Massachusetts Genealogy
Guide to Ancestry and Family Tree Records

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.

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Helpful Links
State Genealogy Guides

Massachusetts, officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, one of the states of New England. Massachusetts entered the Union as the sixth of the original 13 states. When still a colony, it had become an important intellectual center, known for Harvard College and the cultural institutions of Boston. Many events in Massachusetts, including the Stamp Act riots (1765), the Boston Massacre (1770), and the Boston Tea Party (1773), were precursors to the American Revolution (1775-1783). The first battles of the revolution were fought in Massachusetts, and its role in colonial history can be seen in the many well-preserved landmarks in such historic places as Plymouth, Boston, Lexington, and Concord.

Massachusetts got its start as a commercial and fishing area, but it soon became known for social welfare, medicine and educational endeavors. In the 19th century, it was known as a footwear and textile manufacturing state, but in the following century it was the high-technology and electronic fields that took off in the state.

Massachusetts is also a state full of summer resort areas, such as Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Code. The state is full of recreational locations and activities.

The name “Massachusetts” is believed to have come from the name of an Algonquin village. The state is nicknamed “The Bay State” after the site of the puritans’ colony at Massachusetts Bay. The state has also gone by many other nicknames, including “The Puritan State” and “The Pilgrim State.”
Massachusetts Counties – The State of Massachusetts was founded as the 6th state on Feb. 6, 1788. It has 14 Counties. The state of Massachusetts is bordered by Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont. The capital is Boston and the official state website is http://www.mass.gov/

Select a Massachusetts county to view information & records pertaining to each County

Massachusetts Genealogy Record Guides

Massachusetts Archives & Societies
Massachusetts Atlases & Maps
Massachusetts Census Records
Massachusetts Counties
Massachusetts Court Records
Massachusetts Cemetery Records
Massachusetts Church Records
Massachusetts State History
Massachusetts Military Records
Massachusetts Vital Records

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/.

Massachusetts Genealogy Databases and other Helpful Links

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

State Genealogy Guides