Massachusetts Birth Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|Access the Records|
Massachusetts Births, 1841-1915
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Massachusetts, United States|
|Flag of Massachusetts|
|Location of Massachusetts|
|Record Type||Birth Records|
- 1 What is in This Collection?
- 2 Collection Content
- 3 What Can this Collection Tell Me?
- 4 How Do I Search the 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?
The collection "Massachusetts Births, 1841-1915" consists of an index and images of state birth records from 1841-1915. The registers of births are first arranged in volumes by year. Within the volumes the birth entries are arranged by town then numerically by the number it was entered into the registers. May include a few births for 1840.
General Information About These Records
The state birth registers are in bound volumes arranged by year, then by town. Entries within towns are arranged numerically.
Most towns in Massachusetts began recording vital events (births, marriages, and deaths) many years before it became state law. These records up to 1850 for about 215 Massachusetts towns have been published. Beginning in 1841, the state of Massachusetts mandated that a copy of each event recorded in a town or city be sent to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, which means that two sources exist for each event after 1841 – the town or city and the state. Most towns were in compliance with the law by the late 1840s. It is estimated that by the late 1800s, most births were reported.
What Can this Collection Tell Me?
Key genealogical facts found in the Massachusetts Birth Records may contain the following information:
- Date and place of birth registration
- Full name of child
- Day, month, and year of birth
- Place of birth
- Name of parents
- Father's occupation
- Residence of parents
How Do I Search the Collection?
Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:
- The name of your ancestor
- The date of the birth
- The place of birth.
Search the Index
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.
|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at Massachusetts, births, 1841-1915. Some catalog records link to multiple references. In this case, click on a reference 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?
When you have located your ancestor’s birth record, carefully evaluate each piece of information about them. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors.
I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?
- Use the birth date 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.
- The father’s occupation can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
- The parents' birth places can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- It is often helpful to extract the information on all children with the same parents. If the surname is unusual, you may want to compile birth entries for every person of the same surname and sort them into families based on the names of the parents. Continue to search the birth records to identify siblings, parents, and other relatives in the same or other generations who were born in the same county or nearby.
- The information in birth records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
- Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
- There is also some variation in the information given from record to record.
- If you are unable to find your ancestor look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
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.
- Look for another index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
- Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.
For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records).
Known Issues with This Collection
| 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 Births, 1841-1915." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Citing Secretary of the Commonwealth. Massachusetts 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.