Local History & Genealogy

Photo showing two people looking at an old book on a bookshelf.

Let us help you discover local history or your family’s roots!

The Local History Room, located on the second floor of the library, holds our extensive collection of local history and genealogy resources. It contains published and original materials that document Watertown people, places, organizations, and activities, past and present.

The collection includes books, periodicals, directories, family genealogies, reports, maps, photographs, paintings, audiovisual media, town records, vertical files, manuscripts, and archival materials. Search our online catalog or view our research guides and finding aids to learn more.

Materials may be used within the building, but not checked out. We suggest that patrons interested in accessing our special collections email jclements@watertown-ma.gov to schedule an appointment. This will allow staff to prepare adequately for your visit. For general assistance, a Reference Librarian is available on Tuesdays from 11 to 1 and Wednesdays from 4 to 6, or by appointment. Please note that the Local History Room is not open to the public at this time at this time, due to COVID-19.

Can’t make it to the library? Start exploring our digitized materials by selecting a topic below, or view our contributions to the statewide Digital Commonwealth collection. You can also find answers to common questions and links to other resources.

DirectoriesGenealogy
Histories and HighlightsHouses Buildings and Land
Industry and CommerceMaps
Militarynewspapers button
PeoplePhotographs
Schools and Places of Worshiptown records button
Historical Markers button