Learn about conducting genealogical research

Learn how, when, and what you can access through the Massachusetts state genealogical archive for research purposes.

Access to vital records

The RVRS Public Research Room has been upgraded with the following new Features:

Updated Research Hours:

New Research Hours:

  • Monday: 1PM to 4PM
  • Tuesday: 9AM to Noon
  • Wednesday- Closed
  • Thursday: 1PM to 4PM
  • Friday: 9AM to Noon

Fully Digital Indexing:

Physical, paper vital record Indexes have been scanned and are viewable as PDF images. All vital record indexes from 1931 through present are now available digitally.

Online Research Reservation system:

RVRS Research Room time is now scheduled online.

The RVRS Research Room is now accepting Online Research Reservations for appointments beginning January 3rd, 2023.

Scheduling a Research Room Appointment Online

To help ensure that adequate RVRS research resources are made available, research time can only be scheduled in advance online.

Please Note: Unscheduled, walk-in research cannot be accommodated.

To create a Research Room Reservation:

  • Please click the link below:

RVRS Research Room Reservation

  • Select an available date and time from the calendar.
  • Enter the required contact information, and click “Book”

You will receive a confirmation email and a reminder email 24 hours prior to your reservation.

If a date or time is not selectable, then there are no available appointments for that time-period.

Additional Notes:

  • If you do not receive a confirmation email within 30 minutes, your reservation is NOT confirmed.
  • Reservations must be made in one-hour increments.
  • Reservations must be made at least 24 hours prior to the requested date.
  • Reservations cannot be made more than 14 days in advance

For questions, please email: Vital.recordsrequest@mass.gov

Helpful links:

Please continue to check mass.gov/dph/rvrs for information about changes to RVRS services.

Years of records available

Birth, death, and marriage records

At the Registry of Vital Records, you can access records from 1931–present.

Records for events that occurred from 1841–1930 are available from the State Archives.

Earlier records may be available at the city or town of occurrence. Some city and town records are available from as early as 1635.

Divorce records

The Registry maintains an index of divorces from 1952present. Copies of the divorce records are available from the probate court where the divorce was obtained. Copies are not available at the Registry.

Researching out-of-state records

If you are looking for vital records from other states, please refer to the National Center for Health Statistics index

What to know before visiting the Registry of Vital Records

  • Photos are not allowed
  • Children under the age of 12 are not allowed in the research room
  • Records are only available in person
  • No records are kept online
  • The Registry only issues certified copies of records, regardless of intended use
For specific questions about the use of public indexes, the examination of records, extracting information from public records, record restrictions, and genealogical research facilities, call (617) 740-2600 or email vital.recordsrequest@state.ma.us.

Additional Resources

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