USGenWeb Genealogical Site for the Town of

Link to Harwich Town Web Site Harwich
Barnstable County
Link to USGenWeb

Including the Villages of Harwich Center, Harwich Port, North Harwich,
South Harwich, East Harwich, West Harwich and Pleasant Lake

Brooks Academy Museum

Brooks Academy Museum, Harwich
Home of the Harwich Historical Society

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

New Information on This Site

March 13, 2008 — We have a new address!   Many USGenWeb sites have relocated, and we have, too.   Please bookmark our new address.

October 5, 2004 — The newest addition to the Cemeteries Page is a set of gravestone records for the First Congregational Church Cemetery, published in Mayflower Descendant.

May 10, 2004 — Welcome to the brand new Harwich USGenWeb page. I'll be posting notices here as new resources are added to the site.

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Lookups and Resources


If you have any Harwich material and would like to volunteer for lookups please send email to Dale H. Cook.



Robert Paine Carlson's Cape Cod Gravestones is the best online resource for Cape Cod graveyard research.   It holds abstracts of 17th, 18th and 19th century gravestones in the old Cape cemeteries, along with other valuable information about graveyards and gravestone carvers and a number of gravestone photographs.   Bob's site is a resource that every Cape Cod researcher should take advantage of.   You will find links to his abstracts of Harwich gravestones on my Harwich Cemeteries page.

In addition to serving as Barnstable County Coordinator for the USGenWeb Project, Ray Sears has been collecting and sharing genealogical and historical information for many years.   His Sears Family Association site contains information about immigrant Richard Sears of Yarmouth and his descendants, a Cape Cod Gazetteer, and other information about the Sears family and allied early Cape Cod families.

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Family Researchers and Websites

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Books, Newspapers and Records

Books About Harwich

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

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

Louise H. Kelley and Dorothy Straw, Vital Records, Town of Harwich, Massachusetts, 1694-1850 (Harwich MA: William S. Sullwold Publishing, 1982).

(Baptismal) Records of the Brewster Congregational Church, 1700-1792 (1911; repr. Salem, MA: Higginson Book Co., 1996)

Vernon Roscoe Nickerson, Harwich and Chatham, Massachusetts, Genealogical (Taunton, MA: 1969)

Josiah Paine, A History of Harwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, 1620-1800; Including the Early History of That Part Now Brewster; With Some Account of Its Indian Inhabitants (Rutland, VT: Tuttle Publishing Co., 1937; Reprinted Yarmouthport, MA, Taunton, MA.: Parnassus Imprints, Wm. S. Sullwold, 1971; Salem, MA: Higginson Books, 1999)

Indian History of Harwich, Massachusetts (Harwich, MA: Harwich Historical Society, 1972)

William Robert Chaplin, The History of Harwich Lights and Their Owners (Salem, MA?: The American Neptune?, 1951)

Harold A. Whelan, Catholicism On Cape Cod: The History of Holy Trinity Church, West Harwich, Massachusetts 1866-1981 (Rutland, VT.: Mercury Publishing Co., 1984)

Resident and Business Directory of Harwich, Dennis and Chatham, Massachusetts, 1901: Containing a Complete Resident, Street and Business Directory, Town Officers, Schools, Societies, Churches, Post-Offices, etc. (Hopkinton, MA: A. E. Foss, 1901)

Atlas of Barnstable County, Massachusetts: Towns of Bourne, Mashpee, Falmouth, Sandwich, Barnstable, Yarmouth, Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, Provincetown (Boston: Walker Lithograph & Pub. Co., 1910)

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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

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Vital Records

Louise H. Kelley and Dorothy Straw, Vital Records, Town of Harwich, Massachusetts, 1694-1850 (Harwich MA: William S. Sullwold Publishing, 1982).

Published Vital Records 1694 to 1850:
Louise H. Kelley and Dorothy Straw, Vital Records, Town of Harwich, Massachusetts, 1694-1850 (Harwich MA: William S. Sullwold Publishing, 1982).

Vital Records 1694 to present:
Town Clerk
Harwich Town Hall
732 Main St.
Harwich, MA 02645
Fax: 508-430-7517
Hours: Mon. 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Tues. - Thurs 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Fri. 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

Vital Records 1841-1920:
Massachusetts Archives
220 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125
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
150 Mount Vernon St., 1st Floor
Dorchester, MA 02125-3105
Or order online:  Births  Marriages  Deaths

Massachusetts Vital Records Information from


Deeds and Probate

Barnstable County Registry of Deeds
3195 Main St.
P.O. Box 368
Barnstable, MA 02630
Hours: Mon. - Fri. 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Barnstable County deeds can now be viewed online.

On October 22, 1827, a fire destroyed the Barnstable Co. Court House. Of the 94 volumes of deeds recorded to that date only Volume 61 (1806) survived. Existing County records of deeds prior to the fire (other than those in the surviving volume) were re-recorded from original deeds and other documents held by families and attorneys. Therefore there are many old deeds of which the County has no record.

Barnstable Probate and Family Court
3195 Main St.
P.O. Box 346
Barnstable, MA 02630
Fax: 508-362-3662
Hours: Mon. - Fri. 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

On October 22, 1827, a fire destroyed the Barnstable Co. Court House. The files holding the original probate papers were consumed, but all but one of the probate record books survived. Publication in Mayflower Descendant of an alphabetical index to the Barnstable Co. probate records from 1686 to 1850 began in the Winter, 2004, issue [Volume 53, page 29].

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Genealogical and Historical Societies, Libraries and Locations

Genealogical and Historical Societies and Libraries

Brooks Free Library
739 Main St.
Harwich, MA 02645
Hours: Tues. - Thur. 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Fri. - Sat. 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Harwich Historical Society and Brooks Academy Museum
80 Parallel St.
Harwich, MA 02645
Hours: Thurs. - Sat. 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Memorial Day to Columbus Day; by appointment year-round
Admission: Free
This town-owned building was one of the first navigation schools in the nation and holds a number of historic collections.

