Louisiana Vital Records

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Louisiana Birth, Marriage and Death Records

Introduction to Vital Records

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded in registers, certificates, and other 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 Louisiana Vital Records State Department of Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred. See also Louisiana Statewide Indexes and Collections at the Family History Library.

Vital Records.jpg

Birth Records Marriage Records  Death/Will Records

Louisiana Birth, Marriage and Death Records Online

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

Birth Records

Parish 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 records in 1804. Copies are available at the Office of Public Health (see address below). Microfilmed copies of the death records from 1804 to 1914 are also available 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 late 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 The Family History Library Catalog as follows:  1850-1875 [1]1905-1916 [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
Telephone: 504-568-5152

State Registrar/Vital Records

These records are not open for public searches. Copies can be obtained only by an individual named in the record or a relative.

Louisiana Parish Code Numbers
  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
64  Winn

Adoption Records

open / closed/ state statues

Marriage Records

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 referenced in the judicial records of the French Superior Council and the Spanish Cabildo (originals at the Louisiana Historical Center of the Louisiana State Museum). Many marriage contracts appear in the registers of the royal notaries; for Orleans Parish, these are maintained at the Notarial Archives; for other colonial parishes they may be held by the parish clerk of court or by the state archives. Microfilm copies of most of these records are at the Family History Library. Note, however, that a marriage contract is not a record of a marriage. In colonial Louisiana, marriages were a function of the church. A marriage contract was a civil contract in which couples stated an intent to marry and agreed upon the financial terms that would govern both the marriage and the eventual distribution of their community of goods at the time one or both died. Most contracting couples did proceed to marry; but some did not.

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.

  • Marriage Dispensations in the Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas, 1786-1803. [3]
  • Louisiana Marriage Contracts: A Compilation of Abstracts From Records of the Superior Council of Louisiana During the French Regime, 1725-1769 [4]
  • The New Orleans French, 1720-1733: A Collection of Marriage Records Relating to the First Colonists of the Louisiana Province [5]
  • Stalkin' Kin In Old West Texas [6]

"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.

Divorce Records

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.

Death Records

An online index for statewide deaths is available at Louisiana Death Records. It covers statewide deaths 1911-1957 and Orleans Parish deaths 1804-1957.

In addition, the Family History Library has state death certificates 1900-1954 [7]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 chart above to match the appropriate parish code and name.  

Burned, Lost and Missing Records

Claiborne Parish courthouse burned 1849.

Substitute Records


  • Information listed on vital 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 information on the record.
  • If you are unable to locate vital records recorded by govenments, search for church records of christening, marriage, death or burial.  A family Bible may have been used to record births, marriages and deaths.
  • Records for African American may be recorded in separate files with separate indexes.
  • Privacy laws may restrict your access to some vital records.  Copies of some vital records recorded in the last 100 years may be uanavailable to anyone except a direct relative.
  • If the survival of a baby was questioned, the birth may not have been recorded.
  • Search for Vital Records in the Family History Library Catalog by using a Place Search and then choosing Vital Records.  Search for Louisiana to locate records filed by the State and then search the name of the county to locate records kept by the county.

Archives, Libraries and Societies

Additional Sources

Louisiana Vital Records are available at Vital Records Office

  • 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.

  • South Louisiana Records [8]This includes records of 1794 to 1905.
  • Southwest Louisiana Records: Church and Civil Records [9]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” page for more information.

For further information on the history and availability of records, refer to Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in Louisiana [10]


  1. Family History Library Film 1575613 Items 1 - 3;
  2. Family History Library Film 2322973;and 1916-1921 Family History Library Film 2322974 Items 1 - 2.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.)
  6. From: Stalkin' Kin In Old West Texas, Vol XVI, No. 2.(San Angelo Genealogical and Historical Society, Inc. Aug 1988)
  7. 661 rolls of film beginning with Family History Library Film 1575614.
  8. Hebert, Donald J. South Louisiana Records. 12 vols. Cecilia, La.: D.J. Hebert, 1978-1985. (Family History Library book 976.3 K2he; fiche 6010588, vols. 1-12.)
  9. 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).
  10. 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).