Dukes County History and Genealogy:
Resources for Further Research

Recommended Research Libraries:

The Martha's Vineyard Historical Society in Edgartown, MA.
Since 1922, the M.V.H.S. (formerly the Dukes County Historical Society) has been the primary repository for Vineyard historical materials. The Huntington Reference Library is open to the public year-round. The Society Genealogist is Kay Mayhew.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, MA.
This is undoubtedly the largest genealogical library in New England. They also have a sales catalog and a mail-order lending library.

The New Bedford Free Public Library in New Bedford, MA.
A first-rate genealogical and historical library for Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and one of the finest whaling collections in the country. (Please note that the genealogy and whaling sections have been temporarily relocated to the Buttonwood Park branch.) Call (508) 991 - 6276 for more information.

The National Archives - Northeast Region in Waltham, MA.
Copies of all historical Federal records pertaining to New England, including censuses, military records, and immigration records. (See Genealogical Resources at the National Archives for a list of genealogy-related holdings at the National Archives.)

The Massachusetts State Archives in Boston, MA.
Copies of all historical records kept by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including probate records, vital records (from 1841), and state censuses. (See Family History Resources at the Massachusetts Archives for a list of resources at the Mass. Archives.)

The Boston Public Library in Boston, MA. (Just down the block from the NEHGS Library!)
An excellent source for microfilms, including censuses, newspapers, city directories, and immigration records. (See Genealogy and Family History Resources at the Boston Public Library for a list of resources.)

Your local LDS Family History Center (Check your phone book!)
Your source to the largest repository of microfilmed genealogical and historical records in the world.


Other Repositories for Local Documents:

The Town Halls for Dukes County's seven towns:

Mail requests to the town clerks at the following addresses:
Town Clerk, Town of Edgartown, POBox 35, Edgartown MA 02539 - Phone: (508) 627 - 6110
Town Clerk, Town of Oak Bluffs, POBox 2490, Oak Bluffs MA 02557 - Phone: (508) 693 - 5515
Town Clerk, Town of Tisbury, POBox 606, Vineyard Haven MA 02568 - Phone: (508) 696 - 4215
Town Clerk, Town of West Tisbury, POBox 278, West Tisbury MA 02575 - Phone: (508) 696 - 0148
Town Clerk, Town of Chilmark, Beetlebung Corner, Chilmark MA 02535 - Phone: (508) 645 - 2107
Town Clerk, Town of Gosnold, Cuttyhunk MA 02713
Town Clerk, Town of Gay Head, 65 State Road, Gay Head MA 02535 - Phone: (508) 645 - 2300


Vital records are maintained by the Town Clerk's Office of each town, and fees vary by town. (Vital Records to the year 1900 are also available at the The Massachusetts State Archives and on microfilm. See Available Microfilms, below.)

The Dukes County Court House in Edgartown, MA.
Repository for the deeds, probate records, and criminal records for the County of Dukes County. (Some of these records have been microfilmed and are available at the The Massachusetts State Archives and through your local Family History Center. See Available Microfilms, below.)


Available Books:

The History of Martha's Vineyard, Mass., Vol. I, II, and III by Dr. Charles Edward Banks, M.D.
The finest and most complete source for the history and genealogy of Dukes County. Volumes I and II are dedicated to Martha's Vineyard and its history, and Volume III is dedicated to genealogies of Vineyard families resident on the island before 1800.

The three volume set "The History of Martha's Vineyard" by Dr. Charles Banks is still available from its original publisher, the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society. According to a recent flyer I received from them, they are currently charging $159.50 plus tax for the three volume set, or $56.50 plus tax for Volume III (Genealogies) only.

Contact them at:
The Martha's Vineyard Historical Society
P.O. Box 827 ~ 59 School St.
Edgartown, MA 02539
Telephone (508) 627-4441
Fax (508) 627-4436
web page: http://vineyard.net/org/mvhs
E-mail  mvhist@vineyard.net

The Vital Records of Tisbury, Massachusetts to the Year 1850
The Vital Records of Chilmark, Massachusetts to the Year 1850
The Vital Records of Edgartown, Massachusetts to the Year 1850

Part of the "Official Series" of vital records published by the NEHGS in the early 1900's.
The Tisbury and Edgartown volumes are available for purchase from the NEGHS Sales Dept.
(For an update to the Chilmark vital records, see the April, 1905 issue of the New England Historic and Genealogical Record.)

Our Portuguese Heritage by Marianne Holmes Thomas, 1996. An excellent reference guide to Portuguese families on Martha's Vineyard. For more information, write to: CHiP (The Community History Project), P.O. Box 575, Edgartown, MA 02539.

...and of course there are many other books, some good and some not-so-good, about Martha's Vineyard. See the Bunch of Grape Bookstore's listing of available titles.

Available Microfilms:

Federal Censuses of 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920. Available through your local LDS Family History Center, from the Census Dept. via inter-library loan (ask at your local library), and at your regional branch of the National Archives.

Massachusetts State Census of 1855 and 1865. Available at your local LDS Family History Center and at the State Archives.

Vital Records to 1900. Available at your local LDS Family History Center and most of the libraries listed above.

The Vineyard Gazette, 1847 - present. Available at the Vineyard Haven Public Library, the Edgartown Public Library, the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School Library, and (I think!) the Boston Public Library.

Comments? Questions? Corrections? Suggestions? Let me know!
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