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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 Registry of Vital Records genealogical research hours:

Monday: 2 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Tuesday: 9 a.m.–12 p.m.
Wednesday: No research hours
Thursday: 2 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m.–12 p.m.

Conducting genealogical research costs $9 per hour, per person.

Researchers can use the public health indexes to access birth, death, marriage and divorce indexes. Researchers may also examine birth, death and marriage records and extract information from public records.  Certain Massachusetts records are restricted to the public.

Years of records available

Birth, death, and marriage records

At the Registry of Vital Records, you can access records from 1926present.

Records for events that occurred from 1841–1925 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.

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