NorthShore Slavery

Essex County Massachusetts Vital Records 1650 - 1849

An in-the-works project to recreate "MA-VitalRecords.org", a now defunct website that provided quick access to the printed Vital Records for each Massachusetts town from 1650 - 1849. The original website is viewable in the Wayback Machine

Creating this website raised the issue of how to accurately reproduce the original printing while also not reproducing the White European and racist biases of both the early 20th century listings as well as the biases of the original record-keeping. To attempt to resolve these issues, several changes were made:

1. Missing surnames for all individuals, for whatever reason, are indicated by "_____, "

2. Alphabetic lists are made by surname, missing surnames listed together first, in chronological order. Within similar surnames, individuals are alphabetically by first names and then in chronological order. For people of color, this is a change from the print volumes.

3. The print titles used the term "Negroes" and "Indians." These are retained only when a reproduction of the print title. The original record-keeping also used the term "Negro" and "mulatto" and occasionally other racial terms that are offensive today. Again, these are used here when reproducing that terminology as originally printed.

4. The previous website used the term "Ot" in the URLs for pages that list the people of color lists. This was a shorthand for "Other." For ease of conversion, the "Ot" has been retained for now but "Other" is no longer used anywhere.

5. As of May 21, 2024 Andover, Gloucester, Middleton, Salem and Topsfield are operational.

6. People of color records have been entered into Google Docs spreadsheets combining Births, Marriages and Deaths which are sortable. They can be found here:

All People of Color (Google Docs)