Massachusetts Public Records

The Massachusetts Public Records Law, Revised Code of Massachusetts chpt. 42.56, is the Massachusetts state version of the freedom of information act. It is somewhat different from other state freedom of information acts, because it was not written as a single specific law, but came from several sources and was recodified into a single act. However, in its effect it parallels the federal laws. Furthermore, under the law, public records are defined as any writing containing information relating to the government, relating to government functions, or prepared or used by state or local agencies. Every record is presumptively considered eligible for discovery, but there are both statutory and non-statutory exemptions that apply to certain records. In Massachusetts, any person can request records, without a statement of purpose or any restriction on the use of those records. Public agencies have up to 5 days for record request responses. Records requests must be submitted to the agency that collected and maintains the records; the Division of Public Records does not house them.

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Public & Vital Records for Counties in Massachusetts

More About Massachusetts

Massachusetts is a commonwealth, located in the New England region of the United States. It is a coastal state on the Atlantic Ocean. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, and over 80% of the state’s population lives in the Boston metropolitan area. Massachusetts has a service-based economy and is considered a center for the arts, academia, industry, and history. The city is considered a global leader in a number of areas, including: engineering, education, finance, biotechnology, and maritime trade. The state is the 44th largest by area, but the 15th largest by population. As of 2017, its estimated population was 6,859,819. Because it is considered a leader in education, it attracts a diverse group of people from within and outside of the United States. Therefore, if you are running a background check on someone located within Boston, be aware that you may need to look at other locations, as well.


Massachusetts Vital Records

In Massachusetts, the Commonwealth maintains a repository of vital statistics, the Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. The Registry of Vital Records and Statistics is responsible for administering and issuing copies of vital records that occurred in Massachusetts from 1926 to the present. Older records are maintained at local recording offices.

Birth Records

In Massachusetts, you may get certified copies of births, deaths, marriages, and divorces that have occurred in the state by ordering online at the Registry of Vital Statistics and Records.

Death Records

In Massachusetts, you may get certified copies of births, deaths, marriages, and divorces that have occurred in the state by ordering online at the Registry of Vital Statistics and Records.

Marriage Records

In Massachusetts, you may get certified copies of births, deaths, marriages, and divorces that have occurred in the state by ordering online at the Registry of Vital Statistics and Records.

Divorce Records

In Massachusetts, you may get certified copies of births, deaths, marriages, and divorces that have occurred in the state by ordering online at the Registry of Vital Statistics and Records.

Learn About Criminal Records in Other States


Learn about Massachusetts criminal records, MA Property Records, or read about public records in another state from the list below: