Guide to Historical Records and Genealogical Resources of Nantucket, Massachusetts

Table of contents

Nantucket Atheneum

One India Street, P.O. Box 808
Nantucket, MA 02554
Contact information: 508/228-1110 (Fax) 508/228-1973
URL: http://www.nantucketatheneum.org
Hours: Summer: Monday-Saturday 9:30-5, Tuesday 9:30-8; Winter: Tuesday 9:30-8, Wednesday & Saturday 9:30-5, Thursday & Friday 9:30-5
Fees: The library is open to the public free of charge.
Photocopies are .25 a page. Library cards from non-Massachusetts residents are $5.00.


History
The Nantucket Atheneum was incorporated as a private institution in 1834. The original building, which had been a Universalist Church, was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1846. The present building, designed by Frederick Brown Coleman in the Greek revival style of architecture, opened its doors in February of 1847. In the nineteenth century it was one of the island's cultural centers, hosting lectures by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Horace Greeley, Lucretia Mott, and Frederick Douglass. In 1900, the Nantucket Atheneum became a free public library. The present library continues as a cultural center supporting lectures, research, and exhibitions.


Records & Resources

Cemetery Records
The Atheneum possesses a duplicate of the card file for the North Burying Ground and Newtown Burying Ground held by the Nantucket Historical Association. On microfilm only. Location: CEMETERY RECORDS - Microfilm File - NC 929.5 C39

Census Records: Federal
The Atheneum contains, on microfilm, U.S. censuses for Nantucket for the following years: 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880. On microfilm only.

Census Records: Town
Also on microfilm are handwritten censuses for Nantucket for the following years: 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1870, 1880, 1895. On microfilm only; originals available at the Nantucket Historical Association. Location: CENSUS RECORDS - Microfilm Box - IX - first census - Heads of Families, Box- X - census 1800 - 1820, Box- XI - census 1830, Box- XII - census of 1870, 1880, 1895.

City of Nantucket Directories & Reports
Annual reports of the town of Nantucket from 1893 to the present are available. Nantucket "tourist guides" from 1897 to Present (some omissions) are available to researchers upon request. Phone directories from 1929 to the present day (some omissions) are available to researchers upon request. Reports of the Town of Nantucket Annual Reports of the Town of Nantucket from 1893 to the present are available.

Genealogies
Genealogies of local and New England families are part of the library's collections. Included are Allen, Bunker, Cartwright, Chase, Clarke, Coffin, Crosby, Eldredge, Gardner, Joy, Lewis, Macy, Meader, Pinkham, Rotch, Starbuck, and Wood genealogies. An index of these titles is kept with the genealogical materials in the library.

Genealogies of local and New England families are part of the library's collections. Included are Allen, Bunker, Cartwright, Chase, Clarke, Coffin, Crosby, Eldredge, Gardner, Joy, Lewis, Macy, Meader, Pinkham, Rotch, Starbuck, and Wood genealogies. An index of these titles is kept with the genealogical materials in the library.

Family Nantucket Coll Geneology Coll Microfilm (by Box or Call #)
Bunker NC
929.2
BUN
  XXXI
Cartwright   Gen
929.2
CAR
XXXII
Chase     XXXIII
Coffin NC
929.2
COF
  NC
929.2 &
974.49
N193 Reel 2
Gardner   Gen
929.2
GAR
XI, XXXI, XXXII
Hussey     XI, XII
Joy   Gen
929.2
JOY
 
Lewis   Gen
929.2
LEW
 
Macy NC
929.2
MAC
  XXXII
Meader   Gen
929.2
MEA
 
Pinkham   Gen
929.2
PIN
XXXII &
NC
974.49 N193
Reel 2
Rotch   Gen
929.2
ROT
XXX Autobiography
Starbuck NC
929.2
Gen
929.2
S795
920
S796
Wood   Gen
929.2
WOO
 

Genealogical Reference Materials: The Atheneum possesses a collection of genealogical reference materials, with books pertaining to Massachusetts and New England. The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) Register is available on CD-ROM. The Register contains genealogical data for thousands of New England families and spans the years from 1847 to 1994.

Pollard Papers: These four volumes contain handwritten genealogical records up to about 1875. The microfilm records are available for use by researchers. On microfilm only.

Barney Records: These records comprise genealogical notes kept by Eliza Starbuck Barney. On microfilm only; originals available at the Nantucket Historical Association. The database created from these records is available online through this website.

Grace Brown Gardner Scrapbooks: These records comprise notes and clipping kept by Grace Brown Gardner on a wide variety of Nantucket events, people, and happenings. On microfilm only; originals available at the Nantucket Historical Association.

Newspapers
Microfilm copies of Nantucket's newspapers, notably the Inquirer and Mirror, are available to researchers.

Nantucket Inquirer 1821 - 1847
The Inquirer 1848 - 1865
Nantucket Weekly Mirror 1845 - 1865
Inquirer and Mirror 1865 - Present
Nantucket Gazette 1816 - 1817
Nantucket Weekly Magazine 1817 - 1818
Nantucket Journal 1826 - 1828
Weekly Telegraph 1843
The Telegraph 1843 - 1844
Morning Telegraph 1844 - 1845
The Islander 1840 - 1843
The Warder 1846
The Daily Warder 1846
Island Review 1874 - 1878
Nantucket Journal 1878 - 1899
Nantucket Town Crier 1947 - 1963
The Nantucket Light 1964 - 1965
The Nantucket Beacon 1989 - 1998
Miscellaneous" Newspapers 1842 - 1985

Special Collections
The Nantucket Atheneum contains a small collection of miscellaneous documents, which include manuscript and printed materials. These items span the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. Some of the items are also found in the collections of the Nantucket Historical Association. An online inventory, hosted by the NHA, is available. Of particular interest are a number of eighteenth-century ships logs and a manuscript entitled "List of deaths and where [whare?] buried, 1826-- ." These documents are available to researchers on microfilm.

Town Histories
The library contains town histories of a number of Massachusetts towns, as well as towns in other New England states. These volumes are listed in the same index that describes the published genealogies.

Vertical Files of Individuals
This accumulation of newsclippings, compiled from nineteenth- and twentieth-century Nantucket newspapers, consists mostly of obituaries, but also includes wedding and anniversary notices and brief biographies of Nantucketers. These files can be viewed by request.

Vital Records
In addition to the vital records for the town of Nantucket, the Nantucket Atheneum contains the published vital records (up to 1850) for many Massachusetts towns. These volumes are too numerous to be listed here, but an index in the library lists the towns whose published vital records are in the library. Typewritten lists of births (1892-1942) and deaths (1892-1957) compiled, and extracted, from Town Reports are also in the Atheneum. Both lists are incomplete.