Discovery Your Family History

Finding Your Massachusetts Ancestors

It doesn’t matter where you and your family may live for you to have ancestors who lived in Massachusetts, because it is possible that some of your ancestors came to America on the Mayflower back in 1620, or lived in Massachusetts around that time period. During your LDS family search, you may discover that you have some ancestors who lived in the United States during one or more historical events throughout the previous four centuries. If you are thinking that finding this type of information is impossible, think again. The information you are searching for is easy to find by checking out the right resources that are available to you.

 The state of Massachusetts has a wealth of records that date back as far as the 1600s. By searching through original books, manuscripts, micro fish, and even online resources you will find the information you need on your ancestors who lived throughout history.

Here is an annotated listing of some of the many sources available to you for your LDS family search. Important information about some of your ancestors can be found in the vital records, according to their dates and places of birth, age, whether the ancestor was married or not, and the number of children they had at the time. It is important to remember that some of the early settlers weren’t listed in vital records, because they were never reported. Some of the vital records could have also been destroyed by fire, or other natural disasters. In order to find your ancestors, you must search by births, marriages, or deaths to get the information you need for your family tree.

 Some cities and towns in Massachusetts have vital records dating back from the 1600’s. Most of the city clerk’s maintain the original records, and are available to be reviewed by genealogy researchers. Many of these early records have been recorded to microfilm, or micro fish. When you visit the Family Search Microfilm web site, click on the catalogue link, search for the city you are looking for, and locate a genealogy centre in that area. Once you have located the nearest family history centre, you can request microfilms for the records you wish to review. Check out Holbrook Micro fish to find vital records that aren’t produced on microfilm.

 You may also search in the vital records for more than 200 of Massachusetts cities by viewing the printed vital records, known as the tan books. The tan books that were transcribed between 1600 and 8050 are no longer copyrighted, so they can be found online as part of the public domain. These tan books make your LDS family search much easier by listing names in alphabetical order. Some of the more recent books have been published to make genealogical information more readily available to researchers.

If you are researching family history from the towns in Western Massachusetts that have no vital records available, check out the Corbon collection of manuscripts and microfilm, located at NEHGS transcription. This is a collection of vital records for several counties in the Western portion of the state.

 For records from 1840 to 1920, you can either visit the town clerk in the city you are interested in researching, or you can look in the Massachusetts state archives. The Archives houses all the original books and microfilm from 1840 to 1920, and the records from 1840 to 1910 have been digitized and uploaded to the Internet. Family Research has converted their books and microfilms to online digital records for the years 1840 to 1915 and they are in the process of digitizing the remaining records.

 If you are looking for records from 1921 to the present, you can visit the town clerk, or the vital records registry. If you don’t know the year(s) or people’s names that you are searching for, the registrar will conduct a search for a small fee. However you can conduct your own search if you know what you are looking for. The New England Genealogical Society has a record of births to 1950, Marriages up to 1970, (excluding the years 1956 and 1965), and a record of deaths up to the year 1980.

 If you can’t find what you need in the records listed above, you can always check court records in a given town in Massachusetts. You can gain valuable information for your LDS family search from people’s wills that list relatives that they wish to give their prize possessions to. This is a great way to link people throughout the generations. You can also find information from records of law suits and other legal resources. These are just a few of the hundreds of resources available to Genealogists throughout the entire state of Massachusetts

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