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Business certificate filings

Identifier: 0301.001

Scope and Contents note

This series includes records of business certificate filings from 1907-2013. It is divided into two sub series: Indexes and Certificates. The indexes from 1907-1979 are in bound volumes. The indexes for 1980-1982 and 1983 are in card file drawers. The index covering 1984-1994 is stored in four binders and the indexes for 1995-2010 are in single volumes. The index includes date of filing, name of business, name of owner, address of business and address of owner. The indexes to the business certificates from 1909-1983 (volumes 2-23 and drawers 1-5) also include declaration of trust filings. Volume 2 includes business certificate filings from 1913-1918 and declaration of trust filings from 1909-1918. Volumes 3-23 and the card indexes include both for the same years. The indexes from 1984-2010 only contain entries for business certificates. The indexes from 1907-1983 are cross-referenced by name of owner and name of business.

The certificates prior to 1987 were disposed of by Archives Staff as they were believed to contain the same information as the indexes. However, further study revealed that some entries in the business certificates indexes state "see doc." For these entries prior to 1987 the information has been lost as result of the authorized disposition.

The certificates from 1987-2010 are filed chronologically and are arranged by the business certificate number. Each year except for 1988 begins at certificate #0001. The certificates for 1988 begin with #4687 which is a continuation of the numbering from 1987. Withdrawal certificates are filed with the original certificate.

The City Clerk's office maintains an online searchable database for business certificates from 2004-present.


  • 1907-2015


Historical note

Chapter 539 of the Acts of 1907 as amended by Chapter 316 of the Acts of 1908 required that any person or persons conducting or transacting business in the Commonwealth under any name, designation or title other than the real name or names of the person or persons conducting or transacting such business, whether individually or as a firm or partnership, shall file in the office of the clerk of the city or town in which the place or places of business or office or offices of any such person, firm or partnership may be situated, a certificate stating the full name and residence of each person engaged in or transacting such business. The clerk shall keep a record of such certificates, and an index of the names of such persons, firms or partnerships, entering in such index in alphabetical order the name of every person and the title under which he does business, and of every firm or partnership and the names of the members thereof. Business certificates are currently filed under the provisions of Chapter 110, Section 5 of the Massachusetts General Laws, as amended. Business certificates expire four years from the date of issue.


90.0 Cubic feet (33 volumes, 4 binders, 5 card file drawers and 81 record cartons)

Language of Materials


Related Archival Materials note

The business certificates and the declarations of trust are indexed together in the same volumes for the years 1909-1983.

Guide to the Business certificates
Kristen Swett
November 10, 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the City of Boston Archives Repository

201 Rivermoor St.
West Roxbury MA 02132 United States
617-635-1194 (Fax)