Ipswich, Massachusetts. South Parish. Records, 1747-1868.

Collection Information

Ipswich, Mass. South Parish records, 1747-1868.


South Parish (Ipswich, Mass.)




2 volumes

722 unique images: archival TIFF, derivative JPEG & PDF

Collection ID #:


Conditions Governing Access:

Access to the physical items is restricted. Digital surrogates are to be used instead. Exceptions may be granted in cases of extenuating circumstance, at the discretion of the archivist or librarian.

Technical Access:

To access digital user's copies via online interface a java-enabled web browser is required. Internet Explorer 8.x and later, Firefox 5.x and alter, Opera 12 and later, Safari 5.x and later, or any version of Google Chrome are recommended.

Copyright: Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], in the South Parish (Ipswich, Mass.) records, RG5298. The Congregational Library & Archives, Boston, MA.



Processing information:

Processed by Marya Shotkoski, October 2015, using DACS Second Edition

Revision History:

Additional processing and finding aid work by Zachary Bodnar, November 2017.


Ipswich, first known as Agawam, was settled by John Winthrop and his twelve companions in 1633 and the town was officially incorporated a year later. In 1747, a schism in the First Church resulted in the formation of the South Parish. The records document the life and history of the South Parish through vital statistics, meeting minutes, church/member relations, and financial documents.

Acquisition Information:

Materials were temporarily loaned to the Congregational Library & Archives from 2015-2017 by the First Church in Ipswich, MA, UCC. Digital surrogates were created from these materials in 2016.


Additional accruals are expected for this collection in the form of full-text transcription. There is no anticipated date for this accrual.

Existence and Location of Originals:

The original volumes are currently held by the First Church in Ipswich, Massachusetts, UCC.

Existence and Location of Copies:

Materials in this collection were digitized as part of the New England's Hidden Histories project. Digital reproductions are available to view online.


Historical Note

Ipswich, first known as Agawam, was settled by John Winthrop and his twelve companions in 1633 and the town was officially incorporated a year later. The town name was chosen to honor the merchants of Ipswich, England who were financial supporters of the Massachusetts Bay Company. In 1634, the first meeting-house was built and the Reverends Nathaniel Ward and Thomas Parker were settled. At the time, it was the ninth church in Massachusetts. The towns of Newbury, Boxford, Hamilton, Essex and Topsfield were later incorporated from lands once a part of the town of Ipswich.

In 1740 "The Great Awakening" arrived in Ipswich and in 1747, a group of parishioners living on the South Side withdrew from the First Church on the north green and built their own meeting house, later named the South Church, on the school green. In 1749 the parishioners of the First Church built a new meeting house on the north green, although their membership had been reduced due to the schism. Both parishes worked together congenially on several joint endeavors. In 1773 the First and South Parishes jointly purchased a burial ground on the south side of town, and in 1804 they offered to build an engine house for a vehicle to be bought by subscription.

The First Church in Ipswich had four daughter churches. The Second Church in Ipswich, originally called the Chebacco Parish, is now the Congregational Church of Essex and was organized on September
6, 1681. The Third Church in Ipswich, embodied October 27, 1714, is now the First Congregational Church of Hamilton. The Linebrook Church, first called West Farms Parish, was organized on  November 15, 1749. The South Church continued until 1922, when it united again with the First Church to form "The First and South Congregational Church". The First or "Old North" Church was retained as the house of worship and the South Church became the Parish House.


Scope of Collection

The South Parish records document the history and parish life of the church through vital statistics, meeting minutes, church/member relations, and financial documents. Included in the volumes are church financial records, meeting and committee meeting minutes, reports, membership lists, relations with the First Church, and vital records including birth and baptismal records, marriage records, and death records.


Further Searches

Subject Headings

Hymns, English


Massachusetts – Church history

South Church (Ipswich, Mass.)

First Church, UCC (Ipswich, Mass.)

First Church, (Ipswich, Mass.)

First Parish, (Ipswich, Mass.)

Pews and pew rights

Cemeteries – Massachusetts.

Minutes and proceedings


Ipswich, (Mass.) – Church History

Music in churches.


Church meetings.


Marriage records. – Massachusetts-Ipswich.

Registers of births, etc. – Massachusetts-Ipswich.

Installation (clergy)

Ipswich, (Mass.) – History.

Church records and registers - Massachusetts – Ipswich

Covenant (Church polity) – Congregational churches


Related Materials

Ipswich, MA : First Church historical materials (17.11.I68.7 FIRC)

Ipswich, Mass. First Church records, 1724-1830. RG5288



The two volumes are arranged chronologically by end date.



  Date Location
South Parish Book of Records 1747-1851 Online interface
This volume contains the church history of the South Parish from 1747 to 1851 and includes the minutes of parish meetings and records of votes. Included within the records are pew deeds and pew chart, the development of the meeting house, payments to church officials and minister salaries, church appointments, their relationship with the First Church, committee records, parish affairs, burial grounds records, taxes collections, and the question of music in the church.
South Parish Record Book 1747-1868 Online interface
This volume is largely a church history of the South Parish from 1747 to 1868 and includes the South Parish covenant from 1747 as well as other founding documents. Additional records include parish meeting minutes, vital statistics such as births, baptisms, admissions, and marriages along with deaths, arranged by year, and membership lists by gender.


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