Acton Memorial Library

Early Town Records of Acton, Massachusetts


Presented here are the earliest official records for the Town of Acton Massachusetts, from its founding in 1735 to 1764. The records are primarily minutes from Selectmen's meetings and proceedings from general Town Meetings, interspersed with the Town's financial accounting and surveys of road ways and town boundaries.

The original records are part of a single bound volume that spans the years 1735 to 1797. This volume, in modern binding, measures approximately 12.25 x 7.75 inches and contains 250 leaves, or 500 pages. Only the first 179 pages are included here.


Project History

The original records, which are preserved in the Town's vault, were filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah in 1971 as part of a nationwide preservation project.  Since then, reproductions of these early records have been available in microfilm format at the Acton Memorial Library and a few other repositories around the nation.

In 2001, under the direction of then-Library Director Wanda Null, the library secured a federal LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners to begin digitally scanning the town's historical records. As a result of that project, 179 pages of the first volume of town records were digitized, as well as records related to the Town's involvement in the Civil War. The digital images were made available on the Internet in 2002, but had yet to be transcribed.

In 2003 volunteer Paulina Knibbe began the arduous task of transcribing the handwritten records using photocopies made from the microfilm and from the digital scans.  Ms. Knibbe completed most of the transcriptions presented here. These transcriptions here were first published on the Internet in 2008.

Between 2005 and 2012, library volunteer Irene Cavanagh transcribed over 900 additional pages of Town records. These additional transcriptions are now available on the library web site in PDF format.

Since this project launched, digital images of Acton's records (1735-1862) have been made available by, in the "Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988" database. The library maintains a subscription to, which can be accessed from computers in the library.


Transcripton conventions

The transcription conventions are as follows: Spelling, capitalization, abbreviations and punctuation are retained. Line breaks are generally not retained in the HTML files, as different web browsers and monitors will render the text differently. (The transcriptions in PDF format, however, retain the original line breaks). If we are unsure of a word or character we use a question mark in square brackets [?]. If a word is completely undecipherable we insert [illegible]. If clarification is needed we provide clarification in square brackets after the original spelling: aintiant [ancient].

Spelling of names have been standardized in the Name Index.  Names, as with other spellings, have not been standardized in the transcriptions.

Dates are transcribed as written. Up to 1751 the clerks consistently double-dated with both the Julian (March 25 being the first of the year) and Gregorian calendar years for dates between January 1 and March 25. Up to September 1752, days of the week, when given, refer to the Julian calendar.


Web site

This web site was developed by the Acton Memorial Library Reference Department staff with the invaluable assistance of volunteers Howard Robichaud and Irene Cavanagh. We can be contacted at