Massachusetts Town Marriages Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Record Description

This collection includes records from 1638 to 1961. It is an index to various town and vital marriages from these counties: Berkshire, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester. A few church records are included.

Record Content

The birth records usually contain:

  • Name of child
  • Gender
  • Parent's name
  • Birth date
  • Birth place
  • Parent's residence
  • Father's occupation
  • Birthplace of parents
  • Name of informant

The marriage records usually contain:

  • Page or certificate number
  • Marriage date
  • Names of bride and groom
  • Residence of bride and groom
  • Age of bride and groom
  • Occupation of bride and groom
  • Birthplaces of bride and groom
  • Names of parents of bride and groom
  • Name and information about the officiator

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor's given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence, age, estimated marriage year, and family relationships.

Search the Collection

To search the collection fill in the requested information in the boxes on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:

  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
  • Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
  • The name of the officiator may be a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. *Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname. This is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have been born, married, or died in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • The information in the records is usually reliable.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as more recent records.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

Massachusetts Genealogy Guide

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We especially need language translations for both content and images. For specific needs, please look for callout boxes throughout the article or visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.


Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


Citations for this Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

“Massachusetts Town Marriages Index, ca. 1638-1961.” Index. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Town clerks and local churches, Massachusetts.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record will be available with each record once the collection is published.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 30 January 2015, at 21:57.
  • This page has been accessed 410 times.