Dedicated to the Memory of
Cathy Joy Lasselle (CJ) McNew, Founder of this Site,
May 6, 1957 — July 30, 2002.

USGenWeb Genealogical Site for the Town of

Link to Bridgewater Town Web Site Bridgewater
 Massachusetts 
Plymouth County
Link to USGenWeb

Including the Villages of Paper Mill Village (formerly Pratt Town), Scotland, South Bridgewater and Stanley

See also the sites for the parent town of Duxbury and the daughter towns of
Abington, Brockton (North Bridgewater), East Bridgewater and West Bridgewater

Joseph Alden House

Joseph Alden House, Bridgewater
Constructed about 1690

What's New Lookups Resources Families Books Books Online Newspapers Records Cemeteries Societies Locations History Census Maps Government Web Sites USGenWeb





New Information on This Site

July 26, 2012 — I have posted a revised version of "The Vital Records of Bridgewater, Mass.," transcribed by George Ernest Bowman and published in Mayflower Descendant between 1900 and 1914.  Page images are now posted, and each image page has a link at the bottom to the corresponding test transcription of that page.  Text pages also have links to the corresponding images.

March 10, 2008 — We have a new address!   Many USGenWeb sites have relocated, and we have, too.   Please bookmark our new address.

July 5, 2004 — Special thanks to Wendy L. Callahan, who in June transcribed the gravestones in four of the southern Bridgewater Cemeteries - the Conant St., Harlow, Hillside and Orange St. cemeteries.

May 3, 2004 — The 1790 Federal Census Data is now online.

February 12, 2004 — I have completed the online transcription of Nahum Mitchell's History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater, in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, Including an Extensive Family Register (Boston: Printed for the author by Kidder and Wright, 1840; Reprinted Bridgewater: Henry T. Pratt, 1897; Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1970; Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1983; Salem, MA: Higginson Books, 1992).  This work was begun by the late CJ McNew, completed by the current webmaster and supported by the greatly appreciated efforts of many volunteers.  Although a number of errors have been discovered in this work it is still a very useful starting point for research on early Bridgewater families.

October 2, 2003 — I have completed the online transcription of "The Vital Records of Bridgewater, Mass.," transcribed by George Ernest Bowman and published in Mayflower Descendant between 1900 and 1914.  These literal transcriptions of births, marriages and deaths from the first two volumes of the town records are often referred to by professional genealogists in preference to the alphabetized version published by NEHGS.  In these transcriptions events for most families run through about 1720.

June 14, 2003 — The Vital Records of Bridgewater (the "Tan Book") are now online, transcribed by Coralynn Brown and posted by Jane Devlin.

May 28, 2003 — Williams Latham's Epitaphs in Old Bridgewater is now complete and online.  This 1882 work contains literal tramscriptions of all of the gravestones in the oldest cemeteries in Bridgewater, East Bridgewater and West Bridgewater.  The online version has been transcribed by Arthur Richardson and Dale H. Cook, and includes all of the illustrations, cemetery plans, indices, corrections and appendices from the book.  We have added an extra page including online map links, locations, directions to some of the cemeteries and photographs of many of them by Arthur.

April 29, 2003 — There is a new page for Bridgewater Family Researchers and Websites where you can list specific Bridgewater families that you are researching or web sites specializing in Bridgewater families.

April 26, 2003 — A list of Bridgewater and Brockton newspapers has been added, showing library holdings on microfilm.

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Lookups and Resources

Lookups

If you have any Bridgewater material and would like to volunteer for lookups please send email to Dale H. Cook.
Please note that, due to the widespread abuse of GMail addresses by spammers, I can no longer accept email from GMail addresses.

When requesting a lookup please use the email link following the listing for that book, limit your request to one or two specific names on separate lines, and please thank the volunteer for their time and effort.

 

Lookups Available

Ann S. Lainhart, 1855 and 1865 Massachusetts State Censuses for Bridgewater (Boston: The Author, 1988) — Dale H. Cook.
Please note that, due to the widespread abuse of GMail addresses by spammers, I can no longer accept email from GMail addresses.

Heman Howard, The Howard Genealogy: The Descendents of John Howard of Bridgewater, Massachusetts (Brockton, MA: The Standard Printing Co., 1903) — Email Aaron Howard —

 

Resources

"The Vital Records of Bridgewater, Mass.," transcribed by George Ernest Bowman and published in Mayflower Descendant between 1900 and 1914. These literal transcriptions from the town records are often referred to by professional genealogists in preference to the alphabetized version published by NEHGS. In these transcriptions events for most families run through about 1720. An index of names has been included.

Bradford Kingman, "Marriages in the Town of Bridgewater Previous To Its Division" (New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 21 [1867]:225-228).

