Massachusetts Deaths - FamilySearch Historical Records
|Access the Records|
Massachusetts Deaths, 1841-1915, 1921-1924
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Flag of Massachusetts|
|Location of Massachusetts|
|Record Type||Vital (Death)|
|Massachusetts Archives Division, Boston|
What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]
The collection consists of an index and images of Massachusetts statewide death registers and certificates for the years 1841 to 1915 and 1921-1924. When deaths were recorded on register forms, the second page of the form is on the next image. The death registers and certificates are in numbered volumes arranged by year then by individual town. Starting in 1841, the state required that a copy of each death recorded in a town or city be sent to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Since 1896, the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics has been the repository for the copies. Population coverage is near 100% for later years. Coverage is not as complete for some earlier years.
Deaths were recorded to serve public health needs. They were also used to probate wills and administer the deceased individual’s estate. The information is generally reliable for the place and date of death of the deceased. Other information will only be as reliable as the informant’s knowledge or memory. The earlier records were recorded by hand in a register style format. In the early 1900’s, individual death certificates came into use.
Image Visibility[edit | edit source]
Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.
What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]
The following information may be found in these records:
- Town and year where death recorded
- Full name and age of deceased
- Death date and place of death
- Gender, marital status and occupation
- Date and place of birth
- Parents' names
- Cause of death
- Place and date of burial
- Name of informant (sometimes shows a relationship to deceased)
- Name of the funeral home or director
Collection Content[edit | edit source]
Sample Image[edit | edit source]
Digital Folder Number List[edit | edit source]This collection was published as a DGS browse collection. The list does not contain any description of the DGS folder's content. A table listing each DGS number and its contents can be found at Massachusett Deaths Digital Folder Number List.
How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]
Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:
- The name of your ancestor
- The approximate death date
- The place where the death occurred
Search the Index[edit | edit source]Search by name on the Collection Details Page.
- Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
- Click Search to show possible matches
View the Images[edit | edit source]To view images in this collection:
- Look at the Massachusetts Deaths Digital Folder Number List article to determine the folder/film number for the images you want to see
- Go to the Browse Page
- Select the Film number to view the images
|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog Massachusetts, Deaths, 1841-1915. Some catalog records link to multiple references. In this case, click on a reference to find a camera icon to see images.|
How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]
Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.
What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]
I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]
- Add any new information to your records
- Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find or verify their birth records and parents' names
- Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records
- Use the residence and names of the parents (if the deceased is a child) to locate church and land records
- Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records
- The name of the undertaker or mortuary could lead you to funeral and cemetery records, which often include the names and residences of other family members
- Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual
- Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the deceased who may have died or been buried in the same county or nearby This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify
I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]
- Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names
- Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties
Research Helps[edit | edit source]
The following articles will help you research your family in the state of Massachusetts.
Other FamilySearch Collections[edit | edit source]
These collections may have additional materials to help you with your research.
FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]
- Births, marriages (1841-1895), and deaths (1841-1899)
- Massachusetts vital records, 1896-1897, 1899-1900
- Register of births, marriages, deaths, 1901-1905
- Massachusetts birth, marriage, death records, 1906-1910, from town clerks
- Massachusetts vital records deaths, births, marriages, 1911-1915
- Massachusetts, vital records (1916-1920)
FamilySearch Historical Records[edit | edit source]
- Massachusetts Deaths and Burials, 1795-1910
- Massachusetts State Vital Records, 1841-1920
- Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001
- Massachusetts Town Deaths Index, ca. 1640-1961
- Massachusetts Death Index, 1970-2003
FamilySearch Digital Library[edit | edit source]
- Guide to the public vital records of Massachusetts. Boston, Massachusetts : Historical Records Survey, 1942
- Carroll D. Wright. Report on the custody and condition of the public records of parishes, towns, and counties. Boston, Massachusetts : Wright & Potter, 1889
Known Issues[edit | edit source]
Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]
Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.