United States Civil Records

From FamilySearch Wiki

(Difference between revisions)
Line 1: Line 1:
''[[United States|United States ]] >   [[United States Vital Records|U.S. Vital Records]] > United States Civil Records''
+
''[[United States|United States ]] >   [[United States Vital Records|U.S. Vital Records]] > United States Civil Records''  
 +
 
 +
== Creation of Civil Records ==
  
==Creation of Civil Records==
 
 
Civil governments have created records of births, marriages, and deaths. Records containing this information are commonly called “vital records,” because they refer to critical events in a person's life. These are the most important documents for genealogical research, but the births, marriages, and deaths of many people have never been recorded by civil authorities.  
 
Civil governments have created records of births, marriages, and deaths. Records containing this information are commonly called “vital records,” because they refer to critical events in a person's life. These are the most important documents for genealogical research, but the births, marriages, and deaths of many people have never been recorded by civil authorities.  
  
 
This section describes the vital records kept by civil governments. (Other sources of vital information are described in [[United States Church Records|Church records]] and [[United States Town Records|Town records]] pages.) The [[Family History Library|Family History Library]] has microfilm copies of the civil vital records of thousands of towns, counties, and states in the United States.  
 
This section describes the vital records kept by civil governments. (Other sources of vital information are described in [[United States Church Records|Church records]] and [[United States Town Records|Town records]] pages.) The [[Family History Library|Family History Library]] has microfilm copies of the civil vital records of thousands of towns, counties, and states in the United States.  
  
==To find a Civil Vital Record==
+
== To find a Civil Vital Record ==
 +
 
 
*You will need at least the approximate year and place in which the birth, marriage, divorce, or death occurred.  
 
*You will need at least the approximate year and place in which the birth, marriage, divorce, or death occurred.  
 
*You may need to search other records first to find clues about these events, such as family Bibles, genealogies, local histories, biographies, cemetery records, censuses, court records, land records, citizenship applications, pension files, newspaper notices, and probate files.  
 
*You may need to search other records first to find clues about these events, such as family Bibles, genealogies, local histories, biographies, cemetery records, censuses, court records, land records, citizenship applications, pension files, newspaper notices, and probate files.  
*For the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries these sources must often be used as substitutes for civil vital records. These other records may not be as accurate, however, as the vital records kept by church authorities and civil governments.  
+
*For the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries these sources must often be used as substitutes for civil vital records. These other records may not be as accurate, however, as the vital records kept by church authorities and civil governments.
  
 
=== Regional Differences  ===
 
=== Regional Differences  ===
Line 27: Line 29:
 
'''West. (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) ''' The western states vary greatly in their registration of vital records due to their different settlement patterns. Most areas began statewide registration of births and deaths between 1903 and 1920. While most counties were keeping marriage records by 1890 or the date the county was created, statewide registration generally began between 1905 and 1978. Hawaii's records of births, marriages, and deaths start as early as the 1840's.  
 
'''West. (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) ''' The western states vary greatly in their registration of vital records due to their different settlement patterns. Most areas began statewide registration of births and deaths between 1903 and 1920. While most counties were keeping marriage records by 1890 or the date the county was created, statewide registration generally began between 1905 and 1978. Hawaii's records of births, marriages, and deaths start as early as the 1840's.  
  
'''Pacific States- Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington)'''
+
'''Pacific States- Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington)'''  
  
== Years US States began Recording Births and Deaths  ==
 
  
=== Vital Records of Each State ===
+
=== Links to States Vital Records  ===
  
 
{| class="FCK__ShowTableBorders" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" width="580"
 
{| class="FCK__ShowTableBorders" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" width="580"
Line 37: Line 38:
 
| valign="top" align="left" |  
 
| valign="top" align="left" |  
 
*[[Image:Alabama flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Alabama Birth, Marriage, and Death Records|Alabama]]  
 
*[[Image:Alabama flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Alabama Birth, Marriage, and Death Records|Alabama]]  
*[[Image:Alaska flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Alaska Birth, Marriage and Death Records|Alaska]]
+
*[[Image:Alaska flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Alaska Birth, Marriage and Death Records|Alaska]]  
 