Professional genealogist and genealogical editor Scott Andrew Bartley hosts web pages about Massachusetts counties, cities and towns. Researchers will find historical and genealogical data and links of use to those working at any level. His Bridgewater page contains essential information for anyone researching Bridgewater and its families, and his Plymouth County page is equally valuable.

Ray Brown has transcribed the Bridgewater marriage records from Early Massachusetts Marriages Prior to 1800 by Frederick W. Bailey. They are available sorted by husbands' names or by wives' names. His New England Genealogy site on RootsWeb includes many other transcribed records, genealogical information for several Connecticut families and many other resources for New England research.

Early Bridgewater Families includes information on the early generations of Bridgewater families founded by Samuel Packard and John Washburn.

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Family Researchers and Websites

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Books, Newspapers and Records

Books and Journal Articles About Bridgewater

You can find copies of books for sale by using the search engine at Bookfinder.com.

Books that are no longer in copyright can often be found online at Internet Archive Text Archive, Family History Books or Google Books. Additional books are available through two sites that many libraries offer access to - Ancestry.com and Heritage Quest Online.


Nahum Mitchell, "A Description of Bridgewater, 1818" (Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 2nd Series, 7 (1818):137-176).

Nahum Mitchell, History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater, in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, Including an Extensive Family Register (Boston: Printed for the author by Kidder and Wright, 1840; Reprinted Bridgewater: Henry T. Pratt, 1897; Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1970; Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1983; Salem, MA: Higginson Books, 1992). See transcripion under Books Online below. Note that although a number of errors have been discovered in this work it is still a very useful starting point for research on early Bridgewater families.

John Edson, Remarks Made at a Parish Meeting of Trinity Church, at Bridgewater, on the 15th of May, 1848 (Boston: Press of Joseph G. Torrey, 1848).

Celebration of the Two-Hundredth Anniversary of the Incorporation of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, at West Bridgewater, June 3, 1856 (Boston: John Wilson and Son, 1856).

William Allen, "Memoir of Hon. Nahum Mitchell, Author of the History of Bridgewater" (New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 18 (1864):221-224).

Bradford Kingman, "Marriages in the Town of Bridgewater Previous to Its Division" (New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 21 (1867):225-228).

Albert G. Boyden, History and Alumni Record of the State Normal School, Bridgewater, Mass. To July, 1876 (Boston: Noyes and Snow, 1876).

Williams Latham, Epitaphs in Old Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Illustrated with Plans and Views (Bridgewater: Henry T. Pratt, printer, 1882; Reprinted Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1976; Middleborough, MA, 1986). See the transcription under Books Online below.

Loring W. Puffer, Editor, Records of John Cary, the First Town Clerk of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, from 1656 to 1681 (Brockton, MA: The Editor, 1889; Reprinted Bridgewater, MA: Old Bridgewater Historical Society, 1986).

The Bridgewater Book (Boston: George H. Ellis, Printer, 1899).

Proceedings of the 250th Anniversary of Old Bridgewater at West Bridgewater, Massachusetts June 13, 1906 (Bridgewater MA: Arthur H. Willis, 1906).

Albert G. Boyden, Joshua Kendall and George H. Martin, A Brief Sketch of the Pioneers in Establishing the First State Normal Schools in America: James G. Carter, Rev. Charles Brooks, Edmund Dwight; A Brief Sketch of the First Principals of the State Normal Schools, 1839-'40, Cyrus Peirce, Rev. Samuel P. Newman, Nicholas Tillinghast (Bridgewater, MA?: Bridgewater Normal Association?, 1907).

Henry Edwards Scott, Vital Records of Bridgewater, Massachusetts to the Year 1850, 2 Volumes (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1916). See above for lookups. Note that although errors in this work are few in number, some have been found and are corrected in my errors page. Your additions, properly documented from contemporary records, are welcome.

Katherine M. Doherty, History Highlights: Bridgewater, Massachusetts: A Commemorative Journal (Bridgewater: Bridgewater Bicentenniel Commission, 1976).

Ann S. Lainhart, 1855 and 1865 Massachusetts State Censuses for Bridgewater (Boston: The Author, 1988).

Charles Milton Thatcher, Old Cemeteries of Southeastern Massachusetts (Middleborough, MA: Middleborough Public Library, 1995). Contains transcriptions from fifteen Bridgewater cemeteries made in the late 1880s. Although this is still a useful resource, many transcription errors have been discovered, so use Thatcher with care and check it against the actual gravestones or other transcriptions.

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Books Online

Henry Edwards Scott, Vital Records of Bridgewater, Massachusetts to the Year 1850, 2 Volumes (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1916), transcribed by Coralynn Brown and posted by Jane Devlin. Note that although errors in this work are few in number, some have been found and are corrected in Errors in Vital Records of Bridgewater Massachusetts to the Year 1850. Your additions, properly documented from contemporary records, are welcome.

