Massachusetts Cemetery Records

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This entry was originally written by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG, for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
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the Massachusetts Family History Research series.
History of Massachusetts
Massachusetts Vital Records
Census Records for Massachusetts
Background Sources for Massachusetts
Massachusetts Maps
Massachusetts Land Records
Massachusetts Probate Records
Massachusetts Court Records
Massachusetts Tax Records
Massachusetts Cemetery Records
Massachusetts Church Records
Massachusetts Military Records
Massachusetts Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Massachusetts Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Massachusetts Immigration
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Ethnic Groups of Massachusetts
Massachusetts County Resources
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Map of Massachusetts

Cemeteries are maintained by towns, churches, families, and later, private enterprises. Records for many of Boston’s cemeteries have been published, in some cases as part of larger collections of death records (see Massachusetts Vital Records).

The state DAR annual volumes of cemetery records, including Bible, family, and church records transcribed by local chapters, are helpful but there is no central repository for maintaining them, as is often the case for other states. Copies of some of the volumes from the DAR are at the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Periodicals and repositories throughout the state have many examples of published transcriptions; the most notable, such as the Corbin Collection (see Massachusetts Vital Records) are held in the Berkshire Athenaeum (see Massachusetts Archives, Libraries, and Societies) and New England Historic Genealogical Society. The Systematic Series of town vital records (see Massachusetts Vital Records) included some information from gravestones. Many of these are added regularly to the society’s searchable database (see page 13) open to members at CR-ROM editions of the Corbin Collection are also available through the society’s publications.

Many Massachusetts Cemetery Records can also be located online.