The term “Vital Records” refers to birth, marriage
and death records, which, along with census records,
are the basic tools of genealogy research.
All Massachusetts vital
records have been microfilmed for the years 1841
– 1905. These records are indexed
by name, for the entire state, for these years.
If the birth, marriage,
or death of your family member happened anywhere
in Massachusetts during these years, I can look
up the record for you.
Beginning in 1841, the Massachusetts state government required
that cities and towns send a copy of each vital
record to a central state office. This means that
two sets of records exist for every birth, marriage
and death since 1841 – one in the original
city or town, and one at the MA State Archives
in Boston MA (617-727-2816.)
Records before 1841: Before
1841, there was only one set of records. These
older vital records were generally kept by a town
or city clerk. Each clerk recorded varying degrees
of information, as there was no statewide standard.
The result is a haphazard collection of vital
records that can sometimes be frustrating to find
and/or read. For the years prior to 1841, I have
access to records for some towns in Western and
Central Massachusetts – the years for which
records are available vary by town.
me with your request.
Records after 1905: For
years after 1905, records are held in the city
or town where the event happened, and a copy of every record is also at
the Registry of Vital Records in Boston MA (617-740-2600.)
I live in Springfield MA and can research Springfield Vital Records up to 1999. I can also research records up to 1999 in West Springfield MA, Agawam MA, and Chicopee MA.
Please note: West Springfield, Agawam and Chicopee charge a small fee to access records, $2-$5, which will be added to the fee I charge.
For all other areas of MA, if you know which city or town to contact, you
may write/call that city or town hall to request
copies of these records - or - I
can handle the request for you.
For records after 1905, if you don’t know
which city or town your record is in, contact
Registry of Vital Records and Statistics in
Many place names in MA are “unofficial,”
or no longer exist – some villages have become
lost to history, now part of larger towns. For a
listing of these unofficial and/or old place names,
click this link:
Old & Unofficial Place Names in MA