Massachusetts Online Vital Records Research Guide

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1620 - 1850
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See Massachusetts Research Guide for more general research help regarding Massachusetts.

This page focuses on locating online transcriptions of pre-1850 vital records for all Massachusetts cities and towns. Post-1850 records are generally available on a statewide basis.

The Records

Tan Books

For most Massachusetts towns, the New England Historical & Genealogical Society, the Salem Institute, and several other entities published the vital records of the town up to 1850 as part of a somewhat coordinated project. These are called the Tan Books. Because they were published in the early 20th century, they are out of copyright and are widely available in digitized form. When entities such as Ancestry advertise databases containing vital records up to 1850, they are usually talking only about these books.

Other pre 1850 Compilations

In the years since, other individuals or groups have published VRs through 1850 in the same style from a number of towns, particularly in Worcester County. Other towns have independently developed sets of records covering different time periods. Many of these books are not out of copyright and are not as widely available online.

In addition, a good portion of the records Early Massachusetts marriages prior to 1800 by Frederick W. Bailey have been transcribed on Ray Brown's site. These are the only published vital records for some towns.

FHC Films

Finally, the Mormon Church has filmed the original town records for a number of towns, including some with no other published vital records. Many of these have not been separately published and are therefore accessible only through FHC films or the online search at the newly developed FamilySearch (formerly the IGI).

This Page

The table below attempts the following:

  • Link to the "primary" source page for pre-1850 vital records for a town. This is considered to be either the Tan Book or the publication that is otherwise most widely available. The source pages are updated with free and paid online resources containing images or transcriptions of the source.
  • In the absence of a widely available general source, indicate if there are other online transcriptions of records from the town, including through FamilySearch. Many of these are town-specific parts of Bailey or ad hoc transcriptions of FHC or town-held records, and thus may not have a useful source page on WR yet (although please add such pages if they exist).
  • Provide information on what parent towns may contain records for towns established after 1850
  • Track statewide resources containing all or most of these records
Contents:
By Town: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U W Y
Statewide Databases | Resources


A

Town Name Est. Source Page for Primary Source Other Online Resources
Abington 1712 Tan BookMarriages to 1789
Acton 1735 Tan Book
Acushnet 1860 See Fairhaven Old Colonial Burial Ground 1710-1879
Adams 1778 None Marriages to 1800 (Bailey)
Agawam 1855 See Ipswich, West Springfield  
Alford 1773 Tan Book  
Amherst 1759 VR 1600-1891 (FHC only) Records from Corbin Collection (NEHGS)
Amesbury 1668 Tan Book
Andover 1646 Tan Book Marriages 1647-1700
Aquinnah 1855 Formerly Gay Head  
Arlington 1807 Tan Book
Pre-1807, see Cambridge
 
Ashburnham 1765 Tan book
Ashby 1767    
Ashfield 1765 Tan Book
Ashland 1846 See Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton  
Athol 1762 Tan Book Marriages to 1786
Attleboro 1694 Tan Book Marriages to 1794 (Bailey)
Auburn 1778 Tan Book  
Avon 1888 See Stoughton  
Ayer 1871 See Groton  

B

Town Name Est. Source Page for Primary Source Other Online Resources
Barnstable 1638 Mayfl. Desc. [1]
VR to 1849 from MD
Barre 1753 Tan Book Early County Marriages (Bailey)
Becket 1765 Tan Book  
Bedford 1729 Tan Book  
Belchertown 1761    
Bellingham 1719 Tan Book  
Belmont 1859 See Waltham, Watertown, W. Cambridge
Berkley 1735  Check FS for VR 1735-1867
Berlin 1784 VR to 1899

Early County Marriages (Bailey)

Bernardston 1762 Check FS for town records  
Beverly 1668 Tan Book Early Records 1650-1722
Billerica 1655 Tan book Marriages to 1694 (Bailey)
Blackstone 1845 See Mendon  
Blandford 1741    
Bolton 1738 Tan book  
Boston 1630 List of Boston VRs

Marriages to 1806

Bourne 1884 See Sandwich
Boxborough 1783 Tan Book  
Boxford 1783 Tan Book  
Boylston 1786 Tan Book  
Bradford 1675 Tan Book

Marriages 1671-1795

Braintree 1640 Bates VR to 1793
Brewster 1803 Tan BookChurch Records 1700-1792
Bridgewater 1656 Tan Book

Marriages to 1789 (Bailey)

