The official history of Hampshire County begins in 1662, though in the early 1800s, the county was divided up and some territory became Franklin and Hampden counties.
Hampshire County public records are unfortunately not all stored in one place, so you will have to make your requests at different offices depending on the time period involved. Old records from 1662 until 1841 will only be found at the local county clerk's office (or even sometimes at town clerk's offices). The county clerk in Northampton should be able to either provide your records or help you locate the right town office.
Between 1841 and 1921, the records become state property and are held at the State Archives facility in Boston. There, you will have to do your own research either through online search indexes or in person. These records are free to acquire though.
Finally, recent records after 1921 are available through the state Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. They are in Dorchester but take in mailed applications for any Hampshire County public records. The forms to file a request are available to be downloaded and printed from the Office of Health and Human Services office website.
The cost to get any certified Hampshire County public records from one of the offices is $28 for a mailed-in request or $18 for an application put in personally at the service counter. Mailed in forms will take about a month to get processed but if you are at the counter, you'll have your papers while you wait (more or less).
If you don't know the precise dates for your records, the staff at either the county office or the state Vital Records office will do a 10 year search based on a estimated date. You'll have to do your own searching if you are looking for records that are held at the State Archives though. Staff can sometimes assist you there providing you have the right details to guide them.
Hampshire County Birth Records
Anyone can order a Hampshire County birth record, even as a certified copy because there are no privacy restrictions on Massachusetts vital records. You aren't limited to family members. You need to provide the person's full name, place and date of birth, and their parent's full names.
Hampshire County Death Records
Hampshire County death records are also publicly available without restriction. The form has fields for the deceased's full name, when and where they died as well as their spouse and parent's names if you know them. Adding a Social Security Number will help as well.
Hampshire County Marriage Records
To get a Hampshire County marriage record, you only need to provide the full names of both parties with the date and location of the marriage event. That's all the information necessary.
Hampshire County Criminal Records
The Department of Criminal Justice Information Services is your source for Hampshire County criminal records, not the local county clerk's office. These documents will cost $30 and have some limited access depending on the nature of the crime involved. You can always get copies of your own criminal history without restriction.