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Ask a Genealogist: Where are the certificates for Mass. VRs?

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Question:

I see on your website you have the ledger sheets for 1856 Massachusetts marriages, but where are the certificates?  I have one in our family bible.

Answer:

From 1841 to the 1910's most marriages were recorded on ledger sheets.  Usually containing 20 or more couple getting married, therefore sharing the same volume and page. If the couple wanted a copy from the city or town clerk a copy would be transcribed onto a blank certificate.  This is why you may find a certificate in your possession.  The same data for the marriage is on the ledger, and is closer to the original primary source of the record.  The certificate should be checked against the original ledger for any transcription errors.
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