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Introduction to Alaska Vital Records
Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths. A copy or extract of the original record may be purchased from the Alaska Burea of Vital Statistics or the Clerk's office where the event occurred. An overview of United States Vital Records offers additional insight into researching vital records in general.
Alaska Birth, Marriage and Death Records Online
The following online resources will be useful for locating Alaska Vital Records. Check Alaska Vital Records Online for more information about the resources listed below. Most online resources for Alaska Vital Records are indexes. After locating a person in an index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.
- Alaska State Archives genealogy sources - Free
- Alaska Links from fhlfavorites.info (also has Favorite Links for the World) - Free
- Alaska Databases from Rootsweb.org - Free
- USGenWeb.org Alaska Site - Free
- Tombstone Transcription Project for Alaskan Cemeteries - Free
- Anchorage Master Burial List - Free
- Alaska Cemeteries - Free
- Statewide Alaska Indexes from Research Guidance
- Vital Records Search and Information Directory for Alaska - Free/$
- Linkpendium Alaska Genealogy and History, including Boroughs & Census Areas- Free/$
- Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics manages all vital records - $
- Ancestry.com Alaska Birth, Marriage & Death Records - $
- Address to Order Alaska Certificates - $
Early - 1913
No births were recorded by government agencies prior to 1913. The Bureau of Vital Statistics has microfilmed local Church Records for the purpose of creating delayed birth records. See Substitute Records below for information on how to located Church and other related records.
1913 - Present
Alaska started requiring the registration of births in 1913 after becoming a territory in 1912. Birth Registration was generally complied with by 1945. Most of the Bureau of Vital Statistics's collection of birth records dates from 1930 and later. According to State Law, only individuals listed on a birth record may obtain copies. Contact the Bureau of Vital Statistic's for instructions on obtaining birth records.
|Types of Information||Early - 1913 (Church)||1913 - present|
|Name of Child|
|Date & Place of Birth|
Resources for Alaska Birth Records
- For indexes and other available online records, see Alaska Vital Records Online.
Alaska Adoption Laws allow adopted adults 18 years or older to obtain copies of their original birth certificates along with other identifying information (including changes in birth parents' names and/or addresses). Birth parents can request information about adoptees 18 years or older if the adoptee has agreed (in writing) to disclose that information. Contact the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics for more information. General information about adoptions can be found under United States Adoption.
1890 - 1913
The Alaska State Bureau of Vital Statistics has a scant number of Alaska Marriage Records beginning in 1890 but most are after 1930. Church records are a good source for marriages not found at the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics. The Western States Marriage Index has collected a few Alaska marriages between 1896 -1911. This index may be searched online at no cost. Eventually the Western States Marriage Index plans to include all marriage records for the western states.
1913 - Present
Territorial registration of Marriages in Alaska started in January of 1913. The Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics holds few records prior to 1930. Marriage records are restricted for 50 years after the date of the marriage. Only those named on the certificate, their legal representatives, and person who can prove they are legally entitled can obtain copies.
|Types of Information||1890 - 1913||1913 - present|
|Name of Bride/Groom|
|Date of Marriage|
|Location of Marriage|
|Date of Birth||
|Place of Birth||
|Residence at Time of Marriage||
Early - 1950
Pre-1950 Alaska Divorce Records may be obtained from the Clerk of the Superior Court in the judicial district where the divorce was granted.
1950 - Present
Divorce Records after 1950 may be obtained from Bureau of Vital Statistics. Due to a 50-year privacy period after the date of the event only individuals named on the records or their legal representatives may obtain copies.
1804 - 1913
Sitka was the center of the government in Alaska until 1906 when Juneau became the capital of Alaska. Territorial registration of Death Records began in 1913 and was generally complied with by 1945. Alaska Church records are an additional source for marriages not found in the collections of the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics.
1913 - Present
The Death Record collection at the Alaska State Bureau of Vital Statistics contains a few records beginning in 1890 but the greater part of the collection is after 1930. Access to death records is restricted to family members and legal representatives for 50 years after the date of death.