Brighton 1807 Annexed to Boston 1874 Check FS for Births 1771-1874
Brimfield 1714 Tan Book
Brockton 1821 Tan Book  
Brookfield 1673 Tan Book  
Brookline 1705 Tan Book  
Buckland 1779 Tan Book  
Burlington 1799 Tan Book  

C

Town Name Est. Source Page for Primary Source Other Online Resources
Cambridge 1630 Tan BookMarriages to 1717 (Bailey)
Canton 1797 Check FS for Town Recs to 1845
Carlisle 1780 Tan Book  
Carver 1790 Tan Book  
Charlemont 1765 Tan Book  
Charlestown 1630 Tan Book

Marriages to 1717 (Bailey)

Charlton 1754 Tan Book  
Chatham 1712 Check FS for Mayf. Desc. recs 1696-1770
Chelmsford 1655 Tan Book

Early County Marriages (Bailey)

Chelsea 1739 Tan Book  
Cheshire 1793  

Marriages to 1800 (Bailey)

Chester 1765 Tan Book  
Chesterfield 1762 No published VRs  
Chicopee 1848 See Springfield  
Chilmark 1694 Tan Book  
Clarksburg 1798 No published VRs  
Clinton 1850 See Lancaster  
Cohasset 1770 Tan Book  
Colrain 1761 Tan Book Early Records (from NEHGS manuscripts)
Concord 1635 VR 1635-1850

Marriages to 1800 (A-H) (J-Y)

Conway 1767 Tan Book  
Cummington 1779    

D

Town Name Est. Source Page for Primary Source Other Online Resources
Dalton 1784 Tan Book

Marriages to 1800 (Bailey)

Dana 1801 Tan Book  
Danvers 1752 Tan Book  
Dartmouth 1652 Tan Book
Dedham 1636 Check FS for Early Records
Deerfield 1677 Tan Book  
Dennis 1793 Check FS for assorted records
Dighton 1712   Irish births 1700-1899
VR 1730-1868 (NEHGS)
Dorchester 1630 Commissiones ReportsCheck FS for First Church Records
Douglas 1746 Tan Book  
Dover 1784 Tan Book  
Dracut 1702 Tan Book  
Dudley 1732 Tan Book  
Dunstable Tan Book

Early County Marriages (Bailey)

Duxbury 1637 Tan Book  


E

Town Name Est. Source Page for Primary Source Other Online Resources
East Bridgewater 1823 Tan Book  
East Brookfield 1920 See Brookfield  
East Longmeadow 1894 See Longmeadow  
Eastham 1646 Tan Book
Easthampton 1785 IGI: Town Recs 1785-1865 B M  
Easton 1725   Marriages 1720-1802
Edgartown 1671 Tan Book  
Egremont 1760   Marriages to 1800 (Bailey)
Erving 1838    
Everett      
Essex 1819 Tan Book  

F

Town Name Est. Source Page for Primary Source Other Online Resources
Fairhaven 1812 Tan Book
Fall River 1803    
Falmouth 1694 Tan Book  
Fitchburg 1764 Old Records of FitchburgEarly County Marriages (Bailey)
Florida 1805 Check FS for Recs 1845-1875
Foxborough 1778 Tan Book  
Framingham 1675 Tan Book
Franklin 1778 VR 1778-1872  
Freetown 1683 VR 1686-1795

G

Town Name Est. Source Page for Primary Source Other Online Resources
Gardner 1785 Tan Book  
Georgetown 1838 Tan Book
Pre-1838, Boxford
Gill 1793 Tan Book  
Gloucester 1642 Tan BookVR to 1700
Goshen 1781 Check FS for VR to 1840
Gosnold 1864 See Chilmark  
Grafton 1735 Tan BookMarriages to 1800 (Bailey)
Granby 1768    
Granville 1754 Tan Book
Great Barrington 1761 Tan Book  
Greenfield 1753 Tan Book

Marriages & Deaths 1761-1814

Groton 1655 Tan Book

Early Records
Early County Marriages (Bailey)

Groveland 1850 Old Cemetery
Pre-1850 VR, see Bradford

H

Town Name Est. Source Page for Primary Source Other Online Resources
Hadley 1661 Check FS for early recods
Halifax 1734 Tan BookMarriages to 1800 (Bailey)
Hamilton 1793 Tan BookMarriages 1714-1733
Hampden 1878 See Wilbraham
Hancock 1776   ‘Early’ (~1767-1830) B M D
Hanover 1727 VR 1727-1857Marriages to 1800 (Bailey)
Hanson 1820 Tan Book
Hardwick 1739 Tan Book
Harvard 1732 Tan Book

Marriages to 1800 (Bailey)