Nahum Mitchell, History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater, in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, Including an Extensive Family Register (Boston: Printed for the author by Kidder and Wright, 1840; Reprinted Bridgewater: Henry T. Pratt, 1897; Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1970; Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1983; Salem, MA: Higginson Books, 1992). This work was begun by the late CJ McNew, completed by the current webmaster and supported by the greatly appreciated efforts of many volunteers.  Although a number of errors have been discovered in this work it is still a very useful starting point for research on early Bridgewater families.

Williams Latham, Epitaphs in Old Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Illustrated with Plans and Views (Bridgewater: Henry T. Pratt, printer, 1882; Reprinted Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1976; Middleborough, MA, 1986). This book has been transcribed by Arthur Richardson and Dale H. Cook.

      Bridgewater cemeteries included are:

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Newspapers

A newspaper often had a succession of titles on its masthead during the course of its publication. Some libraries list newspapers by the last title used, followed by previous titles. Other libraries list all holdings under the most common, most familiar or most recent title. For each title the library's holdings are given.

 

Boston Public Library - Microtext Department

   Bridgewater

   Brockton

 

Brockton Public Library - Historical Room
Note: Microfilms may be borrowed through Interlibrary Loan

   Brockton

 

Bridgewater Public Library - Historical Room

   Bridgewater

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Vital Records

Published Vital Records 1656 to about 1720:
"
The Vital Records of Bridgewater, Mass.," transcribed by George Ernest Bowman and published in Mayflower Descendant between 1900 and 1914. These literal transcriptions from the town records are often referred to by professional genealogists in preference to the alphabetized version published by NEHGS. In these transcriptions events for most families run through about 1720.

Published Vital Records 1656 to 1850:
Henry Edwards Scott, Vital Records of Bridgewater, Massachusetts to the Year 1850, 2 Volumes (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1916).

Vital Records 1656 to present:
Town Clerk
Bridgewater Town Hall
64 Central Sq.
Bridgewater, MA 02324
508-697-0921
Fax: 508-697-0941
Hours: Mon. - Thurs. 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Closed Friday and weekends.

Vital Records 1841-1920:
Massachusetts Archives
220 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125
617-727-2816
Fax: 617-288-8429
Hours: Mon. - Fri. 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Sat. 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Vital Records 1921 to present:
Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
150 Mount Vernon St., 1st Floor
Dorchester, MA 02125-3105
617-740-2600
Or order online:  Births  Marriages  Deaths

Massachusetts Vital Records Information from Ancestry.com

 

Deeds and Probate

Plymouth County Registry of Deeds
50 Obery Street
Plymouth, MA 02360
508-830-9200
Fax: 508-830-9221
Hours: Mon. - Fri. 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Researchers can search grantor books or grantee books at no charge.
Plymouth County deeds can now be viewed online.

Plymouth Probate and Family Court
52 Obery Street
Plymouth, MA 02360
508-747-6204
Fax: 508-746-6826
Hours: Mon. - Fri. 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Cemeteries and Cemetery Transcriptions





Genealogical and Historical Societies, Libraries and Locations





History, Census Data and Maps

      The area known as the Bridgewaters was originally inhabited by Wampanoag who called it Saughtuchquett (Satucket). In 1642 Marshfield was established from the northern part of Duxbury and inhabitants of the latter petitioned for compensating land in the interior. The General Court granted their petition in 1645 and six trustees were appointed to divide the land - Captain Myles Standish, John Alden, George Soule, Constant Southworth, John Rogers, and William Brett. The action by the General Court was primarily an authority to purchase land, and Captain Standish, Samuel Nash, and Constant Southworth were appointed to make the purchase. The March 23, 1649 deed which they signed with Ousamequin (Massasoit), "Sachem of the county of Poconocke", was witnessed by John Bradford and William Otway (Alias) Parker. The purchase was said to have been executed on a hill called Sachem's Rock.

      Fifty-four original proprietors each received one share in the new land, and two additional proprietors were later added. The purchases of additional lands were granted in subsequent years. Settlement began after 1650 in what is now West Bridgewater, but only eighteen of the fifty-six proprietors ever lived on their new land. The area was at first known as Duxbury New Plantation, and was incorporated as the township of Bridgewater in June, 1656. On Dec. 24, 1683, the "great division" of the township into four parts was assented to by the proprietors, the central part remaining common land.

      The first church in the township was established in the West Parish with the ministry offered to a Mr. Bunker in 1660, but it appears from the records that he never settled there as minister. About 1662 a minister's house was erected and the settlement of Reverend James Keith as the first minister was recorded on Feb. 18, 1664. He was granted one of the two additional proprietorships, the other going to Deacon Samuel Edson. A new and larger meeting house was built in 1671.

