How to Find Massachusetts Death RecordsEdit This Page

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United States Gotoarrow.png US Vital Records Gotoarrow.png How to Find United States Deaths Gotoarrow.png Massachusetts Gotoarrow.png Vital Records Gotoarrow.png Massachusetts Deaths

Massachusetts Towns have been recording deaths since the 1600s. Statewide registration began in 1841.

Next Step: When did the death occur?

Death Records
Choose a time period:

Learn more about U.S. Death Records

Deaths before 1841

For deaths that occurred during this time period, try the following databases:

Includes Index and Digital Images

1600-1850 - At Massachusetts Vital Records Project Free; Transcriptions and images of Massachusetts town vital records. Includes births, marriages, and deaths. The collection is comprised of records for over 150 Massachusetts towns.

1620-1988 - use Ancestry Institution at FamilySearch Centers/Libraries Free at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries; Database and images of Massachusetts town records that include births, marriages, and deaths. The collection is comprised of records for over 260 Massachusetts towns.

1620-1850 - use Ancestry Institution at FamilySearch Centers/Libraries Free at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries; Index to published town death records for many, but not all Massachusetts towns.

1795-1910 - Massachusetts Death and Burials at FamilySearch Free at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries; Index to death and burial records from the state of Massachusetts.

Early-1850 - use American Ancestors at the Family History Library Free at the Family History Library; Includes index and digital images of published town vital records.
Can't find your ancestor in the index? Tips for searching indexes
No death record for your ancestor? Other records with death information
Return to top: Choose another death year


Deaths from 1841 thru 1920

Massachusetts was the first state to initiate statewide registration of vital records beginning in 1841. However, the city of Boston, which had kept records prior to this time, didn't start reporting their vital statistics to the state until about 1850. Records from 1841 to 1920 are housed at the Massachusetts Archives. Every five years, another block of five years is transferred from the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics to the Archives.

For deaths that occurred during this time period, try the following databases:

Includes Index and Digital Images

1841-1920 - At FamilySearch.org Free; Browse only collection. Includes deaths, 1916-1920 and amended vital records, 1841-1920

1841-1910 - Massachusetts Archives database Free; Searchable index of Massachusetts birth, marriage, and death records.

1841-1910 - use American Ancestors at the Family History Library Free at the Family History Library; Includes index, digital images, and amended vital records

1620-1988 - use Ancestry Institution at FamilySearch Centers/Libraries Free at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries; Database and images of Massachusetts town records that include births, marriages, and deaths. The collection is comprised of records for over 260 Massachusetts towns.
Can't find your ancestor in the index? Tips for searching indexes
No death record for your ancestor? Other records with death information
Return to top: Choose another death year


Deaths from 1921 thru present

Death records beginning in 1921 to the present are located at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. The MDPH maintains no online index for these records. Try to find your ancestor in one of the indexes below.

For deaths that occurred during the time period, try the following databases:

Includes Index and Digital Images
1970-2003 - At FamilySearch.org Free; Includes index only

1970-2003 - use Ancestry Institution at FamilySearch Centers/Libraries Free; at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries; Searchable index of Massachusetts death records, 1970-2003.

1901-1980 - use Ancestry Institution at FamilySearch Centers/Libraries Free; at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries; Searchable index of Massachusetts death records, 1901-1980.

1620-1988 - use Ancestry Institution at FamilySearch Centers/Libraries Free at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries; Database and images of Massachusetts town records that include births, marriages, and deaths. The collection is comprised of records for over 260 Massachusetts towns.

Order the Certificate

With an exact date (from your records or an index above) you can order a copy of the death record for a fee from the following locations:

To Order Death Certificates
From Town Clerk
Massachusetts Vital Records
From Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
Pros Cons Pros Cons
It's cheaper and faster than ordering from the state Town websites can be more difficult to use Onsite researchers can access public death indexes Only certified copies of records are issued, regardless of intended use. It's cheaper to order the record from the town clerk

If you do not know the exact date or place of death:
For a fee, the Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics will do a 10 year search.

If you do not want to order the death record, there are other records with death information you can search.

Return to top: Choose another death year

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  • This page was last modified on 23 July 2015, at 14:19.
  • This page has been accessed 1,342 times.