Family History

Whether you're researching your family history or writing a biography, the following resources may assist you to find information. For questions and assistance with Winchester records, please contact the Reference Archivist.

LOCAL RESOURCES

Vital Records

These have been kept by the Town Clerk's Office since 1850 when the town was incorporated. To obtain a birth, death, or marriage certificate, contact that office. If interested only in the information contained in the vital records (but not an official copy), contact the Reference Archivist.

Prior to 1850, most of what became Winchester was part of Woburn. Woburn records of births, deaths, marriages, and marriage intentions, from 1640 to 1900 are available in the Local History Room at the Public Library. 

Cemetery Records 

Wildwood Cemetery, the Town's cemetery, is maintained by the Department of Public Works.
To search for burials, try Cemetery Find or Find A Grave.

Calvary Cemetery - contact Holy Cross Cemetery in Malden, 888-919-7926.

Family Records

The Archival Center has miscellaneous files with documents or information about families and individuals. Try a surname search in our online catalog. However, since the entire collection has not yet been cataloged, please contact the Archivist with your questions. Family files may be consulted at the Archival Center. Copies of archived holdings may also be ordered by mail. Please contact the Reference Archivist for fees and terms. 

Photographs

Visit our online catalog and do a keyword search on either the full name or surname you are interested in.

To order high-resolution copies of photographs in the catalog, please contact the Reference Archivist for fees and terms.

Resident Directories

The earliest resident directory dates from 1874. Though our collection does not include directories for every year, Poll Lists (later Lists of Residents) were printed every year beginning in 1900. Seven Blue Books were printed between 1895 and 1924. These may be consulted at the Archival Center.

Newspaper Articles & Obituaries

The Winchester Public Library has microfilm copies of the following newspapers:

  • Daily Times Chronicle. Woburn, MA.: (formerly Woburn Daily Times), 1971–present. Winchester edition
  • Winchester Star, 1881-present.  
  • Winchester Press, October 1900–December 1902
  • Woburn and Middlesex Journal, October 1851–November 1906.

A card catalog for The Winchester Star and Daily Times Chronicle, covering the period 1881 to 1986 and based on headline keywords, is located in the library's Local History Room. An electronic database of obituaries published in The Winchester Star from 1985–2000 can be consulted at the Reference Desk. 

Issues of The Winchester Star from 1901 to 1972 have been digitized and are searchable online. A library card is not necessary.

The Archival Center also has copies of The Winchester Press. They are not indexed. They may be consulted at the Center.

Biographies 

Winchester History Online includes some biographical articles. See the subject index. The site is also useful to gain background information on the town.

Both the Winchester Public Library and the Archival Center have some published family history volumes and a few published biographies. Since those at the Center are not yet indexed in its online catalog, contact the Reference Archivist for information.

History of Winchester in two volumes by Henry S. Chapman and Bruce Winchester Stone, published in 1975, mentions many prominent residents of the town. Copes are available for sale at the Winchester Public Library.

ONLINE RESOURCES

Online Genealogical Resources Available with a Library Card

American Ancestors (Previously New England Ancestors) (in-library use only)
Ancestry Library Edition (in-library use only)
Heritage Quest Online
Newspapers:
     The Winchester Star from 1901 to 1972 (library card not required)
     Boston Globe Historical (1872-1981)
     Boston Globe 1980-current
     New York Times Historical (1851-2014)

Online Genealogical Resources Not Requiring a Library Card

Family Search - create a free account and get access to millions of historical records, including many of those also available at Ancestry

Family Search Books Search - The Family History Library sponsored by FamilySearch is the largest genealogical library in the world. It is actively digitizing its family histories, local histories, and other collections to make them searchable and available online to researchers worldwide.