Harwich 1694 Tan Book  
Hatfield 1670 Check FS for Boltwood
Haverill 1641 Tan Book  
Hawley 1792 Check FS for recs thru 1855
Heath 1785 Tan Book  
Hingham 1635 VR 1639-1844 Marriages 1638-1688
Hinsdale 1804 Tan Book  
Holbrook 1872 See Randolph
Holden 1741 Tan Book  
Holland 1783 Check FS for TR 1783-1854
Holliston 1724 Tan BookEarly County Marriages (Bailey)
Holyoke 1850 See West Springfield
Hopedale 1886 See Milford
Hopkinton 1715 Tan Book
Hubbardston 1767 Tan Book  
Hudson 1866 See Marlborough, Stow
Hull 1644 Tan Book  
Huntington 1773    

I

Ipswich 1634 Tan Book     

K

Kingston 1726 Tan Book Marriages to 1800 (Bailey)

L

Town Name Est. Source Page for Primary Source Other Online Resources
Lakeville 1853 See Middleborough  
Lancaster 1653 Church Recs to 1850Early County Marriages (Bailey)

Early Recs (~1725)

Lanesborough 1765   
Lawrence 1847 Tan Book
Lee 1777 Tan Book  
Leicester 1714 Tan Book  
Lenox 1767 Check FS for Church recs
Leominster 1740 Tan BookMarriages to 1800 (Bailey)
Leverett 1774   
Lexington 1713 VR to 1898Marriages to 1854
Leyden 1809   Check FS for Town Recs 1776-1834
Lincoln   Tan Book  
Littleton 1715   VR to 1850 (NEHGS)

BMD 1715-? (Images/Ancestry)

Longmeadow 1783 Check FS for VR 1760-1875
Lowell 1826 Tan BookPre-1826, see Chelmsford
Ludlow 1774 Check FS for VR 1774-1882
Lunenburg 1728 Check FS for VR to 1764
Lynn 1635 Tan Book
Lynnfield 1782 Tan Book  

M

Town Name Est. Source Page for Primary Source Other Online Resources
Malden 1649 VR 1649-1850VR to 1735
VR 1735-1750
Manchester 1645 Tan Book
Mansfield 1770 Tan Book
Marblehead 1633 Tan Book  
Marion 1852 See Rochester
Marlborough 1660 Tan BookMarriages to 1800 (Bailey)
Marshfield 1640 Tan BookMarriages 1642-1729
Marriages to 1800 (Bailey)
Deaths to ~1840
Mashpee 1763    
Mattapoisett 1857 See Rochester  
Maynard 1871 See Stow & Sudbury  
Medfield 1650 Tan Book  
Medford 1630 Tan BookEarly County Marriages (Bailey)
Medway 1713 Tan Book  
Mendon 1667 Tan BookEarly County Marriages (Bailey)
Merrimac 1876 See Amesbury  
Methuen 1725 Tan Book  
Middleborough 1669 VR 1649-1945

Marriages to 1850 (Bailey)

Middlefield 1783 Tan Books  
Middleton 1728 Tan Books  
Milford 1780 Tan Book  
Millbury 1813 Tan Book  
Millis 1885 See Medway  
Millville 1916 Blackstone  
Milton 1662 VR 1662-1843
Monroe 1822    
Monson 1760 Check FS for Recs 1755-1837
Montague 1754 Tan Book  
Monterey 1847 See Tyringham  
Montgomery 1780 Tan Book  
Mount Washington 1779    

N

Town Name Est. Source Page for Primary Source Other Online Resources
Nahant 1853 See Lynn
Nantucket 1687 Tan Book
Natick 1650 Tan Book
Needham 1711 Check FS for Births 1702-1763
New Ashford 1781 Tan Book  
New Bedford 1787 Later VR to 1850 
New Braintree 1751 Tan Book

Marriages to 1800 (Bailey)

New Marlborough 1759 Check FS for Town Recs 1750-1811
New Salem 1753 Tan Book
Newbury 1635 Tan Book  
Newburyport 1764 Tan Book  
Newton 1691 Tan Book

Marriages to 1800 (Bailey)

Norfolk 1870 See Franklin & Midway  
North Adams 1878  Marriages 1786-1815

See also Adams

North Andover 1855 See Andover  
North Attleborough 1887 See Attleboro  
North Brookfield 1812 No VRs published  
North Reading 1853 See Reading  
Northampton 1656 Marriages to 1840

Deaths to 1840
Check FS for VRs 1654-1872

Northborough 1766 Tan Book

Marriages to 1800 (Bailey)

