Research a Place

Looking for information on your home, a local landmark, or a building in town? We’ve put together a few resources to get your research going.    

Business owners or business names, residents' and owners' names, addresses (keep in mind that street numbers and street names might change over time), and common or colloquial names of places will be useful to have on hand as you work. 

Remember, this is just a quick guide to start your research as much of our collection is uncataloged. As always, reach out with questions. Another option is to call or text 978-992-2123. We might be able to help. 


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Indigenous Land and People 

The combination of prejudice toward indigenous communities and the subsequent theft of land from those groups, coupled with our lack of preservation of indigenous culture (largely oral), results in few highly localized resources in this area. We have insufficient material to understand or research native peoples and native land use in modern day Amesbury.  

To our knowledge, none of the material in our collection is written or created by native people of our region. We are aware of some publications of secondary sources provided below. These are written by colonial white European settlers, not native or indigenous peoples.  

A small but significant collection of early regional hand tools is held by the Bartlett Museum. Contact the museum for more information.

(Image at right from Bartlett Museum Collection, image by Meghan Fahey, APL staff). 

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The resources listed below are arranged alphabetically. 

Amesbury Assessor’s Database  

This database provides basic information on assessed properties, including build dates, square footage, and layouts with lot information. Search by property owner name or address. 

City (Town) Directories

City directories were published by private publishers. The contents change slightly over the years and include business directories for Amesbury (includes Newburyport and Merrimac depending on year of publication) with addresses, advertisements, street listings of residents including occupations, maps, and miscellaneous information. 

Historical Deeds and Mortgages Collection

Records filed with the Town Clerk of Amesbury include deeds, mortgages, and maps from about 1730 to 1850.  

Available by appointment.

Local Newspapers (Amesbury, Salisbury, Merrimac)

Advertisements, announcements, and articles provide details of ownership and activities over time. Search by owner name, business, or address.   

MACRIS (Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System) Inventory Forms  

In 1988, the Amesbury Historical Commission in collaboration with the town administration and the Massachusetts Historical Commission completed a historical survey of a select set of properties in Amesbury. The result are inventory forms with basic data on about 500 locations or structures.  

These records are available online and in person; print versions may contain additional content not included in the online database. Contact us for more information.   

MACRIS Maps offer a geographic search functionality for inventoried properties. Click on a property to reveal inventory forms from the map view. 

Maps

Select maps from the collection are available online in Digital Amesbury, our online digital library. More maps are available to view in person by appointment.  

Merrimack Valley Planning Commission  

Amesbury MIMAP

Sanborn Map Company fire insurance maps

The Sanborn Map Company produced detailed fire insurance maps over the course of several decades. View Sanborn maps online from the library of Congress.  

Read LOC's guide to the collection.  The following sets of years are available: 

18851894 19041909 19181930 (by appointment)


Photograph and Postcard Collections 

Browse our numerous photo and visual material collections for images of places, structures, and natural resources. A very small sample of images is available online at Digital Amesbury, our online digital library.  

Ready Reference Collection  

Visit our Amesbury Room on the main level of the library to browse books and reports on Amesbury people and places. Search the library catalog or simply come in and browse the open shelves.  

Researching People and Places - Amesbury Carriage Museum  

The Amesbury Carriage Museum's Researching People and Place initiative contains dozens of articles with a focus on industrial and labor history.   

Salem Registry of Deeds

The Salem Registry of Deeds enables you to search deeds for properties bought and sold. Includes plot and property descriptions and lot dimensions.   



Slideshow images from the Walter H. Curtis Photography Collection.  Curtis worked with other local photographers to document dozens of structures and places in Amesbury.  He paired select images with works by John Greenleaf Whittier. To view the full album contact us to make an appointment. 

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