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Ask a Genealogist: Adoptions and Guardianships in Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

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Question:

I believe the children of my ancestor were placed for adoption or guardianship in the late 1790's.  Can you tell me what I can check for Suffolk County Massachusetts for this time period at NEHGS?

Answer:

We have the published index to Suffolk County probate records and the microfilm of the record books.  If there was a guardianship in Suffolk County it should be listed in this index.  Also if there was a name change or adoption I would recommend the book List of Persons whose names have been changed in Massachusetts, 1780-1892. (Baltimore, MD, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1972) [Call # F63.A5.1972].  You will find all three of these items on the fourth floor in the NEHGS Microtext Department.

Ask a Genealogist: Old Norfolk County in Massachusetts from 1643

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Question:

I understand there was a Norfolk County that included parts of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Can you tell me what towns were included?

Answer:

Old Norfolk County was established in the year 1643.  This county included the towns of Amesbury, Haverhill, Salisbury that are now in Essex County, Massachusetts.  The current New Hampshire portion included the towns of Dover, Exter, and Portsmouth.  In 1679 Dover, Exeter and Portsmouth were added to the royal province of New Hampshire. Soon after Amesbury, Haverhill, and Salisbury were returned to Essex County. Old Norfolk county although abolished continued to record deeds through the year 1714.  The county name was used again in 1793 when the southern half of Suffolk County in Massachusetts was formed as Norfolk County.  I would suggest the article by David Curtis Dearborn, "The Old Norfolk County Records," The Essex Genealogist 3 (1983), pgs. 194-196.
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