Dukes County, Massachusetts Genealogy Guide
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Dukes County was established twice, the first was by New York on November 1, 1683 until 1691 and the second time by Massachusetts on June 22, 1695 from Martha's Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands, which had been part of Dukes County, New York until Massachusetts gained it in 1691. The county was named for Dukes County, New York, the land at one time was literally the possession of the Duke of York. Learn More About State of Massachusetts History
Dukes County Cities and Towns include Aquinnah (formerly Gay Head), Chilmark, Edgartown, Gosnold, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, West Tisbury.
Dukes County, Massachusetts Courthouse Records
Dukes County, MA Courthouse
Please contact the each clerk's department to confirm mailing address, hours, fees and other information before visiting or requesting information because contact information sometimes changes. The Clerk's Office DOES NOT DO RESEARCH. The documents are available to interested parties, barring confidential issues. Most staff will assist people in finding the materials, but it is up to the individual to do the research. For Town Records contact the City/Town Hall Clerk.
The following dates indicates what vital, land, probate, and court records are in Dukes county. The date listed for each category of record is usually the earliest registration filed. The earliest date does not indicate that there are numerous records for that year and does not mean that all such events were actually registered.
- Dukes County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1686. The County Register of Deeds is the place where all transactions of a Real Property nature are recorded so that the public is made aware of their existence. Deeds, mortgages, tax liens, water liens, declaration of homestead and many other kinds of documents regarding the title and ownership of real estate are noted permanently in official records.
- Dukes County Clerk of Probate Court has Probate Records from 1696. The County Clerk of Probate Court has many responsibilities which include the administration of estates, probate of wills, and the appointment of guardians, have been under the jurisdiction of the courts since the 1630s. County courts and later, county judges of probate, were responsible for these functions until 1783, when the probate courts were established. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the probate and family courts were given jurisdiction over adoptions, divorces, name changes, and domestic relations.
- Dukes County Clerk of Courts has Court Records from 1665. The County Clerk of Courts has jurisdiction over all civil, criminal, and equity cases.
- Dukes County Town Clerks has copies of vital records (birth, marriage, divorce and death records). Clerks respond to inquiries regarding vital records, since most have indexes available. They also have tax lists that may still be available at the town office. Earlier taxes for the towns exist as well.
Dukes County, Massachusetts Census Records
- Learn More: State of Massachusetts Census Records
- U.S. Federal Population Schedules: 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragmented), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940
- State Population Schedules: 1855, 1865
- U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules: 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880
- Selected U.S. Federal Census Agriculture Schedules: 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880
- Selected U.S. Federal Census Industry Schedules: 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880
- Union Veterans Schedules: 1890
Dukes County, Massachusetts Vital Records
- Learn More: State of Massachusetts Vital Records
- Birth, Marriage and Death Records: from late 1916 to present
- Divorce Records: Indexes from 1952 to present
- Locations: Massachusetts Office of Vital Statistics, Massachusetts State Archives (1841-1910)
- Vital Records Online: USAVital, VitalChek or Social Security Death Index
- Vital Records by Mail: Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate Death Certificate Applications.
Dukes County, Massachusetts Resources
- Martha's Vineyard Historical Society
- Dukes County, Massachusetts Message Boards
- Dukes County, Massachusetts Genealogy Forum