USGenWeb Genealogical Site for the City of

Link to Brockton City Web Site Brockton
 Massachusetts 
(Formerly North Bridgewater)
Plymouth County
Link to USGenWeb

Including the Villages of Brockton Heights, Campello, Clifton Heights, Marshall's Corner, Montello and Winters Corner

See also the site for the parent town of Bridgewater

Jeremiah Beals Homestead

Deacon Jeremiah Beals Homestead, Brockton
Constructed 1767, Enlarged ca. 1807
Home of the Brockton Historical Society

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

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

January 5, 2005 — I have added a page with descriptions and photos concerning one of the greatest disasters in the history of Brockton, the 1905 Boiler Explosion.

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 Brockton families.

December 8, 2003 — The online transcription of Moses Cary's 1824 book A Genealogy of the Families Who Have Settled in the North Parish of Bridgewater is now complete.

October 15, 2003 — I've been touring the cemeteries of Brockton and have added photographs to the Cemeteries Page.

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.

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

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

February 22, 2003 — The list of Cemeteries and Cemetery Transcriptions has been revised and expanded. The location of each cemetery is given, and links to online map sites have been added to help you locate the cemeteries.

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Lookups and Resources

Lookups

If you have any Brockton 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 North 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 North Parish of Bridgewater (Now North Bridgewater), From January 1, 1742, to January, 1780" (New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 19 [1865]:200-204).

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

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.

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 Brockton page contains essential information for anyone researching Brockton and its families, and his Plymouth County page is equally valuable.

Early Bridgewater Families includes information on the early generations of Brockton families founded in Bridgewater 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 Brockton

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.


Moses Cary, A Genealogy of the Families Who Have Settled in the North Parish of Bridgewater, to Which is Added an Historical Sketch of North Bridgewater (Boston: Printed by Bannister and Marvin, 1824; Reprinted Wakefield, MA: 1903) See the transcription under Books Online below.

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, MA: 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 Brockton families.

Bradford Kingman, "Marriages in the North Parish of Bridgewater (Now North Bridgewater), from January 1, 1742 to January 1780, by Rev. John Porter" (New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 19 (1865):200-204).

Bradford Kingman, History of Brockton, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, 1656-1894 (Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., 1895; Reprinted Salem, MA: Higginson Book Co., s.a.). A new and enlarged successor to History of North Bridgewater without the family registers.

Albert F. Pierce, History of the Brockton Relief Fund In Aid of Sufferers from the R. B. Grover & Co. Factory Fire, Brockton, Mass., March 20, 1905 (Boston: Fort Hill Press, 1907).

F. Apthorp Foster, Vital Records of Brockton, Massachusetts to the Year 1850 (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1911).

Hamilton Lowe, "Brockton, A City of Enterprise" (The New England Magazine, 45 (1911):66-80); Reprinted Brockton, MA: Brockton Board of Trade, s.a.

Warren P. Landers, Brockton and Its Centennial. Chief Events as Town and City, 1821-1921 (Brockton, MA: City of Brockton, 1921).

Elizabeth Hayward, Compiler, A Genealogist's Index of Bradford Kingman's History of Brockton, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, 1656-1894 (West Hartford, CT: Chedwato Service, 1957).

Robert A. Kane, Brockton 1881-1981: A Pictorial History (Brockton, MA: Brockton Centennial Associates, 1981). As the title implies this 48 page softcover book is heavy on pictures but the text does cover the major points of the city's history.

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

Charles Milton Thatcher, Old Cemeteries of Southeastern Massachusetts (Middleborough, MA: Middleborough Public Library, 1995). Contains transcriptions from five Brockton 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

Moses Cary, A Genealogy of the Families Who Have Settled in the North Parish of Bridgewater, to Which is Added an Historical Sketch of North Bridgewater (Boston: Printed by Bannister and Marvin, 1824; Reprinted Wakefield, MA: 1903). Special thanks to the late CJ McNew for putting this book online.

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, MA: 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 Brockton families.

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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 1821 to 1850:
F. Apthorp Foster, Vital Records of Brockton, Massachusetts to the Year 1850 (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1911).

Vital Records 1821 to present:
City Clerk
Brockton City Hall
45 School St.
Brockton, MA 02301
508-580-7114
Hours: Mon. - Fri. 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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 and Libraries





Genealogical and Historical Locations

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History and Census Data

      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.

      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.

      In 1679 Zaccheus Packard built a house on what is now the corner of Copeland Street and Samuel Avenue in Brockton, making him the first settler in what became the old North Parish of Bridgewater. Six of his sons (David, Solomon, James, Zaccheus, John and Abiel) were also among the earliest settlers (see David Packard, Brockton's Sixth Settler).