Northbridge 1772 Tan Book Early County Marriages (Bailey)
Northfield 1714 Check FS for VR 1713-1839  
Norton 1710 Tan Book  
Norwell 1849 See Scituate  
Norwood 1872 See Dedham & Walpole  

O

Town Name Est. Source Page for Primary Source Other Online Resources
Oak Bluffs 1880 See Edgartown  
Oakham 1762 Tan Book  
Orange 1783    
Orleans 1797 VR of Orleans & Eastham
Otis 1773 Tan Book  
Oxford 1693 Tan Book  

P

Town Name Est. Source Page for Primary Source Other Online Resources
Palmer 1752 Tan Book  
Paxton 1765 Early County Marriages (Bailey)
Peabody 1855 See Danvers  
Pelham 1743 Tan Book  
Pembroke 1712 Tan BookMarriages to 1800 (Bailey)
Pepperell 1753 Tan Book  
Peru 1771 Tan Book  
Petersham 1754 Tan Book  
Phillipston 1786 Tan Book  
Pittsfield 1761    
Plainfield 1785 Check FS for Births 1779-1875, M to 1895
Plainville 1905 See Wrentham  
Plymouth 1620 Recent VR to 1850Marriages to 1769 (Bailey)

Church Recs 1620-1859
Rec. of New Plymouth 1633-1689 B M D
IGI: Mayflower Desc. Births to 1839 (mixed years)

Plympton 1707 Tan Book

Marriages to 1780 (Bailey)

Princeton 1759 Tan Book

Early County Marriages (Bailey)

Provincetown 1727 VR 1698-1859 (NEHGS)
Check FS for Births to 1843, marriages 1843-1866

Q

Quincy 1792    

R

Town Name Est. Source Page for Primary Source Other Online Resources
Randolph 1793 VR to 1875 (manuscript)
Raynham 1731 VR 1700-1835 (manuscript)
Reading 1644 Tan Book

Marriages to 1726 (Bailey)

Rehoboth 1642 VR 1642-1896
Revere 1846 See Chelsea  
Richmond 1765 Tan Book  
Rochester 1686 Tan Book

Marriages to 1789 (Bailey)

Rockland 1874 Abington  
Rockport 1840 Tan Book

Pre-1840, see Gloucester

 
Rowe 1785 Check FS for BMD 1774-1848
Rowley 1639 Tan Book  
Roxbury Tan Book
Royalston 1765 Tan Book

Early County Marriages (Bailey)

Russell 1792 Check FS for VR 1792-1864
Rutland 1714 Tan Book

Marriages to 1800 (Bailey)

S

Town Name Est. Source Page for Primary Source Other Online Resources
Salem 1630 Tan Book  
Salisbury 1639 Tan Book  
Sandisfield 1762 Tan Book
Sandwich 1638 VR to 1885 (later)Check FS for Marriages 1640-1886
Saugus 1815 Tan Book  
Savoy 1797    
Scituate 1633 Tan BookEarly births & marriages
Seekonk 1812 Included in Arnold’s Rhode Island VR
RI VRs (NEHGS)
Sharon 1765 Tan Book  
Sheffield 1733 Marriages pre-1797

Marriages 1797-1850
Check FS for VR 1733-1800

Shelburne 1768 Tan Book  
Sherborn 1674 Tan Book Early County Marriages (Bailey)
Shirley 1753 Tan Book  
Shrewsbury 1720 Tan Book  
Shutesbury 1761 Check FS for BMD 1763-1842
Somerset 1790    
Somerville 1842 See Charlestown  
South Hadley 1753    
Southampton 1753 Check FS for VR 1740-1875
Southborough 1727 Tan BookMarriages to 1800 (Bailey)
Southbridge 1816 No VRs published  
Southwick 1770    
Spencer 1753 Tan Book Marriages to 1800 (Bailey)
Springfield 1641 Check FS for VR 1638-1887
Sterling 1781   Check FS for VR to 1850
Stockbridge 1739   Check FS for VR 1733-1847
Stoneham 1725 Tan Book  
Stoughton 1726   Check FS for VR 1727-1800
Stow 1683 Tan Book

Early County Marriages (Bailey)

Sturbridge 1738 Tan BookMarriages to 1800 (Bailey)
Sudbury 1639 Tan Book

Marriages & Deaths 1639 to 1693

Sunderland 1714 Check FS for VR 1686-1858
Sutton 1714 Tan Book Marriages to 1780 (Bailey)
Swampscott 1852 See Lynn  
Swansea 1667 Tan BookBook A Records 1662-1705

