GenMassachusetts-L ArchivesArchiver > GenMassachusetts > 2007-07 > 1185828798
From: Carol Botteron <>
Subject: [GENMASSACHUSETTS] How Were Vital Records Recorded ~1700?
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2007 16:53:51 -0400
Can SKS describe the process of reporting vital records in Mass.
about 1700? Especially birth and death records (as handled by towns)
as distinguished from christening and marriage records (as handled
Did the midwives and doctors keep lists of births and deaths, which
they reported to the towns occasionally? If no midwife or doctor was
involved, was a family member supposed to tell the town clerk about
the event? Are original handwritten documents such as midwives'
diaries available to be seen?
Example: the birth of my ancestor Walter Hixson. "Boston Registry
Dept.: A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston,
containing Dorchester Births, Marriages, and Deaths to the End of
1825" says "Walter Hixson, son of Richard Hixson and Hannah his wife
was born the 15 of June 1705."
Sounds perfectly clear, except did Richard really have a wife named
Hannah? Richard Hixson married Margaret Watkins at Milton, Mass.,
on 14 Sep 1686. Richard died at Dorchester on 28 Jan 1717/18. His
probate lists his children (including Walter, the youngest) and names
his widow Margaret as administrator of his estate. We have found no
records of Margaret's death or of another marriage for Richard.
We would like to know how Walter's birth would have been reported
to the town, in order to look into possible sources of error. For
example, Walter's sister Hannah was about 12 when he was born.
Maybe she reported the birth and some mistakenly wrote her name.
I'm trying to keep the discussion (if any) general. Walter Hixson's
birth is an example but information on other times and places would
Carol Botteron (all Hixson/Hixon/Hickson of New England)
|[GENMASSACHUSETTS] How Were Vital Records Recorded ~1700? by Carol Botteron <>|