History of Massachusetts - Public Record Laws
Massachusetts is one of the original 13 colonies and became the sixth state in the U.S. on February 6, 1788. The first settlement was made by the pilgrims of the Mayflower in 1620 with their arrival to Plymouth, MA. The early economy profited from the textile industry, footwear such as boots, and production of machinery. The official state name is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is one of the 6 states that comprise New England along with Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Massachusetts has 14 Counties, 50 cities and 301 towns with a population of 6,547,629. The state has 10,555 square miles of territory making it the 44th largest in the U.S. The legislative power is comprised of the Massachusetts Senate and house of representatives. Executive power is held by the governor and other individually elected offices such as the attorney general and secretary of the commonwealth. The judicial division makes up the third branch and is the entire court system of the state. Counties have no government as of the late 1990’s and exist solely as geographic regions. Counties can and do elect officials such as the sheriff, however they do not have commissioners or a council. The "Home Rule" amendment to the Massachusetts constitution created in 1966 granted cities and towns certain local powers.
Similar to the federal freedom of information act, the Massachusetts Public Records Act and the Massachusetts Open Meetings Act offers its residents greater government transparency to its voters and general public. The Open Meetings Act opens local decisions and deliberations to its residents with records of the meeting available for public review. All government records in the state are presumed public information with few exemptions allowed by law. The public record laws state that anyone, without giving a reason, can request to copy and view information in custody of local or state entities. These laws are generally enacted to keep the government honest and open to public scrutiny. Residents can look up how much their governments are spending and where funds are appropriated. Daily operations, elections, budgeting, policies and any other information must be provided to the public under the state law.
Records sought by the general public are not solely for the purpose of government oversight. Requests are also often used to obtain such documents as land records to reveal valuation, property ownership and other details about the real estate from the county registry of deeds. Anyone can order a criminal background check from the executive office of public safety and security department. Birth, death and marriages occurring in the state are held at the registry of vital records and statistics where certificates can be obtained in person, by mail, fax or online. Some searches such as UCC, status of companies, offender searches, attorney licensing status amongst others are available instantly on the internet from the agencies directly. Much of the state’s historical records are kept in government archives where researchers looking for genealogy can look up data of past ancestry in the state.
MassachusettsPublicRecord.com is a public record portal for anyone specifically looking to obtain information. By accessing a directory of departments and and their services, you can directly go to the sources of information you are seeking. See what is available from agencies in Massachusetts within one site which includes local and state sources, courts and facilities listed by what is offered to the public. Government agencies aren’t always the best or only source of information. Information found in publications and people search directories can be better provided by other sources. You can easily look for a person and obtain addresses or residences online with private sources by simply entering an individual’s name. Many private sources are free to the public where the site’s profitability is derived from its advertisements.