Newton Vital Records

Newton Vital Records do not follow those of other standard Massachusetts

1854 Book, p 1

towns in that some of the entries come directly from town records. This is mainly due to the history and development of Newton which evolved from being part of Cambridge in the early years to eventually becoming its own entity. When religious meetings were 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

1854 Book, pp 2-3

Vital Records, however 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. Another factor may be: “The Newton Church records, and the Rev. Mr. Merriam’s house, were burnt, in 1770.”[1] At a town meeting held 7 March 1853 a committee was formed to set up a record of all Birth, Marriages and Deaths. The Committee published a book January 1, 1854 with the best information they could find, albeit some from private (or Town) sources.       

Massachusetts Vital Records
Massachusetts Vital Records reside on several databases which are available to researchers who are documenting and sourcing information for their family tree. The information contained in each individual record is consistent which ever database the record resides. However, some researcher will just record the event as coming from a Vital Record of Newton while others may wish to make a distinction in the way data was recorded and sourced, if the origin of the data was 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 (NEHGS) Database 

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

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

Massachusetts Vital Records, 1620-1850, Newton Deaths


  1. or 

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

Massachusetts, US, Town and Vital Records, Newton Deaths p-447 (same as NEHGS above, different citation)

  1. Family

Citation: (search for John Fuller of Newton)
Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001, database with images, FamilySearch; ( 20 May 2022, John Seignior Fuller, 7 Feb 1698; citing Death, Newton, Middlesex, Massachusetts Bay Colony, British Colonial America, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth, Boston; Newton Deaths 1626-1852; FHL microfilm 007009513.

Note: When researching for a Vital Record prior to 1854, Family Search shows the entries from the original book dated January 1, 1854. Using our example of the Fuller Death records, we find them on the following pages (all form part of the death entries):

  1. Pages 310/11 – The data on these two pages was “Copied from William Hyde’s Book.”
  2. Pages 317, 318 and the top part of 319 – The Fuller section.
  3. Pages 319 (bottom) part, and 320 – Starting with the heading “The following names are from Jonas & Elijah Stone’s Book”, which is self-explanatory.

We have marked a ‘star’ on those entries which contain the symbol “ † ” indicating the record was a “Town copy with additions” in the entries from the NEHGS and Ancestry pages above.

Massachusetts Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, Newton Deaths, Fuller, pp 310, 311, 317, 318, 319 and 320






  1. Francis Jackson, History of the Early Settlement of Newton, County of Middlesex, Massachusetts: From 1639 to 1800, Boston, 1854, p. 117.