Bristol County, Massachusetts
Genealogy, History & Facts
Bristol County, Massachusetts Facts
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 http://www.bristol-county.org/
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.
- Rehoboth, Massachusetts, Vital Records, 1642-1896
- Vital records of New Bedford, Massachusetts to the year 1850
- Vital records of Taunton, Massachusetts to the year 1850
- Vital records of Dartmouth, Massachusetts to the end of the year 1850
- Vital record of Rehoboth, 1642-1896 : marriages, intentions, births, deaths, with supplement containing the record of 1896, col
- Vital records of Attleborough, Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849
- Vital records of Norton, Massachusetts to the year 1850
- Vital records of Westport, Massachusetts to the year 1850
- Vital records of Mansfield, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1849
- Book A, records of the town of Swansea, 1662 to 1705
- U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007
- Social Security Death Index
- USGenweb Archives Massachusetts Marriage Project
- Early Vital Records of Massachusetts, From 1600 to 1850
- Massachusetts, State Vital Records, 1841-1920
- Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Towns Records, 1579-2001
- Massachusetts Vital Records Index Pre-1850
- Massachusetts Vital Record Transcripts, 1620-1849
- Massachusetts Vital Records, 1620-1915
- Massachusetts Vital Records Index 1841-1895
- Massachusetts, Births and Christenings, 1639-1915
- Massachusetts, Births, 1841-1915
- Boston Births, 1700-1800
- Massachusetts, Town Birth Records, 1620-1850
- Massachusetts, Marriages, 1695-1910
- Massachusetts, Marriages, 1633-1850
- Boston Marriages from 1752 to 1809
- Boston Marriages from 1700 to 1751
- Massachusetts, Marriages, 1841-1915
- Early Massachusetts Marriages Prior to 1800, Vol. II
- Early Massachusetts Marriages Prior to 1800, Vol. III
- Early Massachusetts Marriages Prior to 1800, Vol. I
- Early Massachusetts Marriages Prior to 1800, Vol. IV
- Massachusetts Marriages to 1800
- Massachusetts Town Marriage Records
- Massachusetts, Death Index, 1970-2003
- Massachusetts Death Index, 1970-2003
- Massachusetts, Deaths and Burials, 1795-1910
- Massachusetts, Deaths, 1841-1915
- Massachusetts, Town Death Records, 1620-1850
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.
PLEASE READ FIRST!!! Please call the clerk's department to confirm hours, mailing address, fees and other specifics before visiting or requesting information because of sometimes changing contact information. The Department Offices DO NOT DO RESEARCH. The files are available to interested parties, barring private issues. Many staff will guide individuals in locating the materials, however it's up to the person to carry out the research. The county seat was Bristol until 1746 when succeeded by Taunton. The Taunton seat divided into three districts in 1837 with Taunton remaining as probate office but only registry of deeds for the Northern District.
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.
- Acushnet Historical Commission, Town Hall, 122 Main Street, Acushnet, MA 02743; Telephone: 508-998-0200
- Attleboro Historic Preservation Society, 185 South Main Street, Attleboro MA 02703; (978) 365-9201
- Easton Historical Commission, 136 Elm Street, North Easton, MA 02356
- Fort Taber Historical Association, 1000c Rodney French Blvd., New Bedford, MA 02744; Phone: 508-994-3938.
- Norton Historical Society, 18 West Main Street, PO Box 1711, Norton, MA 02766; Phone: (508) 285-7070
- Old Colony Historical Society, 66 Church Green, Taunton, MA 02780; Phone: (508) 822-1622
- Old Dartmouth Historical Society, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA 02740; Phone: (508) 997-0046
- Fall River Historical Society, 451 Rock Street, Fall River, MA 02720; Telephone (508)679-1071
- Bristol Co Chapter, Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, 34 Chicopee Street, New Bedford, MA 02745
- Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215
- State Archives Building, 220 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125
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
- See Also State History for Massachusetts
- Bristol County, Massachusetts Wikipedia (wikipedia.org)
- History of Bristol County, Massachusetts: with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men, Part 2 (Google eBook)
- Our county and its people : a descriptive and biographical record of Bristol County, Massachusetts (search.ancestry.com)
- History of Bristol County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (search.ancestry.com)
- History of New Bedford : and its vicinity, 1602-1892 (search.ancestry.com)
- A sketch of the history of Attleborough : from its settlement to the division (search.ancestry.com)
- A history of the town of Norton, Bristol County, Massachusetts : from 1669 to 1859 (search.ancestry.com)
- Village, Section or Neighborhood Names of Massachusetts Communities (sec.state.ma.us)
- Bristol County, Massachusetts Wiki (familysearch.org)
- Bristol Co. MA Genealogy (kindredtrails.com)
- Family History Library (familysearch.org)
- Bristol County, Massachusetts (linkpendium.com)
- Cyndi's List - United States - Massachusetts - Counties - Bristol (cyndislist.com)
- Bristol County Massachusetts (genealogytrails.com)
- Bristol Co. MAGenweb (rootsweb.ancestry.com)
- Bristol County Genealogy Queries (cousinconnect.com)
- Bristol Co. Data Collections (search.ancestry.com)
Bristol Co. MA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers
Bristol Co. MA Military Records
Bristol Co. MA Schools & Directories
- Massachusetts City Directories (search.ancestry.com) This database is a collection of city directories for various years and cities in Massachusetts. Generally a city directory will contain an alphabetical list of its citizens, listing the names of the heads of households, their addresses, and occupational information.
- Fall River, Massachusetts City Directories, 1889-91 (search.ancestry.com)
- New Bedford, Massachusetts Directories, 1887, 1889-90 (search.ancestry.com)
- Taunton, Massachusetts Directories, 1890-93 (search.ancestry.com)
- Mansfield, Massachusetts Directory, 1890 (search.ancestry.com)
- Easton, Massachusetts Directory, 1889 (search.ancestry.com)