Massachusetts, Springfield Vital Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: Massachusetts, Springfield Vital Records, 1638-1887 .
This Collection will include records from 1638 to 1887
This collection contains birth, marriage, and death records from the Springfield city clerk. The earlier records are handwritten on blank pages. Later records are handwritten on pre-printed pages.
Vital record keeping began with the earliest permanent settlement, in the mid 1600s. All original records are maintained by the town or city. The present vital registration law was enacted in 1841.
These records were created to keep track of the vital events happening in the lives of the citizens and to safeguard their legal interests.
These records are generally reliable but can vary depending on the knowledge of the informant.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- "Massachusetts, Springfield Vital Records, 1638-1887" Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing City Clerk. City Hall.
The following important biographical facts may be found in the birth records:
- Child’s full name
- Child’s gender
- Birth date and place
- Parents' names
- Birthplace of parents
- Father's occupation
The following important biographical facts may be found in the marriage records:
- Full name(s) of bride and groom
- Marriage date and place
- Current residences of each
- Ages of bride and groom
- Birth place of each
- Groom's occupation
- Parents names of bride and groom
- Number of marriages for each
The following important biographical facts may be found in the death records:
- Name of deceased
- Death date and place
- Gender and race of deceased
- Age in years, months, days
- Marital status
- Cause of death
- Residence and occupation
- Name and birth place of father
- Name and birth place of mother
- Burial place
How to Use the Record
Information from these records has been extracted and placed in the Massachusetts Vital Records Index so this index is a good place to begin your search. Name indexes make it possible to access a specific record quickly. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:
- The name of the individual or individuals such as the names of the bride and groom, the infant, or the deceased at the time of the event
- The approximate date the event occurred
Use the locator information found in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestors in the records. Compare the information in the record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.
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.
- 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.
- Occupations and titles listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment, military, or church records.
- Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- The name of the officiator may be a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county.
- Use a marriage number to identify previous marriages.
- 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.
Keep in mind:
- The information 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 mid 1800s.
- There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.
If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
Search the Collection
To search the collection by name fill in your ancestor’s name in 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.
Look at the images one by one 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.
For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.
For a summary of this information see the wiki article United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records).
Known Issues with This Collection
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Contributions to This Article
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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, Springfield Vital Records, 1638-1887
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.