Massachusetts Town Births Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.
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What is in the Collection?

This collection includes records from 1630 to 1905. It consists of an index to various town and vital births from these counties: Barnstable, Berkshire, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester. A few church records are included.

Collection Contents

The birth records may contain any of the following:

  • Name of child
  • Gender
  • Parent's name
  • Birth date

The marriage records may contain any of the following:

  • Page or certificate number
  • Marriage date
  • Names of bride and groom
  • Residence of bride and groom

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know

  • Name of the primary individual
  • Identifying information such as names of parents or approximate birth date

To search the collection by name:
Fill in the requested information on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals in the list to what you already know about your 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. 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.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

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 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 dates and names to find the family in census, church and land records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • 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.
  • The information in the records is usually reliable.
  • 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.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For, Now What?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
  • 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.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

How You Can Contribute

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.


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.


Collection Citation:

“Massachusetts Town Births Index, ca. 1630-1905.” Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing County libraries, Massachusetts.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record will be available with each record once the collection is published.