Ever since the Pilgrims came to the area, Massachusetts has been an integral part of the history of the United States. They came to Massachusetts in 1620, trying to escape religious oppression in Britain. The Boston Tea Party, which was a protest against taxation, took place in the state in 1773. Then, on April 19, 1775, the battle of Lexington and Concord took place in Massachusetts, starting the American Revolution.

Massachusetts Counties

The State of Massachusetts was founded as the 6th state on Feb. 6, 1788. It has 14 Counties. Select a Massachusetts county to view information & records pertaining to each County

Getting Started with Massachusetts Genealogy and Family Trees

Effective Methods for Massachusetts Genealogy Research – Most people understand the role that the State of Massachusetts has played in American history. So many American citizens poured into this location throughout the earliest decades, and so many Native Americans inhabited the region, that there is a huge demand for genealogical data. There are many resources for finding it, and this article is going to explain how to go about obtaining the data you need.

Searching for Massachusetts Genealogy Data – Where do you find the resources to help in a search for Massachusetts genealogy data? You head to your computer, of course! So many people anticipate obtaining information online that a lot of archives and libraries have gone to great lengths to ensure that access is available through the Internet. This is referred to as “digitizing”, and while it is very effective and efficient, it is not yet something available at all resources – though most do have websites identifying the contents of their collections. It is necessary to spend time identifying which resources for Massachusetts genealogy are going to be your online tools, and which require some sort of visit or trip for the Massachusetts genealogy materials.

A Look at Resources for Massachusetts Genealogy Materials – Most research begins in public records, since these are the most readily available of the online resources for Massachusetts genealogy.

  • Local Records – state genealogy research will usually begin with a county clerk’s office or website, and will go on to the local genealogical societies, small local libraries, historical societies, and school or college libraries for Massachusetts genealogy materials. These are items that are usually offline and viewable by appointment or special arrangement.
  • Vital Records – these are records for births, marriages, divorces and deaths from county, state, and national archives. They also include military records, immigration and naturalization details, cemetery or obituary information, census records, newspaper items, and passenger lists and records as well. These tend to be available as online or offline resources for Massachusetts genealogy.
  • State Records – from probate information to private manuscripts, surname lists, newspapers, state census information, marriage details, military or veterans information, land records, maps, estate information, genealogical folders, death records, deeds, birth certificates, cemetery information and more; these are available as online and offline resources for Massachusetts genealogy.

Effective Methods for Massachusetts Genealogy Research – Where can you find these different types of records? Here is a list of the primary online resources for information for Massachusetts genealogy:

  • Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, 150 Mount Vernon Street, 1st Floor, Dorchester, MA 02125-3105; Website: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w/massachusetts.htm.
    This is where anyone can order birth, death, marriage and divorce records via a written request or even through an online form.

Additional state and local records can be found at the:

  • Massachusetts Archives, 220 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA 0212; Website: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arcidx.htm

It is not surprising that a state as historic as Massachusetts would have a lot of material available online. Currently, researchers seeking for Massachusetts genealogy data can get access to an archival collection from 1629 through 1799, passenger manifests, and vital records through the website, plus all of the materials that are open for public use at the actual archives.

Also, consider using the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists at: http://www.massog.org/.

Also, these three websites give researchers a tremendous amount of state-specific details for those in search for Massachusetts genealogy data.

Massachusetts Ethnic Group Research

Massachusetts African American Research – White settlers and African Americans, whether free or slaves, were recorded together in the same county records from colonial times. Records from the 1600s and 1700s may refer to an African American as “Negro,” “black,” “colored,” or “slave.” Mentions of African Americans may be found in vital records, probate records, land records, and court records. However, information specific to African Americans has not been extracted for easier research.

Massachusetts Native American Research – any Native American tribes lived in the Massachusetts are for hundreds of years prior to the arrival of the Pilgrims. Relations were friendly between the two groups when the Pilgrims first arrived. However, the later part of the 1600s saw more and more conflicts between white settlers and Native Americans. King Phillip’s War, was one of the most famous conflicts. It took place between the Plymouth Colony’s white settlers and the Wampanoag tribe. The conflicts started to come to an end in the middle of the 1700s, when many Native Americans had become slaves, been killed, died from a smallpox epidemic, or been forced to the west or north.

There were several other ethnic groups in Massachusetts during the 1800s, especially. Those groups consisted of French-Canadians, Irish, and many southern and eastern European groups. In more recent history, Asian and Latino groups also came to the area. TIARA, which is the Irish American Research Association, is an excellent resource for information on Catholic and Protestant Irish residents of Massachusetts. Jewish immigration records, meanwhile, can be found at the American Jewish Historical Society.