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Massachusetts Public Records

Massachusetts Public RecordsMassachusetts is rich in history with records that date back to 1635.  A boon for genealogists, Massachusetts is an open records state with few restrictions imposed on records. Most Massachusetts birth records, death, marriage and divorce records are available to anyone, with slight restrictions placed on special types of birth and marriage records. These Massachusetts public records are available through the Department of Health and Human Services. Also available are Massachusetts court records, which include civil, criminal and divorce court records, most of which should be requested from the specific court that handled the case. The Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS) provides an online public search tool for Massachusetts criminal records, which is open to the public. The State Archives provides many Massachusetts public records like vital records, Massachusetts military records and cemetery records.

  • Request Massachusetts birth records, death, marriage and divorce records from the Department of Health and Human Services in person, by mail, or through VitalChek online, by phone or fax.
  • Massachusetts court records and divorce records may be viewed at the court that handled the case.
  • View Massachusetts criminal records online through the DCJIS website, which provides a fee-based criminal records search tool to the public.
  • Explore historic Massachusetts military records, vital and cemetery records at the State Archives in Dorchester.
  • About Massachusetts Public Records

    Massachusetts is truly an open records state with public access to many types of records, including vital records and criminal records. However, Massachusetts birth records for children born out of wedlock are restricted to the person of record or family members. Also, Massachusetts marriage records where the bride or groom was born out of wedlock are also restricted to authorized recipients. Otherwise, Massachusetts death records, birth, marriage and divorce records are considered to be Massachusetts public records.

    Vital records are conveniently available from the Department of Health and Human Services. However, the state repository only maintains divorce records from 1952 to the present. Older divorce records should be requested from the Probate Court that handled the case. Massachusetts birth records, death and marriage records are on file from 1921 to the present. Earlier records, prior to 1841, can be found in the local town or city where the event occurred. Otherwise, vital records from 1841 through 1920 are located at the State Archives.

    Searching Massachusetts Gov Public Records

    Massachusetts court records are mostly open records.  However, any proceedings sealed by a judge or involving juveniles or family matters like adoption or paternity are protected. Unfortunately, there is no online, court-sponsored search tool for Massachusetts court records. There is a central Massachusetts court website that provides an overview of the individual courts in the state and provides contact details. These should be used to contact the specific court that holds any civil, criminal or divorce records you’re interested in viewing.

    Accessing Massachusetts gov public records also includes public access to criminal records. These are maintained by the DCJIS. Although only criminal conviction information is a matter of public record, a name-based search on a third party can easily be performed online for instant results. This type of Massachusetts gov public records requires a fee. Another option is to request criminal court records from various state courts.

    Performing a Massachusetts Public Records Search

    The State Archives is an important facility in Massachusetts, as it holds valuable historic records pertaining to the state’s long past. For instance, anyone may access the vast collection of Massachusetts military records that date back to 1643. These records cover topics like the Civil War, War of 1812, Colonial Wars, Shays’ Rebellion, the garrison on Castle Island, and the Spanish American War. Also available are historic Massachusetts vital records, including historic divorce records from the seventeenth century.

    A Massachusetts public records search will yield a plethora of material for those performing genealogy research into Massachusetts ancestors. Some Massachusetts cemetery records exist as well. The State Archives is open to the public, and their Archives Collection offers a searchable database with many possible subjects to help narrow down the types of records of interest. The 100,000 square foot building filled with historic Massachusetts free public records requires no admittance fee. Limited research requests are accepted in person, by mail, email, phone or fax, although staff cannot actively perform research tasks other than copying indexed records upon request for a fee and mailing these.



