Finding Your Family History – Genealogical Research in Massachusetts

Finding Your Family History – Genealogical Research in Massachusetts

First settled in 1620, Massachusetts played a significant role in the early history of the United States. There are numerous famous locations throughout the state with direct ties to the battle for American independence including the place where the first shots rang out between the militiamen and the British soldiers. Rich with history, the archives that store historical information about the state can be a gold mine for genealogical information.

The first vital records were registered in the state in 1635, making them some of the oldest available in the U.S. Statewide registration of births, deaths and marriages began in 1841 and many of these records are available for research. If you are looking for information prior to 1841, you will need to know the township or city where the event happened in order to search the local records. For records spanning from 1841 to 1914, you can visit the State Archives to obtain copies of these records. Unlike many other states, Massachusetts does not provide access to vital records online and these records can only be obtained by visiting the state or local office where they are located. Massachusetts also only provides certified copies of vital records regardless of the intended use.

In addition to vital records, a wealth of other types of records that can be useful in tracing ancestry can be found within the various archives across the state. Many land records, passenger lists, court documents and military records have all been preserved and are available in local libraries, historical society collections and from government agencies. You may need to spend time on the phone and producing written requests as the records are often available, but only on-site. By using the resources on the internet to narrow your search and identify the right archive for the records you need, you can ensure the greatest results for your efforts.

For more information on genealogical information, visit Massachusetts records a great resource for information about family history.

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