Massachusetts Vital Records.
Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates. 


What information will I find in these records?
 
  • This page explains the type of information found on Massachusetts birth, marriage and death certificates. 

  • As an alternative, you can also find out how to obtain a Massachusetts birth, marriage, divorce or death record in person or through the mail.

    Frequently Asked Questions:


Horse & Wagon Delivery Picture (11804 bytes)"The extent of detailed information contained in vital records varies not only from the type of record sought, but also by the time period in which it was recorded. In general, the older the record, especially older birth, marriage and death registers from the earlier part of the 20th century  - and especially the mid to late 19th century records -  do not contain as much detail."

Accuracy of the information can also be a factor. Information contained in a death certificate about a persons birth, eighty years before, is sometimes not as accurate as the information contained in that person's marriage record or birth certificate. The further one "gets away" from the actual event, the more distinct the possibility that the data is not accurate.

Specific information contained in the more contemporary vital records, i.e. post 1925, will usually include most, but, depending on the time span, not all, of the following information:

Birth Certificate

  • First, middle (sometimes, or initial) and last name
  • Place of birth including address and town/city
  • Day, month and year of birth; time of birth began recording in 1950's.
  • Name, age and address of father
  • Name, age and address of mother
  • Birthplace of father and mother (city, town, state, country; sometimes just state or country)
  • Occupation of father and mother (no longer recorded as of 1990's)
  • Number of previous children of the mother (not always filled in...and no longer recorded)

Marriage Certificate

  • Subject's "A" name and gender
  • Subject's "B" name and gender
  • Day, month and year of marriage
  • Exact place of marriage (often includes the church, the official, etc.)
  • Names and birthplaces of the subject "A" parents
  • Birthplace and age of "subject A" - sometimes has specific birth date
  • Names and birthplaces of the subject "B" parents
  • Birthplace and age of "subject B" - sometimes has specific birth date
  • Occupation of subject's "A" and "B"
  • Number of times married, divorced and or widowed

Death Certificate

  • First, Middle (sometimes, or initial) and last name
  • Place of death including a specific address, whether a residence or other institution.
  • The specific town or city of death and residence
  • Day, month and year of death
  • Age at death
  • Birth date and place of birth (not always accurate or known)
  • Marital status (single, divorced, widowed) name of spouse
  • Name of father (not always filled in)
  • Name of mother (not always filled in)
  • Birthplace of parents (not always known)
  • Causes of death, primary and secondary and/or contributing
  • Place and date of burial or cremation
  • Name of funeral home or director
  • Name of physician or medical examiner
  • Name of informant (sometimes states relationship to the decedent)
  • Researchers should note older records, i.e., pre 1920's, have limited medical information, i.e. the cause of death, recorded on death certificates and/or registers.

  • Related Vital Record Links

  • General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 46: Registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths.

  • General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 210: Adoption of Children and Change of Name.
     

  • Vital record information for all other states.

 

 

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