Town Records

After Lebanon was chartered in 1761 and after the number of residents had warranted electing selectmen and other officers, meetings were held at least annually. Minutes and notes from these meetings were written into the town record books. The contents of these records are varied and include elections, decisions about town public works such as roads and buildings, tax assessments, marriage records, other scattered vital records, as well as such matters as ear mark registrations for sheep or cattle.

Originals of the town records were kept by the town clerk. Because these originals are fragile, access is restricted to the earliest records. But microfilm copies (without an index) of these early records is available in the Lebanon Public Library and can be viewed on one of their microfilm readers.

About 1917 the NH State Legislature requested that all NH towns send their earliest town record books to Concord, where they were transcribed by hand into another set of town record books. Most of these records go to 1825 or the 1840s, depending on the town. These transcripts are generally much easier to read than the originals. But because the handwriting in the originals is not always very legible the copies may be more accessible, but they may also contain transcription errors.

The advantage of the State series of town records is that every name in these volumes has been indexed on a set of index cards for each different name in each town. The records and the indexes have been microfilmed and are available for viewing at the State Library (20 Park Street, Concord, NH). This is an extremely useful, if somewhat eclectic, set of records.

More recent town records should available at the City Clerk’s office in the lower level of City Hall. Contact the City Clerk for further information.

Current minutes from City Council Meetings are posted online.

The Lebanon Historical Society and the Lebanon Public Library have copies of the Lebanon Annual Reports. These began in the latter part of the nineteenth century and continue till the present. The most valuable resources in the Annual Reports are the vital records for each years. These ceased being published after the City of Lebanon was incorporated in 1958.

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