USGenWeb Genealogical Site for the Town of

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

Including the Villages of Brooks Place, Cochesett, Elm Square, Manleys Corner, Matfield, West Meadow and Westdale

See also the site for the parent town of Bridgewater

Reverend James Keith House

Reverend James Keith House, West Bridgewater
Constructed 1662

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





New Information on This Site

March 20, 2008 — We have a new address!   Many USGenWeb sites have relocated, and we have, too.   Please bookmark our new address.

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; repr. 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.

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.

May 22, 2003 — The Cemeteries Page has been revised, and now includes photographs of some of the cemeteries taken by Arthur Richardson.

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

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 beginning in 1900. 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).

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 here 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 West 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 About West 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.

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

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

Nahum Mitchell, History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater... See the full citation 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 West Bridgewater families.

Williams Latham, Epitaphs in Old Bridgewater... See the full citation under Books Online below.

Ebenezer Weaver Pierce, Historic Sketches of Hanson, Lakeville, Mattapoisett, Middleboro', Pembroke, Plympton, Rochester, Wareham and West Bridgewater (Boston: The Author, 1873).

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Books 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; repr. 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; repr. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1976; Middleborough, MA, 1986). This book has been transcribed by Arthur Richardson and Dale H. Cook.

      West 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 1822 to 1850:
F. Apthorp Foster, Vital Records of West Bridgewater, Massachusetts to the Year 1850 (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1911).

Vital Records 1822 to present:
Town Clerk
West Bridgewater Town Hall
65 North Main St.
West Bridgewater, MA 02379
508-894-1200
Fax: 508-894-1210
Hours: Mon., Tues. & Thurs. 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Weds. 8:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Fri. 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Vital Records 1841-1915:
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 1916 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.

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Deeds and Probate

Plymouth County Registry of Deeds
50 Obery Street
Plymouth, MA 02360
508-830-9200
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

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Cemeteries

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Genealogical and Historical Societies, Libraries and Locations

Genealogical and Historical Societies and Libraries

West Bridgewater Public Library
80 Howard St.
West Bridgewater, MA 02379-1710
508-894-1255
Fax: 508-894-1258
Hours: Mon., Thurs., Fri. 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Tues. - Weds. 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Sat. 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Closed Saturday during summer months).

Old Bridgewater Historical Society
Memorial Building
162 Howard Street
West Bridgewater, MA 02379
508-559-1510
Hours: Weds. 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m.; other hours by appointment
Admission: Free.

Plymouth County Genealogists, Inc.
PCGI is a non-profit genealogical society whose monthly meetings are held the first Saturday of each month (except July and August) at 1:00 PM at the East Bridgewater Public Library. Meetings generally feature a guest speaker and the public is welcome.

Old Colony Historical Society
66 Church Green
Taunton, MA 02780
508-822-1622
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

South Shore Genealogical Society
PO Box 396
Norwell, MA 02061
Meetings: The second Saturday of each month (except July and August) at 1:30 p.m. at the John Curtis Free Library, Rte. 139, Hanover, MA.
For beginners, amateurs and professionals interested in genealogical research in Plymouth and Norfolk Counties.

Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215-3695
617-536-1608
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
617-536-5740
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.

Deborah Sampson Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution.

 

Genealogical and Historical Locations

Reverend James Keith House
River Street
West Bridgewater, MA 02379
Hours by appointment - call 508-559-1510

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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. 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.

      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.

      On February 16, 1822, the town of West Bridgewater was incorporated.

 

Population by Census

1820 (U.S.) 1,055     1830 (U.S.) 1,042     1840 (U.S.) 1,201     1850 (U.S.) 1,447
1855 (State) 1,734     1860 (U.S.) 1,846     1865 (State) 1,825     1870 (U.S.) 1,803
1875 (State) 1,758     1880 (U.S.) 1,665     1885 (State) 1,707     1890 (U.S.) 1,917
1895 (State) 1,747     1900 (U.S.) 1,711     1905 (State) 2,006     1910 (U.S.) 2,231
1915 (State) 2,741     1920 (U.S.) 2,908     1925 (State) 3,121     1930 (U.S.) 3,206
1935 (State) 3,356     1940 (U.S.) 3,247     1945 (State) 3,605     1950 (U.S.) 4,059
1955 (State) 4,558     1960 (U.S.) 5,061     1965 (State) 5,731     1970 (U.S.) 7,152
1975 (State) 6,429     1980 (U.S.) 6,359     1990 (U.S.) 6,389     2000 (U.S.) 6,634

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West Bridgewater Town Government and Institutions Websites

West Bridgewater Home Page

School Department

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Other West Bridgewater Websites

Commonwealth Communities page for West Bridgewater

West Bridgewater Times (Weekly Newspaper)

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USGenWeb Links

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 about 10 miles from West 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 West Bridgewater, MA, commenced 04-Aug-2002.
Created and maintained by Dale H. Cook.
.
Copyright © 2003-2013 by Dale H. Cook. All rights reserved.