*[[Image:Arizona flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Arizona Birth, Marriage and Death Records|Arizona]]  
 
*[[Image:Arizona flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Arizona Birth, Marriage and Death Records|Arizona]]  
 
*[[Image:Arkansas flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Arkansas Birth, Marriage and Death Records|Arkansas]]  
 
*[[Image:Arkansas flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Arkansas Birth, Marriage and Death Records|Arkansas]]  
Line 43: Line 44:
 
*[[Image:Colorado flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Colorado Vital Records|Colorado]]  
 
*[[Image:Colorado flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Colorado Vital Records|Colorado]]  
 
*[[Image:Connecticut flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Connecticut Vital Records|Connecticut]]  
 
*[[Image:Connecticut flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Connecticut Vital Records|Connecticut]]  
*[[Image:Delaware flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Delaware Vital Records|Delaware]]
+
*[[Image:Delaware flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Delaware Vital Records|Delaware]]  
 
*[[Image:District of Columbia flag.png|border|22x11px]]  [[District of Columbia Vital Records|District of Columbia]]  
 
*[[Image:District of Columbia flag.png|border|22x11px]]  [[District of Columbia Vital Records|District of Columbia]]  
 
*[[Image:Florida flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Florida Vital Records|Florida]]  
 
*[[Image:Florida flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Florida Vital Records|Florida]]  
*[[Image:Georgia flag.png|border|22x14px]]  [[Georgia Vital Records|Georgia]]
+
*[[Image:Georgia flag.png|border|22x14px]]  [[Georgia Vital Records|Georgia]]  
*[[Image:Hawaii flag.png|border|22x11px]]  [[Hawaii Vital Records|Hawaii]]
+
*[[Image:Hawaii flag.png|border|22x11px]]  [[Hawaii Vital Records|Hawaii]]  
*[[Image:Idaho flag.png|border|22x18px]]  [[Idaho Vital Records|Idaho]]
+
*[[Image:Idaho flag.png|border|22x18px]]  [[Idaho Vital Records|Idaho]]  
 
*[[Image:Illinois flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Illinois Vital Records|Illinois]]  
 
*[[Image:Illinois flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Illinois Vital Records|Illinois]]  
 
*[[Image:Indiana flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Indiana Vital Records|Indiana]]  
 
*[[Image:Indiana flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Indiana Vital Records|Indiana]]  
*[[Image:Iowa flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Iowa Vital Records|Iowa]]
+
*[[Image:Iowa flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Iowa Vital Records|Iowa]]  
 
*[[Image:Kansas flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Kansas Vital Records|Kansas]]
 
*[[Image:Kansas flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Kansas Vital Records|Kansas]]
  
Line 59: Line 60:
 
*[[Image:Maine flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Maine Vital Records|Maine]]  
 
*[[Image:Maine flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Maine Vital Records|Maine]]  
 
*[[Image:Maryland flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Maryland Vital Records|Maryland]]  
 
*[[Image:Maryland flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Maryland Vital Records|Maryland]]  
*[[Image:Massachusetts flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Massachusetts Vital Records|Massachusetts]]
+
*[[Image:Massachusetts flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Massachusetts Vital Records|Massachusetts]]  
 
*[[Image:Michigan flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Michigan Vital Records|Michigan]]  
 
*[[Image:Michigan flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Michigan Vital Records|Michigan]]  
 
*[[Image:Minnesota flag.png|border|22x14px]]  [[Minnesota Vital Records|Minnesota]]  
 
*[[Image:Minnesota flag.png|border|22x14px]]  [[Minnesota Vital Records|Minnesota]]  
 
*[[Image:Mississippi flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Mississippi Vital Records|Mississippi]]  
 
*[[Image:Mississippi flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Mississippi Vital Records|Mississippi]]  
*[[Image:Missouri flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Missouri Vital Records|Missouri]]
+
*[[Image:Missouri flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Missouri Vital Records|Missouri]]  
*[[Image:Montana flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Montana Vital Records|Montana]]
+
*[[Image:Montana flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Montana Vital Records|Montana]]  
 
