House History Research in Franklin, Massachusetts

Downloadable Cheat Sheet –

Deed Research

Deeds for Massachusetts are available online in two places:

  1. The Norfolk, Massachusetts Registry of Deeds
  2. (create a free account)

You can also visit the Registry of Deeds in person.

Norfolk Registry of Deeds
649 High Street, Dedham, MA 02026
(781) 461-6101

Census Records (also RI State Census Records)

The most common census records are the US Federal Census Records but Massachusetts also has state census records.

U.S Federal Census Records (1790-1950)
Available from:

Massachusetts State Census Records (1855 & 1865)
Available from:

Probate Records

Probate records for the town of Franklin, 1793- present, are found in Norfolk County, Massachusetts Probate Court records which are available both online and in-person.

Norfolk County Probate Court
35 Shawmut Rd, Canton, MA 02021
(781) 830-1200
Check website for hours



Vital Records

Vital records provide the details about births, marriages and deaths for the people who previously lived in your house.

Find Vital Records Online:


Maps are available online from many website such as

Massachusetts Building Surveys

The Massachusetts Historical Commission provides access to historic building surveys at is website MACRIS: Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System. One at the site search specifically by town. You can refine by address and historic name.

City Directories & Residents Lists

City Directories were typically published every year. Because of that they are great for filling in the gaps between the 10 year spread of census records. They are also helpful to identify when people move from place to place.

City Directories are available online at the major database sites like ($), ($) and

Tax Records

Tax records provide the value of property through the years. These can be a great indicator of when changes were made to a property. Check your local library, Town Hall or for Town Annual Reports which contain the tax records.


Many old newspapers are available online through,, NEHGS,,, Boston Public Library, the American Antiquarian Society (Worcester). The Ancestor Hunt website is also great for finding more newspaper resources.

Cemetery Information

Franklin, Massachusetts has three cemeteries:

  • City Mills Cemetery on Green Street (founded1740)
  • St. Mary’s Cemetery on Beaver Street
  • Union Street Burying Ground on Union Street (founded1725)


Union Street Cemetery in Franklin, MA

Photos and Miscellaneous Items

Check the Franklin Library Genealogy Club webpage for many Franklin, MA related resources.

Be sure to visit the Franklin Historical Museum for old photos of your home, old maps and other miscellaneous information.

Further Reading

Blake, Mortimer. A history of the town of Franklin, Mass.; from its settlement to the completion of its first century. Franklin, MA: Town of Franklin, 1879. Available at Internet Archive

Hurd, D. Hamilton, History Norfolk County, Massachusetts. Philadelphia: J.W. Lewis & Co., 1884. Available at Internet Archive

Johnston, James C. Jr.. Franklin (Images of America series). Dover, NH: Arcadia Press, 1996.

Massachusetts Articles