Free Massachusetts Vital Records

This is a collection of 197 free vital records books, otherwise known as “Tan Books” for Massachusetts towns. Generally these records go up to 1849/1850 at which, the genealogist can use the census records to assist in identifying the family connections further. Included with this article is an account of why and how these manuscripts were published along with links to all 197 books which can be freely read or downloaded.

History of Publication

Vital Records of Rowley Massachusetts
Vital Records of Rowley Massachusetts

In 1918 the Massachusetts Legislature, as a measure of war economy, repealed the Vital Records Act of 1902, which provided for the preservation in print of the vital records, prior to 1850, of Massachusetts towns; and accordingly this important work, carried on for more than sixteen years by the aid and under the supervision of the State and far advanced towards completion, is unfinished, and will remain so, unless arrangements are made for continuing it without the help of an appropriation from the Commonwealth. It seems fitting, therefore, at this time, to describe what has already been accomplished in printing in book form the vital records of Massachusetts towns, both under the Act of 1902 and also independently of the supervision of the State, and then to present the plan in accordance with which the New England Historic Genealogical Society, if it receives sufficient financial support, intends to continue and, it is hoped, to complete the task from which the State has withdrawn its aid.

Previous to 1902 the vital records of a small number of towns 1 in Massachusetts had been printed in book form, either at the expense of the towns themselves or by societies or individuals. Some of these volumes contained verbatim copies of the original records; in others the facts found in the original records were arranged alphabetically by surnames or in some other way preferred by the compilers. Even since 1902 such books have been published from time to time. But in 1902 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, chiefly in response to representations made by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, began to encourage the printing of vital records by undertaking to purchase a large number of copies of each book offered, the General Court adopting a measure which was approved by the Governor on 11 June 1902 and was entitled “An Act To provide for the Preservation of Town Records of Births, Marriages and Deaths Previous to the Year Eighteen Hundred and Fifty.” By this law the Secretary of the Commonwealth was directed to purchase, at a fixed rate per page, 500 copies of the record of the births, marriages, and deaths, previous to 1850, of any town in Massachusetts, whenever such record should be printed and verified in the manner required by the Commissioner of Public Records and the Board of Free Library Commissioners, acting jointly, and the work should appear to them to have been prepared with accuracy, provided that not more than $15,000 should be expended by authority of this act in any one year. The volumes thus purchased were to be distributed by the Secretary to certain public offices, libraries, and historical societies in Massachusetts and to certain libraries outside of Massachusetts.

In this act no provision was made for the printing of records of births, marriages, and deaths occurring since 1849, because from that time on town clerks have been required by law to send each year to the State House in Boston copies of the vital records entered in their town books during the previous year. In case, therefore, the original vital records of a town for this later period should be damaged or destroyed, an official copy of such records could be consulted at the State House, where the excellent system of indexing employed by the State officials makes it easy to find the copy of the record of any birth, marriage, or death that has been entered in town records in Massachusetts since the town clerks began to make their annual returns to the State authorities. The loss or destruction, however, of the vital records of a town prior to 1850 which had not been printed would in all probability involve the loss of all the information contained in them, except in the rare cases where manuscript copies are in existence or items relating to some particular family have been incorporated in a family history.

From the enactment of the Vital Records Act in 1902 down to its repeal, which took effect on 1 Dec. 1918, the work of preparing and publishing these vital records in the form approved by the State authorities was carried on by the New England Historic Genealogical Society and by a few other societies and individuals. During this period of sixteen and one-half years the Secretary of the Commonwealth purchased and distributed to the public offices, libraries, and historical societies designated in the Act 169 volumes, containing the vital records, prior to 1850, of 149 Massachusetts towns and a part of the vital records of two other towns. The vital records of 26 other towns, in whole or in part, have also been published in book form; but, as many of them were printed before 1902 and as they are for the most part not arranged on the same plan as the books purchased by the State, they are not included in the series authorized by the Act of 1902. Some of them, however, have been prepared and printed with the most painstaking regard for accuracy, and are extremely useful to those engaged in genealogical, historical, or legal research.

