Bristol County is to the south of the state, and it was established in 1685 as part of the Plymouth Colony. Many Bristol County public records are available from that date until the present day though older records may not be as consistent as the more modern ones.
When doing research for Bristol County public records, there are several places where you may need to look. It all depends on how old the documents are that you seek. But otherwise, records are easy to access because Massachusetts doesn't restrict them based on your relationship to the person. You can order records for anyone in the state.
Recent records from 1921 until now can be ordered simply through the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics in Dorchester. You can place an order to get any documents either by mail or at the service counter. Alternatively, the county clerk's office in Taunton also offers this service. You just need to fill out the right request form, and pay the search fee.
You will need to go to the State Archive in Boston if you are looking for any Bristol County public records that fall between 1841 and 1921. 1841 was the year the state began requiring these registrations. You can visit their public research room or pay a small fee to have staff do a few look-ups for you. There are online indexes to search on their website.
Research that takes you farther back than 1841 will mean you have to contact either the county clerk's office in Taunton, or even the individual town clerks to get these old records. There is no central repository at this time.
Bristol County Birth Records
Since there are no privacy rules for Bristol County birth records, you can place an order for a certified copy belonging to anyone you wish. The cost for each record ordered through the mail is $28, and it will take at least a month to get back to you. If you are visiting an office in person, the cost is only$18 and you usually get your records while you are waiting.
Bristol County Death Records
When ordering any Bristol County death records, the fees are also $28 for each record by mail and $18 for an in person request. Depending on when you getting a record from, you may or may not get a lot of details on the deceased (such as the cause of death).
Bristol County Marriage Records
The same offices offer copies of any Bristol County marriage records, as long as you can provide the names of both parties along with the date and location where the marriage took place. The costs are the same as the ones listed above for birth and death records.
Bristol County Criminal Records
Bristol County criminal records are handled by the state, and are accessed through the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services. The cost for each record retrieved is $30, and you can make a request for your own and for certain other people depending on their crime and sentence terms.