The Nipmuc people were living in the region when the first European settlers arrived in the 1670s and created a community they called Quinsigamond Plantation. The community was renamed Worcester in 1684, possibly for Worcester, England, as an angry gesture at King Charles II of England, who had suffered defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. Hostility from the Nipmuc twice forced the abandonment of the settlement; the first permanent colonization came in 1713. Incorporated as a town in 1722, major industrial development began after the opening of the Blackstone Canal in 1828, linking Worcester with Providence, Rhode Island. Worcester was incorporated as a city in 1848.

PREFACE TO THE WORCESTER BIRTHS
1714-1848

The publication of the Worcester Births has been delayed more than a year in consequence of the labor necessary to the complete revision of the list after the first compilation had been made. The original plan contemplated only the classification and printing of such names as were recorded in the town books, but the many evidences of incorrect entries in these volumes and of omissions i the record of prominent families caused me to suspend the work until I could ascertain whether these imperfections could, to any extent, be rectified. Investigation convinced me that the effort would be well rewarded, and, after consultation with the City Clerk, who approved my purpose to make the printed register as complete as possible, I entered upon the task without, as now appears, anything like an adequate comprehension of its magnitude or the length of time it would require. The measure of success resulting can be judged when it is stated that 1,141 names have been added to the original list, a large number of wrong names and dates corrected, and fully one third of the whole verified by other records or by satisfactory testimony. Evidence of the labor and of the careful attention required appears only in a limited degree i the printed page, but if reliability and completeness are taken into account the value of the list has been greatly increased.

The Baptisms of the First ("Old South") and Second (First Unitarian) Churches supplied more than three-fourths of the additions, and a few names were obtained from other church records. Family Bibles and papers in private hands were helpful in many instances. Proofs of the type have been submitted to representatives of the more prominent and numerous families, and many false entries have in this way been corrected. Some of these slips have been sent to distant parts of the Union; in many cases their retention has caused delay in printing and considerable vexation. I have exerted all reasonable effort to make families complete, including children born in other places whenever the data could be obtained. Some discrepancies I could not reconcile, and they appear as in the original.

The whole number of Births and Baptisms printed in the following pages is 9,552, 1,159 surnames being represented. Of these the town books supplied 8,411names, which form the basis of the record. The additions are distinguished by brackets ([) prefixed. Asterisks (*) indicated first Church Baptisms, daggers (†) those of the Second Church. Other sources of information are given in the text. The date of a Baptism is coincident with that of the Birth in very few cases. Generally before the year 1800 from two to ten days may be assumed as the interval, but later there are numerous instances in which the difference is much greater—weeks, months, and even years. In the absence of the Birth record the Baptism is the next best evidence in the majority of cases.

I have adopted the modern spelling in printing the surnames, but have retained the quaint forms of many of the given names in the older entries. My authority for the correction of the town record is given in the line following or at the end of the list of that name. No change has been allowed without evidence sufficient to justify it. The arrangement is alphabetical throughout, in conformity with that of the other records of the same class in the City Clerk's office. Abbreviations are little used: s. for son, d. for daughter, and the shortening of some of the month-names. A dash indicates a blank in the original.

This compilation is offered as a further contribution to the Systematic History of Massachusetts.

NOTE: For the online version, the beginning brackets, asterisks and daggers have been omitted for easier reading. Be sure to copy the image for all of the original information.

Franklin P. Rice.

BIRTHS

This printed register includes all the Births recorded in Worcester from the date of the earliest, November 7th, 1714, to January 1st, 1849.

Maury and Perkins were omitted from the regular alphabetic order. They were added at the end. For this online version, they were inserted in order and a link to the image was added at the end of each entry.

MARRIAGES

This printed register includes all of the Marriages recorded in the town books from December 17, 1747, to January 1, 1849. No record of the Marriages from 1722 to 1747 is known to exist to-day, and there is no evidence to indicate that such record was made. A few entries of Marriages of Worcester parties which were solemnized in other places during the early period, made in recent years in conformity with the requirement of the Acts of 1857, are printed in the list.