The following list, arranged by counties, shows the progress made, up to 2014, in publishing online in book form the vital records of Massachusetts towns. No attempt has been made (yet) to include in this list towns whose records, in whole or in part, have been published in periodicals but have not been reprinted in book form. 2

Published Massachusetts Town Vital Records

  1. Vital records of Abington, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 vol. 1
  2. Vital records of Abington, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 vol. 2
  3. Vital records of Acton, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  4. Vital records of Alford, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  5. Vital records of Amesbury, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  6. Vital records of Andover, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol. 1
  7. Vital records of Andover, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol. 2
  8. Vital records of Arlington, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  9. Vital records of Ashburnham, Massachusetts: to the end of the year 1849
  10. Vital records of Athol, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  11. Vital records of Auburn (formerly Ward) Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1850
  12. Vital records of Barre, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  13. Vital records of Becket, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  14. Vital records of Bedford, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  15. Vital records of Bellingham, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  16. Vital records of Beverly, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 . vol. 2
  17. Vital records of Beverly, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 . vol. 1
  18. Vital records of Billerica, Massachusetts to the year 1850
  19. Vital records of Bolton, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  20. Boston births, baptisms, marriages and deaths 1630-1699
  21. Boston births from 1700-1800
  22. Boston marriages from 1700-1751
  23. Boston marriages from 1752-1809
  24. Vital records of Boxborough, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  25. Vital records of Boxford, Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849
  26. Boxford, Massachusetts Vital Records: Births – 1843-1943
  27. Boxford, Massachusetts Vital Records: Deaths – 1844-1943
  28. Boxford, Massachusetts Vital Records: Marriages – 1843-1979
  29. Vital records of Boylston, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1850
  30. Vital records of Bradford, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  31. Vital records of Brewster, Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849;
  32. Vital records of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 vol. 2
  33. Vital records of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 vol. 1
  34. Vital records of Brockton, Massachusetts: to the year 1850
  35. Vital records of Brookfield, Massachusetts: to the end of the year 1849
  36. Vital records of Burlington, Massachusetts: to the year 1850
  37. Vital records of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 vol. 1
  38. Vital records of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 vol. 2
  39. Vital records of Carlisle, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  40. Vital records of Carver, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  41. Vital records of Charlemont, Massachusetts: to the year 1850
  42. Vital records of Charlton, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  43. Vital records of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  44. Vital records of Chelsea, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  45. Vital records of Chester, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  46. Vital records of Chilmark, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  47. Vital records of Cohasset, Massachusetts: to the year 1850
  48. Vital records of Conway, Massachusetts; to the year 1850
  49. Vital records of Dalton, Massachusetts: to the year 1850
  50. Vital records of Dana, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  51. Vital records of Danvers, Massachusetts: to the end of the year 1849 vol. 2
  52. Vital records of Danvers, Massachusetts: to the end of the year 1849 vol. 1
  53. Vital Records of Dartmouth Massachusetts to the year 1850, vols 1-3 combined
  54. Vital records of Deerfield, Massachusetts: to the year 1850
  55. Vital records of Dorchester, Massachusetts to the end of 1825
  56. Vital records of Dorchester, Massachusetts from 1826 to 1849
  57. Vital records of Douglas, Massachusetts: to the end of the year 1849
  58. Vital records of Dover, Massachusetts: to the year 1850
  59. Vital records of Dracut, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  60. Vital records of Dudley, Massachusetts: to the end of the year 1849
  61. Vital records of Dunstable, Massachusetts: to the end of the year 1849
  62. Vital records of Duxbury, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  63. Vital records of East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 vol. 1
  64. Vital records of Edgartown, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  65. Vital records of Essex, Massachusetts: to the end of the year 1849
  66. Vital records of Foxborough, Massachusetts: to the year 1850
  67. Vital records of Framingham, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  68. The record of births, marriages and deaths in the town of Franklin : from 1778 to 1872
  69. Vital records of Freetown, Massachusetts, 1686-1795
  70. Vital records of Gardner, Massachusetts: to the end of the year 1849
  71. Vital records of Gill, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  72. Vital records of Gloucester, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol. 3
  73. Vital records of Gloucester, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol. 1
  74. Vital records of Gloucester, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol. 2
  75. Vital records of Grafton, Massachusetts: to the end of the year 1849
  76. Vital records of Granville, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  77. Vital records of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 vol. 1
  78. Vital records of Greenfield, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  79. Vital records of Halifax, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  80. Vital records of Hamilton, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  81. Vital records of Hanson, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  82. Vital records of Hardwick, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  83. Vital records of Harvard, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  84. Vital records of Haverhill, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol. 2
  85. Vital records of Haverhill, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol. 1
  86. Vital records of Heath, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  87. Vital records of Hinsdale, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  88. Vital records of Holden, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  89. Vital records of Holliston, Massachusetts to the year 1850
  90. Vital records of Hopkinton, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  91. Vital records of Hubbardston, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  92. Vital records of Hull, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  93. Vital records of Ipswich, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol. 1
  94. Vital records of Kingston, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  95. Vital records of Lee, Massachusetts, 1777-1801
  96. Vital records of Lee, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  97. Vital records of Leicester, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  98. Vital records of Leominster, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  99. Vital records of Lincoln, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  100. Vital records of Lowell, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849, Vol. 1, Births
  101. Vital records of Lowell, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849, Vol. 2, Marriage A-L
  102. Vital records of Lowell, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849, Vol. 3, Marriage M-Z
