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Massachusetts Public Records: How to Perform an Massachusetts Public Records Search

Massachusetts Public Records: How to Perform an Massachusetts Public Records Search
November 15, 2022

Massachusetts public records are mostly managed by government agencies, the courts, and many other sources. 


They all make some of these public records Massachusetts files available to be inspected and obtained by the public, for a fee. 


A number of these public records in Massachusetts can also be ordered from third-party websites. 


In some cases, the requester may have to meet certain conditions and take certain actions to obtain the sought-after record, as you'll see in this article.

Massachusetts Public Records Search: Criminal records 

Law enforcement agencies resident in Massachusetts are primarily involved in the dissemination of criminal case-related information. 


This information includes fingerprints, mugshots, personal information, dispositions, charges, warrants, sentences, and others related to the convicted person—the record subject. 


Interested criminal record requesters can choose to contact the Office of the clerk in the trial court where a criminal case was heard.

a man's handcuffed hands behind his back


Other options include requesting the Police Department or the Sheriff's office in the county where the record is filed. 


These government authorities have print repositories and online search portals where you can run background checks and find the criminal history of a search subject. 


This digitized service is also provided by third-party websites with background checks being run against the subject's name or the state/city/county where their criminal record is filed. 

Massachusetts Public Records Search: Court Records

If you want to find your court records, it is always best to stop by the court where your case was heard. 


You can now meet the court clerk and provide them with sufficient information about your case, including the case number, name of parties to the case, or that of your attorney.


A vast amount of case information can be accessed online via the case management system known as Masscourt, especially if the court records are not recent. 


The more recent ones and other actual case documents are available for collection in person at the offices of the court clerk, Register, or Recorder. 


Then there's the Public Case Search Portal that houses electronic case information relating to Massachusetts-based appellate courts. 


This portal allows you to run searches against a person's case number, name, or date of case filing, thus finding their Massachusetts Public Record. 

handcuffs and a gavel on a book

Massachusetts Public Records Search: Marriage Records

Members of the public are mostly allowed to view Marriage records in Massachusetts. 


As for those Massachusetts public records filed on behalf of registrants from unwed parents, you'd only be able to access them if you're an immediate family member of the registrant. 


All inquiries relating to the collection of certified copies of Massachusetts marriage records may be forwarded to the Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics.


The request application processing time and the payment charged goes from the same day and $20 per copy for in-person requests, respectively, to 30 days and $20 per copy for mailed requests. 


The mail will contain the request application, the applicable payment, and the requester's ID provision, all enclosed in a self-addressed and stamped envelope and sent to:


Registry of Vital Records and Statistics,
150 Mt. Vernon Street, 1st Floor,
Dorchester, MA 02125

Massachusetts Public Records Search: Divorce Records 

Massachusetts divorce records are only sealed if they feature certain sensitive information, as with one that includes domestic abuse or a violation of minors. 


In such cases, you'll have to obtain a court order that authorizes the unsealing of the document of interest to you.

cut out paper in the shapes of a man. a woman and a house with a question mark inside


However, divorce records can be mostly picked up at the probate or family court that presided over the divorce case, as they are considered public records in Massachusetts. 


As an eligible requester, you must first complete a request form before mailing it to the office of the clerk of the court in question. 


If the court or the related case docket number is not known to you, you can also mail your application for divorce record inquiry to the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics.

Massachusetts Public Records Search: Death Records

Copies of death records can be picked up from the Massachusetts State Archives by eligible persons. 


This is in addition to in-person requests that can be directed to the clerk of the county where the death was originally recorded. 


Then there's the vast stock of public death records that can be ordered on demand from the Massachusetts Vital Records office. 


Inquiries of this sort proceed with the completion of a vital records request form to be sent via mail to:


Registry of Vital Records and Statistics,
150 Mt. Vernon St., 1st Floor,
Dorchester, MA 02125

shelves filled with folders

Massachusetts Public Records Search: Birth Records

Massachusetts birth records are a series of "Vital Records" that are generally open to the public. 


They are however restricted to the parents, legal guardians, and legal representatives of the registrant on the occasion that their(the registrant's) parents are not legally married. 


To this effect, the requester is expected to provide sufficient proof of a relationship with the registrant.


The requester's application will contain this proof along with a copy of the requester's valid ID. 


This is the same scenario that plays out with requests for birth certificate replacement. 


Requesters have to lump all of the aforementioned articles in addition to the service charge ($32 per copy) and mail it to the address of the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics.

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