Massachusetts Vital Records.
Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates.

 
  • Certified or transcribed records of Massachusetts birth, marriage and or death events from 1921 - 2014, can be ordered directly from this web site.

  • Discover what type of detail is contained in each Massachusetts birth, marriage, and or death record before you request a search.

  • You can also find out how to obtain a Massachusetts birth, marriage or death record in person or through the mail.

  • Frequently Asked Questions:

 


"Most records in Massachusetts, including birth, marriage, divorce and death records, are considered public records. Records not accessible to the public are sealed or restricted records. They can include adoptions, a birth out of wedlock or a marriage under legal age."

This policy of "open access" is highly unusual for most states do not allow access for a specified period of time. The neighboring state of Rhode Island for example, does not allow access to death records until 50 years after the event and 100 years for births and marriages.

Massachusetts by far has one of the most complete and preserved collection of vital records of any state in the country. In fact as early as 1841, it was the first state in the country to attempt a statewide centralization of vital records.

Because of that centralization, researchers have the very good fortune, if they choose, of searching literally two sets of records. Every vital event - birth, marriage or death - must be recorded by the town or city clerk where the event occurred. A copy of this record is then sent to the state authorities. Hence, the two sets of records.

For researchers, this is truly a bonanza for if the town, city or even the county is not known, the statewide indexes can be consulted.

If the town or city is known, researchers can access records directly from the local town or city clerk's office. This is especially helpful when dealing with a common surname such as Smith, Jones or Brown.

Be aware however, that occasionally not all vital records were forwarded to the state. This was rare, but it did happen. Also, not all information recorded on the vital record was reported to the state. This too is a rare find. To be sure, one should always consult the detail at both locations if there is ever a doubt or question. It's also true that not every vital event was recorded. That's especially true of pre 20th century records.

Though some minor gaps in record locations do exist, the current statewide repository of vital records within the state can be succinctly divided into two main collections, or locations.


  • Statewide Location Of Vital Records

  • Each of these collections, or locations, are described in more detail by following the appropriate link. Both locations are based on the date on which the vital record event took place:

  • 1921 - 2014 (Department of Health)**

    **For current (last 90 day) events: The town or city clerk has up to 90 days to forward copies of all vital records to the state. Unfortunately, there are some towns that can take longer than 90 days and the state can be behind in indexing current events. Therefore, if you're looking for a recent vital record (last six - nine months or so), you may also need to know the specific town or city in which the event occurred.

  • 1841 - 1920 (Massachusetts State Archives)

  • Before 1841 (Town and or City Halls)

    For original records before 1841, your best bet is to contact the city or town in which the event occurred. In addition, each town or city clerk always has and still does, record every vital record in that town - right up to the present.


  • Massachusetts 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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 Vital Records

Birth 

Marriage

Divorce

Death 


Probate Records

You can easily order a 
probate file
, such as a will, a name change, a guardianship file or an administration file.


Newspaper Research

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a birth,
a marriage 
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United States
Naturalization Records


Where did they come from? How did they get here? And when did they arrive?


Massachusetts 
Census Records

Who really lived in that house in 1920?


Massachusetts
 City Directories

Researched as part of an overall family history project. We do not provide individual lookups.


Massachusetts Cemetery Research

Researched as part of an overall family history project. We do not provide individual lookups.


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Massachusetts
Research Guides

Cemeteries

Probate Courts

Registry of Deeds

Daily Newspapers

Research Links



Contents of Massachusetts Vital Records ] Massachusetts Vital Records From 1635 - 1841 ] Massachusetts Vital Records From 1841 - 1920 ] Massachusetts Vital Records From 1921 - 2014 - Order Online! ] Massachusetts Divorce Record Files - Order Online! ]

Massachusetts Document Retrieval ] Massachusetts Census Records ] Massachusetts Newspapers - Order an Obituary Search! ] Massachusetts Land & Deed Records - Research Value ] Naturalization Records in New England - Order Online! ] Massachusetts City Directories ] Massachusetts Probate Records - Wills - Order Online! ] Massachusetts Guide to Genealogical Research - Tools and Finding Aids ] Massachusetts Cemetery Research Services ] [ Massachusetts Vital Records - Order Online! ]

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