Massachusetts Deaths (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915 .
Collection Time Period
This collection covers the years 1841 to 1915.
The earlier records were recorded by hand in a register style format. In the early 1900’s individual death certificates came into use.
Record ContentKey genealogical facts found in Massachusetts Statewide Deaths are:
- Full name
- Specific town or city of death and residence
- Day, month and year of death
- Age at death
- Place and date of birth
- Gender, marital status, and sometimes name of spouse
- Name of parents and their place of birth (not always filled in)
- Place and date of burial
- Name of informant (sometimes gives information as to relationship to the deceased)
- Name of the funeral home or director
How to Use the Records
The death record may provide clues for further research: date and place of birth of the individual, names of parents, place of residence, and name of spouse. Earlier records do not contain as much information as the records created from the late 19th century onward. The early records may only contain the name of the deceased, date and place of death, residence and parental information and sometimes place of birth and occupation. The information listed below is for the more recent records. All of the information does not appear in every instance.
Starting in 1841 the state required that a copy of each death recorded in a town or city be sent to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Since 1896 the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics has been the repository for the copies. Population coverage is near 100% for later years. Coverage is not as complete for some earlier years.
Why This Record Was Created
Deaths were recorded to serve public health needs. They were also used to probate wills and administer the deceased individual’s estate.
Death information is generally reliable for the place and date of death of the deceased. Other information will only be as reliable as the informant’s knowledge or memory.
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Related Wiki Articles
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Sources of Information for This Collection:
"Massachusetts Death Records, 1841-1915", database, FamilySearch; from Massachusetts State Archives. "Deaths, 1841-1971". Massachusetts Division of Vital Statistics, State House, Boston, Massachusetts. FHL microfilm. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
The format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections is found in the following link: How to Create Source Citations for FamilySearch Historical Records Collections
Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections
Please add sample citations to this article following the format guidelines in the wiki article listed above. Examples of citations:
- 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
- Massachusetts Division of Vital Statistics. Certificate of Death. From FamilySearch Internet (familysearch.org), April 27, 2010. Certificate 289. Charles B. Ahern, date of death April 16, 1913.
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