Massachusetts Probate, Town, and Vital Records, 1600s-1900s

Between 1630 and 1642, approximately 30,000 people left England for Massachusetts. By the time of the American Revolution, nearly everyone still in Massachusetts could trace their ancestry to one of those 30,000 people. This database lists more than 160,000 individuals in probate records, town histories, and vital records. This variety of records allows you to piece together quite a comprehensive record of your Massachusetts ancestors.

Each of the following towns or counties has at least one volume dedicated to it in this Family Archive: Barnstable, Bristol, Duxbury, Eastham, Fairhaven, Haverhill, Middleborough, Orleans, Plymouth, Sandwich, Scituate, Stoneham, and Suffolk. This material may also be of interest to those with early Rhode Island ancestors since Massachusetts’ Bristol County included the Rhode Island towns or areas of Bristol, Warren, Barrington, Little Compton, and Tiverton until 1747.

Since its early settlement, Massachusetts has been collecting vital records (births, marriages, and deaths) at the town level. Because these records have been kept locally, however, accessing them today for your research can sometimes be inconvenient. Six of the volumes included here deal specifically with vital records. Some of the titles, such as Vital Records of the Town of Plymouth, are collections of the work of renowned Mayflower scholar George Bowman who methodically transcribed the official records of Massachusetts’ town clerks. Vital records usually contain the full name of the individual involved in the event, the date of the event, and the town in which the event took place.

  • Narrative histories of entire families
  • Biographies of early settlers
  • Abstracts of wills and administrations
  • Town histories
  • Land records
  • Dates of vital records (births, marriages and deaths)

Additional Resources:
– History of the Town of Duxbury, Massachusetts With Genealogical Registers
– The History of Haverhill, Massachusetts From its First Settlement, in 1640, to the Year 1860
– History of Scituate, Massachusetts, from its First Settlement to 1831
– History of Stoneham, Massachusetts, With Biographical Sketches of Many of its Prominent Men
– Records of the Town of Plymouth Published by Order of the Town (3 Volumes)
– Vital Records of The Town of Plymouth
– Vital Records of the Towns of Barnstable and Sandwich
– Vital Records of the Towns of Eastham and Orleans
– Vital Records of the Town of Fairhaven, Massachusetts to 1850
– Vital Records of the Town of Middleborough
– Abstracts of Bristol County, Massachusetts Probate Records, 1687-1745
– Abstracts of Bristol County, Massachusetts Probate Records, 1745-1762
– Suffolk County Wills