Massachusetts Town Records
In New England the town clerk is the principal record keeper at the local level. The earliest records are called proprietor's records. Town records generally begin with the founding of a town and are kept to the present.
Town records may contain records of births, marriages, burials, cemeteries, appointments, earmarks, estrays (records of stray animals), freemen's oaths (men eligible to vote), land records, mortgages, name changes, care of the poor, school records, surveys, tax lists, town meeting minutes, voter registrations, and "warnings out" (of town).
The Family History Library has microfilms of many Massachusetts town records, from the beginning of the town to the mid-1860s. The original town records are at local town clerk's offices and at historical and genealogical societies. Some have been published separately or as part of town histories and are available in libraries with major New England collections.
A collection of 351 towns and their records: http://www.newenglandancestors.org/ This is a subscription website.