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How to Find Massachusetts Death Records

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Massachusetts Towns have been recording deaths since the 1600s. Statewide registration began in 1841.

Next Step: When did the death occur? [edit | edit source]

Death Records
Choose a time period:

Learn more about U.S. Death Records

Deaths before 1841[edit | edit source]

For deaths that occurred during this time period, try the following databases:

Includes Index and Digital Images

1600-1850 - At Massachusetts Vital Records Project Free; Transcriptions and images of Massachusetts town vital records. Includes births, marriages, and deaths. The collection is comprised of records for over 150 Massachusetts towns.

1620-1988 at Ancestry ($), free at family history centers. Database and images of Massachusetts town records that include births, marriages, and deaths. The collection is comprised of records for over 260 Massachusetts towns.

1620-1850 at Ancestry ($), free at family history centers. Index to published town death records for many, but not all Massachusetts towns. Also on AmericanAncestors.org ($); free at family history centers.

1795-1910 - Massachusetts Death and Burials at FamilySearch Free at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries; Index to death and burial records from the state of Massachusetts.
Can't find your ancestor in the index? Tips for searching indexes
No death record for your ancestor? Other records with death information
Return to top: Choose another death year


Deaths from 1841 through 1925[edit | edit source]

Massachusetts was the first state to initiate statewide registration of vital records beginning in 1841. However, the city of Boston, which had kept records prior to this time, didn't start reporting their vital statistics to the state until about 1850. Records from 1841 to 1925 are housed at the Massachusetts Archives. Every five years, another block of five years is transferred from the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics to the Archives.

For deaths that occurred during this time period, try the following databases:

Includes Index and Digital Images
Massachusetts, Birth, Marriage, and Death Records, 1841-1920, at the Massachusetts Archives Free; Includes links to Family Search databases with digitized images of Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841 to 1920.

1841-1920 - At FamilySearch.org Free; Browse only collection. Includes deaths, 1916-1920 and amended vital records, 1841-1920

1620-1988 - Ancestry.com ($) free at family history libraryies; Database and images of Massachusetts town records that include births, marriages, and deaths. The collection is comprised of records for over 260 Massachusetts towns.
Can't find your ancestor in the index? Tips for searching indexes
No death record for your ancestor? Other records with death information
Return to top: Choose another death year


Deaths from 1926 to Present[edit | edit source]

Death records beginning in 1921 to the present are located at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. The MDPH maintains no online index for these records. Try to find your ancestor in one of the indexes below.

For deaths that occurred during the time period, try the following databases:

Includes Index and Digital Images
1970-2003 - At FamilySearch.org Free; Includes index only. Also on Ancestry.com ($), free at family history centers.

1901-1980 - At FamilySearch.org ($), free at family history centers; Searchable index of Massachusetts death records, 1901-1980.

1620-1988 - At FamilySearch.org free at family history centers; Database and images of Massachusetts town records that include births, marriages, and deaths. The collection is comprised of records for over 260 Massachusetts towns.
Social Security Death Index

Order the Certificate[edit | edit source]

With an exact date (from your records or an index above) you can order a copy of the death record for a fee from the following locations:

To Order Death Certificates
From Town Clerk
Massachusetts Vital Records
From Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
Pros Cons Pros Cons
It's cheaper and faster than ordering from the state Town websites can be more difficult to use Onsite researchers can access public death indexes Only certified copies of records are issued, regardless of intended use. It's cheaper to order the record from the town clerk

If you do not know the exact date or place of death:
For a fee, the Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics will do a 10 year search.

If you do not want to order the death record, there are other records with death information you can search.

Return to top: Choose another death year

Related Wiki Articles[edit | edit source]