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Introduction to Vital Records

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. United States Vital Records has additional research guidance on researching and using vital records. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Oregon Vital Records State Department of Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.

Contents

 
Vital Records.jpg
  

Birth Records Marriage Records  Death/Will Records


Oregon Birth, Marriage and Death Records Online

The following is a list of online resources useful for locating Oregon Vital Records which consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths. Most online resources for Oregon Vital Records are indexes. After locating a person in an index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.

If you are aware of other online databases, please feel free to add them.

Birth Records

Birth Records 1868-1929 at Family Search

County Records of Births and Deaths

While most counties began keeping birth and death records in 1903, some areas started as early as 1854. For example, birth records for Portland begin in 1864 and death records begin in 1862, but they are incomplete. These are available at the Oregon State Archives.

You can write to each county clerk for information.


MOVE TO COUNTY PAGES The Family History Library has copies of some county records as following:

Baker County birth and death records 1916-1929, records of death 1905-1911

Clackamas County Coroner's Inquest 1859-1883, Certificates of Death 1921-1944

Clatsop County Coroner inquest transcriptions 1870-1901

Douglas County coroner inquests, 1896 to 1946

Linn County records of deaths 1903-1915, 1915-1947 (the cover title of this one is "Register of Physicians, Midwives and Undertakers", death certificates 1903-1947, coroner's inquest 1909-1960, index 1909-1960.

Polk County records of deaths 1903-1905, 1907-1915, record of births and deaths Oct 1915-Feb 1921 "record of physicians, midwives and undertakers."

Tillamook County certificate of deaths 1903-1943, record of deaths 1907-1916

Umatilla County record of deaths 1907-1929, certificates of death 1913-1944

Wallowa County coroner's inquest 1906-1915

Washington County coroner's inquest records 1854-1889

Yamhill County record of deaths 1907-1931, index 1903-1944, coroner's reports 1861-1940

These are the records that have been microfilmed at the Oregon State Archives. There are more birth and death records microfilmed at the county level.


State Records of Births and Deaths

Statewide registration of births and deaths began in 1903. The Family History Library has the index to deaths from 1903 to 1970 and has some county birth and death records on microfilm. The original birth and death records are available from the state. The records that are available can be identified at the State Archives Web Site.  To request copies for 1903 to the present, write to:

Oregon State Archives
800 Summer St NE
Salem, OR 97310
503-373-0701 ext. 1
Fax: 503-373-0953
reference.archives@state.or.us

The current fees for obtaining copies of the state's records are provided in their site above.

State records are not open to the public. Birth records are available only to the registrant's immediate family. Death records are available to persons with a “direct and tangible interest.” In your request, state your relationship to the individual you want information about and your reason.

The Oregon State Archives has an index to the state's records of births and deaths from 1903 to 1984. They also have copies of Oregon death records 1903 to the year preceding the current year, some marriage records 1849-1935, and a marriage index 1906-1995 (some years missing). Death certificates are transferred from Center for Health Statistics (CHS) in Portland each year prior to the 50 years rule for public access.

Death Record 1903-1947 at Family Search

Delayed Registration of Births

Delayed registration of births began in the late 1930s. To obtain these records write to the Oregon State Health Division. The Family History Library has delayed records for some counties. State-wide index is available on microfilm for entire state.

Marriage Records

Counties began to record marriages soon after they were organized. Some county marriage records date from 1849. Write to the county clerk for information on early records they may have. Beginning in 1906 each county sent copies of the records to the Oregon State Health Division (address above). For records after 1906 you can write to the county clerk or to the state. Records from 1849-1930 are also at the Oregon State Archives (see address in Oregon Archives and Libraries).

Divorce Records

Before 1853, divorces were granted by the territorial legislature. These records are now kept at the Oregon State Archives. Divorces that occurred after 1853 were recorded in the circuit court of each county. Records since 1925 may also be obtained from the Oregon State Health Division (address above).

Many of the marriages for the state are searchable online at no cost in the Western States Marriage Index.

Death Records

An index of unclaimed cremated remains of about 3500 people who died in the Oregon State Hospital, Oregon State Tuberculosis Hospital, Mid-Columbia Hospital, Dammasch State Hospital, Oregon State Penitentiary, and Fairview Training Center between 1914 and the 1970s is available at:

http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/mentalhealth/osh/cremains.shtml

Substitute Records

Oregon Church Records

Oregon Cemetery Records

Oregon Census

Oregon Newspapers

Oregon Military Records

Oregon Periodicals

Tips

  • Information listed on vitial records is given by an informant.  Learn the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) of the record.  The closer the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) and whether or not the informant was present at the time of the event can help determine the accuracy of the informaiton found on the record.
  • If you are unable to locate vital records recorded by governments, search for church records of chifrstening, marriage, death or burial.  A family Bible may have been used to record births, marriages and deaths.
  • Privacy laws may restrict your access to some vital records.  Copies of some vital records recorded in the last 100 years may be uaavailable to anyone except a direct relative.
  • Search for Vital Records in the Family History Library Catalog by using a Place Search and then choosing Vital Records.  Search for Oregon to locate records filed by the State and then search thename of the county to locate records kept by the county,

Guide to Vital Records

More information about the history and availability of vital records is in Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in Oregon. [2]

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:

References

  1. <span>Arlene H. Eakle, "Have you searched and searched for a marriage without finding it?" in Genealogy Blog at <a href="http://www.arleneeakle.com/wordpress/2007/02/19/have-you-searched-and-searched-for-the-marriage-without-finding-it/">http://www.arleneeakle.com/wordpress/2007/02/19/have-you-searched-and-searched-for-the-marriage-without-finding-it/</a> (accessed 8 January 2011).</span>
  2. Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in Oregon (Portland, Oregon: Historical Records Survey, 1942; Family History Library book 979.5 V2h; film 1036701 item 4; fiche 6051198).

 

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