Massachusetts Marriage Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Massachusetts Marriages, 1841-1915
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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 Marriage Records
Collection years 1841-1915
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in This Collection?

The collection consists of a name index and images of Massachusetts statewide marriage registers. It covers the years 1841 to 1915.

The marriage registers are in numbered volumes arranged by year then by individual town. Early marriage records were handwritten; later they were typed on pre-printed forms with multiple entries on each page.

General Information About These Records

Beginning in 1841, in accordance with a new law, municipal clerks sent in the registrations they had collected to the state once a year. As a result, after that date records were available at the town and state levels. Boston did not comply with the law until about 1848. Population coverage is near 100% for later years. Coverage is not as complete for some earlier years.

Marriage records were recorded to document marriages and property ownership.

The marriage date, place, residence of bride and groom and occupation are fairly reliable. Other information such as age or birth place is dependent on the memory and reliability of the informant.

Included In This Collection

The following are included in this collection:

  • Massachusetts State Archives. “Marriage Records”. Digital images of originals housed at the Massachusetts State Archives, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts. Secretary of State.“Marriage register, 1901-1905”. Digital images of originals housed at the Massachusetts State Archives, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts. Secretary of the Commonwealth. “Marriages, 1841-1895”. Digital images of originals housed at the Massachusetts Division of Vital Statistics, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts. Various Town Clerks. “Marriage Records”. Digital images of originals housed at the Massachusetts State Archives, Boston, Massachusetts

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The following information may be found in these records:

Marriage

  • Date and place of registration
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Full names of bride and groom
  • Ages of the bride and groom
  • Residence of each at the time of marriage
  • Occupation(s) of the bride and groom
  • Place of birth
  • Number of marriages (in later records)
  • Names of parents
  • Name, residence, and official status of person by whom married

Collection Content

Sample Image

Coverage Map

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 person at the time of marriage
  • The date of the marriage
  • The place where the marriage occurred

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

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 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 spouse 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
  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records
  • Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual
  • Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married 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

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

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names
  • Check for a different 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 counties

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 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 Marriages, 1841-1915." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 5 June 2018. 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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