Massachusetts Deaths (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915 .

Collection Time Period

This collection covers the years 1841 to 1915.

Record Description

The earlier records were recorded by hand in a register style format. In the early 1900’s individual death certificates came into use.

Record Content

Massachusetts Statewide Death 1853.jpg

Key genealogical facts found in Massachusetts Statewide Deaths are:

  • Full name
  • Specific town or city of death and residence
  • Day, month and year of death
  • Age at death
  • Place and date of birth
  • Gender, marital status, and sometimes name of spouse
  • Name of parents and their place of birth (not always filled in)
  • Place and date of burial
  • Name of informant (sometimes gives information as to relationship to the deceased)
  • Name of the funeral home or director
  • Race
  • Occupation

How to Use the Records

The death record may provide clues for further research: date and place of birth of the individual, names of parents, place of residence, and name of spouse. Earlier records do not contain as much information as the records created from the late 19th century onward. The early records may only contain the name of the deceased, date and place of death, residence and parental information and sometimes place of birth and occupation. The information listed below is for the more recent records. All of the information does not appear in every instance.

Record History

Starting in 1841 the state required that a copy of each death recorded in a town or city be sent to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Since 1896 the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics has been the repository for the copies. Population coverage is near 100% for later years. Coverage is not as complete for some earlier years.

Why This Record Was Created

Deaths were recorded to serve public health needs. They were also used to probate wills and administer the deceased individual’s estate.

Record Reliability

Death information is generally reliable for the place and date of death of the deceased. Other information will only be as reliable as the informant’s knowledge or memory.

Related Web Sites

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Related Wiki Articles

Massachusetts Vital Records

Massachusetts Vital Records Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Contributor's Invite

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.

Style Guide

For guidelines to use in creating wiki articles that describe collections of images and indexes produced by FamilySearch, see: FamilySearch Wiki: Guidelines for FamilySearch Collections pages

Sources of Information for This Collection:

"Massachusetts Death Records, 1841-1915", database, FamilySearch; from Massachusetts State Archives. "Deaths, 1841-1971". Massachusetts Division of Vital Statistics, State House, Boston, Massachusetts. FHL microfilm. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah

The format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections is found in the following link: How to Create Source Citations for FamilySearch Historical Records Collections

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections

Please add sample citations to this article following the format guidelines in the wiki article listed above.

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection

  • United States. Bureau of Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From Family Searc Internet ( Setpemper 29.2006), Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base and Meridian; sheet 9B,line 71.
  • Mexico, Districto Federal, Catholic Church Records 1886-1933, digital imagbes, from FamilySearch Internet ( April 22, 2010), Baptism of Adolfo Femandez Jimenez, 1 Feb, 1910, San Pedro Apostol, Cuahimalpa, Districto Federal, Mexico Film number 0227023