Find out what genealogy publications are in our library. (Access to the Library is available by appointment only)
Explore highlights of the Forefathers Burying Ground.
Search the Chelmsford Cemetery Department's Records (on the Chelmsford Historical Commission website)
Search the Vital Records of Chelmsford Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849
(Scanned by Google Books)
Genealogy notes for some of our earliest families:
Henry Adams was the progenitor of the Adams family in America. He was
born in Barton David, England and died October 6, 1646 in Braintree,
Massachusetts. Henry married Edith Squire and they had nine children.
Three of his sons also emigrated, and later moved to Chelmsford: Thomas
(1612-1688), Samuel (1616/17-1690), and John (1622-1706).
The Adams obelisk stands at the top of the hill in the center of the
burying ground and numerous descendants of Henry Adams are
buried in the Forefathers Burying Ground.
This links to information on Thomas Barrett and his descendants
(external site WikiTree.com) and was contributed by Brian S. Barrett.
The Brackett family was said to be from
Wales. Capt. Richard Bracket, born 1610, was a member of the Boston
Church in 1631/2, dismissed to the Braintree Church, Oct. 5, 1641. He is
also mentioned in the petition for land, Oct. 1, 1645, along with Edward
Spalding. Richard's brother, Peter, born in 1612, Deputy & Magistrate,
also lived in Braintree. See also, The Pioneers of Massachusetts,
Pope, 1900 and the Brackett Genealogy, by H. I. Brackett.
In 1835, Ezekial Byam
was the first to commercially produce Lucifer matches in this country,
replacing the flint and tinder method of lighting fires. One hundred
matches sold for 25¢. One lit the match by drawing it through a piece of
bent sandpaper. His son, Ezekial, continued the business of
manufacturing matches, which is still known as the Diamond Match
Company. The following verse was printed on the wrapper:
For quickness and sureness the public will find
These matches will leave all others behind;
Without further remarks we invite you to try 'em,
Remember all good that are signed by E. Byam
George Adams Parkhurst compiled a book, Nights at the Round Table, that contains a short sketch entitled
the "Matchmaker." This publication is available through our Museum
Shop, along with the Civil War diary of Daniel Byam.
Rev. John Fiske was the first minister in the town. The
History of Chelmsford, Massachusetts by Rev. Wilson Waters has
been scanned and made available online by Google and can be searched for
content of interest. This history provides wonderful information on
both John Fiske and the early settlers of Chelmsford.
Samuel Fletcher was the son of William Fletcher and Lydia Bates, born
in 1656 in Chelmsford. William was one of the proprietors of the town
and the first town meeting was held at his house on Crosby Lane, Nov.
22, 1654. The society has genealogical data on the Fletcher family and
the two histories of Chelmsford contain considerable information on the
Richard Hildreth, the ancestor of the New England Hildreths, was born in
the north of England in 1605, the year of the Gunpowder Plot, a date
fixed by the inscription on his gravestone in Chelmsford, Mass. He was
therefore fifteen years
old at the sailing of the Mayflower.
The Early Hildreths of New England, written by Arthur Hildreth, was
originally privately printed in 1894. It was read before the reunion of
the Hildreth family at Chelmsford on June 16th, 1894.
John Kidder of Chelmsford, MA, was born in
Cambridge, MA in 1655/6 and died at Chelmsford before Oct. 7, 1731.
Additional information was provide by members of this family.
Ezekial Richardson was a follower of Anne
Hutchinson and John Wheelwright in 1637 along with many members of the
Boston Church during the Antinonmian Controversy. His name was included
on the remonstrances in Wheelwright's favor, but was later "erased" when
the Court found him guilty of sedition. Although we do not
currently have a copy of this document, it is likely that other persons
from Chelmsford also supported Wheelwright.
George Robbins was one of the first settlers of Chelmsford. George
Robbins' farm was in the southern part of Chelmsford near Great Brook
Farm is located. He owned a mill on Curve Street in Carlisle, MA.
Edward Spalding was progenitor of this family and was residing in Braintree
on May 13, 1640. On this day, he became a freeman, meaning he was a
member of the established church, entitling him to serve in some
governmental capacity, to be a magistrate, to receive land grants, and to serve on a jury. In 1645, his
name appeared on the petition for the Chelmsford land grant and he was
present at the first town meeting on
Nov. 22, 1654.
If you have family information you would like to share with us, please
feel to contribute!