Louisiana Vital Records
Early Parish Records of Births and Deaths:
Pre-1914 birth and death records exist for some Louisiana parishes. These are generally more complete after the 1860s.
Orleans Parish began keeping birth records in 1790 and deaths on records in 1804. Copies are available at the Office of Public Health (see address below). Copies of the death records from 1804 to 1914 are also at the New Orleans Public Library where they can only be used in person (the public library cannot provide photocopies).
The Family History Library has an extensive collection of Orleans Parish death records for 1815 to 1915 and an index from 1804 to 1916. The library also has copies of coroner's inquests from 1844 to 1916 and New Orleans Charity Hospital records of deaths from 1835 to 1904 and admission records from 1829 to 1899.
A few other parishes also began keeping vital records in the early 1800s. These records can be obtained by contacting the parish clerk of court. The Family History Library has copies of a few pre-1914 birth and death records of some parishes. For example, from Lafourche Parish, the library has the register of births and deaths for 1818 to 1895 and a register of births from 1810 to 1875. Jefferson Parish death records are also in the Family History Library collection as follows: 1850-1875 Family History Library Film 1575613 Items 1 - 3;1905-1916 Family History Library Film 2322973;and 1916-1921 Family History Library Film 2322974 Items 1 - 2.
State Records of Births and Deaths:
Statewide registration of births and deaths began in 1914. Delayed registration of births for the years 1939 to the present are also available. To obtain copies of state vital records write to:
Vital Records Registry
Office of Public Health
P.O. Box 60630
New Orleans, LA 70160
These records are not open for public searches. Copies can be obtained only by an individual named in the record or a relative.
In addition, the Family History Library has state death certificates 1900-1954 on 661 rolls of film beginning with FHL Film 1575614. Deaths before 1914 are limited. The index for these records lists a parish code number, volume and certificate number. The films are organized by year, parish name, and volume number. The parish code numbers are effective for entire time period the index covers. Death certificates can be accessed by year, then volume number or parish name, and then certificate number. Use the following chart to match the appropriate parish code and name.
|1 Acadia||22 Grant||43 Sabine|
|2 Allen||23 Iberia||44 St. Bernard|
|3 Ascension||24 Iberville||45 St. Charles|
|4 Assumption||25 Jackson||46 St. Helena|
|5 Avoyelles||26 Jefferson||47 St. James|
|6 Beauregard||27 Jefferson Davis||48 St. John the Baptist|
|7 Bienville||28 Lafayette||49 St. Landry|
|8 Bossier||29 Lafourche||50 St. Martin|
|9 Caddo||30 LaSalle||51 St. Mary|
|10 Calcasieu||31 Lincoln||52 St. Tammany|
|11 Caldwell||32 Livingston||53 Tangipahoa|
|12 Cameron||33 Madison||54 Tensas|
|13 Catahoula||34 Morehouse||55 Terrebonne|
|14 Claiborne||35 Natchitoches||56 Union|
|15 Concordia||36 Orleans||57 Vermillion|
|16 DeSoto||37 Ouachita||58 Vernon|
|17 East Baton Rouge||38 Plaquemines||59 Washington|
|18 East Carroll||39 Pointe Coupee||60 Webster|
|19 East Feliciana||40 Rapides||61 West Baton Rouge|
|20 Evangeline||41 Red River||62 West Carroll|
|21 Franklin||42 Richland||63 West Feliciana|
There is no statewide registration of marriages. Marriages were recorded by each parish. The original parish records are at the offices of the clerks of the court in each parish, except for Orleans Parish, where the records are at the Office of Public Health.
The Family History Library has an extensive collection of Louisiana marriage records. For example, for Orleans Parish the library has 86 microfilms of marriage licenses and certificates from 1834 to 1888. Another set of Orleans Parish records includes 185 films of marriage licenses from 1870 to 1915. The library has similar records for most parishes.
Many colonial marriages are recorded in the judicial records of the French Superior Council and the Spanish Cabildo (originals at the Louisiana Historical Center of the Louisiana State Museum), and the royal notaries (originals with the Custodian of Notarial Records). Microfilm copies of these records are at the Family History Library.
Many colonial marriage records have also been published in the sources listed below. These sources also provide descriptions of some of the unique marriage customs practiced during the French and Spanish colonial periods.
Bourguard, Shirley Chaisson. Marriage Dispensations in the Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas, 1786-1803. New Orleans, Louisiana: Polyanthos, 1980. (Family History Library book 973 A1 no. 323.)
Forsyth, Alice Daly. Louisiana Marriage Contracts: A Compilation of Abstracts From Records of the Superior Council of Louisiana During the French Regime, 1725-1769; 2 vols. New Orleans, Louisiana: Polyanthos, 1980. (FHL book 976.3 V2f.)
DeVille, Winston. The New Orleans French, 1720-1733: A Collection of Marriage Records Relating to the First Colonists of the Louisiana Province. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1973. (Family History Library book 976.3 V25d.)
- From: Stalkin' Kin In Old West Texas, Vol XVI, No. 2.(San Angelo Genealogical and Historical Society, Inc. Aug 1988):
"LOUISIANA : Someone recently found the following information about marriages in Louisiana - at least in the 1820's. To get a marriage license, they had to first apply for a permit from the governor of the state. Accompanying the application, one had to have a statement of inventory of both the bride and groom, with bonds for each signed by responsible local men. The had to list land, cash, slaves, livestock, furniture, etc.
The Louisiana Legislature granted divorces from 1805 to 1846. These records are currently found in printed copies of the Legislative Calendar and Official Journal. These volumes are available at most of the university libraries and larger public libraries in Louisiana. A few records after 1846 are also included.
In 1827 the district courts in the Louisiana parishes and the parish court of Orleans Parish were given jurisdiction over divorce cases. To locate parish divorce records, contact the clerk of the court in each parish. The New Orleans Public Library has some clerk of court records for many parishes.
The Family History Library has divorce records for some Louisiana parishes. For example, the library has divorce records from Orleans Parish from 1813 to 1924. Divorce records in the Family History Library Center are listed under LOUISIANA, [COUNTY], - COURT, PUBLIC, or VITAL RECORDS.
Louisiana Vital Records are available at http://www.sos.louisiana.gov/tabid/638/Default.aspx
- You can search for deaths that occured over 50 years ago in the Louisiana Death Records Database and order certified copies which are mailed to you for $5.00 USD.
- You can search for births in Orleans parish that occured over 100 years ago and order a certified copy which is mailed to you for $5.00 USD.
- You can also search for marriages in Orleans parish that occured over 50 years ago and order certified copies of marriage licenses. They are delivered by mail for $5.00 USD.
Records of birth, baptism, marriage, death, burial, and probate have been transcribed and published in the following series. Many of the names of the individuals in these publications are listed in the International Genealogical Index (at the Family History Library and all Family History Centers).
Hebert, Donald J. Southwest Louisiana Records: Church and Civil Records. 40 vols. Eunice, Louisiana.: D.J. Hebert, 1974-1985. (Family History Library book 976.35 V2h; fiche 6010598, vols. 1-34). This includes records from 1756 to 1908.
Church records in Louisiana are often an excellent source of vital information, especially the Roman Catholic Church records (which often include marriage records of Protestants). See the “Church Records” section of this outline for more information.
For further information on the history and availability of records, refer to Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in Louisiana (New Orleans, Louisiana: Historical Records Survey, 1942; Family History Library book
+; film 1036701, item 7; fiche 6046989).