      The difficulties involved in traveling to the meeting house prompted the people of the north precinct to petition the General Court for permission to build their own meeting house. That petition was granted and on May 31, 1738, the north precinct became the North Parish. A church was organized in 1740 with Reverend John Porter serving as its first minister until his death in 1802. In 1738 the population of the North Parish was about 300. By 1764 there were 120 houses in the parish, a population of 833 and a new, larger meeting house with the first bell in the Parish.

      When word of the Lexington alarm reached Bridgewater 52 men of the North Parish formed a company under Captain Josiah Hayden for service in the Revolutionary War. They are commemorated by a plaque at the entrance of the First Parish Church.

      Brockton's most famous industry began in 1811 when shoemaker Micah Faxon rode to Boston with 100 pairs of shoes which he sold at wholesale. By 1837 over 100,000 pairs of North Bridgewater shoes were produced each year and the industry employed 1,125 workers in that year.

      In 1817 the inhabitants again petitioned the General Court for incorporation as a seperate town. The town of Bridgewater opposed the change, and the matter was finally resolved on June 15, 1821, when the town of North Bridgewater was incorporated.

      Early industries included a furnace and forge, grist- and saw-mills and textile manufacturing. The Old Colony Railroad came to town in 1846. In the early 1860s Gordon McKay improved and patented a sole-sewing machine which spurred the growth of the shoe industry in the town, and by the end of the Civil War North Bridgewater was the largest center of shoe production in the nation. Factories suppling tools and materials for the shoe manufacture proliferated, and the growth of the industry led to the nickname of "The Shoe City." One of the greatest disasters in the city's history was a shoe industry accident on March 20, 1905. It was the R. B. Grover & Co. shoe factory boiler explosion which killed 58 people and injured 150 others. By 1929 some 60 shoe factories employed 30,000 workers. The shoe industry in the city began to decline in the 1950s. Today only one major industry factory remains - FootJoy, established in 1857, the nation's leading manufacturer of high-quality golf shoes.

      In 1874 the town's name was changed to Brockton, and on April 9, 1881 Brockton was incorporated as a city. It remains the only city in Plymouth County. In 1883 the third central power station in the country opened under the supervision of Thomas Edison. The East Side Street Railway Company was the second electric trolley line in the nation and ran its first cars in 1889. A sewage disposal system appropriate for inland cities began operation in 1893 and was later adopted by many other American cities.

      In the second half of the twentieth century Brockton moved from an economy based on manufacturing to one based on service industries and retail. The arrival of commuter rail service to Boston, construction of a new Court House and new schools, and recent growth in the business community bode well for the city.

 

Population by Census

1820 (U.S.) 1,480     1830 (U.S.) 1,953     1840 (U.S.) 2,616     1850 (U.S.) 3,939
1855 (State) 5,205     1860 (U.S.) 6,584     1865 (State) 6,332     1870 (U.S.) 8,007
1875 (State) 10,578     1880 (U.S.) 13,608     1885 (State) 20,783     1890 (U.S.) 27,294
1895 (State) 33,165     1900 (U.S.) 40,063     1905 (State) 47,794     1910 (U.S.) 56,878
1915 (State) 62,688     1920 (U.S.) 66,254     1925 (State) 65,343     1930 (U.S.) 63,797
1935 (State) 62,407     1940 (U.S.) 62,343     1945 (State) 65,202     1950 (U.S.) 62,860
1955 (State) 62,628     1960 (U.S.) 72,813     1965 (State) 83,499     1970 (U.S.) 89,040
1975 (State) 95,688     1980 (U.S.) 95,172     1990 (U.S.) 92,788     2000 (U.S.) 94,304

 

Maps

1893/94 Topographic Map of Brockton (1140 x 1220 - 1.1 Mb)
From the 1894 Dedham Quadrangle and the 1893 Abington Quadrangle (15 minute series)

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Brockton City Government and Institutions Websites

Brockton Home Page

Public Libraries

School Department

Christ Congregational Church, UCC (Created by the 1980 merger of the First Parish, South, Porter and Waldo Congregational (United Church of Christ) Churches)

Universalist Unitarian Church of Brockton (Created by the 1952 merger of First Universalist Church of Brockton and Unity (Unitarian) Church)

Christ the King Parish (Roman Catholic) (Created by the 2004 merger of St. Colman's and Sacred Heart)

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Other Brockton Websites

See also the site for the parent town of Bridgewater

Commonwealth Communities page for Brockton

Scott Andrew Bartley's Brockton page.

Brockton Mass Genealogy page

The Enterprise (Daily Newspaper)

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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 in Brockton and grew up in neighboring Avon
I now live hundreds of miles away and do not have easy access to the city.

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 Brockton, MA, commenced 08-Jul-2002.
Created and maintained by Dale H. Cook.
.
Copyright © 2003-2013 by Dale H. Cook. All rights reserved.