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.
Key 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
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
Massachusetts Death, 1841-1915. digital images, From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: January 20.2011). death of Rebecca A. Stovvoll, 24 May 1878, Cambridge, Massachusetts, film number 960215.