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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. Please e-mail 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 the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics in Boston MA.

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