Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

From FamilySearch Wiki

(Difference between revisions)
m (copy edit. Also added links to wiki pages)
Line 27: Line 27:
 
*Names of witnesses  
 
*Names of witnesses  
 
*Dates the documents were written and recorded (used to approximate event dates since a will was usually written near the time of death)  
 
*Dates the documents were written and recorded (used to approximate event dates since a will was usually written near the time of death)  
*Description and value of property or land&
+
*Description and value of property or land  
*Occuptaion
+
*Occupation
  
 
== How to Use the Record  ==
 
== How to Use the Record  ==
Line 40: Line 40:
 
Compare the information in the records to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.  
 
Compare the information in the records to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.  
  
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:  
+
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 marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.  
Line 46: Line 48:
 
*Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.  
 
*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 residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.  
*Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as military records.  
+
*Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment records or military records.  
*Use the parent’s birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.  
+
*Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.  
 
*The name of the officiator may be a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county.  
 
*The name of the officiator may be a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county.  
 
*The name of the undertaker, mortuary, or cemetery could lead you to funeral and cemetery records which often include the names and residences of other family members.  
 
*The name of the undertaker, mortuary, or cemetery could lead you to funeral and cemetery records which often include the names and residences of other family members.  
Line 72: Line 74:
 
County officials began keeping records from the time the county was formed.  
 
County officials began keeping records from the time the county was formed.  
  
=== Why This Record Was Created  ===
+
=== Why the Record Was Created  ===
  
 
Each type of record within the county was created for a different purpose, but most were created to keep track of the vital events happening in the lives of the citizens and to safeguard their legal interests and the legal interests of their heirs.  
 
Each type of record within the county was created for a different purpose, but most were created to keep track of the vital events happening in the lives of the citizens and to safeguard their legal interests and the legal interests of their heirs.  
Line 82: Line 84:
 
== Related Web Sites  ==
 
== Related Web Sites  ==
  
This section of the article is incomplete. You can help FamilySearch Wiki by supplying links to related websites here.
+
This section of the article is incomplete. You can help FamilySearch Wiki by supplying links to related websites here.  
 +
 
 +
== Related Wiki Articles  ==
 +
 
 +
[[Massachusetts_County_Creation_Dates_and_Parent_Counties|Massachusetts County Creation Dates and Parent Counties]]
  
== Related Wiki Articles ==
+
[[Massachusetts_Counties_Map|Massachusetts Counties Map]]
  
 
== Contributions to This Article  ==
 
== Contributions to This Article  ==
Line 94: Line 100:
 
When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. 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.  
 
When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. 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.  
  
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: [[How to Cite FamilySearch Collections]]  
+
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: [[How to Cite FamilySearch Collections]].
  
 
==== Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection  ====
 
==== Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection  ====

Revision as of 14:49, 26 August 2011

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

Contents

Collection Time Period

The collection covers the years 1653 to 1972.

Record Description

Record Content

The record content varies by record type. It may include any of the following pieces of information:

  • Name of primary individual
  • Event date
  • Event place
  • Residence
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Names of parents
  • Biographical information about parents such as date and place of birth
  • Names of heirs, such as spouse, children, other relatives, or friends
  • Names of the executor, administrator, or guardian
  • Names of witnesses
  • Dates the documents were written and recorded (used to approximate event dates since a will was usually written near the time of death)
  • Description and value of property or land
  • Occupation

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • The place where the event occurred
  • The approximate date the event occurred
  • The name of the individual or individuals such as the names of the bride and groom

Compare the information in the records to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.

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.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment records or military records.
  • Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • The name of the officiator may be a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county.
  • The name of the undertaker, mortuary, or cemetery could lead you to funeral and cemetery records which often include the names and residences of other family members.
  • 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.

Keep in mind:

  • The information in the records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • 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.

If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Check for an index. There are often indexes created by local genealogical and historical societies.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records).

Record History

County officials began keeping records from the time the county was formed.

Why the Record Was Created

Each type of record within the county was created for a different purpose, but most were created to keep track of the vital events happening in the lives of the citizens and to safeguard their legal interests and the legal interests of their heirs.

Record Reliability

Facts current at the time of the event are generally reliable.

Related Web Sites

This section of the article is incomplete. You can help FamilySearch Wiki by supplying links to related websites here.

Related Wiki Articles

Massachusetts County Creation Dates and Parent Counties

Massachusetts Counties Map

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. 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.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection

  • United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: September 29, 2006), Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base and Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71.
  • Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: April 22, 2010), Baptism of Adolfo Fernandez Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apóstol, Cuahimalpa, Distrito Federal, Mexico, film number 0227023.

Sources of information for This Collection

Massachusetts. County and Town Records, 1653-1972.