West Bridgewater, Plymouth County, Massachusetts Genealogy

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This is a historical and genealogical guide to the town of West Bridgewater. You will find help with town histories, vital records, city directories, cemetery records and cemeteries, churches, town records, newspapers, maps, and libraries.

Town Clerk[edit | edit source]

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Town of West Bridgewater in Plymouth County, Massachusetts.

65 North Main St
West Bridgewater, MA 02379
Phone: 508-894-1200
Fax: 508-894-1210
Email: aiannitelli@wbridgewater.com

Brief History[edit | edit source]

The area was first settled in 1651 and organized at the West or First Parish of Bridgewater in 1664. The area was in Plymouth Colony Genealogy. The area was placed in Plymouth County when counties were formed in 1685. For a brief time, the town was part of the Dominion of New England Genealogy from 1686 to 1689. The town is still in Plymouth County, though was in limbo, until the "Colony" was merged with Massachusetts Bay Colony Genealogy in 1691 that became the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The parish became its own town in 1822.

Historical Data[edit | edit source]

The basic data is from the "Historical Data" publication series[1] with additions from various sources.

Associated names

Village or section names include Cochesett, Eastondale, Elmville, Jerusalem, Matfield, Richard's Corner, and Westdale.

Border changes
Dates Events
16 Feb. 1822 First or West Parish of Bridgewater set off as the new town of West Bridgewater.
26 Jan. 1825 Border between West Bridgewater and North Bridgewater established.
8 May 1893 Part annexed to Brockton upon their approval on 7 Nov. 1893, effective 1 Mar. 1894.
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Town Histories[edit | edit source]

Go to Archive.org to find published materials for this town. Works written on the town include:

  • "History of West Bridgewater" in D. Hamilton Hurd, ed., History of Plymouth County, Massachusetts ... (Philadelphia, 1884), p. 888-937.
    Digital version at Internet Archive [includes graveyards condensed from Latham's work on p. 903-918].
  • West Bridgewater Wikipedia page.
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Vital Records[edit | edit source]

The town of West Bridgewater kept annual town reports. These reports often contained birth, marriage, and death information. Below is a list of years when West Bridgewater kept town reports. (NOTE: Occasionally, these town reports missed vital statistic information from the end of the year. If you don't find your ancestor's vital information, check the following year's town report to see if your ancestor's information was recorded later.)

Original records

Published records

This includes, in part, church records from the First Church in Bridgewater (now in West Bridgewater) (C.R.1) and the Baptist Church. Deaths are included from Old Grave Yard (G.R.1), Powder House Cem. (G.R.2), Jerusalem Cem. (G.R.3), Alger Cem. (G.R.4), Ames Family Burying Ground (G.R.5), Pine Hill Cem. (G.R.6), Old Cem. near Methodist Church, Cochesett (G.R.7), and Pleasant Hill Cem., Cochesett (G.R.8).
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City Directories[edit | edit source]

West Bridgewater was published in 1869/70, 1872/3, 1874/5-1880, 1882, 1884-1887/8, 1889-1890, 1892, 1894/5, 1896/7-1919, 1921, 1924/5, 1931 (often with Brockton).

The Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.) has one of the largest collections of city directories in the country. They are likely to own most of the years listed above. Their collection is in microfiche, microfilm, and books, but there is no online inventory of their holdings except for microfilm. See their guide online.

Other holdings:

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Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of cemeteries in present-day West Bridgewater. For locations of cemeteries, see PlymouthColony. For more details regarding these cemeteries, see the state guide under cemeteries for books on the subject.

  1. Alger Cemetery and tomb, 1801. (A, D) [Note: Most graves were re-interred at Pine Hill Cem.]
    Transcription online.
  2. Ames Family Burying Ground, n.d. (A)
  3. Dunbar Family or Walnut Street Cemetery, 1749.
  4. Jerusalem Graveyard, 1749). (A, D)
    Transcription online and resurveyed in 1989 online with differences.
  5. Methodist Church or Cochesett Cemetery, n.d. (A, C)
  6. Old Graveyard, 1683. (A, B, D)
    Transcription online.
  7. Pine Hill Cemetery, 1870. (A, C)
  8. Pleasant Hill Cemetery, n.d. (A, C)
  9. Powder House Cemetery, 1747. (A, D)
    Transcription online.
  10. Thayer-Fish Family Cemetery, 1818. (A, B, D)
    Transcription online.

Abstracts of the cemeteries above are marked and keyed to:
(A). Vital Records of West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 (Boston, 1911). [See links above for various versions of this source.]
(B). Charles M. Thatcher, Old Cemeteries of Southeastern Massachusetts (Middleborough, Mass., 1995). WorldCat (Other Libraries); FHL book 974.4 V3.
(C). New England Historic Genealogical Society, Manuscripts Dept., Boston, Mass.
(D). William Latham, Epitaphs in Old Bridgewater, Massachusetts (Bridgewater, Mass., 1882) -- a digital version at Google Books.

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Churches[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of churches established in town in order of organization date (if known) and condition of records in the 1889 survey if listed.

  1. First Congregational Church (Unitarian) (now The First Church), 1651, records good for 1721-1808, 1836-present.
  2. First Baptist Church, 1785-1833, records good. [This church was dissolved and some of its members were founders of a new Baptist Society in the same year. The records are with this new church.]
  3. Baptist Church (now West Bridgewater Baptist Church), 1833, records good.
  4. Methodist Episcopal Church (now St. Paul's Episcopal Church), Cochesett, 1841, no condition given.
  5. The Church of Saint Ann, 1927.
  6. New England Baptist Church, 1973.
  7. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, n.d.
  8. Gift of New Life Ministries, n.d.
  9. Joy of Pentecost, n.d.
  10. Temple Baptist Church, n.d.
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Newspapers[edit | edit source]

There have been no newspapers published in West Bridgewater.

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Libraries and Historical Societies[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of research facilities in town:

West Bridgewater Public Library
80 Howard Street
West Bridgewater MA 02379
Phone 508-894-1255

Old Bridgewater Historical Society
162 Howard Street
PO Box 17
West Bridgewater MA 02379
Phone 508-559-1510

References[edit | edit source]

  1. William Francis Galvin, Historical Data Relating to Counties, Cities and Towns in Massachusetts (Boston, new ed., 1997), 123. WorldCat (Other Libraries); FHL book 974.4 H2h 1997
Adjacent towns: Plymouth Co.: Bridgewater | Brockton | East Bridgewater | Bristol Co.: Easton | Raynham