The U.S. Social Security Death Index contains information on persons receiving Social Security whose deaths were reported to the government. The index contains data from 1962 to the present, however, the Social Security Administration also has additional records dating to 1936.
| Types of Information
|| Early - 1913
|| 1913 - present|
| Name of Deceased
|Date of Death||
|Place of Death||
|Date of Birth/Age||
|Place of Birth||
|Place of Burial||
|Occupation of Deceased||
Alaska Native Population
Native Tribes of Alaska include:
Delayed Birth records were created by the Bureau of Vital Statistics from borrowed microfilms of original Russian Church records. Request for genealogical inquires of this collection are refused. However films of birth, marriages and deaths recorded by the Russian Greek Orthodox Catholic Church from 1816 to 1936 and LDS member records from 1885 to 1951 are available at the Family History Library and may be borrowed and viewed at a local Family History Center. These church records are the best source of Alaska Births, Marriages, and Deaths prior to 1950.
- Alaska Census Records Early Census were taken and survive for parts of Alaska.
- Alaska Cemetery Records
- Church Records For the pre-1913 time period.
- Alaska History
- Military Records Enlistment, service and pension records.
- Newspapers Records Obituary, birth and marriage announcements, and death notices.
- Alaska Periodicals
- Information given on a birth, marriage or death certificate is given by an informant. Learn the relationship of the informant to the person or persons on the certificate to help determine the accuracy of the record.
- If you are unable to locate vital records recorded by government entities, search for church records of christening, marriage, burial or death. A Family Bible may have also been used to record births, marriages and deaths.
- Privacy laws restrict access to the records of living individuals. Copies of some vital records recorded in the last 100 years may be unavailable to anyone except the individual or a direct relative.
- Search for Vital Records in the Family History Library Catalog by using the Place Search and then choosing Vital Records. Search Alaska to locate records filed by the State and then search the name of the county to locate records kept by that county.
Archives, Libraries and Societies
Statewide archives, libraries, historical and genealogical societies of Alaska have collections that can be of great value in Alaska research. Individual counties usually have historical and genealogical societies as well. Contact the Alaska Archives, Societies and Libraries for specific information on availability of records and how to access their collections online, in person or through a local agent that will search the records for a fee.
Important Dates & Governmental Jurisdictions:
- 1799-1861 Russian American Company
- 1861-1867 Russian Imperial Administration
- 1868-1877 U.S. War Department -Customs
- 1877-1884 U.S. Treasury Dept.
- 1884-1912 U.S. District Status
- 1912-1959 U.S. Territorial Status
- 1943 Military Personnel stationed in Alaska.
After statehood, on Jaunuary 3, 1959, twenty-seven civil jurisdictions were created: fourteen divisions called municipalities and boroughs and another thirteen Alaska Native Claims Settlement Acto Corporations (ANCSA) There are now 16 organized boroughs and 11 unorganized boroughs and census areas:
Alaska's 16 Organized Boroughs
Municipality of Anchorage
Bristol Bay Borough
Fairbanks North Star Borough
City and Borough of Juneau
Kenai Peninsula Borough
Ketchikan Gateway Borough
Kodiak Island Borough
Lake and Peninsula Borough
North Slope Borough
Northwest Artic Borough
City and Borough of Sitka
City and Borough of Yakutat
Alaska's Unorganized Boroughs and Census Areas
Prince of Wales - Outer Ketchikan
"Interview with Stephanie Walden, Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics." Telephone interview. 18 Aug. 2009.
"Alaska." Red book American state, county & town sources. Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004. 35-44. Print.
"Alaska Adoption Laws." Adoption.com. Adoption Media, LLC, 1995 - 2009. Web. 1 Sept. 2009. http://laws.adoption.com/statutes/alaska-laws.html.
Bureau of Vital Statistics. State of Alaska, 2009. Web. 1 Sept. 2009. <http://www.hss.state.ak.us/dph/bvs/default.htm>.