Online Local History Research

For assistance with local history or genealogy research, visit the Hampshire Room for Local History at Forbes Library or call 413-587-1014 or email us at to make an appointment. For more information on local history resources at Forbes Library see our Local History page.

Northampton Area

Free Anywhere David Ruggles Center for Early Florence History & Underground Railroad Studies

The David Ruggles Center for Early Florence History & Underground Railroad Studies aims to collect and organize comprehensive copies of all materials pertinent to the early history of Florence and the Underground Railroad in western Massachusetts; providing historical exhibits, lectures and walking tours. The website contains historical and biographical articles on abolitionists and early African American residents.

Free Anywhere Digital Amherst

Utilizing the historical and literary resources of the Jones Library of Amherst, Massachusetts, in collaboration with area residents and scholars, this site celebrates Amherst’s 250th anniversary through images, multimedia, and documents that reflect the independent spirit of our people, creative works, and culture.

Free In Library Historic Northampton Archives (available in library)

A great local history resource! Search by keyword in Historic Northampton’s digital catalog and archives containing thousands of photographs, historic newspapers and maps, and extensive digital collections database. Includes the Howes Brothers Collection, genealogy resources, and images of the earliest issues of the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Provided by Forbes Library and available for use in the library.

Statewide and Regional Resources

Free Anywhere Digital Collections Directory

Produced by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. Lists some of the many online digital history resources created and maintained by Massachusetts institutions.

Free Anywhere Digital Commonwealth

A portal to the rich cultural heritage held in museums, historical societies, colleges, libraries and other cultural repositories in Massachusetts. From this site you can search or browse the digital collections of over 100 member institutions throughout the state for manuscripts, images, historical documents, and sound recordings, providing you with enhanced access and retrieval of information.
Over a hundred organizations are members of Digital Commonwealth. As more of our members contribute their holdings, the variety and quantity of searchable objects will increase, and the richer and more valuable this portal will become.

Free Anywhere Friends of Quabbin

The Friends of Quabbin page has some resources for anyone interested in the history of the Quabbin Reservoir including the history of Enfield, Dana, Greenwich, and Prescott, the four towns which were leveled in preparation for the flooding of the Swift River Valley.

Free Anywhere Mass Moments

An electronic almanac of Massachusetts history produced by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities.

Free Anywhere Massachusetts Archives

The Massachusetts Archives holds the official records created by Massachusetts state government. Holdings are organized by agency and date from 1629 to the present.

Free Anywhere Massachusetts Historical Society Library

In addition to its own collections, the library’s web site provides a guide provides an introduction to historical research at repositories other than the Massachusetts Historical Society.l

Free Anywhere Massachusetts Registry of Deeds

Documents related to the ownership of real estate in Massachusetts are recorded with the Registry of Deeds. Most documents from 1948 on are searchable, and many other documents can be viewed online if the book and page number are known.

Free Anywhere Museum of Springfield History

The Museum of Springfield History combines the holdings of the Connecticut Valley Historical Society and the collections formerly housed in the Local History Room at the Springfield Library.
Collections include Genealogy, Springfield History, French Canadian Collection, Springfield Newspapers, Maps, Photographs, Manuscripts and Ephemera.

Free Anywhere Pioneer Valley History Network

This collaboration of historical societies, sites, and museums has created a website including a directory of sites and an overview of research sources.