Genealogy & Local History
The town of Hingham has a rich and varied history. Thanks to the efforts of many former and current residents, a good deal of Hingham’s past has been documented. The Reference Department contains a number of books and other materials to help readers learn about the history of Hingham and about the individuals and families who have resided here since the town was first settled in the 1630s. The reference department staff is available to answer questions about Hingham’s history.
An important part of the historical collection has been preserved on microfilm. Primary source material on individuals, families, businesses, and institutions is available. Information on the histories of many Hingham properties is also available, especially for those around Hingham Center and on the north end of town. A microfilm reader/scanner is available for public use. Images obtained with the scanner can be printed for a charge of $.15 per page or can be e-mailed. The reference staff will e-mail images of microfilmed documents to anyone who is unable to visit the library.
The Hingham Historical Society Historical Room is open to the public during the library’s regular operating hours. It contains books and records that pertain to Hingham’s past, as well as to the histories of other cities and towns in Massachusetts and in Rhode Island. The Historical Room also houses a collection of books by Hingham authors.
Genealogical Databases & Websites
For genealogical researchers the library provides online access to the Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest databases.
Ancestry contains US Federal Census records from 1790-1930, the largest online collection of U.S. ship passenger list records from 1820-1960, military records-from colonial times to the Vietnam war, and millions of records from other countries. It can be accessed from the public computers in the reference department on the second floor.
HeritageQuest can be accessed remotely with a Hingham Public Library card or on a public computer in the library. It includes federal census records, and full-text publications, especially family histories.