*[[Image:Nebraska flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Nebraska Vital Records|Nebraska]]  
 
*[[Image:Nebraska flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Nebraska Vital Records|Nebraska]]  
 
*[[Image:Nevada flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Nevada Vital Records|Nevada]]  
 
*[[Image:Nevada flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Nevada Vital Records|Nevada]]  
*[[Image:New Hampshire flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[New Hampshire Vital Records|New Hampshire]]
+
*[[Image:New Hampshire flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[New Hampshire Vital Records|New Hampshire]]  
*[[Image:New Jersey flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[New Jersey Vital Records|New Jersey]]
+
*[[Image:New Jersey flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[New Jersey Vital Records|New Jersey]]  
*[[Image:New Mexico flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[New Mexico Vital Records|New Mexico]]
+
*[[Image:New Mexico flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[New Mexico Vital Records|New Mexico]]  
 
*[[Image:New York flag.png|border|22x11px]]  [[New York Vital Records|New York]]  
 
*[[Image:New York flag.png|border|22x11px]]  [[New York Vital Records|New York]]  
 
*[[Image:North Carolina flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[North Carolina Vital Records|North Carolina]]
 
*[[Image:North Carolina flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[North Carolina Vital Records|North Carolina]]
Line 79: Line 80:
 
*[[Image:Oregon flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Oregon Vital Records|Oregon]]  
 
*[[Image:Oregon flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Oregon Vital Records|Oregon]]  
 
*[[Image:Pennsylvania flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Pennsylvania Vital Records|Pennsylvania]]  
 
*[[Image:Pennsylvania flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Pennsylvania Vital Records|Pennsylvania]]  
*[[Image:Rhode Island flag.png|border|21x20px]]  [[Rhode Island Vital Records|Rhode Island]]
+
*[[Image:Rhode Island flag.png|border|21x20px]]  [[Rhode Island Vital Records|Rhode Island]]  
 
*[[Image:South Carolina flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[South Carolina Vital Records|South Carolina]] 1  
 
*[[Image:South Carolina flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[South Carolina Vital Records|South Carolina]] 1  
*[[Image:South Dakota flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[South Dakota Vital Records|South Dakota]]
+
*[[Image:South Dakota flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[South Dakota Vital Records|South Dakota]]  
*[[Image:Tennessee flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Tennessee Vital Records|Tennessee]]
+
*[[Image:Tennessee flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Tennessee Vital Records|Tennessee]]  
 
*[[Image:Texas flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Texas Vital Records|Texas]]  
 
*[[Image:Texas flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Texas Vital Records|Texas]]  
*[[Image:Utah flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Utah Vital Records|Utah]]
+
*[[Image:Utah flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Utah Vital Records|Utah]]  
*[[Image:Vermont flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Vermont Vital Records|Vermont]]
+
*[[Image:Vermont flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Vermont Vital Records|Vermont]]  
 
*[[Image:Virginia flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Virginia Vital Records|Virginia]]  
 
*[[Image:Virginia flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Virginia Vital Records|Virginia]]  
*[[Image:Washington flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Washington Vital Records|Washington]]
+
*[[Image:Washington flag.png|border|22x13px]]  [[Washington Vital Records|Washington]]  
*[[Image:West Virginia flag.png|border|22x12px]]  [[West Virginia Vital Records|West Virginia]]
+
*[[Image:West Virginia flag.png|border|22x12px]]  [[West Virginia Vital Records|West Virginia]]  
 
*[[Image:Wisconsin flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Wisconsin Vital Records|Wisconsin]]  
 
*[[Image:Wisconsin flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Wisconsin Vital Records|Wisconsin]]  
 
*[[Image:Wyoming flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Wyoming Vital Records|Wyoming]]
 