One entry under Ball and one under Crane were omitted from the regular alphbetic print version. Also, under Millet, there was a correction. These were added at the end of the published records. They have been inserted into the correct positions for the online version and a link to the page image was added at the end of those entries.

DEATHS

This printed register includes all the Deaths of which record was made in the town books from January 1, 1826 to January 1, 1849. The Deaths from 1717 to 1826 will be found in connection with the Inscriptions from the Old Burial Grounds, published in 1878 as a part of the first volume of the Collections of The Worcester Society of Antiquity.

The plan projected in 1889 for the publication of the second series of Worcester Town Records did not comprehend the continuation of the printing of the Deaths. A desire to make the records of the town organization complete in type, and other considerations, have induced the Editor to supply the list for the remaining twenty-three years, although the present volume has already exceeded the first estimate by more than one hundred pages.

The arrangement is alphabetical throughout. The figures attached to the name of the deceased give the age, in years unless otherwise stated. Relationship to other persons and date of death follow. Abbreviations used are: ch. child; d. day or daughter; s. son; unm. unmarried; w. week or wife; wid. widow. Deaths at the Lunatic Hospital (opened 1833) are indicated by the letters LH.

See Proceeding of the Society for 1890 (in Vol. II, Collections) pages 147-152, for Inscriptions in the Burial Ground at Quinsigamond.

A general guide to how to use these pages.

If you are new to this site, or haven't used the site a lot, please be sure to read the rest of this page. Even if you have used this site a lot, a refresher may be helpful due to the changes that have been introduced.

You can research the records alphabetically or chronologically within surname. Images of the pages from which the transcriptions were done, and the title pages, are available for most towns. A list of abbreviations used is available.

Alphabetic - This is the most common way that the published vital records were presented. All of the same given names were arranged chronologically with names that had middle initials or middle names followed the others. Nicknames would appear alphabeticall according to the spelling, i.e. Nabby, the nickname for Abigail, would be with the names beginning with the letter "N."

In this version, the names are sorted based on the most common spelling. Abbie, Abby, Abigail, Knabby, Nabby, etc., will all appear together and will be chronological. Middle initials and middle names have no influence on the order.

Note: There are going to be errors in the indexing of the names. A woman named Abiel may have been recorded as Abby. The indexing will have her with the Abigails. Please notify me with the Contact page about errors and they will be fixed within a couple days.

Chronologic - The chronologic sort will be most helpful with surnames having lots of entries, especially births. Records that had a missing date, or part, have had the missing portions replaced with zeros and will appear ahead of the others.

Page images - The icon at the left of each record is a link to the image of the page from which the transcription was done. The transcriptions are a tool. The image is the source. It is your responsibility to copy the image for your documentation. Also, the title page should be copied. There is a link to the title page in the navigation bar on transcription pages and image display pages.

Abbreviations - Each town had its own abbreviations used in the published records. Most of these are the same. The abbreviations for the headstones (GR), private records (PR), churches (CR), etc. are all different. There is a link to a list of all abbreviations used for the town in the navigation bar of the transcription pages.

Errors - There are two types of errors.

  • Errors in the published records - It is known that errors are in the published records. Not many, to be sure, but they are there. Where I have found them, or have been informed and provided sufficient documentation, the records have been annotated. This appears in red at the end of the line.]
  • Transcription errors - Even with the best of proofing, errors occur. If you find one, use the Contact link at the top of the page and tell me about the error. I need to have the town name, type of record, page number, what the error is and what it should be. It facilitates matters if you copy and paste the record in error into the e-mail.

Miscellaneous - As the opportunity has provided, I have tried to research names that had only initials or an initial and a surname to find the full names. Where I've been successful I've added the name in red, i.e. J.R. appears as J[ohn] R. or J[ohn] R[ussel].

The alphabetic and chronologic sort orders and many planned improvements require that towns be transcribed. If you can spare two, or more, hours per week to help with the transcribing, write me.

With the exception of the few people helping with transcribing and indexing, I am the only person working on this project. I do all of the technical work. I correct errors. I put transcriptions into final format. I design the pages. This takes a tremendous amount of time and money. If you find this site useful, please donate what you think it is worth to you by going to the donations page.