Genealogy

Resources for family history researchers
Genealogy is the second most popular hobby in the United States.  Millions of Americans are driven to discover their personal histories, and Chelsea, as a city, has been steeped in that history since it was first settled in 1624.  In the near future, this page will be built out to provide as many resources as possible.  However, for now, we offer the following resources.

Vital Records (Births, Marriages, Deaths)

Vital records are housed in a number of locations, depending upon the date of the event.  The Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records issues copies of birth, marriage, and death records from 1921 to the present. Records from 1841 to 1920 are housed at the Massachusetts Archives.  Here in Chelsea, birth, marriage, and death records dating to 1800 are kept with the City Clerk's office.  Keep in mind that, because Chelsea is so small, an vital event might have occurred in Boston or another neighboring municipality.

  • Birth records are housed in the City Clerk's office and date back to 1800.  Here is the form to request a birth record.  The cost is $10.  Read more here.
  • Marriage records are housed in the City Clerk's office and date back to 1800.  Here is the form to request a marriage record. The cost is $10.  Read more here.
  • Records of deaths in Chelsea, or deaths of those who were residents of Chelsea at the time of their deaths elsewhere, are housed in the City Clerk's office and date back to 1800.  Here is the form to request a death record.  Read more here.
You may also find the following online link helpful in your research:
 
Newspapers
Chelsea's only surviving newspaper is the Chelsea Record.  Unfortunately, there are no online archives.  However, the Chelsea Public Library has the most complete archive of the Chelsea Record, as well as other now-defunct newspapers.
 
Available on microfilm:
  • Chelsea Gazette: April, 1886 – December, 1931.
  • Chelsea Telegraph- Pioneer: January, 1855 – December, 1906.
  • Chelsea Weekly News: 1976-1990
  • Chelsea Evening Record: April, 1908-July, 1923.
  • Chelsea Record: 1924-Present. 

In addition, hard bound volumes of the Chelsea Record from 1939-1968 are available with staff assistance.

City Directories

In the past, city directories were published much like a phone book, but showing addresses and occupations of residents.  The Chelsea Public Library has bound copies from 1847 to 1995, as well as 1847 to 1933 on microfilm.  Additionally, you may find certain year's additions online via Google Books or archive.org.

Research Assistance
If you are unable to visit the Chelsea Public Library in person, the Library, with the assistance of a volunteer, is able to perform genealogical research and answer questions relating to Chelsea history on a limited basis.  The first hour of research time is at no charge.  The next two hours are $10 per hour up to a maximum of two hours. Requests should be sent by mail or email to:
Library Director
Chelsea Public Library
569 Broadway
Chelsea, MA 02150
 
Useful Links
"Chelsea" at archive.org