  103. Vital records of Lowell, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849, Vol. 4, Deaths
  104. The early records of the town of Lunenburg, Massachusetts
  105. Vital records of Lynn, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol. 1
  106. Vital records of Lynn, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol. 2
  107. Vital records of Lynnfield, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  108. Vital records of Manchester, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  109. Vital records of Marblehead, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol. 1
  110. Vital records of Marblehead, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol. 2
  111. Vital records of Marlborough, Massachusetts
  112. Vital records of Medfield, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  113. Vital records of Medford Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  114. Vital records of Medway, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  115. Vital records of Mendon, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  116. Vital records of Methuen, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  117. Vital records of Middlefield, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  118. Vital records of Middleton, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  119. Vital records of Milford, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  120. Vital records of Millbury, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  121. Vital records of Montgomery, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  122. Vital records of Natick, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  123. Vital records of New Ashford, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  124. Vital records of New Braintree, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  125. Vital records of New Salem, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  126. Vital records of Newbury, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol 1
  127. Vital records of Newbury, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol 2
  128. Vital records of Newburyport, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol. 1
  129. Vital records of Newburyport, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol. 2
  130. Vital records of Newton, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  131. Vital records of Northborough, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1850
  132. Vital records of Northbridge, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  133. Vital records of Norton, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  134. Vital records of Oakham, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  135. Vital records of Oxford, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  136. Vital records of Palmer, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  137. Paxton, Massachusetts, births, marriages, and deaths, 1748-1850
    This manuscript can be borrowed and viewed at the InternetArchive online for free.
  138. Vital records of Pelham, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  139. Vital records of Pembroke, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  140. Vital records of Peru, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  141. Vital records of Petersham, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  142. Vital records of Phillipston, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  143. Vital records of Plympton, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  144. Vital records of Princeton, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  145. Vital records of Reading, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  146. Vital records of Richmond, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  147. Vital records of Rochester, Massachusetts, to the year 1850. vol. 1
  148. Vital records of Rochester, Massachusetts, to the year 1850. vol. 2
  149. Vital Records of Rowley, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  150. Vital records of Royalston, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  151. Vital records of Rutland, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  152. Vital records of Salem, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol. 1
  153. Vital records of Salem, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol. 2
  154. Vital records of Salem, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol. 3
  155. Vital records of Salisbury, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  156. Vital records of Saugus, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  157. Vital records of Scituate, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 vol. 1
  158. Vital records of Scituate, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 vol. 2
  159. Vital records of Sharon, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  160. Vital records of Sherborn, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  161. Vital records of Shirley, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  162. Vital records of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  163. Vital records of Southborough, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  164. Vital records of Spencer, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  165. Vital records of Stoneham, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  166. Vital records of Stow, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  167. Vital records of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  168. Vital records of Sudbury, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  169. Vital records of Sutton, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  170. Vital records of Templeton, Massachusetts; to the end of the year 1849
  171. Vital records of Tewksbury, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  172. Vital records of Tisbury, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  173. Vital records of Topsfield, Massachusetts, 1850-1899 vol. 2
  174. Vital records of Topsfield, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849 vol. 1
  175. Vital records of Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  176. Vital records of Tyringham, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  177. Vital records of Upton, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  178. Vital records of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  179. Vital records of Wakefield, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  180. Vital records of Walpole, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  181. Vital records of Waltham, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  182. Vital records of Warren [formerly Western], Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  183. Vital records of Washington, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  184. Vital records of Wayland, Massachusetts to the year 1850
  185. Vital records of Wenham, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  186. Vital records of West Boylston, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  187. Vital records of West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  188. Vital records of West Newbury, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  189. Vital records of West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  190. Vital records of Westborough, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  191. Vital records of Westford, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  192. Vital records of Westminster, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  193. Vital records of Westport, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  194. Vital records of Weymouth, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 vol. 1
  195. Vital records of Weymouth, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 vol. 2
  196. Vital records of Williamstown, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  197. Vital records of Winchendon, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
  198. Vital records of Windsor, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  199. Vital records of Worthington, Massachusetts, to the year 1850
  200. Vital records of Wrentham, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 vol. 1

