Fee or Free Online Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850



The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), The Essex Institute, and others were commissioned to publish Massachusetts Vital Records up to 1850 for various towns in Massachusetts.

From AmericanAncestors (NEHGS): “At the turn of the twentieth century NEHGS was instrumental in introducing and passing legislation to appropriate funds to produce books of vital statistics to the year 1850 for the cities and towns in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. …Not all Massachusetts towns are included.”


FEE options


AmericanAncestors has a Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 Collection that includes these commissioned books as well as some substitutes for towns whose vital records were not collected/commissioned. You can search by individual town volume.

Ancestry has these individual books available online and you can search by individual town volume.

FindMyPast has this collection available online searchable across the entire collection.


FREE options


OnGenealogy has a list of the free, online Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 books including a few substitutes for towns whose records weren’t commissioned. Most of these books are out of copyright and the versions not currently available online (for the towns of Ashfield, Charlestown, Eastham, Fairhaven, Harwich, Lowell, Marshfield, Milton, Montague, Otis, Pepperell, Sandisfield, Swansea, and Taunton) may still be under copyright.

If you’re trying to find free records for a town not included in this list, Internet Archive, Google Books, or HathiTrust are great places to start searching. Also try Massachusetts Births and Christenings, 1639-1915 at FamilySearch.

Best in your searches whether they’re fee or free!




April 10, 2017 |

Free Genealogy on Facebook


Facebook is a great free resource for genealogy and family history and new groups and pages are created daily so I’ve updated the blog with the most current lists of Facebook Groups and Pages.

Facebook for Genealogy

Here are three genealogists who’ve created Facebook group lists:

And please follow OnGenealogy on Facebook by hitting “Like” for the OnGenealogy Facebook page and share any of your leads in the comments!


March 29, 2017 |

The British Newspaper Archive for UK research – #TuesdayTips


Today’s #TuesdayTip is to check out The British Newspaper Archive for UK research. There are both fee and free options so keep reading and learn how to use it to your advantage for free.

British Newspaper Archive

British Newspaper Archive

“The British Newspaper Archive is a partnership between the British Library and findmypast to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library’s vast collection over the next 10 years.”

It’s free to search and you’ll see snippets from each paper where they find a “hit”. If you want to read the entire article you’ll need a subscription plan. Don’t stop here, I’m going to show you the subscription options, but you don’t have to subscribe to benefit!

You can always do free, unlimited searches. If you decide it’s worth it to see the entire article, choose a subscription plan, including a pay as you go option.


British Newspaper Archive subscription plans

British Newspaper Archive subscription plans


Now, for how you can benefit from free searches.

I did a quick search for a Welsh ancestor, Sophia Webber, from Monmouthshire. I’ve hit a brick wall tracing her family. I typed “Monmouthshire” into the search window to see what papers they have from that area.

I selected the paper with the most digitized pages, the Monmouthshire Beacon.

Then I searched for “Sophia Webber” and one of the top search returns gave me this snippet: “… St. Woollos church, Newport, the Rev. Edward Hawkins, M.A., Augustus, youngest son of Mr. Webber, proprietor of the Guardian newspaper, Cardiff, to Miss Sophia Lee Bishop, niece Henry Williams, Esq., Victoria-place, Newport. …”

So from the free snippet I learned:

  • Augustus Webber is Sophia’s husband (knew that already)

  • Augustus Webber’s father was the proprietor of the Guardian newspaper

  • Augustus is the youngest son

  • Augustus is from Cardiff

  • Sophia’s full maiden name is Sophia Lee Bishop

  • And I finally know Sophia’s connection to Henry Williams-she’s his niece

Saving a favorite newspaper snippet at BNANext, I created an account (there’s no fee to create an account) and saved my search results.  The benefit of creating a free account is they allow you to save your discoveries.

As you can see in the image on the left, next to each snippet there will be a bookmark with a + symbol inside it.

If you select the + symbol, the bookmark will turn red and BNA will save this article to your “Saved” folder for you to use whenever you need it.






On any page at British Newspaper Archives (BNA) you’ll see the menu options and next to the “Home” category is the “Saved” category. Select the “Saved” category to find all your bookmarked newspapers. You can create folders in the “Saved” area to organize your finds. (I’ve created a folder and labeled it with the surname I’m researching.)

