The larger portion of the territory originally included within the boundary lines of the town of Boylston was taken from Shrewsbury, and the remainder from Lancaster. The first settlement by Europeans was made in the north part as early as 1706, by representatives of the Sawyer family. These were followed during the next quarter of a century and later by other families whose names are prominent in the history of the place—Ball, Hastings, Bennett, Stone, Howe, Taylor, Newton, Andrews, Temple, Wheeler, Keyes, Davenport, Flagg, Bigelow, Bush, Brigham, Houghton, Kendall, Longley, Barnes, Moore, Lamson, Gibbs, Whitney, White, Beaman, Cotton and Sandord. The record of the numerous descendants of all these, with that of the other inhabitants during the specified period, is preserved in the following pages.

In 1738 the desire and purpose of the settlers to form and maintain a separate local government were denied by Governor Shirley, the policy of those in authority at that time being to restrict popular representation, and to create as few towns as possible. However, on the 17th of December, 1742, the North Precinct of Shrewsbury was incorporated, and certain families of Lancaster, with their estates, were permitted to join the new divisio, as were others from that town in 1762 and 1780. A meeting-house was built in 1743. The first minister, the Reverend Ebenezer Morse, ordained in October of that year, remained in charge of the church until the Revolution, when political differences caused his dismission. He continued to reside in the town until his death in 1802. Succeding ministers to 1850 were: Eleazer Fairbanks, 1777-1793; Hezekiah Hooper, 1794-1705; Ward Cotton, 1797-1825; Samuel Russell, 1826-1832; and William H. Sanford, who remained from 1832 until 1857.

March 1, 1786, the town was incorporated, with the name of Boylston, in honor of a prominent and wealthy Boston family, one of whose members, Ward Nicholas Boylston, was a benefactor of both church and town, leaving in his will a sum with which the present town hall was built.

In 1796 the westerly portion of the town, with parts of Sterling and Holden, was incorporated as the Secon Precinct of Boylston, and in 1808 this was set off to form the town of West Boylston, reducing the area of the original territory more than one third.

The present area of Boylston is about 12,680 acres, over three thousand acres of which have been taken for the uses of the Metropolitan Water Basin. The population of the town previous to 1850 never exceeded 1000 except at the time of the division in 1808, the number after that being about 800. The number in 1895 was 729.

This volume comprises the record of the Births, Marriages and Deaths which occurred in Boylston during the period from a time earlier than the date of the incorporation of the place to the end of the year 1850, as found in the Town Books. Some addition has been made from other sources, and the whole is here arranged fro ready reference.

Mr. George L. Wright, Town Clerk of Boylston, has given some assistance in the comparison of the proofs in print with the original records, and in the verification of names and dates.

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.