T

Town Name Est. Source Page for Primary Source Other Online Resources
Taunton 1639 Tan BookOther early records
Templeton 1762 Tan BookEarly County Marriages (Bailey)
Tewksbury 1734 Tan Book  
Tisbury 1671 Tan Book  
Tolland 1810    
Topsfield 1648 Tan Book
Townsend 1732    
Truro 1709 Tan Book  
Tyngsborough 1789 Tan Book  
Tyringham 1762 Tan BookMarriages to 1800 (Bailey)

U

Upton 1735 Tan Book  
Uxbridge 1727 Tan BookMarriages to 1800 (Bailey)

W

Town Name Est. Source Page for Primary Source Other Online Resources
Wakefield 1812 Tan Book  
Wales 1762    
Walpole 1724 Tan Book  
Waltham 1738 Tan Book  
Ware 1761    
Wareham 1739 Marriages to 1800 (Bailey)  
Warren 1742 Tan Book  
Warwick 1763    
Washington 1777 Tan Book  
Watertown 1630 VR to 1822
Wayland 1780 Wayland  
Webster 1832    
Wellesley 1881 See Needham  
Wellfleet 1763 Check FS for VR 1734-1875
Wendell 1781    
Wenham 1643 Tan Book  
West Boylston 1808 Tan Book  
West Bridgewater 1822 Tan Book  
West Brookfield 1848 See Brookfield  
West Newbury 1819 Tan Book
Pre-1820, see Newbury
 
West Springfield 1774 Later VR to 1850
West Stockbridge 1774 Tan Book  
West Tisbury 1892 See Tisbury
Westborough 1717 Tan Book  
Westfield 1669 City Hall Records Multiple databases (NEHGS)
Westford 1729 Tan BookMarriages & Deaths to 1840
Westhampton 1778 Check FS for VR 1778-1868
Westminster 1759 Tan Book  
Weston 1713 VR 1707-1850Early County Marriages (Bailey)
Westport 1787 Tan Book  
Westwood 1897 See Dedham  
Weymouth 1635 Tan BookBirths 1637-1643
Births 1655-1699
Whately 1771   Check FS for VR 1749-1856
Whitman 1875 See Abington, East Bridgewater  
Wilbraham 1763   Check FS for VR to 1850
Williamsburg 1771 Check FS for TR 1753-1797  
Williamstown 1765 Tan Book  
Wilmington 1730 VR 1730-1898
Winchendon 1764 VR to 1850Early County Marriages (Bailey)
Winchester 1850 See Medford, Woburn, W. Cambridge  
Windsor 1771 Tan Book  
Winthrop 1852 See Chelsea & Woburn  
Woburn 1642 VR to 1873
Worcester 1684 Births, Marriages, DeathsMarriages to 1800 (Bailey)
Worthington 1768 Tan Book  
Wrentham 1673 Tan BookVR to 1724

Y

Yarmouth 1639 Later VR to 1850

Statewide Databases

Statewide resources have improved greatly in the last few years. The best resource to use depends on whether you know just what you are looking for, and whether you need or want to see resources from multiple towns together at once. If your ancestor lived in a town not served by a Tan Book, the best resource is probably FamilySearch, since its collections are most extensive.

- Bailey: Early Marriages prior to 1800 Bailey's statewide work is searchable on Ancestry.

- NEHGS has combined records from a number of towns (mostly tan books and others that it owns the copyright to) into one database. It also has some unique town-specific databases that are called out above.

- Ancestry combined statewide births, marriages, and deaths into separate databases covering, roughly, the tan books. More recently, it indexed the volumes individually and enabled searching by title. Those links are on the source pages when available.

- IGI: The IGI includes extracted records from most towns, but only of births and marriages. A list of included towns can be found here. The IGI also includes user-submitted records of questionable veracity. When searching the database as a whole, extracted records often stand out because the names are in all caps and the place is written out in full, with no abbreviations or extra commas.

- FamilySearch is planned to replace the IGI with statewide collections that can be searched by town and include all sorts of vital records up to 1915. They continue to have only births and marriages.

- Google: All of Google Books (which contains many of the published vital records) can be searched at once; add "massachusetts vital records" to your search for decipherable results.

- Archive.org has many of the books. They are not universally searchable, but each book can be downloaded and searched.

- HathiTrust: Many of the books are available and searchable at HathiTrust Digital Library

- HeritageQuest Online has indexed a number of the vital records books and has the scanned images online as part of its subscription service (which is accessed through the library websites of many local libraries). The main search page searches all books in the collection, which are otherwise difficult to access individually. The books include vital records for most of the tan books and others out of copyright.

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