The Town of Otis, Berkshire County, was established February 27, 1773, as "Loudun" from a tract of common land called "Tyringham Equivalent."
June 19, 1809, Loudon and the District of Bethlehem were united as the town of Loudon. (June 24, 1789, the District of Bethlehem had been established from the North Eleven Thousand Acres.)
March 1, 1810, the Act of June 19, 1809, went into effect, and a part of Loudon (Bethlehem District) was annexed to Becket.
June 13, 1810, the name of Loudon was changed to Otis.
April 9, 1838, a part of the common lands called East Eleven Thousand Acres was annexed to Otis.

Population by Census:

1776 200   1850 1,224   1910 494
1790 605   1860 998   1920 361
1800 1,102   1870 960   1930 367
1810 1,111   1880 785   1940 964
1820 981   1890 583  
1840 1,177   1900 476  

The fact that a birth, marriage or death is recorded in Otis does not prove that it occurred there, unless it is so stated in the record. When places other than Otis and Massachusetts are named in the original records they are given as they appear there.

In all items from town records the original spelling is followed, and no attempt is made to correct errors appearing in the records.

A baptism is not printed, if it occurs within one year after the recorded date of birth of a child of the same name and parents or if it is clear that the child baptized is idetical with the child of the birth record; but variations found in the baptismal record are added to the birth record.

The birth of a married woman is recorded under her maiden name, if it is known.But if the maiden name cannot be determined, the entry appears under the husband's name.If it is not known whether the surname is that of a married or unmarried woman, "?m." is placed in brackets after the Christian name.

Marriages and intentions of marriage are printed under the names of both parties. When both the marriage and intention of marriage are recorded, only the marriage record is printed; and where a marriage appeas without the intention being recorded, it is designated with an asterisk.

Additional information which does not appea in the original text of an item, i.e., any explanation, query, inference, or difference shown in other entries of the record, is bracketd. Parentheses are used to show variations in the spelling of a name in the same entry, to indicate the maiden name of a wife, to enclose an imperfect portion of the original text, and to sepaate clauses in the original text.

A general guide to how to use these pages.

If you are new to this site, or haven't used the site a lot, please be sure to read the rest of this page. Even if you have used this site a lot, a refresher may be helpful due to the changes that have been introduced.

You can research the records alphabetically or chronologically within surname. Images of the pages from which the transcriptions were done, and the title pages, are available for most towns. A list of abbreviations used is available.

Alphabetic - This is the most common way that the published vital records were presented. All of the same given names were arranged chronologically with names that had middle initials or middle names following the others. Nicknames would appear alphabeticall according to the spelling, i.e. Nabby, the nickname for Abigail, would be with the names beginning with the letter "N."

In this version, the names are sorted based on the most common spelling. Abbie, Abby, Abigail, Knabby, Nabby, etc., will all appear together and will be chronological. Middle initials and middle names have no influence on the order.

Note: There are going to be errors in the indexing of the names. A woman named Abiel may have been recorded as Abby. The indexing will have her with the Abigails. Please notify me with the Contact page about errors and they will be fixed within a couple days.

Chronologic - The chronologic sort will be most helpful with surnames having lots of entries, especially births. Records that had a missing date, or part, have had the missing portions replaced with zeros and will appear ahead of the others.

Page images - The icon at the left of each record is a link to the image of the page from which the transcription was done. The transcriptions are a tool. The image is the source. It is your responsibility to copy the image for your documentation. Also, the title page should be copied. There is a link to the title page in the navigation bar on transcription pages and image display pages.

Abbreviations - Each town had its own abbreviations used in the published records. Most of these are the same. The abbreviations for the headstones (GR), private records (PR), churches (CR), etc. are all different. There is a link to a list of all abbreviations used for the town in the navigation bar of the transcription pages.

Errors - There are two types of errors.

  • Errors in the published records - It is known that errors are in the published records. Not many, to be sure, but they are there. Where I have found them, or have been informed and provided sufficient documentation, the records have been annotated. This appears in red at the end of the line.]
  • Transcription errors - Even with the best of proofing, errors occur. If you find one, use the Contact link at the top of the page and tell me about the error. I need to have the town name, type of record, page number, what the error is and what it should be. It facilitates matters if you copy and paste the record in error into the e-mail.

Miscellaneous - As the opportunity has provided, I have tried to research names that had only initials or an initial and a surname to find the full names. Where I've been successful I've added the name in red, i.e. J.R. appears as J[ohn] R. or J[ohn] R[ussel].

The alphabetic and chronologic sort orders and many planned improvements require that towns be transcribed. If you can spare two, or more, hours per week to help with the transcribing, write me.

With the exception of the few people helping with transcribing and indexing, I am the only person working on this project. I do all of the technical work. I correct errors. I put transcriptions into final format. I design the pages. This takes a tremendous amount of time and money. If you find this site useful, please donate what you think it is worth to you by going to the donations page.