Newton Vital Records

Newton Vital Records do not follow those of other standard Massachusetts towns in that some of the entries come directly from town records. This may be due to the history and development of Newton which evolved from being part of Cambridge in the early days. When religious meetings were being held on the south side of the river in 1654, the name of the area was ‘Cambridge Village’, but still fell under the Cambridge umbrella and one would expect the Vital Records for the Village to appear in the Cambridge Vital Records, but that was not always the case. In 1679 the area was set off from Cambridge and the town was renamed New Cambridge until 1691 when the court declared the area a township and ordered the name to be changed to New Town. This became ‘Newton’ when the second w was dropped by one of the town clerks.[1] Another factor may be: “The Newton Church records, and the Rev. Mr. Merriam’s house, were burnt, in 1770.”[2]     

Massachusetts Vital Records
Massachusetts Vital Records reside on several databases which are available to researchers who are documenting and sourcing the information on their family tree. The information contained in each individual record is consistent with the original source of a Vital Record, no matter which database the record resides. However, there may be some differences in the way data is recorded and sourced if the origin of that data is from a Town Record.

Some of the databases available to researchers in North America are listed below. We have used Newton Death pages for “Fuller” as our example.

  1. New England Historical Genealogy Society Database [3]

Citation
Massachusetts Vital Records, 1620-1850 (Online Database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2016), Newton Deaths, pages 447-451.

Note: Some of the records contain the symbol “ † ” indicating the record was a “Town copy with additions”

  1. Ancestry [4]

Citation
Massachusetts, U.S., Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, pages 447-451.
Note: Some of the records contain the symbol “ † ” indicating the record was a “Town copy with additions”

  1. Family Search [5]

Citation
Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001, database with images, FamilySearch, Middlesex > Newton > Births, marriages, deaths 1626-1852 >; citing Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth, Boston.
Note: Some of the records contain the symbol “ † ” indicating the record was a “Town copy with additions”

  1. Other [6]

There are other data bases available to the researcher, for example, The Massachusetts Vital Records Project. The homepage gives a describes the project and their records, pages 447-451.
Note: Some of the records contain the symbol “ † ” indicating the record was a “Town copy with additions”

Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626 – 1852 [7]
The Newton Town Books contain both Vital Records and “Town” Records, compiled January 1, 1854 under vote of town, March 7, 1853.  

Again, our example uses the records for Newton “Fuller” Deaths. We have marked a ‘star’ on those Vital Records above, that contain this symbol “ † ” indicating the record was a “Town copy with additions”. We have also marked a ‘star’ in the Town Book on those same records to identify the records in the Town Book.

The following are the relevant pages with Fuller death entries taken from a Newton Town Book “A” dated January 1, 1854.  

  1. 310/11 – Note that the data on these two pages was “Copied from William Hyde’s Book.”
  2. 316/17 – this is the start of the “Fuller” section in the Town Book
  3. 318/19 – this is a continuation of the Fuller section, however half way down the second page in a heading “The following names are from Jonas & Elijiah Stone’s Book”
  4. 320 – we assume these names are a continuation of names copied from the Stone’s Book.

A number of the death records in this Town and Vital Records Book (pages 310/11 + 319/20) were copied from the Hyde and Stone private books. Perhaps these people were in a position or were responsible to receive and record this information.

Notes

  1. For the source of this info, see:  https://johnfullerofnewton.com/newton/
  2. Francis Jackson, History of the Early Settlement of Newton, County of Middlesex, Massachusetts: From 1639 to 1800, Boston, 1854, p. 117.
  3. https://www.americanancestors.org/search/advanced-search
  4. https://www.ancestry.com/search/ or https://www.ancestry.ca/search
  5. https://www.familysearch.org/search/
  6. https://ma-vitalrecords.org/
  7. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G979-W79V?cc=2061550