Cape Cod Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 1394
Harwich, MA 02645
The Society's Genealogy Room is located at the Dennis Public Library, 673 Main St., Rte. 28, Dennisport, MA, and is attended on Tuesdays from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Wednesdays from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Meetings are held at the Brewster Ladies' Library Auditorium, 1822 Main St., Brewster, MA, on the second Wednesday of each month from September to May, from 10:00 a.m. to noon (unless otherwise noted on the Programs Page).
The Society's publication, The Bulletin, is issued three times each year, in April, August and December.
The Society includes a number of special interest groups which meet on a regular schedule, and information about those groups, as well as about other activities and details of Society membership, can be found on the Society's web site.

Cape & Islands Historical Association
359 Main St.
N. Harwich, MA 02645
P.O. Box 50
Bourne, MA 02559-0050
508-888-3300, Ext. 103

Cape Cod Maritime Historical Association
P.O. Box 176
Yarmouthport, MA 02675

Old Colony History Museum
66 Church Green
Taunton, MA 02780
Hours: Tues. - Sat. 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Closed on holidays and on Saturdays preceding Monday holidays
Museum Admission: Adults - $4.00, Children 12-18 and Seniors - $2.00
Genealogical Research: $7.00 per day

Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215-3695
Hours: Mon. - Weds. 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Thurs. 9:00 a.m. to 7:45 p.m.; Fri. 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Sat. 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Closed Sunday.

New England Historic Genealogical Society
101 Newbury St.
Boston, MA 02116-3007
Fax: 617-536-7307
Library Hours: Tues. 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Weds. 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Thurs. - Sat. 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Closed Sun. and Mon.
The library is closed for some holidays - call or see the website for details.
For non-members there is a daily admisssion fee for the research library.

NEHGS is nation's oldest genealogical society, founded in 1845. It offers unsurpassed resources for New England research including the Boston research library of over 200,000 volumes. Members not in the Boston area appreciate their extensive online resources including all issues of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, the nation's oldest genealogical journal, published quarterly since 1847. Online resources also include member access to vital records through 1915, an ever-growing collection of online books, and databases derived from some of the Society's immense manuscript holdings.


Harwich Sites on the National Register of Historic Places

Captain James Berry House (added 1986 - Building #86001837)
37 Main St., Harwich

Harwich Historic District (added 1975 - District #75000245)
Irregular pattern on both sides of Main St., west to Forest St. and east to junction of Rte. 39 and Chatham Rd., Harwich

South Harwich Methodist Church (added 1986 - Building #86001887)
270 Chatham Rd., Harwich

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History, Census Data and Maps

The Native American name of this area was Satucket, and it extended across the Cape, encompassing the current towns of Harwich and Brewster. The Satucket natives numbered as many as 500 in 1694, and lived in what is now the northwest part of the town, where traces of them have been found. Settlers from New Plymouth Colony arrived after that colony was absorbed into the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691. Harwich was incorporated as a town on September 14, 1694, and took its name from a town in England. The original settlement and first meetinghouse were located in what later becanme the North Parish, now Brewster. Settlement spread southward, and the first church in what is now Harwich was organized on November 6, 1747, with the Reverend Edward Pell as its first minister. The North Precinct of Harwich was set off as the town of Brewster on February 19, 1803. The most prominent industry in the town is the cultivation of cranberries. The town of Harwich encompasses seven villages - Harwich Center, Harwich Port, North Harwich, South Harwich, East Harwich, West Harwich and Pleasant Lake.

Population by Census

1765 (Prov.) 1,681     1790 (U.S.) 2,392     1800 (U.S.) 2,857     1810 (U.S.) 1,942
1820 (U.S.) 1,980     1830 (U.S.) 2,453     1840 (U.S.) 2,930     1850 (U.S.) 3,258
1855 (State) 3,261     1860 (U.S.) 3,423     1865 (State) 3,540     1870 (U.S.) 3,080
1875 (State) 3,355     1880 (U.S.) 3,265     1885 (State) 2,783     1890 (U.S.) 2,734
1895 (State) 2,532     1905 (State) 2,291     1910 (U.S.) 2,115     1915 (State) 2,179
1920 (U.S.) 1,846     1925 (State) 2,077     1930 (U.S.) 2,329     1935 (State) 2,373
1940 (U.S.) 2,535     1945 (State) 2,071     1950 (U.S.) 2,649     1955 (State) 3,367
1960 (U.S.) 3,747     1965 (State) 4,830     1970 (U.S.) 5,892     1975 (State) 7,786
1980 (U.S.) 8,971     1990 (U.S.) 10,275     2000 (U.S.) 12,386          



1893 Topographic Map of Harwich (1533 x 1078 - 1.4 Mb)
From the 1893 Yarmouth and Chatham Quadrangles (15 minute series)

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Harwich Town Government and Institutions

Harwich Home Page

Harwich Schools - Monomoy Regional School District

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Other Harwich Websites

Commonwealth Communities page for Harwich

Harwich Oracle (Weekly Newspaper)

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USGenWeb Sites

Barnstable County, MA - USGenWeb

Massachusetts Genealogy - USGenWeb

The USGenWeb Project - Home Page

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Please note that although I have family ties to Harwich I now live
hundreds of miles away and do not have easy access to the town.

Email comments to Dale H. Cook.

Please visit the Plymouth Colony Pages

USGenWeb Harwich, MA, commenced 10-May-2004.
Created and maintained by Dale H. Cook.
Copyright © 2004-2017 by Dale H. Cook. All rights reserved.