Archives Partners With NEHGS to Add Over 2 Million New Vital Records

by Julie Hill

Posted on January 18, 2012

We are pleased to announce the addition of a vital records collection that will prove very valuable to family historians researching ancestors in Massachusetts in the 16th through 19th centuries. Courtesy of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (, has added 2,061,221 birth, death, and marriage records that span the years 1569 to 1850.

Since Massachusetts was one of the first states to be settled, anyone with early colonial ancestry likely has relatives documented in these records. These records represent the online version of a preservation project that dates back to the turn of the twentieth century. In 1901, NEHGS undertook Massachusetts Town Vital Records Project to transcribe neglected birth, marriage, and death records from 150 of the state's 180 towns. In 1921, NEHGS began organizing these records in printed volumes.

"This endeavor saved researchers and genealogists the trouble of having to travel to find these records," said NEHGS Director of IT Ryan Woods. "By bringing these records online you don't have to know the exact town you're looking for. It transformed what was initially a preservation project into a much more powerful research experience."

This NEHGS vital records collection displays records alphabetically by region, which is useful for seeing multiple events in the same family. You can navigate through the collection by paging forward and backward, as well as by region, making it easier to search for your ancestors by varied surname spellings and places of settlement.

Birth records include the names of the child and parents, and date of birth or baptism.


Death records include the name of the deceased, along with date and cause of death, and occupation when available.


Marriage records include the names of the bride and groom, along with their hometowns and the date of the marriage ceremony.


This rich collection with centuries of records will enable family historians to trace more New England ancestors than ever before. and NEHGS are thrilled to work together to offer our members access to this collection. "Our ability to share our Massachusetts Vitals collection helps everyone who is interested in genealogy and exposes people to more valuable content than one organization can do alone," Wood said. is continually adding more records and looks forward to sharing the latest collections with you here.

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