Researching Historic Properties in Concord
Cultural Resource Inventory
MACRIS Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System is the state-wide on-line database of historic structures and areas, including those in Concord. The Concord Historical Commission has been surveying properties throughout town for decades, and the research continues. Well-rounded survey documents combine an evaluation of the structure itself with research in primary and secondary documents on the structure, the people associated with it and the broader context.
MACRIS Maps and the Town of Concord Graphic Information System (GIS) Map - Historic illustrate the extent of the surveyed historic resources in Concord.
Town of Concord - GIS Maps
Concord's Graphic Information System (GIS) includes Assessors' property records stored by address. These records often include recent deed history, approximate date of construction, and other historical information.
GIS Map Layers include historic Base Maps such as Aerial Photos, Historical information, and links to Documents.
- Documents Layer includes MACRIS forms, early plans from the Registry of Deeds, etc. Select "Documents" from the menu of Layers, select the document icon "?" on the map parcel, then select the information "i" button on the right.
- Base Maps Layer, located in the black bar at the bottom of the Layers menu, includes historic Aerial Photos and other maps.
- Historic Layer identifies whether the property lies in a historic district, has been surveyed, and other useful information.
Historic Maps of Concord
Historic maps and atlases provide a means of tracing the history of a parcel and structure over time, often providing important clues such as the identity of the property owner. The Historic Maps of Concord webpage gathers together links to historic maps from the 17th century through the early 20th century.
Local Newspaper Search
The Acton Memorial Library provides digital access to the Concord Enterprise (1888-1963) http://acton.advantage-preservation.com/ Search by the name of an owner, architect, or common name of the building to discover news articles about the property and its owners over time.
Middlesex County Registry of Deeds - South
Many MACRIS forms included information gleaned from a title search. Deed history traces the chain of ownership of a piece of property and can help date a building. Often deeds can be traced back in time from the most recent ones recorded in the Town of Concord's Assessors records on the Town of Concord GIS.
Search Records in the Middlesex County Registry of Deeds - South website. Beginning with a Book and Page number, select the Search Criteria "Book Search." When the reference to the deed appears, select "images" to see the scanned page. Retain a record of each deed reference, noting the following: Book and Page number, names and addresses of Grantors and Grantees, dates, prices, and property description. Look for the key phrase "with buildings thereon."
Gaps in the deed history can often be located in Middlesex County Probate Records.
An owner's name on a historic map can provide an alternative means of locating early deeds. Family Search includes Mass Land Records, including early Grantor and Grantee Indices that are not found on the Registry of Deeds website.
Concord Free Public Library Special Collections
Concord Free Public Library Special Collections is the central repository for historic photographs, publications and documents of Concord. Town directories, poll tax lists, and guidebooks located in the "Concord Corner" provide information on past Concord residents and its most famous structures. It also contains the papers of early local historians who carefully studied its built environment such as Ruth R. Wheeler and Charles H. Walcott.
On-line Genealogical Resources
Other Town of Concord records
Building Permits were first issued in Concord in 1928. Unfortunately, the early permits contain few details and are not indexed.