Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
United States
Massachusetts
Access the Records
Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001 .
CID2061550
{{{CID2}}}
{{{CID3}}}
{{{CID4}}}
{{{CID5}}}
{{{CID6}}}
{{{CID7}}}
{{{CID8}}}
{{{CID9}}}
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 and Town
Collection years 1626-2001
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in the Collection?

The collection consists of vital and town records acquired from local town clerk offices for the years 1626 to 2001. Some of these records have been indexed and are searchable. Additional images and indexed records will be published as they become available.

The counties included in this collection are as follows:

  • Barnstable
  • Berkshire
  • Bristol
  • Dukes
  • Essex
  • Franklin
  • Franklin, Hampshire
  • Hampden
  • Hampshire
  • Middlesex
  • Nantucket
  • Norfolk
  • Plymouth
  • Quabin Reservoir
  • Suffolk
  • Worcester

To Browse this Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001.

Collection Content

Coverage Map

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

Sample Images

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

The information found varies by record type and time period. You may find any of the following:

Birth records may include the following information:

  • Date of registration
  • Name and gender of child
  • Date and place of birth
  • Parents' names and place of residence
  • Father's occupation
  • Parents' birthplace

Marriage records generally include the following information:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Names of the bride and groom
  • Ages of the bride and groom
  • Marital status of each
  • Occupation of groom
  • Birthplace(s) of bride and groom
  • Residence at the time of marriage
  • Parents' names and their residence
  • Name, residence and office of officiator
  • Name of informant

Death records usually include the following information:

  • Name and gender of deceased
  • Marital status of deceased
  • Age of deceased in years, months, days
  • Cause of death
  • Place of internment
  • Birthplace of deceased
  • Parents' names of name of spouse if married
  • Name of informant

How Do I Search the Collection?

Before searching the collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the individual or individuals.
  • The approximate date the event occurred.
  • The place where the event occurred.

If the town has an index, start with the index. It generally contains information that will help you find your ancestor more quickly.

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


Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the County
  2. Select the Town
  3. Select the Record Type, Date and Volume which takes you to 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.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's 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 to locate church and land records.
  • Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
  • The name of the officiator may be a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county.
  • The name of the undertaker, mortuary, or cemetery 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 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.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • The information in the records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as more recent records.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Check for an index. There are often indexes created by local genealogical and historical societies.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

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 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, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 5 January 2017. Town clerk offices, Massachusetts.
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.

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.