New Hampshire Town Resources
This entry was originally written by George F. Sanborn Jr., FASG, and Alice Eichholz, Ph.D, CG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
The WPA index, located at the New Hampshire State Library, on microfilm at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and through the FHL, provides an unusual statewide index of town records to approximately 1850, which includes vital records. (A notable omission in the index is the town of Exeter, which was inadvertently overlooked.) Town officers, tax records, warrants, minutes and accounts of town meetings, cattle and sheep marks, voting lists, warnings out, and militia are usually found at town clerks’ offices, although the information and availability varies greatly from town to town. A thorough search for genealogical material must include the record holdings of the appropriate town.
On the chart below, addresses are from the New Hampshire Secretary of State <www.state.nh.us/sos/clerks.htm> for town/city clerks as of 2004. Most will not do research but usually indicate what materials they have available. The date for formation in the second column usually indicates the beginning of the town records, and therefore when vital records began to be recorded (see Vital Records). “Other Names” indicates names used earlier in the towns history or, in the case of “from,” the town from which it was formed. The third column lists the town’s parent county and its number on the state map. The parent county/ies are listed on the second line of the third column.
To determine what deed and probate records exist for each town, find the name on the town list, note the date of formation, county, and parent counties. Then refer to the county chart to see where the originals are located. For the entire state before 1771, both deeds and probate records are held at New Hampshire Records and Archives. This means that to extend the research back through all possible records in the geographic area encompassing the county before 1771, the province original deeds and original probate records need to be searched as well.