Massachusetts Land Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Massachusetts Land Records, 1620-1986
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Massachusetts, 
United States
Massachusetts flag.png
Flag of Massachusetts
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Location of Massachusetts
Record Description
Record Type Land Records
Collection years 1620-1986
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Multiple County courthouses and offices, Massachusetts


What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection contains land and property records from the Massachusetts Land Office and county courthouses. Records include land grants, patents, deeds, and mortgages. This collection includes all counties in Massachusetts.


Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:

Land

  • Names of interested parties
  • Date of transaction
  • Legal description of the property
  • Monies exchanged
  • Details of the transaction
  • Names of witnesses

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Image[edit | edit source]

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The names of interested parties
  • The approximate date of the land transaction
  • The location of the property

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

This collection does not have a searchable index. Only images are available. See View the Images to access them.

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the County
  2. Select the Record Type, Year Range, and Volume Number or Letter to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and census records
  • Search for the land transactions of a couple and their children. The parents may have sold or given property to a son or daughter. Such transactions confirm relationships that might not be found in other records
  • Search for records of people in the county who shared a surname. These may have been the couple’s parents, uncles, or other relatives. Your ancestor may have been an heir who sold inherited land that had belonged to parents or grandparents
  • To find later generations, search the land records a few years before and after a person’s death. Your ancestor may have sold or given land to his or her heirs before death, or the heirs may have sold the land after the individual died. For daughters, the names of their husbands are often provided. For sons, the given names of their wives may be included. Heirs may have sold their interest in the land to another heir even though the record may not indicate this. Continue this process for identifying each succeeding generation
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct
  • Some counties were subdivided or the boundaries may have changed. Consider searching neighboring counties as well since that courthouse may have been more convenient for the person
  • One deed does not usually give sufficient information about a couple and their children. A careful study of all deeds for the person or the family will yield a richer return of information
  • For each parcel of land owned, you should obtain two documents:
  1. The deed that documents when ownership transferred to the individual or the family and
  2. The deed that documents when ownership was transferred to someone else.

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Look for variant spellings of the surnames
  • Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of Massachusetts.

Known Issues[edit | edit source]

Click here for a list of known issues with this collection.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.