My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Not all are Tan (Massachusetts Vital Records Series)

Many genealogists doing early Massachusetts research will probably use the Vital Records, either on microfilm or in book form. The books are often referred to as the "Tan Books." However, as indicated by the photos below, that term may not make much sense in the future. As I've been revisiting the majority of the libraries for my Library series, I've noticed a change. The "Tan Books" are changing color. The orange books are from the Chelmsford, MA library, and the black ones from Lowell, MA. In addition, I've seen blue and green bound books. I'm not sure if the library is deciding on the colors when they are rebound, maybe I'll ask. All I want you to be aware of is the fact that they are not all tan.

From Archive Publishing, their description of the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 is below.


Are you searching for names in Massachusetts? If so, maybe you've already looked through the tan books of the old printed series of vital records to 1850. This series, published nearly a hundred years ago for 210 of the 350 or so Massachusetts towns and cities, lists births, marriages, and deaths for the earliest settlers, and continues through 1849.

Most of the data come from original records safeguarded in town halls, sometimes supplemented with facts from church, cemetery, court, or family bibles. Because the information comes from such a diverse group of sources, many now missing; these books, compiled years ago as a secondary source, sometimes now serve as the only link to primary-source documents.
Not only do these volumes contain valuable data, but they are easy to use; being printed, with names arranged alphabetically, cross-referenced to alternate spellings, and placed in categories of births, marriages, and deaths. Further, though not entirely error-free, these records are remarkably accurate. 
An example of a book is for Dana is below. It gives you an idea of what is included. (Some larger towns, like Salem, MA have six volumes, two for births, for marriages and deaths.) Regarding Dana, Massachusetts, unfortunately, the town (with others) was flooded to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir in 1938. The entire Dana Vital Records book is online, maybe seen HERE.