New England Fast Facts

By Maureen A. Taylor Premium


•Town clerks began recording vital records in 1650.

• Military census exists for 1917.

• Probate, court and cemetery records are located at the Connecticut State Library.


•The Maine Old Cemetery Association is indexing cemetery transcripts.

• Probate records relating to wills, adoptions and guardianships exist on the county level.

• Only five towns (Biddeford, Kittery, Kennebunkport, York and Wells) have vital records from the 17th century.


• Early vital records (pre-1850) have been published for most towns.

• The earliest Massachusetts newspaper was published in 1704.

• The city of Boston neglected to record birth records from 1800 to 1849.

New Hampshire

• County system first established in 1769.

• Frontier conditions existed into the 19th century with a highly mobile population.

• About 100 town histories have sections devoted to genealogy.

Rhode Island

• State censuses every 10 years from 1865 to 1935.

• Land and probate records are recorded on the town level.

• Cemetery records are being recorded in a database.


• Probate records are filed by probate district, not town or county.

• Original military records before 1920 were destroyed in a fire.

• The Vermont Public Records Division has a statewide cemetery index.

From the December 2001 issue of Family Tree Magazine