Bristol County Massachusetts Genealogy
County Seat: Taunton
Search Free Bristol County, Massachusetts Genealogy and Family History Records Online including census, cemetery, vital, military and other genealogical and historical records that can be used for your family history research.
Bristol County, Massachusetts genealogy and family history page is a place where you can come in and research your genealogy and family history. We also do our best to provide a history of the area, to provide you with an overview of the time in which your ancestors lived.
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Bristol County History
Bristol County was created by the Plymouth Colony on June 2, 1685, and named after its "shire town" (county seat), Bristol. The Plymouth Colony merged into the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691.
The towns of Bristol, Barrington, and Warren were awarded to Rhode Island in 1746 as part of a long-running boundary dispute (see History of Massachusetts), forming Bristol County, Rhode Island. At the same time, Cumberland, Rhode Island was carved out of Attleborough, Massachusetts and annexed to Providence County, Rhode Island; Tiverton and Little Compton were transferred to Newport County, Rhode Island. East Freetown was officially purchased by Freetown, Massachusetts, from Tiverton in 1747, and so remained on the Massachusetts side.
After the departure of Bristol, Taunton was made the shire town of the county. A second county courthouse was constructed in 1828 in the growing town of New Bedford (designed a "half-shire town"). In 1862, part of Seekonk (now East Providence, Rhode Island) and the entirety of East Pawtucket were transferred to Providence County, Rhode Island. At the same time, land ceded from Rhode Island was added to Fall River and Westport. The growing Fall River became the site of the third county courthouse in 1877.
Bristol County Genealogy Records
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- Norfolk County, Massachusetts — north
- Plymouth County, Massachusetts — east
- Newport County, Rhode Island — southwest
- Bristol County, Rhode Island — west
- Providence County, Rhode Island — northwest