List of Places

Identifying places can be difficult - and confusing. We probably have all researched someone who lived his entire life in the same house on the same plot of land and yet lived in four different towns in three different counties in two different states. For the purpose of this work, our goal is to eventually indicate the name of each place as it was at the time an event occurred. On the List of Places, this more accurate approach often means that the same place will appear in more than one county and/or state or even country. We've started “fixing” our place names in Massachusetts because our research began there and many of the people on this site were there. Within the area we now know as the state of Massachusetts, we have identified five different names, during the period from its settlement in the early 1600s to its statehood in 1788, for its five different governing bodies. All are listed for alphabetical purposes beginning with “Massachusetts” and followed by the rest of the name and, in parentheses, a further explanation of their controlling government at the time.

  • Massachusetts (Plymouth Colony) governed one area from the early 1600s through 6 October 1691.

  • Massachusetts Bay Colony (New England) governed another area from the early 1600s through 6 October 1691.

  • Massachusetts Bay Province (New England) governed the combined area after the merger between Plymouth Colony and the Bay Colony from 7 October 1691 until they lost control in early October 1774 before the official beginning of the Revolutionary War.

  • Massachusetts (Continental Congress) governed the area during the Revolutionary War and until statehood was achieved, from early October 1774 through 5 February 1788.

  • Massachusetts became the 6th state in the United States of America on 6 February 1788.

During the years noted above, the area's boundaries changed, as did county boundaries and names. As you use the Place List, especially when looking for a specific location, it may be necessary to consider several different possibilities.


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