Saved searches at BNA

Saved searches at BNA


All this was free, took less than 5 minutes of my time, and I’m on my way to breaking through a brick wall. Not bad, huh? I’ll do more searches and saves before I opt to pay but I’ll definitely be choosing one of their subscription plans for my UK research.

Best in your research whether it’s fee for free!


March 28, 2017 |

Find and Follow Genealogy accounts on Twitter

Find and Follow Genealogy Accounts on Twitter

How to Find and Follow Genealogy Accounts on Twitter

Twitter is a great way to find out what’s happening in the genealogy world. Twitter allows you to follow other users and when you follow them you can see the messages they post to Twitter on your timeline. By following the right people, you can get great leads on newly released sources in areas you’re researching, flash sales for products you use, or tips from genealogy bloggers.

Visit the OnGenealogy YouTube channel for a video on how to find and follow genealogy-related Twitter accounts or if you don’t want a visual walk-through, just keep reading.

1st- You can follow people by typing their name in the browser URL window (if you know their username). Go to the url: “” add a forward slash and their user name so “/myheritage” and you’ll pull up MyHeritage’s profile page. From here you can follow them directly. You’ll know this is the official MyHeritage account because Twitter has a verified account badge to authenticate brands on their site. The verified account badge is a little blue icon with a checkmark inside it. The “Follow” button will be white if you’re not currently following this account. When you click on the “Follow” button the color will change to blue and say “Following”. If you decide to unfollow this account, hover over the “Following” button and it will turn red and say “Unfollow”. Select the button again and it will turn back to a white “Follow” button.

2nd- You can follow people by looking for them in the search box. You do this by typing their name into the search box at the top of the page. The results will be a combination of accounts and tweets related to that name. Try typing “Ancestry” in the search window. When you see the  “Accounts” heading, look to the right and select “View All”. This allows you to view all Ancestry related accounts.  Look for the account with the verified badge. You can also read the short profiles under each account name. You can also type a hashtag in the search box. People use hashtags (the pound or number sign with a keyword) to categorize their tweets so others can find them more easily on Twitter. If you type #genealogy in the Twitter search window you’ll see tweets, photos, and accounts related to genealogy (scroll down until you see all three examples). I’ll go over popular #genealogy hashtags in another video.

3rd-Use the Twitter “Find Friends” link in the “Who to Follow” box. This is found on your home page, your profile page, and many other places including sometimes within your timeline. Select the “Find Friends” button, select your email provider, agree to allow Twitter to access your contacts and Twitter will show you a list of anyone in your contacts with a Twitter account. You can then choose to Follow All, or follow individuals by selecting the Follow button next to their name, or follow none of them. After you’ve chosen people from your contacts you can choose to Remove all contacts from Twitter in your Privacy Settings. Go to your profile pic/avatar, select “Settings”, select “Security and Privacy”, select “Address Book”, select “Manage Your Contacts”, select “Remove accounts”.

4th- Use Twitter’s “Who to Follow” suggestions. These suggestions will appear next to your Home timeline, on your profile page, search results pages, and other places on Twitter. You can refresh this list if you don’t like any of the suggested users. Each time you follow a suggested user, Twitter will replace their profile with a new suggested user or users. If you get tired of seeing these suggestions you can go into your “Settings”, “Security and Privacy”, then “Personalization” and change the defaults Twitter has set up. I’ll go over Settings in another video. You will also receive “People You may know” suggestions in emails from Twitter and you can follow them from there. Again, these suggestions can be turned off in Notifications Settings if they bother you.

5th- You can also follow someone from their website. Go to FindMyPast’s site, Scroll down the page until you see a box with “Connect with Us” buttons. Select the “Follow us on Twitter” button. They make it clear you’re opting to follow them on Twitter with this button. Be aware that on some sites you’ll see a Twitter bird icon and rather than a “Follow us on Twitter” offer it’s a “Tweet this article to your followers” offer. If it’s the latter you’ll be given a second chance to back out because there will be a blue “Tweet” button you have to select in order to finalize the tweet.

Another way I follow genealogy enthusiasts is by using Twitter lists. Feel free to read about that or watch the Twitter lists video. And if you watch, don’t forget to subscribe to my youtube channel for more tips On Genealogy!

February 17, 2016 |
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