Massachusetts State Vital Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Massachusetts State Vital Records, 1841-1920
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Massachusetts, United States
Massachusetts flag.png
Flag of Massachusetts
US Locator Massachusetts.png
Location of Massachusetts
Record Description
Record Type Vital Records
Collection years 1841-1920
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


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.

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.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Massachusetts, State Vital Records, 1841-1920.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The following information may be found in these records:

Birth

  • 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

Marriage

  • 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
  • Officiator

Death

  • 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

Collection Content

Coverage Map

To see a coverage map of FamilySearch's holdings of Massachusetts marriages, click here.

Sample Images

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

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the Record
  2. Select the Record Type, Date Range, Volume, Town Range to view the 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

Record Finder

Consult the Massachusetts Research Tips and Strategies and its Record Finder to search other records

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

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 support@familysearch.org. 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 : 28 September 2017. Citing Secretary of the Commonwealth. State Archives, Boston.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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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.