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Massachusetts Vital Records - Births, Deaths & Marriages

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Learn how and where to obtain birth, marriage, and death certificates and records in Massachusetts, including the dates for which Massachusetts vital records are available, where they are located, and links to online Massachusetts vital records databases.

Massachusetts Vital Records:

For vital records from 1916 to the present:

Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
150 Mount Vernon St., 1st Floor
Dorchester, MA 02125
Phone: (617) 740-2600

What You Need to Know:
Check or money order should be made payable to The Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Call or visit the Web site to verify current fees. Vital records (births, marriages, deaths and divorce decrees) in Massachusetts are public records, with the exception of sealed or restricted records, such as adoptions, out-of-wedlock births and underage marriages.

Web site: Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics

For vital records from 1841 through 1915:

Massachusetts Archives
220 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125
Phone: (617) 727-2816
Email: archives@sec.state.ma.us

What You Need to Know:
Personal check or money order should be made payable to Massachusetts Archives. Call or visit the Web site to verify current fees. Name, date of event, and place of event (or the best information you have) are needed to locate the records. Your check will be returned if the record is not found.

Web site: Massachusetts Archives Research Services


Massachusetts Birth & Death Records:

Dates: From 1841

Cost of copy: $18.00 in person; $28.00 mail request; $42.50 Internet, phone or fax; $3.00 State Archives (1841-1916)

Comments: The MA State Vital Records Office has birth and death records from 1916 to the present. Only certified copies are available and cost $18.00 in person, $28.00 by mail, or $42.50 by phone, fax or Internet. The fee includes a ten-year search if the exact date or place of birth or death is not known.
Application for Massachusetts Birth or Death Certificate

*Tip! If you know the city or town where a birth or death after 1915 occured, it is generally cheaper to request a copy of the record through the local City or Town Hall rather than through the State Registry of Vital Records.

Births and deaths from 1841 - 1915 are available through the Massachusetts State Archives. These can be researched in person, or requested by mail. No more than five certificates can be ordered at one time and a separate $3.00 check should be enclosed for each certificate.

Online: Index to Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910 (includes births and deaths)

*Tip! Copies of death registers held by the State Archives do not always include the place of burial, especially deaths which occurred in the city of Boston. This burial information should be located on the copy at the City or Town Hall where the death occurred.

Births prior to 1841 were recorded in many Massachusetts towns. For these records you need to contact the Town or City Hall where the birth occurred.


Massachusetts Marriage Records:

Dates: From 1841

Cost of copy: $18.00 in person; $28.00 mail request; $42.50 Internet, phone or fax; $3.00 State Archives (1841-1916)

Comments: The MA State Vital Records Office has marriage records from 1916 to the present. Only certified copies are available and cost $18.00 in person, $28.00 by mail, or $42.50 by phone, fax or Internet. The fee includes a ten-year search if the exact date or place of marriage is not known.
Application for Massachusetts Marriage Certificate

*Tip! If you know the city or town where a marriage after 1915 occured, it is generally cheaper to request a copy of the record through the local City or Town Hall rather than through the State Registry of Vital Records.

Marriages from 1848 - 1915 are available through the Massachusetts State Archives. These can be researched in person, or requested by mail. No more than five certificates can be ordered at one time and a separate $3.00 check should be enclosed for each certificate.

Online: Index to Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910 (includes marriages)

Marriages prior to 1841 were recorded in many Massachusetts towns. For these records you need to contact the Town or City Hall where the marriage occurred.

Massachusetts Divorce Records

Dates: Statewide since 1922

Cost of copy: Varies

Comments: Massachusetts divorce decrees since 1922 are located at the county probate court in which the divorce was filed (often the county in which the couple last lived as husband and wife). The Massachusetts Department of Health's Registry of Vital Records has a statewide index from 1952 to the present (but not the actual files).

From 1887 - 1921 Massachusetts divorce cases were heard in the various county Superior Courts. From 1786 - 1887, divorce cases in Massachusetts were handled by the Supreme Judicial Court. These divorce files (including indexes) are held by the Judicial Archives at the Massachusetts Archives. Some divorce records prior to 1786 (as early as 1639) exist for Massachusetts, with originals located at the Massachusetts Archives. Some of these early records can be found indexed in the free Massachusetts Archives Database online, particularly in Volume 9: Domestic Relations, 1613-1774.

Reference requests for the Judicial Archives at the Massachusetts Archives can be addressed to:

Supreme Judicial Court Archives, Archives and Records Preservation
3 Pemberton Square, 16th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: (617) 557-1082

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