Research Highlights: Catholic and Revolutionary War Resources

This month we highlight several genealogical resources available online to researchers.

Our first collection is a new database available through the New England Historic Genealogical Society  (NEHGS) website American Ancestors.  In partnership with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston they have digitized over 1,500 volumes of sacramental records (baptisms, marriages, first communion, confirmations) from Catholic churches in and around the Boston area dating from 1789-1920.  The database also includes the Archdiocese cemetery records as well.

The database scanned images are available free of charge here after creating a guest membership on the website.  Choose a volume (church/town) in the pull down menu.  A table of contents is provided for each volume to assist locating the correct page based on a person’s first letter of their last name.

In order to use the website’s full search engine to access this and other databases, a paid subscription is required for individuals to use at home, or patrons may instead use these search features at Sturgis Library in our historic Hooper Room via our online library membership.  Just ask a staff member for our genealogy computer and we’ll get you started!

For additional help identifying the correct church for the person you are researching, the Archdiocese has also made available the Boston Parish Boundary Map, circa 1955, that shows locations and boundaries for each parish based on the neighborhood and towns generally attending each parish.  This YouTube tutorial, explains how to use the Boundary Map tool.


For further resources published by the NEHGS, Sturgis Library also has available for circulation their quarterly periodical titled American Ancestors.  These can be found in our periodical collection


Our second collection is the 17 volume Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War : a Compilation from the Archives, with publication dates ranging 1896-1908.  This set can be browsed in our historic reference collection shelved in the Hooper Room at LOTHROP REF 369.13 MAS.

A digitized version of this set is also available online via the Internet Archive website, which can be accessed through our library computers or from the comfort of your own home computer.  Follow this link to the CLAMS record for the collection.  You will see separate links for each of the 17 volumes.  Using Internet Archive tools, you can search for soldiers by first or last name, military group, or other keywords.

A similar 8 volume set of documents available both in our Library and on the Internet Archive site is the Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War.

The Internet Archive website is an extensive database containing countless digital resources as listed below.  For more information about this website click here.

Leave a Comment