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Vital Records of Shirley, Massachusetts to the Year 1850

Published By The

New England Historic Genealogical Society

At The Robert Henry Eddy Memorial Rooms

At The Charge Of

The Eddy Town-Record Fund

Boston, Mass.


This publication is issued under the authority of a vote

passed by the New England Historic Genealogical

Society, November 6, 1901, as follows:

Voted: That the sum of $20,000, from the bequest of the late

Robert Henry Eddy, be set aside as a special fund to be called

the Eddy Town-Record Fund, for the sole purpose of publishing

the Vital Records of the towns of Massachusetts, and that the

Council be authorized and instructed to make such arrangements

as may be necessary for such publication. And the treasurer is

hereby instructed to honor such drafts as shall be authorized by

the Council for this purpose.

Committee on Publications

James Parker Parmenter Hosea Starr Ballou

G. Andrews Moriarty, Jr. John Wallace Suter

Alfred Johnson George Ritchie Marvin

Henry Edwards Scott, Editor

Stanhope Press

F. H. Gilson Company

Boston, U.S.A.

THE TOWN OF SHIRLEY, Middlesex County,

was established as a district January 5, 1753, from

a part of Groton.

January 25, 1765, certain land known as Stow Leg

was annexed to the district of Shirley.

August 23, 1775, the district was made a town by

general act.

February 6, 1798, a part of Groton was annexed to


March 3, 1846, and April 25, 1848, bounds between

Shirley and Lunenburg (Worcester County) were


February 14, 1871, a part of Shirley was included in

the new town of Ayer.

Population by Census: 1765 (Prov.),430;

1776 (Prov.), 704; 1790 (U.S.), 677;

1800 (U.S.), 713; 1810 (U.S.), 814;

1820 (U.S.), 922; 1830 (U.S.), 991;

1840 (U.S.), 957; 1850 (U.S.), 1158;

1855 (State), 1479; 1860 (U.S.), 1468;

1865 (State), 1217; 1870 (U.S.), 1451;

1875 (State), 1352; 1880 (U.S.), 1365;

1885 (State), 1242; 1890 (U.S.), 1191;

1895 (State), 1399; 1900 (U.S.), 1680;

1905 (State), 1692; 1910 (U.S.), 2139;

1915 (State), 2251.


1. The fact that a birth, marriage, or death is recorded in

Shirley does not prove that it occurred in this town; but when

places other than Shirley and Massachusetts are named in the

original records, they are given in the printed copy.

2. In all items from town records the original spelling is

followed, and no attempt is made to correct errors appearing in

the records.

3.The various spellings of a name should be examined, as

items about the same family or individual may be found under

different spellings.

4.A baptism is not printed, if it occurs within one year after

the recorded date of birth of a child of the same name and parents

or if it is clear that the child baptized is identical with the child

of the birth record; but variations found in the baptismal record

are added to the birth record.

5.The birth of a married woman is recorded under her maiden

name, if it is known. But if the maiden name cannot be deter-

mined, the entry appears under the husband's name, with a dash

enclosed in brackets, i.e., [------], to signify that the maiden

name is unknown. If it is not known whether the surname is

that of a married or unmarried woman, ? m. is placed in brackets

after the Christian name.

6.Marriages and intentions of marriage are printed under

the names of both parties. When both the marriage and in-

tention of marriage are recorded, only the marriage record is

printed; and where a marriage appears without the intention

being recorded, it is designated with an asterisk.

7. Additional information which does not appear in the

original text of an item, i.e., any explanation, query, inference,

or difference shown in other entries of the record, is bracketed.

Parentheses are used to show variations in the spelling of a

name in the same entry, to indicate the maiden name of a wife,

to enclose an imperfect portion of the original text, and to sep-

arate clauses in the original text.


a. — age

abt. — about

b. — born

B.R. — Bolton Record, from a compilation by Mrs. Charles

Knowles Bolton of Brookline, now in her possession.

It contains material some of which is not now obtainable

elsewhere, and includes church records, doctors' records,

diaries, and Bible records

bp. — baptized

bur. — buried

ch. — child

chn. — children

Co. — county

d. — daughter; day; died

Dea. — deacon

dec'd. —deceased

dup. — duplicate entry

Eld. — Elder

Ens. — Ensign

G.R. 1. — gravestone record, Shirley Centre Cemetery

G.R. 2. — gravestone record, Shirley Village Cemetery

G.R. 3. — gravestone record, Shaker Cemetery, Lancaster, near the Shirley boundary

G.R. 4. — gravestone record, French Cemetery

h. — hours ; husband

inf. — infant

int. — publishment of intention of marriage

Jr. — junior

Lt. — Lieutenant

m. — marriage; married ; month

min. — minutes

q.v. — which see ; whom see

R.R. — Rebellion Record

rec. — recorded

s. — son

S.C.F. — Suffolk Court Files

Sr. — senior

T.C. — town copy

w. — week; wife

wid. — widow

widr. —widower

y. — year

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