The town of Cambridge, Massachusetts (originally known as Newtowne) was founded adjacent to Boston in 1631. The volume at hand–a reprint of Volume II of the printed records of Cambridge as ordered by the Cambridge City Council in 1901–is a transcription of the records of Cambridge town meetings and meetings of selectmen from the town’s beginnings until 1703.
Records of the Town of Cambridge promises to hold the interest of the historian as well as the genealogist. A casual reading of the records reveals Cambridge’s evolution from little more than a cow pasture to that of a bustling New England town as land was parceled out, trees felled, houses and barns erected, roads and bridges surveyed and laid out, ministers’ salaries authorized, and so on. Although the vast majority of the records dwell on Cambridge’s business affairs, they nonetheless have the great genealogical value of placing persons in the town at a particular time. In all, the researcher will find references to more than 6,000 17th-century inhabitants of Cambridge, in roles as diverse as committee members, petitioners, selectmen, fence viewers, shepherds, trespassers, constables, clergy, tradesmen, or farmers. Thankfully, these ancestors are readily identified by means of a name index and detailed subject index found at the back of the volume.