Posted by Ancestry Team on December 30, 2014 in Research, Website
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts

With the long-standing history of Massachusetts, you can expect interesting and rich collections to assist your family history research. Here are five things you may not have known about Massachusetts:

1. Massachusetts was the sixth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution and be granted statehood.

2. Four United States Presidents were born in Massachusetts: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy, and George H.W. Bush.

3. Boston Common, located in Boston, became the first public park in America.

4. The majority of New England settlers immigrated for religious reasons rather than economic reasons. Most of them were middle class, skilled craftsman and merchants.

5. Cambridge, Massachusetts is home to Harvard University, the first college established in North America.

Our new free guide “Massachusetts State Research Guide: Family History Resources in the Bay State” has links to resources, a timeline, and a general history of the state. It will help you navigate the waters of Massachusetts state research. Be sure to check out the other state research guides that are available in the Ancestry Learning Center as well.


  1. Seth Hopkins

    Calvin Coolidge was governor of Massachusetts, but he was born (on the Fourth of July 1872) in Vermont and spent his formative years there.

  2. Monika

    What I always find inappropriate is when an ancestry tree says e.g., that his/her ancestors were born in 1700 in “Massachusetts, USA”. This is historically incorrect, since there was no USA in 1700. Why not remain historically correct!

  3. Holly

    Also, as we all know, Maine was once a part of a Massachusetts. Are the records part of that record? Maine being part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony?

  4. Tom

    There were 4 Presidents born in Massachusetts but you have them listed incorrectly.
    It is true that Calvin Coolidge was born in Vermont. He has ancestors buried in Massachusetts and was our Governor.
    George Herbert Walker Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts.

  5. Jennifer

    Elyse- Jamestown, VA was the oldest English settlement- in the US, at least. I don’t know what there was in Canada. St. Augustine, FL is the oldest European settlement in the US, founded by the Spanish. But when we learn US history, it seems like Plymouth is considered the beginning of the US as we know it.

  6. JH

    St. Augustine 1565, Jamestown 1607. When the Pilgrims founded Plymouth there were already many thousands of European ancestry already here in what is now the USA. I understand most of them were Catholic and didn’t speak English. I think they still count. The worship of the pilgrims has to end.

  7. Nancy Deisroth

    It seems that a lot of Americans trace their ancestry to Salem or Ipswich, MA in the early 1630’s.

  8. Sandy

    There were already many European people in the northeast before 1620. I have many folks in my tree that were here quite awhile prior. Many of these very early settlers were Dutch, but there were also a few English, and the French Hugenots who settled in New York.

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