Massachusetts Birth Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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Revision as of 17:54, 10 August 2012 by Joycebevans (Talk | contribs)
FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.


Contents

Record Description

The state birth registers are in bound volumes arranged by year, then by town. Entries within towns are arranged numerically.

Most towns in Massachusetts began recording vital events (births, marriages, and deaths) many years before it became state law. These records up to 1850 for about 215 Massachusetts towns have been published. Beginning in 1841, the state of Massachusetts mandated that a copy of each event recorded in a town or city be sent to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, which means that two sources exist for each event after 1841 – the town or city and the state. Most towns were in compliance with the law by the late 1840s. It is estimated that by the late 1800s, most births were reported. 

This collection covers births for the years 1841 to 1915. 

Birth and deaths were recorded to better serve public health needs.

The state birth registers are in bound volumes arranged by year, then by town. Entries within towns are arranged numerically.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth and State Archives. Massachusetts birth records. Massachusetts State Archives, Boston, Massachusetts.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

Key genealogical facts found in the Massachusetts Birth Records may contain the following information:

  • Day, month, and year of birth
  • Town of birth registration
  • Name and surname of child
  • Gender
  • Place of birth
  • Name of parents
  • Residence of parents
  • Father’s occupation
  • Father’s birth place
  • Mother’s birth place

How to Use the Records

Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the index. Use the locator information in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestors in the birth records. Compare the information in the birth record 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. Be aware that as with any index, transcription errors may occur.

When you have located your ancestor’s birth record, carefully evaluate each piece of information about them. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors.

For example:

  • Use the birth date 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.
  • The father’s occupation can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
  • The parents' birth places can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family.

It is often helpful to extract the information on all children with the same parents. If the surname is unusual, you may want to compile birth entries for every person of the same surname and sort them into families based on the names of the parents. Continue to search the birth records to identify siblings, parents, and other relatives in the same or other generations who were born in the same county or nearby.

Keep in mind:

  • The information in birth records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from record to record.

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

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Websites

Massachusetts Genealogy and Vital Records Links

Related Wiki Articles

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 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 Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"Massachusetts Births, 1841-1915," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FXH8-RTG : accessed 22 May 2012), Henry G. Kelsey (1843); citing Massachusetts Births, FHL microfilm 1,420,528; Massachusetts State Archives, Boston, Massachusetts. United States

A full bibliographic record is available in the Family History Library Catalog.


 

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