Woburn (Mass.).

Woburn records of births, deaths, and marriages .. (Volume 3) online

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Births, Deaths, and Marriages,

FROM 1640 TO 1873.




Edward K. Johnson.


WiNSHip, Daniels & Co., Printers.



In Common Council, Jan. 9, 1891.
Be it Ordered,

That in accordance with the recommendation made by his Honor the
Mayor, the manuscript copy of the Woburn Records of Marriages from 1640
to 1873, compiled by Hon. Edward F. Johnson, be printed as an appendix
to twenty-five hundred copies of the City Reports of 1890.
Adopted and sent up for concurrence,



In Board of Aldermen, Jan. 22, 1891.
Adopted in concurrence,


Jan. 23, 1891.








This volume of marriage records completes the publication of the
Woburn Records of Births, Deaths and Marriages from 1640 to Jan. i, 1873.
Its arrangement corresponds with that adopted in the previous volumes of
Births and Deaths, the surnames being arranged alphabetically, and, under
the respective surnames, the Christian names are grouped chronologically.
Each marriage record appears twice : once under the name of the man and
again under that of the woman. The adoption of this plan renders any
index unnecessary, thereby saving to the reader the time and labor usually
involved in turning from index to subject matter, and avoiding the danger of
error and omission to which every index is exposed.

In 1857, the Legislature of Massachusetts passed the following law : —

" The clerk of every city and town in this Commonwealth, shall make a certified copy of the
record of all marriages, recorded in the books of said city or town, where either or both of the parties
were resident in any other town in the Commonwealth at the time of said marriage; and he shall also,
as far as the same is practicable, make a like copy of all such marriages recorded in any parish
records, or in any records kept by any clergyman or magistrate within said town ; and the said clerk
shall transmit said certified copies to the clerk of the city or town in which such party or parties were
resident at the time of said marriage."

This law applied only to marriages solemnized prior to the year 1800.
In accordance with its provisions there were transmitted to the town clerk of
Woourn, records of over three hundred marriages solemnized in other munic-
ipaUties in this Commonwealth, in which one or both of the contracting
p'. -ties were residents of Woburn. These marriages are included in this
p. jlication; and, in each instance, the name of the town or city where the
ti.arriage occurred is also given. I have also inserted the record of all
marriages found in the first volume of the Second Parish Church Records
(Burlington) covering the period from 1735 down to 1828.

Furthermore, I have incorporated into this volume, by way of foot-notes,
a few extracts taken from the Middlesex County Court Records. These
records contain a great deal of interesting and hitherto unknown facts about
the early settlers of Woburn, and shed new light on their life and their
customs, their faults and their virtues. The greater portion of the material
thus obtained could not, with propriety, be printed in this work and has
been reserved for future use. I may state that my researches in this direc-
tion have proved, among other things, that the first volume of the Woburn
Records is wholly in the handwriting of Major William Johnson, the second


town clerk of Woburn, and is, therefore, prior to 1672, a copied record.
The records kept by his father, Capt. Edward Johnson, the first town clerk,
certified extracts of which can be found among the court files at Cambridge,
are not in all cases identical with the existing town record. Moreover, the
chirography of Capt. Johnson does not correspond with that to be found in
our first volume of town records. As an illustration of the handwriting of
father and son I have added at the end of this Preface facsimile reproduc-
tions of two papers discovered among the Middlesex court files. A compar-
ison of these facsimiles with the writing in the first volume of the Woburn
Records, or with the facsimile specimen of the town records printed in
Poole's edition of "Johnson's Wonder-Working Providence," will convince
any one of the truth of the above statement as to the authorship of our first
volume of records. Mr. William R. Cutter was the first person to suspect
that this volume of records was copied, and recent discoveries have fully
sustained him in the opinions expressed in "The Woburn Journal," March
8, 1889.

The following figures,* obtained by actual count, may be of interest : —

Number of persons whose birth is published in Part I 12,755

Number of persons whose death is published in Part II .... 6,326
Number of persons whose marriage is published in Part III . . . 7,662

Total 26,743

It is my intention, subject to the approval of the proper authorities, to
publish with the city report of next year the record of births from Jan. i,
1873, to Dec. 31, 1890, inclusive, and with it such additions and corrections
of the first published record of births (1640 to 1872 inclusive) as have been
discovered and furnished by those people who have taken an interest in
perfecting it. With the city report of 1892, I hope in like manner to publish
the record of deaths from 1873 to Dec. 31, 1890, inclusive; and, in 1893,
the record of marriages for the same period. When all this shall have been
done, I recommend that for the decade ending 1900, and thereafter in each
succeeding decade, the publication be continued in similar form. By omit-
ting in the future from the annual city report the printed record of births,
marriages and deaths, which has appeared there in years past without
arrangement suitable for future reference, the publication of the records in
the manner here recommended will impose little, if any, additional expense
on the city.

I wish more of our citizens would take the pains to supply from family
registers and other sources the omissions which are found to exist in the

* These figures are exclusive of entries inserted in foot-notes. In the Preface to Part I it was
stated there were " upwards of 13,300 entries of births." That statement was based on a calculation
of figures found in an old town report.


town clerk's records. Such supplied records may prove of great value in the
future, not merely as a matter of family history, but in the adjustment and
settlement of estates, and in the determination of other matters of legal and
pecuniary importance. Many an applicant for a pension at the present day
finds the omission of some portion of his family records to be a great obstacle
to the successful prosecution of his claim. Indeed, no person can afford to
allow such records to remain inaccurate or imperfect, for they are liable to
prove of essential value at any time. I shall always be pleased to receive
from reliable sources any informaton about our records, and shall see to it
that, in subsequent publications, all valuable matter thus contributed is
printed in proper form and place.

WoBURN, Mass., January, 1891.


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Online LibraryWoburn (Mass.)Woburn records of births, deaths, and marriages .. (Volume 3) → online text (page 1 of 28)