Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Records Access in Massachusetts - State Registry Versus the Local Records

With regards to this post, we continue to work with Birth Marriage and Death (BMD) records in Massachusetts from 1921 to present.

All Birth Marriage and Death Records are not just available at the Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records (MA RVR), they are also available at the local city or town clerks office.

I have not visited every city or town clerks office in the state so I am speaking in general terms. Very few charge you to access and view their records and will let you transcribe them for free. Some will let you photograph them. All will charge you for a certified copy and their rates seem to vary. I have never had any bad experiences with viewing or receiving records from the local cities or towns.

The only issue I have had is not finding a record for someone in the town I thought they were in and is the main reason I prefer to use the MA Registry of Vital Records. If someone lives in one town and is taken to the hospital in the other town, the death record will be in the other town. This can be a huge problem when working with the city and town clerks office as their indexes only cover their city or town. The MA RVR has them all.

I am fortunate that that the MA RVR is not that far for me and I am able to visit weekly.

Next week, records prior to 1921!

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