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  • Vital Records Bill Now Law in Massachusetts

    The Vital Records Bill, H-5995, which came about through the efforts of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists has been signed into law by Governor Dukakis. The bill had the unanimous support of genealogists throughout the state, of those in neighboring states and others from all over the western hemisphere who trace their roots to Massachusetts.

    All vital records in state custody ranging from 1841 to 1890 are now transferred from the Vital Records Registry to the State Archives, or soon will be. There will be no restrictions made upon these records and the indexes are also moved to the Archives.

    Deterioration is a major problem with the records as they are old and much used. Because of this the transfer will allow for microfilming and preservation. In addition, the bill allows for the transfer of the oldest five years worth of records every fifth year. By December 31, 1986, 1890-1895 records will be moved automatically.

    The location of the Vital Records of Massachusetts should be known to all genealogical researchers doing research in the Commonwealth. Those before 1841 and up to 1849/50 have already been published for many areas.

    Records from 1841 to 1890 are now in the State Archives, State House, Boston, MA 02133, which is open 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. weekdays. Telephone: 617-727-2816. Certified copies of the records, are available by mail for $2.00. There may be some restrictions in using microfilm copies of certain registers due to deterioration.

    Records from 1891 to the present are located in the Registry of Vital Records at their new address, 150 Tremont Street, Room B-2, Boston, MA 02108. This is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., and on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. Some restrictions may apply.

    The bill lifts restrictions on records duplicating those kept by cities and towns, including adoptions and out-of- wedlock births.

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