Massachusetts State Vital Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|Access the Records|
Massachusetts, State Vital Records, 1841-1920 .
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Massachusetts, United States|
|Flag of Massachusetts|
|Location of Massachusetts|
|Record Type||Vital Records|
- 1 What is in This Collection?
- 2 What Can These Records Tell Me?
- 3 Collection Content
- 4 How Do I Search This Collection?
- 5 What Do I Do Next?
- 6 Known Issues with This Collection
- 7 Citing This Collection
- 8 How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
What is in This Collection?
This collection includes births, marriages, and deaths from 1916 to 1920, as well as state amendments to vital records from 1841 to 1920. The records were obtained from the state archives in Boston.
For a detailed guide to Massachusetts Vital Records, see the Massachusetts Genealogy Guide for that topic.
To Browse This Collection
|You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Massachusetts, State Vital Records, 1841-1920.|
General Information About These Records
Early Massachusetts vital records were recorded by town clerks. Records of births, marriages, and deaths to 1850 for about 215 towns have been published. Most of these are on microfilm and microfiche at the Family History Library. These often include information from town, church, cemetery, county, and other records. Although records of about 100 towns have not been published in book form, many of these records have been published in periodicals such as the Mayflower Descendant, with concentration on Plymouth, Bristol, and Barnstable Counties.
What Can These Records Tell Me?
Information found in birth records may include:
- Date and place of record
- Date and place of birth
- Name of child
- Gender and race
- Names of parents
- Residence of parents
- Occupation of father
- Birthplace of father
- Birthplace of mother
- Family History Library Microfilm and item numbers for the source materials
Information found in marriage records may include:
- Date and place of marriage
- Full names of bride and groom
- Residences of each
- Ages of each
- Occupation of groom
- Birthplace(s) of bride and groom
- Name of bride's and groom’s parents
- Number of marriages
Information found in death records may include:
- Date of death
- Name of deceased
- Gender, race, and marital status
- Age of deceased in years, months and days
- Cause of death
- Residence or place of death
- Occupation of deceased
- Place of birth
- Parents' names
- Parents' birthplace
- Burial information
To see a coverage map of FamilySearch's holdings of Massachusetts marriages, click here.
How Do I Search This Collection?
Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:
- The name of the individual
- The type of event (birth, marriage, or death)
- The name at the time of the event
- Other identifying information such as the approximate date and place of the event
Search the Index
View the Images
View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
- Select the Record
- Select the Record Type, Date Range, Volume, Town Range to view the images.
|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at Massachusetts, State Vital Records, 1841-1920. Some catalog records link to multiple digital image records. In this case, click on a digital image record to find a camera icon to see images.|
How Do I Analyze the Results?
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?
I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?
- 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 marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information
- Use the marriage number to identify previous marriages
- 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
- Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have been born, married, or died 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
- Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct
- Information listed on vital records was given by an informant. Learn the relationship of the informant to your ancestor. The closer the relationship of the informant to the ancestor and whether or not the informant was present at the time of the event can help determine the accuracy of the information found on the record
I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?
- Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names
- Search the indexes and records of nearby localities
Known Issues with This Collection
For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to email@example.com. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.
Citing This Collection
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.
- Collection Citation
"Massachusetts State Vital Records, 1841-1920." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Citing Secretary of the Commonwealth. State Archives, Boston.
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.
How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
| We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records. |
Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.