Massachusetts Land Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986 .
- 1 Record Description
- 2 Record Content
- 3 How to Use the Record
- 4 Known Issues with This Collection
- 5 Related Websites
- 6 Related Wiki Articles
- 7 Contributions to This Article
- 8 Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
This collection contains land and property records from the Massachusetts Land Office and county courthouses. Records include land grants, patents, deeds, and mortgages. This collection includes all counties in Massachusetts.
For a list of records currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.
Land records usually contain the following information:
- Names of interested parties
- Date of transaction
- Legal description of the property
- Monies exchanged
- Details of the transaction
- Names of witnesses
How to Use the Record
To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:
- Names of interested parties
- Approximate date of the transaction
- Location of the property
Search the Collection
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "County"
⇒Select the "Record Type, Year Range, and Volume number or letter" which takes you to the images
Search the collection by 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. 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.
Using the Information
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Make a photocopy of the deed, or extract the genealogical information needed. 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 residence and names of the parents to locate church and census records.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- Search for the land transactions of a couple and their children. The parents may have sold or given property to a son or daughter. Such transactions confirm relationships that might not be found in other records.
- Search for records of people in the county who shared a surname. These may have been the couple’s parents, uncles, or other relatives. Your ancestor may have been an heir who sold inherited land that had belonged to parents or grandparents.
- To find later generations, search the land records a few years before and after a person’s death. Your ancestor may have sold or given land to his or her heirs before death, or the heirs may have sold the land after the individual died. For daughters, the names of their husbands are often provided. For sons, the given names of their wives may be included. Heirs may have sold their interest in the land to another heir even though the record may not indicate this. Continue this process for identifying each succeeding generation.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
Keep in mind:
- Some counties were subdivided or the boundaries may have changed. Consider searching neighboring counties as well since that courthouse may have been more convenient for the person.
- One deed does not usually give sufficient information about a couple and their children. A careful study of all deeds for the person or the family will yield a richer return of information.
- For each parcel of land owned, you should obtain two documents:
- The deed that documents when ownership transferred to the individual or the family and
- The deed that documents when ownership was transferred to someone else.
Unable to Find Your Ancestor?
- Look for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Look for an 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 localities.
Known Issues with This Collection
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 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.
Related Wiki Articles
Contributions to This Article
| 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 FamilySearch Historical Collections
Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box: Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986
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 for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
- Massachusetts Land Office. Massachusetts, Land Records. Land Offices and County Courthouses throughout Massachusetts.