Cambridge, Massachusetts

History of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1630-1877, with a Genealogical Register, by Lucius R. Paige, 1877,  8vo., xvi + 732 pages, with twenty-six pages of index and six images. Digital Edition on CD-ROM © July 2003.

Classic town and county histories are of immense value to those of us who seek information about our origins:  they supply a context for the lives of our ancestors that we do not often find in genealogical compilations (as in "Descendants of John Doe").

Frankly, we decided to produce this Digital Edition of Paige's History of Cambridge simply because we had a copy of the first edition that was literally falling apart at the seams, and figured we ought to do something about it before it turned to mush.  True, we thought it might be an "interesting" read.  It was that.  However, we had forgotten how many of our own ancestors spent time in Cambridge, and we were ecstatic (to say the least) about how much information we gleaned from Paige about their lives, their adventures, their misfortunes, their trials and their tribulations.  We were also surprised at the quality of Paige's research (largely in primary sources from state and county archives, court files, church records, and the collections of various historical societies).

The "narrative" portion of the history (476 pages) consists of twenty-two chapters covering the civil history of the town (fourteen chapters, 246 pages); the ecclesiastical history (three chapters, 98 pages); a most delightful chapter on "heresy and witchcraft" (20 pages), a chapter on "education" (17 pages), much of which concerns the founding of Harvard University; a chapter on "Indian history" (13 pages); a chapter on military history (42 pages); a chapter called "statistics" with some most illuminating information about the relative wealth and economic activity of Cambridge residents (20 pages); and a final chapter with lists of the town's civil officers from the earliest date (15 pages).

The "Genealogical Register," which fills 230 pages, is restricted to families who were in Cambridge before 1700.  However, for those families who remained in Cambridge, the record is carried well into the nineteenth century.  To view a list of all the families named in the narrative and "register" portion of this publication, download the name list.

Note: Cambridge in the middle of the seventeenth century extended from Dedham to the Merrimack River.  It encompassed the all the territory now incorporated as Cambridge, Newton, Brighton, Arlington, Lexington, Bedford, and Billerica.

The Digital Edition: Complete with two text files (4.7 Mb) and six image files (0.6 Mb)

Enhancements: "Quick Links" to help with navigation and a new, easy-to-read format for the "Genealogical Register."  Because the index of this volume lists only surnames, researchers will appreciate the search capabilities of their word processing software.

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