Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Edward Geyer in the NEHGS newsletter

Featured in the NEHGS eNews Vol. 9, No. 24, Whole #324, May 30, 2007, Edited by Michael J. Leclerc and Valerie Beaudrault, is a question about Massachusetts State Prison Inmate Edward K. Geyer, born ca. 1827 in Maine. As far as I know, I'm not related to Edward Geyer (except perhaps sharing distant ancestors, somewhere back in Germany). My 2nd-great grandfather Frank Geyer did not arrive in America until 1876.

From the Online Genealogist

The 1860 United States Federal Census lists Edward K. Geyer, born about 1827- Maine, Residence 1860 – Charlestown, Middlesex, Massachusetts on page 6 as an Inmate of the State Prison. Do you know if any of the prison records are still available and, if so, how would I go about locating them?

The Massachusetts State Archives has the microfilm of the Charlestown State Prison for 1805–1930. These were microfilmed by the Family History Library in 1994. You can also borrow these from NEHGS, or your local FHL Library.

Indexes (items 1-7) 1805–1930 Entries of convicts (items 8-9) 1805-1824 Commitment register (item 10) 1818–1840 (FHL US/CAN Film # 1977970); Commitment registers 1840-1882 (FHL US/CAN Film # 1977971); Commitment registers 1882–1930 (FHL US/CAN Film # 1977972); Warden's memorandum of prisoners 1858–1902, and recommitment register 1805–1831 (FHL US/CAN Film # 1977973 Items 1-2).

The Massachusetts State Archives can be reached at:

Secretary of the Commonwealth
Massachusetts Archives
220 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125
Telephone: (617) 727-2816
Fax: (617) 288-8429

NEHGS does not own a copy of these microfilms. We do have a related item in our archives: a leather-bound volume with handwritten record of the medical treatment provided to inmates at the Massachusetts State Prison in Charlestown. End sheet has "Robert Clark Esqr Records commencing Jan 1816". Most entries just list the date, surname and treatment although a few provide more detail. R. Stanton Avery Special Collections Department, Call Number # Mss 538.

David Allen Lambert is the Society’s Online Genealogist. If you would like to ask him a question, contact him at or visit his blog at For more information about the Online Genealogist visit Please note that he will make every effort to reply to each message, but will respond on a first-come, first-served basis.


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