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Oak Grove Cemetery - Borden Plot

Fall River Cemeteries and Genealogical Resources

Looking for Ancestors?

If you're searching for relatives who lived or died in Fall River, here are some places to start.

Newspapers - Our collection of newspapers on microfilm includes the Herald News (1929-present), the Daily Evening News (1862-1929), the Daily Globe (1885-1929), the Daily Herald (1877-1904) and the Evening Herald (1905-1928). There are also reels of microfilm with other early Fall River newspapers, a few dating from before the Civil War. Recent issues of the Herald News are available in print, and online access goes back to 2000.

Old newspapers can be a valuable source of information as well as providing a portrait of daily life in different time periods; unfortunately, they are not indexed and often lack a table of contents, so researchers should be prepared to spend some time, especially with 19th century materials. Also note that newspaper obituaries were not standard until around the 1920s; ancestors who died in the 19th or early 20th century may not have had a printed obituary.

Obituary Index - Our staff is in the process of compiling an index to local obituaries from the Fall River Herald News. (No index is provided by the newspaper itself.) Some years are currently available in an Excel database format and can be accessed online; others are available in the library. Please ask a reference librarian for assistance.

City Directories - Available on microfilm (1853-1967) and in print (1967-present). Older directories can be a valuable source of family information. Not only do they provide a list of people living in Fall River, they also list home addresses and sometimes business addresses and occupations. They may also include dates of death if someone died in the preceding year. These do have limitations, however: they list heads of household rather than complete families, and they cover the city of Fall River only, not outlying areas.

Local History Online - The Durfee High School Library has many historical images and texts available online, including photographs and postcards, high school yearbooks, books, and news articles.

Historic Atlas - Pages from an 1883 atlas of Fall River can be viewed and individually downloaded on Flickr, or the entire file (warning: a large download) is available in PDF on the Massachusetts State Library archives page.

Resources for Research

Other sources available for genealogy research at the Fall River Library or online include the following.

Vital Records - Various city demographic records, such as births, marriage intentions and deaths, are available in microfiche for the years 1803-1889. Searching these can be a challenge, but this index, also available online and in book form, may help. Vital records after 1889 are held at the City Clerk's office.

Census Records - Microfilm copies of the Fall River Federal Census are available for the years 1850, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930.

Draft Registration Cards - World War I draft registration cards are available on microfiche.

Local Histories and Genealogies - Many books of Fall River, Massachusetts and New England history are available in the Fall River Room. There are also genealogical and biographical works, including some individual family histories.

Church Records - A limited number of church records have been transcribed by the American-French Genealogical Society and are available in the Fall River Room. These include baptism and marriage records for St. Anne's, Notre Dame, and other Catholic churches and one funeral home's records.

Ancestry - We subscribe to the library edition of Ancestry.com, which has thousands of searchable census, directory, military, immigration and other records. Ancestry is available for use, free of charge, in the library only.

Rootsweb is the free sister site of Ancestry.

Family Search is a free genealogy site maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Find a Grave contains information compiled from gravestones in cemeteries throughout the world.

Military Indexes has links for military records. Some, like Ancestry and Fold3, require a subscription, but many are free.

The National Archives has a helpful list of historic and genealogical databases. Some are free, some require subscriptions, but many can be accessed free from National Archives facilities.

Cemeteries in Fall River

Agudath Achim Jewish Cemetery
Newhall Street
Contact: Adas Israel Synagogue

Beth El Cemetery
N. Main St.

Fall River, Mass. 02722
Contact: Temple Beth El
(508) 674-3529
Hebrew Cemetery
McMahon St.
Contact: Adas Israel Synagogue

North Burial Ground
1360 N. Main St.

Fall River, Mass. 02722
(508) 672-3041
Established 1810

Notre Dame Cemetery
1540 Stafford Rd.
Fall River, Mass. 02721
(508) 673-1561
Established 1883



Oak Grove Cemetery
765 Prospect St.
Fall River MA 02720
Established c. 1873
Historical Note: burial place of Lizzie Borden
(1860-1927), acquitted of murdering her father
and stepmother in 1892.

Our Lady of Light Cemetery
Fall River, Mass. 02722
(508) 672-1207
Contact: Notre Dame Cemetery

St. John's Cemetery
258 Brightman St.

Fall River, Mass. 02722
(508) 679-2535
Burials: 1858-1891
St. Mary's Cemetery
Amity St.

Fall River, Mass. 02722
(508) 679-2535
Burials: 1875-1891
St. Patrick's Cemetery
2233 Robeson St.

Fall River, Mass. 02720
(508) 679-2535
Established 1876

This link
will take you to a comprehensive list of cemeteries in Bristol County.

Other Genealogical Links
Massachusetts Genealogy Forum
Online list of links to Massachusetts state and local Genealogical Societies.
New England Historic Genealogical Society
99-101 Newbury St.
Boston, MA 02116-3087
Phone: (617) 536-5740 or (888) AT-NEHGS
Email: nehgs@nehgs.org
Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston St.
Boston, Mass. 02215
(617) 536-1608
Fax: (617) 859-0074
Email: Use their contact page.
Massachusetts State Archives
McCormack Building
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 727-2816
Fax: (617) 288-8429
Email: archives@sec.state.ma.us

Massachusetts Vital Records
c/o Mass Document Retrieval Services,
PO Box 529, North Easton, MA 02356-0529
( 617) 249-0323 
Email: services@mass-doc.com

Fall River City Clerk
(for Fall River vital records)
1 Government Center - 2nd Floor
Fall River, MA  02722
) 324-2220
Email: city_clerks@fallriverma.org
National Archives - Northeast Region
Frederick C. Murphy Federal Center
380 Trapelo Road
Waltham, Massachusetts 02452-6399
(781) 663-0130
Fax: (781) 663-0154
Email: waltham.archives@nara.gov
New England Archivists
Links to historical archives in Massachusetts.
George C. Gordon Library
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609