arrivals at 11 Eastern ports including Gloucester, Marblehead and Hingham 1820-1973
- Babson Papers (Gloucester in the Civil War). Articles published in Cape Ann Advertiser concerning Gloucester’s role in the Civil War. Compiled by John J. Babson for Massachusetts Historical Society
- * Early Massachusetts Records Vol 1-35 (beginning in 1642): Minutes to town meetings and miscellany of town items including lists of inhabitants, copies of contracts, impounded animals, etc.
- Sanborn Fire Insurance maps (Gloucester) (no dates given)
- Massachusetts Census information from 1790 – 1930
- Gloucester City Engineers’ Maps (Engineering and Topographical Surveys), 1956?
- Gloucester Vital Records from 1851-1911
Selected Guide to Our Genealogical Resources
A selective guide to the collections and resources available at the Sawyer Free Library. This list details the newspapers, magazines, vital records, maps, yearbooks, biographies, and genealogies in the library’s collection along with date ranges of the collection. It also includes links to State archives and other repositories that you might find useful.
Getting Started + Tips
National Archives: Resources for Genealogists
Explore your family's ancestry with tools from the National Archives. These include free databases, resources for getting started, vital records, and more.
Library of Congress: Local History and Genealogy Reference Services
The Library of Congress has one of the world's premier collections of U.S. and foreign genealogical and local historical publications. Here you will find helpful tips for getting started as well as many online resources.
Researching + Locating Your Ancestors
Ancestry Library Edition
Ancestry Library Edition makes family research easy for beginners while still providing in-depth tools for even the most advanced genealogists.(No Remote Access)
Atlas of Historical County Boundaries
Find historical information about Essex and other counties, including shapefiles, chronologies, and metadata.
BillionGraves is the world′s largest resource for searchable GPS cemetery data, and is growing bigger and better every day.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds
Search records from 1640 to the present.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Vital Records Search
Search vital records from 1841 to 1910.
FamilySearch is a nonprofit family history organization dedicated to connecting families across generations.
Find A Grave
Look for burial and other final disposition information for your family, friends and famous people.
This free genealogy website features tens of millions of records, research tools, and other resources to help those with Jewish ancestry research and find family members.
Library of Congress: Chronicling America
Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789 to 1963 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690 to the present.
Library of Congress: Digital Collections
National Archives: Military Records
Research United States military records.
National Archives: Veterans Service Records
Find a variety of service records online.
New England Historic Genealogical Society: American Ancestors
Research family history through a wealth of online records.
U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management: General Land Office Records
This site provides live access to Federal land conveyance records for the Public Land States, including image access to more than five million Federal land title records issued between 1788 and the present. It also has images of survey plats and field notes, land status records, and control document index records.
Gloucester + Cape Ann Resources
Down to Sea in Ships
Down to the Sea in Ships chronicles the loss of life that is ever present in making a livelihood from fishing. Included are the family stories, history of the industry and a yearly index of lost ships and men from 1830 to the present.
Gloucester City Archives Department
Gloucester Archives is the repository of the town and city municipal records. Located in City Hall, the department contains one of the most complete collections of municipal records in the U.S., beginning before the town’s 1642 incorporation. The collections cover but are not limited to Engineers' maps, military records dating from the Revolutionary War, Overseers of the Poor records (including children's indentures), and property records.
Gloucester City Archives: Vital Records Search
Search birth records from 1850 to 1873, marriage records from 1849 to 1869, and death records from 1838 to 1883.
Gloucester High School Yearbooks
The Flicker, Gloucester High School's yearbook is fully digitized and available online from 1923 through 2013.
Lost at Sea Register
The City Archives Department has compiled a list of fishermen lost at sea and other drownings based on the work done by Roberta Sheedy for the Memorial Plaques at the Fisherman’s Statue on the Boulevard at Gloucester Harbor. This list has been expanded and updated, and no longer is restricted only to fishermen from Gloucester or on a Gloucester boat. It now includes not only those Gloucester people lost at sea while fishing, but any death by drowning, whether at sea, in the Harbor, or rivers or lakes, and also deaths of fishermen on shore if their death was caused at sea. Therefore, while there were no women on the original list, there are some on this list. There are also children and vacationers, engineers and dockworkers. A cross-hatch # after the name indicates that the person had no connection at all with a death by fishing or drowning in the sea.
Gloucester + Cape Ann Genealogy Books
- Branch of the Poole Family in America Descended from John Pool of Rockport, Massachusetts, Including the Allied Families of Haskell, Norwood, Storey, Butman, Rand, Kendall
- The Coit Family; or The Descendants of John Coit, Who Appears Among the Settlers of Salem, Mass. in 1638, at Gloucester in 1644, and at New London, Conn. in 1650, by F. W. Chapman, 1874
- The Descendants of Anthony Day of Gloucester, Mass., 1645, by John Alphonso Day, 1902
- Descendants of Michael Webber of Falmouth, Maine and of Gloucester, Massachusetts, by George Walter Chamberlain, 1935
- The Diary of the Revd. Daniel Fuller with His Account of His Family & Other Matters, by Daniel Fuller, 1894
- The Elwell Family in America: A Genealogy of Robert Elwell, of Dorchester and Gloucester, Mass. and the Greater Part of His Descendants, to the Fifth Generation, with a List of Revolutionary Soldiers of the Name Who Enlisted from the State of Massachusetts, Jacob Thomas Elwell, 1899
- A Genealogical History of the Descendants of Stephen and Ursula Streeter of Gloucester, Mass., 1642, afterwards of Charlestown, Mass., 1644-1652; with an Account of the Streeters of Goudherst, Kent, England, by Milford B. Streeter, 1896
- The Genealogy of William Coleman of Gloucester, Mass., and Graveshead, England, by James Cash Coleman, 1906
- The Grandchildren of Col. Joseph Foster: Of Ipswich and Gloucester, Mass., 1730-1804, by Joseph Foster, 1885
- Probate Records of Essex County, Massachusetts, 1635-1664, Volume I, 1916
- Probate Records of Essex County, Massachusetts, 1665-1674, Volume II, 1917
- Records of Families of the Name Rawlins or Rollins in the United States: In Two Parts, by John R. Rollins, 1874
- Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts
- The Sawyer Family of Elliotsville (Piscataquis Co., Maine): Descendents of James Sawyer of Gloucester, Mass. and their Kinfolk, the Drakes, by Fred E. Sawyer, 1945
- Thomas Gardner, planter (Cape Ann, 1623-1626, Salem, 1626-1674) and Some of His Descendants, by Frank A. Gardener, 1980
- Vital Records of Gloucester, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849, Volume 1: Births, 1917
- Vital Records of Gloucester, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849, Volume 2: Marriages, 1917
- Vital Records of Gloucester, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849, Volume 3: Deaths, 1917