n the late 19th and early 20th centuries several towns and agencies compiled the vital records of over 200 Massachusetts towns and cities. Using the town records, church records, private records, gravestone inscriptions and newspaper articles, one of the finest collections of published vital records was produced. These came to be known collectively as the "Tan Book" series. These records generally comprise all of the known records from the earliest times to about 1850.
Some modifications of the files is in progress. These modifications are necessary to get ready to convert to the new format and also to get ready for new indexing.
There are several printing companies specializing in genealogical/historical books that do reprints of the books now in the public domain. You can acquire your own reprint copies of the books in hardcover or softcover. See list of books for a complete list and prices from Higginson Books. This is not to be considered an endorsement. Higginson is simply the only printer that would provide me with a list of their available books.
The Genealogical Gleaner's Award page provides links to other sites with vital records. Jane Devlin has a very good site for genealogists. The New England Historic Genealogical Society, is a subscription site. It has several databases, including the Early Massachusetts VRs, that are free. If you have a lot of New England ancestry, it may be worth your while to subscribe.
The Massachusetts Vital Records Project