      Many Bridgewater men fought in King Philip's War, which began June 21, 1675. Although some outlying homes and barns were destroyed and some livestock killed no Bridgewater lives were lost in that conflict.

      The South Parish was settled soon after the West Parish, and on June 1, 1716, was incorporated as the second precinct. It encompassed what is now the town of Bridgewater. The Second Church of Bridgewater was established there, its meeting house was dedicated June 14, 1717 and its first minister was ordained in 1718. In the East Parish the meeting house of the Third Church of Bridgewater was raised on March 14, 1720 and its first minister ordained in 1724. On December 14, 1723, the East Parish was constituted the third precinct. Settlement of the North Parish began in 1679, and on January 3, 1738, it was incorporated as a precinct. The meeting house of the Fourth Church of Bridgewater was erected there in 1737 and a church organized with its first minister ordained in 1740. On February 4, 1743, the Titicut Parish was incorporated as a precinct lying along both banks of the Taunton River and including part of the current town of Middleborough, and having its own meeting house and minister.

      Early Bridgewater industries included the manufacture of iron, small arms and cannon. Edged tools and the first machine-made nails were early products, and textile mills were in operation by the late eighteenth century.

      From Mitchell's History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater ..., p. 34:

   The Town Clerks have been
      John Cary from       1656 to 1681.
   Thomas Hayward, Esq., appears
      to have made the entries in       1682 & 1683.
   Samuel Allen was Clerk from       1683 to 1702.
   Nathaniel Brett         "      "       1702 to 1736.
   Nathaniel Brett, Jr.   "      "       1736 to 1779, excepting that
   Col. Josiah Edson was Clerk a
      few years previous to       1745.
   Capt. Eliakim Howard  "   "       1779 to 1822, when the town was divided.

 

Population by Census

1765 (Prov.) 3,942     1776 (Prov.) 4,364     1790 (U.S.) 4,975     1800 (U.S.) 5,200
1810 (U.S.) 5,157     1820 (U.S.) 1,700*     1830 (U.S.) 1,855     1840 (U.S.) 2,131
1850 (U.S.) 2,790     1855 (State) 3,363     1860 (U.S.) 3,761     1865 (State) 4,196
1870 (U.S.) 3,660     1875 (State) 3,969     1880 (U.S.) 3,620     1885 (State) 3,827
1890 (U.S.) 4,249     1895 (State) 4,686     1900 (U.S.) 5,806     1905 (State) 6,754
1910 (U.S.) 7,688     1915 (State) 9,381     1920 (U.S.) 8,438     1925 (State) 9,468
1930 (U.S.) 9,055     1935 (State) 9,201     1940 (U.S.) 8,902     1945 (State) 8,641
1950 (U.S.) 9,512     1955 (State) 9,059     1960 (U.S.) 10,276     1965 (State) 11,056
1970 (U.S.) 11,829     1975 (State) 13,613     1980 (U.S.) 17,202     1990 (U.S.) 21,249
2000 (U.S.) 25,185                              

*Not including the population of North Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, and East Bridgewater, established later as separate towns.

 

Census Data

Currently available: 1790 Federal Census

 

Maps

1893/94 Topographic Map of Bridgewater (1661 x 1182 - 1.5 Mb)
From the 1894 Dedham Quadrangle, the 1893 Abington Quadrangle, the 1893 Taunton Quadrangle and the 1893 Middleborough Quadrangle (15 minute series)

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Bridgewater Town Government and Institutions Websites

Bridgewater Home Page

Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District

First Parish Church (Universalist Unitarian, originally the Second Church of Christ of Bridgewater, established 1716)

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Other Bridgewater Websites

See also the sites for the parent town of Duxbury and the daughter towns of Abington, Brockton (North Bridgewater), East Bridgewater and West Bridgewater

Commonwealth Communities page for Bridgewater

Scott Andrew Bartley's Bridgewater page.

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USGenWeb Sites

Plymouth County, MA - USGenWeb

Plymouth County Records Online - USGenWeb

Massachusetts Genealogy - USGenWeb

The USGenWeb Project - Home Page

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Please note that although I was born and raised a few miles from Bridgewater
I now live hundreds of miles away and do not have easy access to the town.

Email comments to Dale H. Cook.
Please note that, due to the widespread abuse of GMail addresses by spammers, I can no longer accept email from GMail addresses.

Please visit the Plymouth Colony Pages

USGenWeb Bridgewater, MA, commenced 06-Jul-1998.
Created by Cathy Joy Lasselle (CJ) McNew.
Revised and maintained since 26-Aug-2002 by Dale H. Cook.
.
Copyright © 2003-2013 by Dale H. Cook. All rights reserved.