Talk:Massachusetts Online Vital Records Research Guide


VERY nice work (I assume you're behind this). This is really a great collection. One note: the link to the LDS batch files on don't populate the form with the batch # and region. I had to cut and paste from the URL results into the field. Then it worked. Jillaine 15:52, 6 July 2007 (MDT)

Topics [19 December 2008]

There is now an additional transcription process,, that has even more transcriptions. Should probably be included or at least referenced. jillaine 04:54, 19 December 2008 (EST)

Open Library [26 February 2009]

I wanted to note that many of these vital records are scanned and available at Open Library.--Jennifer (JBS66) 14:09, 26 February 2009 (EST)

Name [1 January 2010]

Actually, I don't think it's a great idea to rename this. It's gigantic and over the size limit as it is. Trying to put all the genweb links and all the other useful links on this page will make it insane. I'd much rather see it as one link among others (i.e. the Mass Vital Records to 1850 and 1850-1911 source pages) from the real research guide.--Amelia 17:42, 1 January 2010 (EST)

Yeah, I think you're right; I just tried to roll it back, but couldn't get it to undo the rename. Let me keep trying. Jillaine 20:04, 1 January 2010 (EST)
OKay. fixed it. I think. Sorry. I was moving too fast. Jillaine 20:08, 1 January 2010 (EST)

Email from [29 July 2010]

It would be appreciated if someone could address the issues mentioned in the email below.

First, you have some of the links going to index.html. I have long since changed all of my files to .shtml. While it would work to change any links to the .shtml extension, it would be better to remove the index.shtml altogether and simply link to the various towns as - As the index is the default, this solves any problems with changes. For instance, if I upgrade to using PHP and MySQL, the index would be index.php, but the browser would still find it.

I have removed all remaining instances of index.html from the listings here. Jillaine 10:33, 29 July 2010 (EDT)
 Second, I currently have some 150 towns transcribed or in process. Most of those have images. A few, such as Springfield and Falmouth do not have the images online as they are under copyright. I have the images and can send upon request. Some towns are not fully transcribed or have no transcriptions but the images are there; thus, the town's vital records can still be researched.
I'm not sure what he's asking/suggesting here. If I had to guess, he's saying we could be linking to many more of his pages. I currently do not have the time to take on such a project. Added link at top of page. Jillaine 10:33, 29 July 2010 (EDT)
 Third, there is a surname index at This is a bit out of date but, still, essentially accurate. It provides the researcher a way to look for any surname regardless of the town.
Added a link at top of page. Jillaine 10:33, 29 July 2010 (EDT)
 I am in the process of doing a major conversion of the entire site to a new look that will make it far easier to use. This conversion involves some hidden information that will make it possible for me to create even more indexing, including by given names. This will do more than the usual indexing found on other sites as all alternate spellings of a name will be indexed under the most common spelling. I currently have over 60 possible spelling for Elizabeth. That includes the various nicknames. Another research tool will be a chronological list of all events in a family, regardless of town. This list will show all marriages, in green, births, in black, and deaths, in red. The purpose being to help find missing members of a family because the family moved around or town boundaries moved.
No action required at this time. Jillaine 10:33, 29 July 2010 (EDT)
 I should stress that my site is free and always will be. I started it while a County Coordinator under the USGenWeb project. I firmly adhere to USGenWeb's goal of making all public domain records freely available to all.
No action required at this time; he's listed in the "free" column. Jillaine 10:33, 29 July 2010 (EDT)

Thank you.

John Slaughter Massachusetts Vital Records Project Administrator -

IGI & Question [4 April 2011]

Apparently, the IGI is going to be phased out soon, so those links on this page will likely not work. "The records from the index will be divided back into the original collections that the information was copied from". So, the Mass. marriages would be found at Search collection

. I am wondering if it would be easier to maintain this list if the links pointed back to the WR source page instead. We are probably duplicating work when adding the outside links here, since most people add that info to the source page. Also, this list may be easier to locate if was linked to from each source. I'd be willing to lend a hand with any edits, since this is such a useful resource. --Jennifer (JBS66) 09:34, 2 April 2011 (EDT)

