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"Massachusetts State Law: "Chapter 46: Return and Registry of Births, Marriages, and Deaths" mandates non-restricted marriage records are public records and are available for review, inspection, transcribing, or purchasing certified copies."

What are my Options to Get a MA Marriage Certificate?

In two words, it depends.

It's not difficult, though. It depends on why you need the record and where you currently live, as some state and government agencies will only accept state-certified copies and not city or town ones.

You'll most likely need a State-certified record if you need the certificate for any official purpose, such as obtaining a United States passport, processing a "REAL ID" application, updating your driver's license, or applying for dual citizenship or social security benefits.

You can get a state-certified copy of your marriage certificate here or at the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.

Either one is identical as they come from the same source.

A state-certified copy is the most official copy one can obtain.

Read further for more information about security and detailed information on state-certified records.

What if I Don't Need a State-Certified Copy for an Official Purpose?

If you only need a copy for your records, say for general information, but still want a certified copy, a city or town marriage certificate should fill the need perfectly.

City or town- certified marriage certificates are obtained by contacting the town or city clerk's office in Massachusetts in the town or city where the couple registered to get married.

Some larger cities, such as Worcester and Boston, have online marriage order forms on their websites, but many smaller towns, such as Medfield, still only accept mail-in or walk-in applications.

The biggest plus of city or town certificates is that they are generally less expensive than state-certified copies. The most significant disadvantage is that they can take longer to obtain and appear less official than state copies.

Most importantly, they are not acceptable by some agencies, such as Social Security, or for applying for driver’s licenses and passports, especially if you live outside the country or in Colorado or California.

Enhanced Security of State-Certified Marriage Records over a City or Town Copy

  • •  Embossed with Official Raised Massachusetts State Seal
  • •  Signed by the State Registrar of Vital Statistics
  • •  Contains the Original Date of Issue
  • •  Stamped with Current Date of Issue
  • •  Printed on Secure, Watermarked, Heavyweight Paper
  • •  Embedded with a Scannable, Digital Bar-Code for Tracking

Genealogical Information Recorded on Marriage Records

  • •  Subject's "A" name and gender
  • •  Subject's "B" name and gender
  • •  Month, day, and year of marriage
  • •  Exact place of marriage (often includes the church, the official, etc.)
  • •  Birthplace and age of "Subject A" - sometimes has the specific birth date
  • •  Names and birthplaces of the subject "A" parents
  • •  Birthplace and age of "Subject B" - sometimes has the specific birth date
  • •  Names and birthplaces of the subject "B" parents
  • •  Occupation of subject's "A" and "B"
  • •  Number of times married, divorced, and or widowed (Does not provide former spouse's names)

Order Your State-certified Marriage Record Today!

Record Accessibility: Are Marriage Records Public in Massachusetts?

In short, yes, most are public.

However, if the original birth certificate of one of the spouses is restricted because birth parents were not married at the time of their child's birth, or if an adoption occurred and the name changed, then that limits the resulting marriage record from public view.

Some agencies or city clerks also call these “impounded marriage records.”

These records are restricted to the individuals named on the marriage record, the birth parent(s) named on the record, or a legal guardian.

Certificates can still be obtained directly by the subject(s) or the birth parent(s) named on the record, but these restricted marriage records are not open to the public.

Read more about getting access to restricted marriage records.

What if I Want to Get Marriage Records for Genealogical Purposes?

We also offer transcribed marriage records for genealogical studies if you don't need a certified town or city copy and want the information for a family history project.

These are not certified, are sent by email as PDFs, and are available at a reasonable fee of $20 each.

Here is an example of Massachusetts marriage records transcribed for genealogy.

Transcriptions are recorded directly from the state marriage certificates at the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics in Boston. All genealogical-related information is recorded, checked, and rechecked for spelling and accuracy.

Order a Transcribed Massachusetts Marriage Record Today for Your Family History Project!

Author Profile

About the Author

J. James Simonson, a Suffolk University Journalism graduate, has been a key player in genealogy research since the 1990s. Renowned for his work in Massachusetts birth, marriage, and death documents, he has helped piece together complex family histories. Simonson’s talent for revealing hidden family connections and unknown relatives has greatly enriched family trees. His research stretches from local New England records to global historical sources. Actively participating in genealogy conferences, Simonson is dedicated to helping people uncover their ancestral stories, significantly impacting the field.