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Source Information

Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.
Original data: Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911–1915. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

About Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915

Family historians with roots in the Bay State will be thrilled to know that Massachusetts ranks high when it comes to keeping vital records, with some dating back to early Colonial days. Records were kept on the town level, but in 1841 towns began sending copies of birth, marriage, and death records to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Although not all towns complied immediately, most did, and birth records from that state-level collection are the source for this database.

What You Can Find in These Records

Most of the records in this database are from birth registers, although you may find certificates for later years. Details can include the following:

  • child’s name
  • birthplace
  • gender
  • date of the registration
  • birth date
  • parents’ names (and in many later records, mother’s maiden name)
  • father’s occupation
  • parents’ residence

Additionally, some records include the parents’ birthplaces.

Because availability may vary somewhat from town to town, use the browse menus to determine what years are available for the towns where your ancestors lived. Combine your research with the Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620–1988, collection (the Holbrook Collection), which provides more coverage of earlier years, to get an even more comprehensive look at Massachusetts vital records.

The index for the years 1911-1915 was received from NEHGS. Earlier years were transcribed by Ancestry.com.

We recognize that some of the images are of poor quality and can be difficult to read. Unfortunately, this is not something we are able to correct.