Just an FYI, FamilySearch is also phasing out their old family history library catalog site, so the links to the catalog on our Source pages will also break. I'm going to write a program to replace the links we have on the Source pages with a template pointing to the new catalog.--Dallan 10:27, 2 April 2011 (EDT)
So are the town-specific records going to go into that one collection? That sounds considerably less useful than the IGI. But easy to edit, since it would just go under the state-wide links list. A lot of books have come online in the last 4 years, so hopefully we don't need to rely on IGI links for very much. I'm not a big fan of linking to the source pages in lieu of actual data because I think it just adds an extra click that will annoy people (me), although agreed that those pages may be more up to date.--Amelia 11:51, 2 April 2011 (EDT)
Here is a link to the FamilySearch wiki on this topic. I believe there are a few databases for Massachusetts, including Massachusetts Births and Christenings, 1639-1915. I know that an extra click would be involved, but wouldn't that be less annoying overall in comparison to changing this list and monitoring the sources for new repository additions? Another idea might be to add a template to the bottom of these sources, so you could click from one to the other without searching. --Jennifer (JBS66) 12:18, 2 April 2011 (EDT)
So two separate issues: 1) what to do with the IGI links. I think we delete them, and add a link, to the extent we can identify it, to the statewide replacement. The FS collection seems to be a work in progress that's currently harder to deal with than direct links where we can get them, so I think we just don't worry about it.
2) What to do with this page. I really like your idea of a template on the source pages. That would work really well for everything that has an individual source. I don't think Bailey's marriages has source pages by town, but I don't think that's a big deal - we could add it to a group of statewide sources on the template, and cross-reference on towns where it would be useful. This page could become a more general research guide for the VRs; I've found it useful to have the whole town list that indicates what towns haven't been published and which ones were something else earlier. All of that's a decent amount of work, but ultimately more maintainable than the current arrangement. I'll work on the template, and if a few of us take parts of the alphabet for dropping it in and updating the links it wouldn't be so bad hopefully?--Amelia 13:27, 2 April 2011 (EDT)
Sounds good. I was actually just working on a template a few minutes ago - but feel free to create your own, I know that you have some nice templates in use elsewhere!
Perhaps we could start by adding repositories to the source pages, linking to a template, then see where we are. I agree the IGI links will need to be removed. The FS collections can be added to the source pages later, when they have their plan finalized. Links to their collections are being added via the Template:Fscollection. --Jennifer (JBS66) 13:50, 2 April 2011 (EDT)
Oh, excellent, you have all the towns - half the battle. I'll play around with it a little. I think to save space we should just remove the ones that don't have published VR, and add a note to see the usage guide if a town is missing.--Amelia 16:14, 2 April 2011 (EDT)
I had some time, so I added many of the links as well (Excel made this go quickly). Feel free to edit as you see fit. I agree with deleting the unneeded towns, but since you are more experienced with these sources, I'll leave that for you :-) --Jennifer (JBS66) 16:26, 2 April 2011 (EDT)
Awesome. I added some cross-refs at the end. We could do those in a separate template like with the census sources, providing the links in a bullet list; I can't decide which is better. Working on deleting the extra towns at the moment.--Amelia 16:37, 2 April 2011 (EDT)
Are these sources supposed to be titled Place. Vital Records to the Year 1850 or Place. Vital Records of XX, Massachusetts to the Year 1850? Are we using the text from the title page, or should the place not be duplicated again in the title? --Jennifer (JBS66) 14:21, 2 April 2011 (EDT)
I posed this question somewhere and we decided to follow the rule about not duplicating place names, which means it should be the former (though some are "thru 1849" instead of "to 1850" to make things complicated). But no one ever went through and did anything comprehensively before they got renamed in the automated conversion a couple years ago, typically using whatever came from the FS catalog, names, commas, and all.--Amelia 16:14, 2 April 2011 (EDT)

Two questions:

  1. What would you like to do with the Google Books/Internet Archive links on this page? Do you want me to delete them when they've been entered on the source page?
  2. Many of the sources linked here still need to be renamed, is that something we want to do now, or save that for another time? --Jennifer (JBS66) 08:27, 4 April 2011 (EDT)
  1. Let's wait to reformat the page. Like everything dealing with these records, 80% will be easy, but there will be problem cases for a lot of the towns with multiple sets of records, some of which aren't elsewhere in the source database. So there's a general discussion about what to do with this page that I'd like to make a separate step in the process. Plus since the template isn't up yet we want to preserve the usefulness of this page.
  2. I was thinking renaming would make sense when touching the page to add the template, but I suppose there's no reason not to start now if you're on the page. To the extent any of the current pages under the long name aren't linked anywhere yet, they can also be deleted to get them out of the source drop-down.--Amelia 11:10, 4 April 2011 (EDT)

NEHGS links [4 April 2011]

Just wanted to note... many of the NEHGS do not work. --Jennifer (JBS66) 15:48, 4 April 2011 (EDT)