Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001 .
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Record Description[edit | edit source]

The collection consists of vital and town records acquired from local town clerk offices for the years 1626 to 2001. Some of these records have been indexed and are searchable. Additional images and indexed records will be published as they become available.

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001.

Record Content[edit | edit source]

The information found varies by record type and time period. You may find any of the following:

Birth records may include the following information:

  • Date of registration
  • Name and gender of child
  • Date and place of birth
  • Parents' names and place of residence
  • Father's occupation
  • Parents' birthplace

Marriage records generally include the following information:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Names of the bride and groom
  • Ages of the bride and groom
  • Marital status of each
  • Occupation of groom
  • Birthplace(s) of bride and groom
  • Residence at the time of marriage
  • Parents' names and their residence
  • Name, residence and office of officiator
  • Name of informant

Death records usually include the following information:

  • Name and gender of deceased
  • Marital status of deceased
  • Age of deceased in years, months, days
  • Cause of death
  • Place of internment
  • Birthplace of deceased
  • Parents' names of name of spouse if married
  • Name of informant

Organization of selected records, and navigation help
[edit | edit source]

This is an incomplete section on helping users of the collection quickly find specific groupings of data.

Middlesex > Lowell > Births, marriages, deaths 1826-1844 vol A

Image #3 gives the following layout data:

  • Samuel Coburn, First Lowell City Clerk, Family records and marriages, p.1-314
  • Thomas Ordway, City Registrar, Marriages, p.314-412.
  • Almshouse births, May 1835 - Oct 1837, p.360
  • "Births given by parents", p.412-423
  • "Genealogical record of families of early settlers in Lowell", p.423-435
  • Dr. John O. Green manuscript death records, 1829-1830, 1833, p.500-502, 505-506

Such details will help researchers navigate the records more effectively. Please add such details for any book you are especially interested in.

How to Use the Record[edit | edit source]

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • The place where the event occurred
  • The approximate date the event occurred
  • The name of the individual or individuals such as the names of the bride and groom

Search the Collection[edit | edit source]

To search the collection image by image
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "County"
⇒Select the "Town"
⇒Select the "Record Type, Date and Volume" which takes you to the images

If the town has an index, start with the index. It generally contains information that will help you find your ancestor more quickly.

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.

Using the Information[edit | edit source]

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 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.

Tips to Keep in Mind[edit | edit source]

  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
  • The name of the officiator may be a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county.
  • The name of the undertaker, mortuary, or cemetery could lead you to funeral and cemetery records, which often include the names and residences of other family members.
  • 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, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • 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.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?[edit | edit source]

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Check for an index. There are often indexes created by local genealogical and historical societies.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

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[edit | edit source]

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 support@familysearch.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 Websites[edit | edit source]

Related Wiki Articles[edit | edit source]

Contributions to This Article[edit | edit source]

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 Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


Citations for This Collection[edit | edit source]

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. 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. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.



Image Citation:
This template has been deprecated and is no longer used.

When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001.