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Bristol County, Massachusetts
Genealogy, History & Facts

Bristol County, Massachusetts Facts

Bristol County

When was Bristol County, MA Created?
Bristol County was founded on June 2, 1685 as one of three original counties created in the Plymouth Colony. The county was named for its original county seat of Bristol, Massachusetts, which is named for the English port city of Bristol - when the Town of Bristol joined Rhode Island, the name of the county was kept.

What is the County Seat of Bristol County, MA?
The County Seat is located in Taunton and the county government website is

What counties are adjacent to Bristol County, MA?
Bordering Counties are Norfolk County, Plymouth County, Newport County, Rhode Island, Bristol County, Rhode Island, Providence County, Rhode Island.

What cities and towns are in Bristol County, MA?
Cities and towns located in the County include Acushnet, Attleboro, Berkley, Dartmouth, Dighton, Easton, Fairhaven, Fall River, Freetown, Mansfield, New Bedford, North Attleborough, Norton, Raynham, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea, Taunton, Westport.

Bristol County, MA Vital Records

Where can find Bristol County Birth, marriage, Divorce and Death Records?
Bristol County vital records can be found at the Massachusetts Office of Vital Records has copies of birth, marriage, divorce and death records. There is a fee for each copy requested. Please refer to the information to the Statewide Vital Records in Massachusetts for current fees and application process. Vital Records have been registered in Massachusetts since 1635. Statewide collection began in 1841. There is a fee for each copy requested. Records for events that occurred from 1841-1910 are available at the State Archives.

Bristol County Town Clerks has copies of vital records (birth, marriage, divorce and death records). Clerks respond to inquiries regarding vital records, since most have indexes available.

You can search online for Bristol County Birth, Marriage, Divorce or Death Records. You can also Order Electronically Online or can download an application for Massachusetts Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Death Certificate Applications to mail.

Bristol County, MA Census Records

What Bristol County, MA census records are available?
There are many types of census records for Bristol County guide you in researching your family tree. Federal Population Schedules are available for 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragment), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.

Bristol Co. Mortality Schedules can be obtained for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Bristol Co. Industry and Agriculture Schedules can be found for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Bristol Co. Union Veterans Schedules can be found for 1890.

Massachusetts state censuses exist for the years 1855 and 1865. There is free down-loadable and also printable census forms to help you with your research. See Also Massachusetts Census Records Research Guide

Bristol County, MA Courthouse and Government Records

Bristol County Courthouse

What genealogical records can I find in the Bristol County Courthouse?
The below facts shows exactly what death, marriage, birth, property, wills, and court records are typically in Bristol County. The years listed below are the first noted records with this county. For Town Records contact the Town Clerk (Helpful Telephone Listings for your City/Town Hall). See Also Massachusetts Corthouse Records Research Guide.

Old Bristol County Courthouse
  • Bristol County Register of Deeds is the place where all transactions of a Real Property nature are recorded so that the public is made aware of their existence. Deeds, mortgages, tax liens, water liens, declaration of homestead and many other kinds of documents regarding the title and ownership of real estate are noted permanently in official records.
    • Northern District, 11 Court Street, Taunton, MA 02780; (508) 822-0502; The Northern District includes the towns of Attleboro, Berkley, Dighton, Easton, Mansfield, North Attleboro, Norton, Raynham, Rehoboth, Seekonk and Taunton.
    • Southern District, 25 North 6th Street, New Bedford, MA 02740; (508) 993-2605; The Southern District includes the towns of Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, New Bedford and Westport.
    • Fall River District, 441 North Main Street, Fall River, MA 02720; (508) 673-1651; The Fall River District includes the towns of Fall River, Freetown, Somerset and Swansea.
    • Land Records: 1685
  • Bristol County Clerk of Probate Court has many responsibilities which include the administration of estates, probate of wills, and the appointment of guardians, have been under the jurisdiction of the courts since the 1630s. County courts and later, county judges of probate, were responsible for these functions until 1783, when the probate courts were established. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the probate and family courts were given jurisdiction over adoptions, divorces, name changes, and domestic relations.
    • Address: 21 FR DeValles Boulevard, Fall River, MA 02723
    • Phone: (508) 672-4669
    • Probate Records: 1685 
  • Bristol County Clerk of Courts has jurisdiction over all civil, criminal, and equity cases.
    • Address: 9 Court St., Room 13, Taunton, MA 02780
    • Phone: ?
    • Court Records: 1685 
  • Bristol County Town Clerks have tax lists that may still be available at the town office. Earlier taxes for the towns exist as well.
  • Abstracts of Bristol County, Massachusetts Probate Records, 1687-1745
  • Abstracts of Bristol County, Massachusetts Probate Records, 1745-1762
  • Massachusetts Name Changes, 1780-1892
  • BLM Land Records

Bristol County, MA Societies and Family History Resources

What genealogical and historical societies, archives, museums, associations and libraries are available for Bristol County, MA?
A list of Bristol County Historical  and Genealogical Societies, Libraries, Archives. See also list of Statewide Massachusetts Archives, Historical & Genealogical Societies.

Where can I connect with other Bristol County, MA Researchers through message boards and forums?

What other genealogical resources are available in Bristol County, MA?
The following are web links to Genealogy, Records and Resources pertaining to Bristol County. A lot of these genealogy links fall into 3 categories: Business oriented Sites, Personal Sites or Organization Sites. Some have free access some call for a cost. This is just a collection which has been compiled or submitted. I do not recommend or promote one genealogy site above another.

Bristol Co. MA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Bristol Co. MA Cemeteries & Church Records

Bristol Co. MA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Bristol Co. MA General and History Websites

Bristol Co. MA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Bristol Co. MA Military Records

Bristol Co. MA Schools & Directories

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