Dukes County, Massachusetts
Genealogy and Facts

Dukes County

Dukes County was established twice, the first was by New York on November 1, 1683 until 1691 and the second time by Massachusetts on June 22, 1695 from Martha's Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands, which had been part of Dukes County, New York until Massachusetts gained it in 1691. The county was named for  Dukes County, New York, the land at one time was literally the possession of the Duke of York.

Currently the Dukes County Seat is situated in Edgartown and the county government website is http://www.dukescounty.org

Places adjacent to Dukes County are Plymouth County (north), Nantucket County (west), Barnstable County (northeast), Bristol County (northwest).

Cities and towns situated in Dukes County are made up of Aquinnah (formerly Gay Head), Chilmark, Edgartown, Gosnold, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, West Tisbury

Dukes 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.

You can search online for Dukes 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.

Dukes County does have Federal Census Schedules to guide in looking into your family tree. Federal government Population Schedules are available for 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragment), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.

Dukes Co. Mortality Schedules can be obtained for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Dukes Co. Industry and Agriculture Schedules can be found for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Dukes Co. Union Veterans Schedules can be found for 1890. One can find free online and printable census forms that can help with your research.

Dukes County Society and Family History Resources

A list of Dukes County Historical  and Genealogical Societies, Forums, Message Boards, Libraries, Archives.

Dukes County Courthouse and Government Records


Dukes County Courthouse

Genealogist often overlook the great importance of Dukes County court, probate, and land records as a useful resource of ancestry and genealogy details. Hidden away in Massachusetts courthouses and archives just about everywhere are the aspirations and frustrations of many Massachusetts inhabitants. The odds are great that your chosen ancestors have left a detailed document of at least quite a few facets of their lives in the Dukes County court records. Even if your ancestors is not referred to in a Court case, take into account all of the other methods which often can have lead to her or him appearing in court records.

The following information and facts shows whatever birth, marriage, death, property, probate, and legal records will be in Dukes County. The dates indicated below could be the first recognized records data for this particular county.

Records from 1665 deal with Martha's Vineyard.
Remember to get in touch with the clerk's dept to verify hours, mailing address, fees and other facts prior to visiting or asking for information because of many times changing contact details. The Department Offices DO NOT DO RESEARCH. The data files are readily available to interested parties, barring confidential issues. A lot of staff will aid persons in finding the resources, however it is up to the individual to perform the basic research. For Town Records contact the Town Clerk (Helpful Telephone Listings for your City/Town Hall)
  • Dukes County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
    • Address: 81 Main Street, Edgartown, MA 02539
    • Phone: 508-627-3751
  • Dukes 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.
    • Phone: (508) 627-4025
    • Land Records: 1686
  • Dukes 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.
    • Phone: (508) 627-7664
    • Probate Records: 1696 
  • Dukes County Clerk of Courts has jurisdiction over all civil, criminal, and equity cases.
    • Phone: (508) 627-4668
    • Court Records: 1665 
  • Dukes 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. They also have tax lists that may still be available at the town office. Earlier taxes for the towns exist as well.
  • 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. Birth, marriage, and death records are connected with central life events. Vital Records have been registered in Massachusetts since 1635. Statewide collection began in 1841.

Dukes County Links

The following are links to Family history and genealogy, Records and Resources relevant to Dukes 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. Feel free to present your own preferred Dukes County genealogy or family history associated sites.

Dukes Co. MA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Dukes Co. MA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Dukes Co. MA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Dukes Co. MA Census Records

Dukes Co. MA Cemeteries & Graveyards

Dukes Co. MA Church & Bible Records

Dukes Co. MA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Dukes Co. MA General and History Websites

Dukes Co. MA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Dukes Co. MA Military Records

Dukes Co. MA Schools & Directories

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