Massachusetts Marriage Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|Access the Records|
Massachusetts, Marriages, 1841-1915 .
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Massachusetts, United States|
|Flag of Massachusetts|
|Location of Massachusetts|
|Record Type||Marriage Records|
- 1 What is in the Collection?
- 2 Collection Content
- 3 What Can this Collection Tell Me?
- 4 How Do I Search the Collection?
- 5 What Do I Do Next?
- 6 Known Issues with This Collection
- 7 Citing this Collection
- 8 How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
What is in the Collection?
The collection consists of a name index and images of Massachusetts statewide marriage registers. It covers the years 1841 to 1915.
The marriage registers are in numbered volumes arranged by year then by individual town. Early marriage records were handwritten; later they were typed on pre-printed forms with multiple entries on each page.
General Information About These Records
Beginning in 1841, in accordance with a new law, municipal clerks sent in the registrations they had collected to the state once a year. As a result, after that date records were available at the town and state levels. Boston did not comply with the law until about 1848. Population coverage is near 100% for later years. Coverage is not as complete for some earlier years.
Marriage records were recorded to document marriages and property ownership.
The marriage date, place, residence of bride and groom and occupation are fairly reliable. Other information such as age or birth place is dependent on the memory and reliability of the informant.
Included In This Collection
The following are included in this collection:
- Massachusetts State Archives. “Marriage Records”. Digital images of originals housed at the Massachusetts State Archives, Boston, Massachusetts.
- Massachusetts. Secretary of State.“Marriage register, 1901-1905”. Digital images of originals housed at the Massachusetts State Archives, Boston, Massachusetts.
- Massachusetts. Secretary of the Commonwealth. “Marriages, 1841-1895”. Digital images of originals housed at the Massachusetts Division of Vital Statistics, Boston, Massachusetts.
- Massachusetts. Various Town Clerks. “Marriage Records”. Digital images of originals housed at the Massachusetts State Archives, Boston, Massachusetts.
|You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Massachusetts, Marriages, 1841-1915.|
To see a coverage map of FamilySearch's holdings of Massachusetts marriages, click here.
What Can this Collection Tell Me?
Information found in marriage records includes:
- Date and place of registration
- Date and place of marriage
- Full names of bride and groom
- Ages of the bride and groom
- Residence of each at the time of marriage
- Occupation(s) of the bride and groom
- Place of birth
- Number of marriages (in later records)
- Names of parents
- Name, residence, and official status of person by whom married
How Do I Search the Collection?
When searching, it is helpful to know the following:
- The name of the person at the time of marriage
- The county where the marriage occurred
- Other identifying information such as the approximate marriage date and place
Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in the requested information on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.
View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "Film" category which takes you to the images.
Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.
With either search 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.
For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.
What Do I Do Next?
When you have located your ancestor’s marriage 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.
I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?
- 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.
- Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
- The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
- Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
- Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married 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 marriage 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 one marriage record to another record.
I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?
- Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
- Search for the marriage record of the marriage partner if known.
- Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
- 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.
For a summary of this information see the wiki article United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records).
|Don't overlook FHL Keyword Massachusetts, Marriage Records items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see the wiki article Massachusetts Archives and Libraries.|
Known Issues with This Collection
| 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 article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.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.
Citing this Collection
Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.
- "Massachusetts, Marriages, 1841-1915." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing Secretary of the Commonwealth. State Archives, Boston.
Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):
How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
| 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 also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records. |
Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.