Local History Research

Tips for Salem Research
Couldn’t find it on Ancestry.com?
Try the Massachusetts State Archives.

The Massachusetts Archives holds the official records created by Massachusetts state government. Holdings are organized by agency and date from 1629 to the present. Click here to access general information about the state archives including address, directions and hours.

Genealogy Research
Included in the Archives’ holdings

  • Passenger Lists
  • Vital Records: Pre-1841
  • Vital Records: 1841-1920
  • Vital Records: Post-1920
  • Census Schedules
  • Military Records
  • The Massachusetts Archives Collection
  • Papers Relating to Maine
  • Records of State Institutions
  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives
  • The Suffolk Files
  • Naturalizations
  • Divorces
  • Probate
  • Name Changes
  • Adoptions
  • Suffolk County Deeds
  • African-American and Native American Resources

Topical Clippings

Librarians have maintained a gathering of newspaper and magazine articles, pamphlets, brochures, photographs, postcards, and other ephemera relating to people, places, and things in Salem and the surrounding communities. It is intended to provide patrons with historic and background information on each topic. It is a great place to start! Please note: these files are not all-inclusive for any given topic. It is likely that additional material for each topic is available within other Salem Public Library holdings as well as other collections in the North Shore area.  A complete list of files maintained by the library is listed below.

List of Vertical Files available@ your Library

Reference Dept Information

Address and Phone:
370 Essex St
Salem, MA 01970


Second Floor

Parking and Transportation:
Street parking along Essex St between Boston and Beckford Streets.

MBTA bus stop “Essex St opp. Monroe St” is in front of the library, served by bus 450

Available Services

  • Computers
  • Printers
  • Copiers
  • Scanners
  • FAX
  • Conference Rooms
  • Museum Passes
  • The Salem News from 1880 – Present
  • Boston Globe & New York Times on microfilm
  • Microfilm readers & printers
  • Newspapers & magazines
  • WiFi (100+ Mbps download)
  • The Salem Room (local history)