United States Vital Records

Lowell Massachusetts Genealogy

Tracing ancestors in Lowell, Massachusetts online and for free has been greatly enhanced by the University of Massachusetts in Lowell which provided digitized version of a large quantity of the Lowell public records. Combined with the cemetery and census records available freely online, you should be able to easily trace your ancestors from the founding of Lowell in 1826 through 1940, the last year of available census records. To add color to the otherwise basic facts of your ancestors existence we provide free access to a wide range of manuscripts on the history of Lowell, it's manufactures and residents.

Lowell Massachusetts Annual Reports 1862-1928

Most towns in New England started publishing annual reports of the town's public business in the 1800's and many smaller towns still carry on that trait today. The following list of 52 free annual reports for Lowell Massachusetts covers the years of 1862-1928 (incomplete). Each town provided different reports in it's annual publications, but they generally contain information on vital records (births, marriages and deaths) for the year of publication (not always included in early years), lists of public officials, lists of police officers, firemen, and other government workers, including school teachers. Don't overlook the town's expenditures list, as it often included payments made to town citizens for work they performed in the town's behest. Also, many towns include payments made for the support of the indigent within the town.

Dedham Massachusetts Historical Society Register 1890-1903

From 1890-1903, the Dedham Historical Society in Dedham Massachusetts printed a quarterly pamphlet for it's historical society called the "Dedham Historical Register." In this pamphlet a variety of genealogical data was published on families of Dedham and the villages emanating from the early residents of Dedham, such as Dorchester, Franklin, Medfield, Medway, Needham, and Sharon, etc.

United States vital records, as its name suggests, is connected with central life events occurring within the United States: birth, marriage, and death. These records are prime sources of genealogical information, but, unfortunately, official records (those maintained by county and state governments), are available only for relatively recent time periods.

There are numerous aids for locating vital records. Most towns and counties have indexes to birth, marriage and death records. Even if the indexes are not complete, they can facilitate research. Many genealogical societies and online websites have published birth, marriage and death records.

When researching records, always check for duplicate copies at the various government levels. Many counties kept records before the states did. After state registration began, counties and cities continued to maintain their own registers of vital events. If one set of records is lost or incomplete, make sure to check the other.

For more recent births and deaths, an invaluable resource is the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). The Death Master File (DMF) from the Social Security Administration (SSA) currently contains over 89 million records and is updated weekly. The file is created from internal SSA records of deceased persons possessing social security numbers and whose deaths were reported to the SSA. Often this was done in connection with filing for death benefits by a family member, an attorney, a mortuary, etc. Each update of the DMF includes corrections to old data as well as additional names. Many websites provide access to the data, most of them free access.

The following pages provide addresses and information concerning the purchase of vital records from the various state agencies, and links to the variety of data available online for searching.

United States Vital Records Information

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