While the bulk of the documents in the Massachusetts Archives Collection involve town and city names, the location field is searchable by a variety of additional geographic landmarks such as rivers, mountains, hills, plains, islands, capes, and bays, as well as counties and forts. These place names are not limited to the present-day boundaries of Massachusetts, but include locations throughout the colonial world, particularly those in present-day New England and New York.
Every effort has been made to list these geographic landmarks under their modern names, but in several cases it was impossible to identify the current name of the geographic location and the name has been recorded as it appears in the document. Also, town boundaries have often been altered over the years. In these cases both the names of the town as it existed at the time of the document and the name of the town as it exists today have been entered into the location field. Please consult Historical Data Relating to Counties, Cities and Towns in Massachusetts published in 1997 by the New England Historic Genealogical Society for changes in town names and borders. Please see the Thesaurus for a list of standard terms, name variants, and cross references for towns/cities and geographic landmarks.