June 15, 1753, the township of New Salem with the additional grant made to said township established as the district of New Salem.
Aug. 23, 1775, the district made a town by general act.
Jan. 28, 1822, part included in the new town of Prescott.
Feb. 20, 1824, part of Shutesbury annexed.
Feb. 5, 1830, part annexed to Athol.
April 27, 1911, bounds between New Salem and Prescott established.

Population by census:

1765 375   1830 1,889   1890 856
1776 910   1840 1,305   1900 807
1790 1,543   1850 1,253   1910 639
1800 1,949   1860 957   1920 512
1810 2,107   1870 987  
1820 2,146   1880 869  

The following records of births, marriages and deaths include all entries to be found in the church records; in the cemetery records, and in many private records found in family Bibles and other sources. These records are printed in a condensed form in which every essential particular has been preserved. All duplication of records has been eliminated, but differences in entry and other explanatory matter appear in brackets. Parentheses are used when they occur in the original record; also to indicate the maiden name of a wife.

When places other than New Salem and Massachusetts are named, they are given in the printed copy. Marriages are printed under the names of both parties. Double-dating is used in the months of January, February and March, prior to 1752, whenever it appears in the original, and also whenever from the sequence of entry in the original the date may be easily determined. In all records the original spelling of names is followed, and in the alphabetical arrangement the various forms should be examined, as items about the same family may be found under different spellings.

From the fact that in 1855 all the records of births, marriages and deaths of New Salem were destroyed by fire, none of such records are available, save the period of 1843 to 1850, copies of which years are on file at the State House in Boston. These have been considered in this work as original records. The church records have fortunately been preserved and have been incorporated, as well as considerable material from the records of Franklin and Hampshire Counties, and from other public and private sources bearing on the vital statistics of this community.

The seal of New Salem has been omitted on the title page. Although a design of a seal is used by the Town Clerk on legal papers, it has never been reproduced for use on printed matter. [NOTE: New Salem now, 2011, has an official web site. The seal is there and has been electronically added to the title page. If you want the original title page, click here.

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 following 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.