*[[Image:Wyoming flag.png|border|22x15px]]  [[Wyoming Vital Records|Wyoming]]
Line 94: Line 95:
 
|}
 
|}
  
<br>See also: [[Summary of Births in the United States by State|Summary of Births in the United States by State]]
+
<br>See also: [[Summary of Births in the United States by State|Summary of Births in the United States by State]]  
 +
 
 +
== Websites ==
 +
 
 +
== Sources ==
 +
 
 +
<references />
  
==Websites==
 
==Sources==
 
<references/>
 
 
[[Category:United_States|United_States]] [[Category:Record_Types_of_the_United_States|Record_Types_of_the_United_States]] [[Category:United_States_Vital_Records|United_States_Vital_Records]]
 
[[Category:United_States|United_States]] [[Category:Record_Types_of_the_United_States|Record_Types_of_the_United_States]] [[Category:United_States_Vital_Records|United_States_Vital_Records]]

Revision as of 17:17, 20 October 2010

United States  >   U.S. Vital Records > United States Civil Records

Contents

Creation of Civil Records

Civil governments have created records of births, marriages, and deaths. Records containing this information are commonly called “vital records,” because they refer to critical events in a person's life. These are the most important documents for genealogical research, but the births, marriages, and deaths of many people have never been recorded by civil authorities.

This section describes the vital records kept by civil governments. (Other sources of vital information are described in Church records and Town records pages.) The Family History Library has microfilm copies of the civil vital records of thousands of towns, counties, and states in the United States.

To find a Civil Vital Record

  • You will need at least the approximate year and place in which the birth, marriage, divorce, or death occurred.
  • You may need to search other records first to find clues about these events, such as family Bibles, genealogies, local histories, biographies, cemetery records, censuses, court records, land records, citizenship applications, pension files, newspaper notices, and probate files.
  • For the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries these sources must often be used as substitutes for civil vital records. These other records may not be as accurate, however, as the vital records kept by church authorities and civil governments.

Regional Differences

The content of the records will vary with the locality and time period. Records may have been recreated when they were damaged or lost.

New England(Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) These states have kept good vital records. The town clerks kept register books as early as the 1600's (see the “Town Records” pages for details). Most of these states have statewide indexes of the existing records. Most New England states began statewide registration of births, marriages, and deaths between 1841 and 1897. Vermont began centralized registration in 1919, but individual town records go back to the 1700's. Except for New Hampshire (which began recording marriages as early as 1640), many New England marriages in colonial times were not recorded because of the laws and religious customs of the region.

Middle Atlantic (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland). It is unusual to find any vital records before 1885 for New York and Pennsylvania, except in the larger cities. All of the states began statewide registration of births and deaths between 1878 and 1915. Statewide registration of marriages began between 1847 and 1906. New Jersey and Delaware have marriage records dating from the 1660's (or the creation of the counties), but systematic recording of marriages in New Jersey did not begin until 1795.

South. (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee,Texas, Virginia and West Virginia)    In the southern states, laws for civil registration of births and deaths were enacted between 1899 and 1919. Marriages were a legal contract which involved property rights, so the counties recorded them carefully, starting in the early 1700's (except in South Carolina where they began in 1911). Most states initiated statewide marriage files between 1911 and 1962. Virginia counties began recording births, marriages, and deaths in 1853, but stopped between 1896 and 1912. Church vital records often reach back into the 1700's.

Midwest. (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin )  Government officials in the midwestern states began files of births and deaths as early as the 1860's in many counties. Statewide registration of births and deaths was initiated between 1880 and 1920. Officials began recording marriage dates as soon as each county was established and generally began statewide registration between 1880 and 1962.

Great Plains. (Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and South Dakota)

West. (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming)  The western states vary greatly in their registration of vital records due to their different settlement patterns. Most areas began statewide registration of births and deaths between 1903 and 1920. While most counties were keeping marriage records by 1890 or the date the county was created, statewide registration generally began between 1905 and 1978. Hawaii's records of births, marriages, and deaths start as early as the 1840's.

Pacific States- Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington)


Links to States Vital Records


See also: Summary of Births in the United States by State

Websites

Sources