Local History & Genealogy



The Library holds a strong collection of materials available to assist genealogists and local historians in doing research.  We collect printed items, including books and periodicals, as well as microforms.  In addition, we subscribe to the Ancestry, HeritageQuest, and American Ancestors databases which enhance the value and usefulness of our resources exponentially.  Many items are located on the open shelves in the Local History and Genealogy area on the 3rd floor.  Items that are particularly fragile, or valuable, as well as duplicates are kept in the Worcester Room, also on the 3rd floor.  Our collections include the following:

  • Ancestry, HeritageQuest and New England Ancestors databases.
  • Books on how to begin researching your family history; guides to specific types of records, and volumes on how to locate records pertaining to the genealogy of specific ethnic groups.
  • Documents produced by the city of Worcester including the annual reports of various city departments (City Docs),  budgets,  plans, ordinances, environmental impact studies  and other materials.
  • Annual reports, histories and other items by private sector organizations and associations important to the history of Worcester such as the Worcester County Mechanics Association, the Worcester Women’s Club, fraternal lodges, churches, businesses, schools, clubs and others.
  • City Directories for Worcester 1848-present, as well as a strong selection of directories for surrounding towns and other Massachusetts municipalities, in print, on microfilm, microfiche, and online.
  • Yearbooks from Worcester high schools and colleges.
  • City, county, and town histories for Massachusetts with a strong selection for other states.
  • Many historic newspapers for Worcester and surrounding towns on microfilm, as well as subscriptions to current Worcester newspapers in print.
  • The federal census for Massachusetts and other states on Ancestry.com, HeritageQuest, and microfilm for 1790-1940, online and on microfilm.
  • 1855 and 1865 state censes for Massachusetts on microfilm and Ancestry.com.
  • Passenger lists for the port of Boston, New York and other ports of entry on Ancestry.com and microfilm.
  • Index to naturalization applications, New England 1793-1906 on microfilm and on Ancestry.com.
  • The 1890 Veterans census for Massachusetts and other states.
  • Vital records for the cities and towns in Massachusetts to 1850 (print series) or as late as 1915 in the microfiche set. Dates vary a great deal so be sure to check records for each town.  Many vital records are now available online, through Ancestry, American Ancestors.
  • Subscriptions to a number of current genealogical periodicals, as well as collections of historic periodicals relating to Worcester, Worcester County, the state of Massachusetts, and New England as a whole.
  • Resources for those interested in particular ethnic groups including Tanguay and the PRDH for French Canadians, Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary for the Irish,  and extracted English census records for those from the United Kingdom.
  • Clipping files consisting primarily of articles taken from Worcester newspapers.  Very important in that the Worcester Telegram and Gazette was not indexed until 1989.
  • The Proquest newspaper database for access to current newspapers, including the Telegram and Gazette from 1989 on.
  • Maps and atlases, including Sanborn maps on microfilm.
  • The Worcester Authors Collection.
  • The Dr John Green Collection.
  • The Hammond Collection.
  • The Worcester Public Library Archives.
  • Microfilm from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. WPL is an affiliate of the FHL.
  • And much more

None of these materials circulate, although we do attempt to purchase circulating copies of genealogy “how to” books and histories of the city of Worcester and surrounding towns. Manuscripts and artifacts are not collected. 

Where In Worcester (a directory for finding historical records in the Worcester area).



The Library has the following newspapers available for use at the
library. They are on microfilm and are not indexed unless noted with the entry.

Aegis (weekly, title varies), 1801 - 1860
Blackstone Valley News/Tribune Advertiser (Whitinsville, MA), 1970 - 1977
Boston Globe, 1960 - present. Indexed from approximately 1980 in paper or on Newsbank online.
Brookfield Weekly Times, Jan. 1882 - Dec. 1884
Brookfield Times, April 16, 1886 - Dec. 1888; Jan. 3, 1890 - Dec. 1916
Daily Morning Manuscript (Worcester, MA), 1851 - 1854
Massachusetts Spy (weekly), 1775 - 1820 (microcard); 1792 - 1865 (paper); 1821 - 1878 (microfilm)
The messenger 1893 - 1950
New York Times, 1851 - present. Indexed
North Brookfield Journal, 1875 - Dec.29, 1887
North Brookfield Journal, Jan.12, 1878 - Oct.30, 1914; 1916; 1919
Skandinanska Our Field/Good Templaren (Worcester,MA), (Swedish)1924 - 1928
Skandinavia (Worcester, MA), (Swedish) 1888 - 1918
Spencer Sun, Oct.31, 1872 - Dec. 30, 1887
Spencer Leader, Jan. 6, 1894 - Dec. 31, 1953
Svea (Worcester, MA), (Swedish), 1914 - 1966
Travailleur (French), 1879 - 1892 (paper); 1931 - 1978 (microfilm)
Uxbridge Compendium, Jan. 5, 1883 - June 27, 1913
Uxbridge & Whitinsville Transcript, Jan. 5, 1901 - Dec. 27, 1908
Worcester Daily Press, 1873 - 1876
Worcester Daily Spy, 1845 - 1904
Worcester Evening Gazette, 1866 - April 16, 1989
Worcester Evening Post, 1897- 1938, (being indexed on our homepage, 1897 - 1898 so far)
Worcester Palladium (weekly), 1834 - 1876
Worcester Telegram, 1884 (Sunday), 1886 (Daily) - April 16, 1989
Worcester Telegram and Gazette, April 17, 1989 - present. Indexed
in Newsbank Online
Worcester Transcript (daily), 1851 - 1854

Early American Newspaper Series

This is a collection of 100 New England newspapers published before 1821. They are primarily from Massachusetts, but all the states are represented. The earliest is the Boston Newsletter from 1704. The bulk of the collection is on micro-opaque cards, but some have been reproduced on microfilm..


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