Massachusetts Marriage Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: Massachusetts Marriage Records, 1841-1915 .
- 1 Collection Time Period
- 2 Record Description
- 3 How to Use This Record
- 4 Record History
- 5 Related Web Sites
- 6 Related Wiki Articles
- 7 Sources of Information For This Collection
- 8 Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
Collection Time Period
The years covered by this collection range from 1841-1915.
Marriage records were handwritten or later typed on pre-printed forms with multiple entries on each page.
Key genealogical facts found in all are:
- Name of bride and groom, Place and date of marriage, marital status, and number of marriage (in later records)
- Age, and place of birth (in later records)
- Residence and occupation
- Names of parents
- Name, residence, and official status of person by whom married
How to Use This Record
Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the index. Name indexes to marriages make it possible to access a specific marriage record quickly. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:
- The county where the marriage occurred.
- The name of the person at the time of marriage.
- The approximate marriage date.
- The marriage place.
- The name of the intended spouse.
Use the locator information found in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestors in the marriage records. Compare the information in the marriage record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.
When you have located your ancestor’s marriage 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. For example:
- 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.
- Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as military records.
- Use the parent’s birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
- 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.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
Keep in mind:
- The information in marriage 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 one marriage record to another record.
If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Search for the marriage record of the marriage partner if known.
- Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical 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.
Why This Record Was Created
Marriage records were recorded to document marriages and property ownership.
The marriage date, place, residence of bride and groom, occupation are fairly reliable. Other information such as age or birth place is dependent on the memory of the informant.
Related Web Sites
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Related Wiki Articles
Contributions to This Article
| 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.
Sources of Information For This Collection
"Massachusetts Marriage Records, 1841-1915." database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/). Images obtained from various repositories throughout Massachusetts.
- 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.
Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from the record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find th record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you do not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched in found in the Wiki Article: How to Create Source Citations for FamilySearch Historical Records Collections
Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection
"Massachusetts Marriages, 1841-1915." database and images, FamilySearch: accessed March 25, 2011. entry for John F. Anderson and Bertha C. Peterson, married 15 October 1890 citing Marriage Records, FHL film 1415227; Massachusetts State Archives, Boston Massachusetts.