There are potential Massachusetts birth records starting around 1630 but the older records were kept by individual towns, counties and even churches.
If you are hoping to locate records through the central Registry of Vital Records, you will only be able to go back to 1921. For the years between 1841 (when state-wide registration began) and 1921, you will have to get in contact with the State Archives. Older than 1841 are not available in any one central location, and will require that requests be made at each county registrar's office.
The office of Vital Statistics has a research room that is open to the public though their hours can be sporadic. Their address is 150 Mount Vernon Street, 1st Floor, Dorchester MA, 02125-3105 USA. Otherwise, you can make your request for a Massachusetts birth record by mail.
Print out the form from the state website (http://www.mass.gov/Eeohhs2/docs/dph/vital_records/mail_order_form.pdf) and fill in the required information, making sure to fill out the correct areas for a birth record because the form is used for other vital records as well. You need to identify the record you are after by the person's full name, date of birth, place of birth and parent's names.
Also with the form, you need to add a stamped self-addressed envelope for them to return your records back to you, and also the current fee for a Massachusetts birth record. At the moment it's $28 USD but you should always verify the rate on the form before you put your request paperwork together in case it changes. Checks and money orders are made out to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. If you are not sure of the birth date, they will search for a 10 year period around your estimated date. Fees are not refunded if no records are found.
Regular service will take about a month, but if you choose to pay $37, you will have your Massachusetts birth records in about a week. Going in person to the registry office will often get your records while you wait.
For records that reside with the State Archives, you can do an online search of their indexes but the records themselves are not available in this way (http://www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arcsrch/VitalRecordsSearchContents.html). Their indexes only show the full name, town of birth and year. Also it will indicate what volume and page the actual record is found in their microfilm collections.
If you are unable to visit the State Archives in person, they will do some record research by mail. You will have to send them a letter outlining your request, including the same information you would have sent to the Vital Records registry. The mailing address is Massachusetts Archives, 220 Morrissey Blvd, Boston MA, 02125 USA. This is the same as their physical address if you are planning on making a personal visit to search for your Massachusetts birth records.
Requests to the Archives by mail will cost $3 each for copies of birth certificates, and they will refund your money if the record you want is not found.
How to request Massachusetts birth certificates:
To make an official request for Massachusetts birth records, you will need to fill out a Massachusetts Birth Certificate form.
Obtain a copy of your government-issued photo ID. You will also need to include a self-addressed, business-sized envelope with each request.
Mail the completed form and envelope, along with a check or money order for $28 for a standard search, to the Vital Records Office. It will take approximately 20-30 days to process your request.
If you would like more information about accessing Massachusetts birth records, you can contact the following office:
Massachusetts Department of Health & Human Services
Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
150 Mt. Vernon Street, 1st Floor
Dorchester, MA 02125-3105
How To Get Birth Records In Massachusetts
If you need copies of Massachusetts birth records, then you will need to contact the Office of Health and Human Services. The office has Massachusetts birth records on hand dating from 1916 until the present day.
Ways That You Can Make A Request
Requesting Massachusetts birth records is relatively simple. You can visit the Registry in person or you can make a request by mail. If you would like to order Massachusetts birth records by phone, fax, or internet, or you prefer to pay with a credit card, then you can order through an independent provider for an additional fee.
It is important to note that Massachusetts birth records are not considered part of the public record. You must be able to demonstrate valid legal interest in the record in order to receive a copy. Access is generally limited to the parent or legal guardian and the person listed on the certificate. In the case of out-of-wedlock births, if the father is not listed on the birth certificate, he will need to bring proof of paternity to access the record.