Bibliography: The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. LXXIII, p. 52-62. The Society, 1919.

Citations:
  1. The word town or towns, as used in this article, refers both to towns and cities.[]
  2. For references to town records published in periodicals (down to 1907) see Flagg’s Guide to Massachusetts Local History, under the names of the several towns.[]

Locations:
Abington Massachusetts, Acton Massachusetts, Alford Massachusetts, Amesbury Massachusetts, Andover Massachusetts, Arlington Massachusetts, Ashburnham Massachusetts, Athol Massachusetts, Auburn Massachusetts, Barre Massachusetts, Becket Massachusetts, Bedford Massachusetts, Bellingham Massachusetts, Beverly Massachusetts, Billerica Massachusetts, Bolton Massachusetts, Boxborough Massachusetts, Boxford Massachusetts, Boylston Massachusetts, Bradford Massachusetts, Brewster Massachusetts, Bridgewater Massachusetts, Brockton Massachusetts, Brookfield Massachusetts, Burlington Massachusetts, Cambridge Massachusetts, Carlisle Massachusetts, Carver Massachusetts, Charlemont Massachusetts, Charlton Massachusetts, Chelmsford Massachusetts, Chelsea Massachusetts, Chester Massachusetts, Chilmark Massachusetts, Cohasset Massachusetts, Conway Massachusetts, Dalton Massachusetts, Dana Massachusetts, Danvers Massachusetts, Deerfield Massachusetts, Douglas Massachusetts, Dover Massachusetts, Dracut Massachusetts, Dudley Massachusetts, Dunstable Massachusetts, Duxbury Massachusetts, East Bridgewater Massachusetts, Edgartown Massachusetts, Essex Massachusetts, Foxborough Massachusetts, Framingham Massachusetts, Franklin Massachusetts, Freetown Massachusetts, Gardner Massachusetts, Gill Massachusetts, Gloucester Massachusetts, Grafton Massachusetts, Granville Massachusetts, Great Barrington Massachusetts, Greenfield Massachusetts, Halifax Massachusetts, Hamilton Massachusetts, Hanson Massachusetts, Hardwick Massachusetts, Harvard Massachusetts, Haverhill Massachusetts, Heath Massachusetts, Hinsdale Massachusetts, Holden Massachusetts, Holliston Massachusetts, Hopkinton Massachusetts, Hubbardston Massachusetts, Hull Massachusetts, Ipswich Massachusetts, Kingston Massachusetts, Lee Massachusetts, Leicester Massachusetts, Leominster Massachusetts, Lincoln Massachusetts, Lowell Massachusetts, Lunenburg Massachusetts, Lynn Massachusetts, Lynnfield Massachusetts, Manchester Massachusetts, Marblehead Massachusetts, Marlborough Massachusetts, Medfield Massachusetts, Medford Massachusetts, Medway Massachusetts, Mendon Massachusetts, Methuen Massachusetts, Middlefield Massachusetts, Middleton Massachusetts, Milford Massachusetts, Millbury Massachusetts, Montgomery Massachusetts, Natick Massachusetts, New Ashford Massachusetts, New Braintree Massachusetts, New Salem Massachusetts, Newbury Massachusetts, Newburyport Massachusetts, Newton Massachusetts, Northborough Massachusetts, Northbridge Massachusetts, Norton Massachusetts, Oakham Massachusetts, Oxford Massachusetts, Palmer Massachusetts, Pelham Massachusetts, Pembroke Massachusetts, Peru Massachusetts, Petersham Massachusetts, Phillipston Massachusetts, Plympton Massachusetts, Princeton Massachusetts, Reading Massachusetts, Richmond Massachusetts, Rochester Massachusetts, Royalston Massachusetts, Rutland Massachusetts, Salem Massachusetts, Salisbury Massachusetts, Saugus Massachusetts, Scituate Massachusetts, Sharon Massachusetts, Sherborn Massachusetts, Shirley Massachusetts, Shrewsbury Massachusetts, Southborough Massachusetts, Spencer Massachusetts, Stoneham Massachusetts, Stow Massachusetts, Sturbridge Massachusetts, Sudbury Massachusetts, Sutton Massachusetts, Templeton Massachusetts, Tewksbury Massachusetts, Tisbury Massachusetts, Topsfield Massachusetts, Tyngsboro Massachusetts, Tyringham Massachusetts, Upton Massachusetts, Uxbridge Massachusetts, Wakefield Massachusetts, Walpole Massachusetts, Waltham Massachusetts, Ward Massachusetts, Warren Massachusetts, Washington Massachusetts, Wayland Massachusetts, Wenham Massachusetts, West Boylston Massachusetts, West Bridgewater Massachusetts, West Newbury Massachusetts, West Stockbridge Massachusetts, Westborough Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts, Westford Massachusetts, Westminster Massachusetts, Westport Massachusetts, Weymouth Massachusetts, Williamstown Massachusetts, Winchendon Massachusetts, Windsor Massachusetts, Worthington Massachusetts, Wrentham Massachusetts,

Collection:
AccessGenealogy.com United States Vital Records.

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1 thought on “Free Massachusetts Vital Records”

  1. The last paragraph says “…arranged by counties…”, but “arranged by town or city” or “arranged by municipality” would be correct.

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