Special Notice for All Archives Visitors

1916-1920 Vital Records

Project Updates

March 12 2012

The digitization of our 1916-1920 vital records continues to progress at a good clip and we are looking forward to having the indexing and images available on our website in the next year. Some of you may have noted that FamilySearch is making the unindexed volumes available for viewing on their website. The images have not yet been indexed and so they will not appear in a search of the FamilySearch.org database.

Click here to open FamilySearch.org in a new browser window.

If you have the year, volume, and page number from our index, you can check to see if the volume you need has been uploaded. If you do not have the year, volume, and page number, you can obtain that information through a visit to the Archives. We have prepared a guide that will explain how you can access those records, which you can find at the link below.

How to search 1916 to 1920 Vital Records on FamilySearch.org (PDF)

We will continue to offer certified copies of the 1916-1920 vital records through our standard request procedures during this project. Although the physical record book volumes will remain inaccessible for in-person research and photocopies, the index books are available in our Reading Room. If you require a search of a record within the 1916-1920 timeframe, please follow these instructions if you are not able to visit us in person:

Certified copies of births, marriages and deaths from 1841 to 1920 can be ordered in person or by mail only. Please provide the full name and date (no greater than a 10-year span) for each event. If possible, the location, volume and page number, parents' names, and any additional information you might be able to provide will be extremely helpful. Please remember to include your mailing address in your letter so that we can send the completed certificate to you. A maximum of five certificates may be ordered at one time. Patrons must wait for receipt of copies from their initial order before submitting their next request. Please include individual checks for $3.00US for each certificate requested. A self addressed, stamped envelope is helpful, but not necessary. If we are unable to locate the record you have requested we will return your payment. Orders take approximately 2-4 weeks to process.

Checks should be made payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We are not able to accept credit card payments, but do also accept money orders and cash. Our mailing address is:

Massachusetts Archives
220 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125

If you have any questions about the project, please contact us.

June 27 2011

We are pleased to announce that the contract between the Archives and the GSU/Family Search has been finalized. Digitization of the 1916-1920 vital records should begin this summer and the GSU has confirmed that the process will take approximately 18 months from the start date. At the end of that time we will have an indexed database complete with images of our vital records, 1841-1920, available on our website.

The approximate 18-month duration of the scanning process is something that is determined by FamilySearch. We are told, given the scope of their operations and the detail of the indexing involved, that this is the fastest turn-around that they can provide. Though this does little to lessen the inconvenience of the long wait for these critical records, we hope that it might clarify for you the reasons for the delay.

With the needs of our researchers in mind and given the complex process of digitization, we have worked out an arrangement whereby we can accommodate requests for searches resulting in certified copies of the 1916-1920 vital records. Although the physical volumes will remain inaccessible for in-person research and photocopies, in an effort to make the materials as accessible as possible, we have made arrangements so that we might process search requests for certified copies as we do for the earlier vital records.

Your patience and understanding are appreciated as we work to provide, to the fullest extent possible, access to these important records. If you have any questions about this project, please contact us.

June 9 2011

The Massachusetts Archives received the 1916-1920 vital records and the amended record volumes 1-69 in the middle of March. We are working with the Genealogical Society of Utah/Family Search to begin digitizing these records and to work toward making the indices and images of the documents accessible on our website.

As the work progresses the records will not be accessible for research due to the digitization process. This process may take approximately 18 months from the start date. In the interim, we are making the 1916-1920 index books available in the Reading Room along with the microfilm that was transferred from the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. Please see the accompanying list for the specific volumes that are available on microfilm.

On another note, we have been receiving mailed requests for copies of the 1916-1920 vital records. Requests that reference documents that are not microfilmed cannot be fulfilled until the records are digitized. We will provide copies of the microfilmed records and will provide the citations (year, volume, and page) for those we are not able to provide, for your future reference.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience to our researchers, but hope that you will look forward, as we do, to the final product - a searchable online database, complete with digital images of our current vital records collection, 1841-1920.