Medford, Massachusetts

History of the Town of Medford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, from its First Settlement in 1630 to the Present Time, 1855, by Charles Brooks, 1855,  8vo., viii + 576 pages, with four pages of index and twenty-nine images. Digital Edition on CD-ROM © October 2004.

Classic town and county histories are of immense value to those of us who seek information about our origins:  they supply a context for the lives of our ancestors that we do not often find in genealogical compilations (as in "Descendants of John Doe").

Brooks' History of Medford contains fifteen chapters (encompassing nearly 500 pages) and a "Register of Families" (seventy pages).  The scope and organization of the volume is fairly traditional, with chapters on natural history, early settlement, civil history, political history, military history, ecclesiastical history (two chapters), education, public buildings, commerce (two chapters), trials and tribulations (i.e., crimes and punishment, slavery, pauperism, tornado, storms, floods, fires, diseases), culture (population, manners and customs, daily and domestic habits), and societies (including fire departments).  The fifteenth chapter is a chronology of events and official acts, containing entries such as the following: "May 6, 1646, the General Court forbid all persons taking any tobacco within five miles of any house."

The text is reasonably well-documented with frequent references to, and verbatim extracts from primary sources.  The "Register of Families" contains all the vital statistics (births, deaths, marriages, etc) contained in the first volume of the town records (1630 to 1718).  A brief "Addenda" lists surnames, not previously mentioned, that appear in the second volume (1718 to 1809).  Most notable among the dozens of families in the Register: ALBREE, BLANCHARD, BRADSHAW, BROOKS, FRANCIS, GREENLEAF, GREGG, HALL, KIDDER, PATCH, REEVES, ROYALL, SHED, SWAN, SYMMES, TUFTS, USHER, WADE, WHITMORE and WILLIS.  Other surnames in the Register and elsewhere in the volume are listed in the index, which can be viewed here by downloading the Name List.

The Digital Edition: Complete with three text files (2.9 Mb) and twenty-nine image files (3.3 Mb)

Enhancements: "Quick Links" to help with navigation and a new, easy-to-read format for the "Register of Families."   Because the index of this volume lists only surnames, researchers will appreciate the search capabilities of their word processing software.  Additionally, corrigenda have been integrated, as prescribed, in the text.

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