     
    State of Massachusetts Resources & Statistics
    Separator Line

    Population:
    6,967,497

     
    Under 18:
    1,856,432

     
    Over 65:
    858,939

     
    Employed:
    4,027,216

     
    Land in Square Miles:
    7,840.02

     
    Acres of Farms:
    518,570

     
    Births:
    76,865

     
    Deaths:
    53,874

     
    Infant Deaths:
    391

     
     
    Murder:
    167

     
    Forcible Rape:
    1,736

     
    Robbery:
    7,069

     
    Assault:
    20,202

     
    Total Violent Crime:
    29,174

     
    Burglary:
    36,094

     
    Larceny \ Theft:
    107,128

     
    Motor Vehicle Theft:
    12,737

     
    Total Property Crime:
    155,959

     
    Massachusetts Public Records Locations
    Crash Records
    Registry of Motor Vehicles
    PO Box 55889
    Boston, MA 02205
    Phone:
    617-351-9434

    Fax:
    617-351-9524










    Attorney General's Office
    One Ashburton Place, Room 2010
    Boston, MA 02108-1698
    Phone:
    617-727-2200

    Fax:
    617-727-5768










     
    Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
    150 Mt Vernon St, 1st FL
    Dorchester, MA 02125-3105
    Phone:
    617-740-2600

     
    617-740-2606

    Fax:
    617-825-7755










    Secretary of the Commonwealth
    Corporation Division
    One Ashburton Pl, 17th Floor
    Boston, MA 02108
    Fax:
    617-742-4538

    Records:
    617-727-2850










     
    Criminal History Systems Board
    CORI
    200 Arlington Street, #2200
    Chelsea, MA 02150
    Phone:
    617-660-4640

    Fax:
    617-660-4613










    Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
    150 Mt Vernon St, 1st FL
    Dorchester, MA 02125-3105
    Phone:
    617-740-2600

     
    617-740-2606

    Fax:
    617-825-7755










     
    Registry of Motor Vehicles
    Driver Control Unit
    PO Box 55889
    Boston, MA 02205-5889
     
    617-351-4500

    Fax:
    617-351-9219










    Massachusetts Dept of Education
    GED Records
    350 Main St
    Malden, MA 02148
    Phone:
    781-338-6625

     
    781-338-6604

    Fax:
    781-338-3089










     
    Governor's Office
    State House, Room 360
    Boston, MA 02133
    Phone:
    617-725-4000

     
    617-725-4005

    Fax:
    617-727-9725










    Division of Fisheries & Wildlife
    Licensing Records
    251 Causeway St #400
    Boston, MA 02114-2104
    Phone:
    617-626-1590

    Fax:
    617-626-1517










     
    Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety
    Department Of Corrections
    50 Maple Street, Suite 3
    Chelsea, MA 02150
    Phone:
    508-422-3300

    Fax:
    508-850-5217










    Massachusetts General Court
    State House
    Beacon St, Room 428 (Document Room)
    Boston, MA 02133









     
    Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
    150 Mt Vernon St, 1st FL
    Dorchester, MA 02125-3105
    Phone:
    617-740-2600

     
    617-740-2606

    Fax:
    617-825-7755










    Sex Offender Registry Board
    PO Box 4547
    Salem, MA 01970
    Phone:
    978-740-6400

    Fax:
    978-740-6464










     
    Massachusetts Archives at Columbia Point
    Archives Division
    220 Morrissey Blvd
    Boston, MA 02125
    Phone:
    617-727-2816

    Fax:
    617-288-8429

    Records:
    BUREAU617-727-2832










    Chief Justice for Administration & Management
    Two Center Plaza, Room 540
    Boston, MA 02108
    Phone:
    617-742-8575

    Fax:
    617-742-0968










     
    UCC Division
    Secretary of the Commonwealth
    One Ashburton Pl, 17th Fl
    Boston, MA 02108
    Phone:
    617-727-9640

    Fax:
    617-742-4538










    Registry of Motor Vehicles
    Document Control
    PO Box 55889
    Boston, MA 02205-5889
    Phone:
    617-351-4500

    Fax:
    617-351-9524










     
    Keeper of Records
    Department of Industrial Accidents
    600 Washington St, 7th Floor
    Boston, MA 02111
    Phone:
    617-727-4900

    Fax:
    617-727-4440