Massachusetts Land Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Massachusetts


Access the Records
Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Massachusetts, United States
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Flag of Massachusetts
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Location of Massachusetts
Record Description
Record Type Land Records
Collection years 1620-1986
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in the Collection?

This collection contains land and property records from the Massachusetts Land Office and county courthouses. Records include land grants, patents, deeds, and mortgages. This collection includes all counties in Massachusetts.

To Browse this Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986.

Collection Content

Sample Image

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

Land records usually contain the following information:

  • Names of interested parties
  • Date of transaction
  • Legal description of the property
  • Monies exchanged
  • Details of the transaction
  • Names of witnesses

How Do I Search the Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The names of interested parties.
  • The approximate date of the land transaction.
  • The location of the property.

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the County
  2. Select the Record Type, Year Range, and Volume Number or Letter which takes you to the images.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. 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.

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?

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Make a photocopy of the deed, or extract the genealogical information needed. 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 residence and names of the parents to locate church and census records.
  • Search for the land transactions of a couple and their children. The parents may have sold or given property to a son or daughter. Such transactions confirm relationships that might not be found in other records.
  • Search for records of people in the county who shared a surname. These may have been the couple’s parents, uncles, or other relatives. Your ancestor may have been an heir who sold inherited land that had belonged to parents or grandparents.
  • To find later generations, search the land records a few years before and after a person’s death. Your ancestor may have sold or given land to his or her heirs before death, or the heirs may have sold the land after the individual died. For daughters, the names of their husbands are often provided. For sons, the given names of their wives may be included. Heirs may have sold their interest in the land to another heir even though the record may not indicate this. Continue this process for identifying each succeeding generation.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Some counties were subdivided or the boundaries may have changed. Consider searching neighboring counties as well since that courthouse may have been more convenient for the person.
  • One deed does not usually give sufficient information about a couple and their children. A careful study of all deeds for the person or the family will yield a richer return of information.
  • For each parcel of land owned, you should obtain two documents:
  1. The deed that documents when ownership transferred to the individual or the family and
  2. The deed that documents when ownership was transferred to someone else.

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

  • Look for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • 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 localities.

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 Land Records, 1620-1986." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. County courthouses and offices, Massachusetts.
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.