Maine Vital Records
Maine Birth, Marriage and Death Records
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 Maine Vital Records State Department of Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred. See also Maine Statewide Indexes and Collections at the Family History Library.
Vital Records Reference DatesMaine's vital records start the following years:
The following is a list of online resources useful for locating Maine Vital Records which consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths. Most online resources for Maine Vital Records are indexes. After locating a person in an index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.
- Maine Databases listed on Rootsweb.com - Free
- Search marriage, death and divorce records at Maine Genealogy - Free
- USGenWeb.org Maine Site - Free
- Search for Maine Collections on FamilySearch Record Search under Canada, USA, and Mexico - Free
- The Vital Records Search and Information Directory for Maine - Free/$
- Linkpendium Links for Maine Genealogy and History, including individual Counties - Free/$
- Progenealogists Links for the United States. Press Ctrl + F on the keyboard to search for Maine or IA - Free/$
- Search the Maine Birth, Marriage & Death Records at Ancestry.com - $
- OrderMaine Certificates online - $
- The Maine Department of Public Health has copies of marriage records from July 1880. They have an index to records after 1916.
- Maine State Archives
- Maine Department of Health Services and Human Services
- Maine State Archives www.maine.gov/portal/facts_history/genealogy.html searchable marriage index 1892-1996, a gap from 1967-1976; and death index 1960-1996.
Birth, Marriage, and Death Records
Vital records are kept by town clerks or selectmen. Although some towns have existed since the 1650s, most vital records date from about 1700. The vital statistics are often arranged by family.
Although the original vital records are kept by the town clerks, copies of most of the existing pre-1892 vital records are at the Maine State Archives (see Maine Archives and Libraries). The Family History Library also has an extensive collection of Maine town vital records. An example of one of the many Maine collections is:
- Vital Records Copied from Town, Church, & Cemetery Records in Various Towns and Counties of Maine Along the Atlantic Seaboard. This source organizes names alphabetically by locality. It includes histories of some areas; people's birth, marriage and death dates; and names of spouses and children.
The Family History Library and the Maine State Archives also have an index to pre-1892 vital records for 80 towns. The index includes birth, delayed birth, marriage, and death records.
- Index to Vital Records Prior to 1892 of . . . 80 Towns. These records of births (including delayed births), deaths, and marriages are arranged alphabetically by surname and then chronologically by year within each surname.
- Delayed Returns for Births. Deaths, and Marriages, 1670-1891. The records are arranged alphabetically by surname and then chronologically, earliest date through 1891. Some records are out of order.
Many of the births and marriages recorded in the town records have been extracted and are listed in the International Genealogical Index (IGI) at the Family History Library and Family History Centers. Some vital records have been published in genealogical periodicals.
State registration of vital statistics began in 1892. You can obtain copies of these records by writing to:
Department of Human Services
Office of Vital Statistics
State House, Station #11
Augusta, ME 04330
Internet: Maine Department of Human Services
For indexes of birth, marriage, and death records for the years 1892 to 1922 (marriage records extend to 1953), see:
The Maine State Archives has an online searchable database of Maine marriages from 1892 to 1996 available at Maine Department of Human Services, Office of Data Research and Vital Statistics
- Index to Vital Records, 1892-1907. Births, marriages, and deaths are arranged alphabetically by surname and then chronologically by year within each surname.
- Index to Vital Records 1908-1922. Records are arranged alphabetically by surname.
- Index to Vital Records: Bride's Index to Marriages, 1895-1953. This index includes names of brides, names of grooms, and marriage data.
To access Maine vital records, use the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
- MAINE, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - VITAL RECORDS.
Most of the available pre-1700 marriage records of New England have been published in Clarence A. Torrey's New England Marriages Prior to 1700.
- Gretna Greens. When an eloping Main couple's marriage is not in their home county, search for it in alternate places like Elkton, Cecil, Maryland, or in towns just across the Canadian border.
open / closed/ state statues
Divorce proceedings prior to 1892 can be found in the court records at the Maine State Archives. The Archives also has an index to divorce cases between 1892 and 1969.
Since January 1892 copies of divorce records have been filed with the office of vital statistics (see address above). Original records are in the office of the clerk of the district court where the divorce was granted. The Family History Library does not have copies of these divorce records.
These links will take you to wiki pages describing alternate sources for birth, marriage and death records.
- Church Records: Depending on the denomination, church records may contain information about birth, marriage and death.
- Cemetery Records: Cemetery records are a rich source of birth and death information. These records may also reveal family relationships.
- Census Records: Census records are a valuable source for birth and marriage information. You may also determine approximate time of death when the individual disappear from the census. This is a good place to begin a search.
- Newspapers: Besides obituaries, local newspapers may contain birth and marriage announcements and death notices. Also check newspaper social columns for additional information.
- Periodicals: Local genealogical and historical societies often publish periodicals which may contain abstracted early birth, marriage and death information.
- Military Records: Military pension records can give birth, marriage and death information, In addtion, soldiers' homes records can included this same information.
- Probate Records: If no death record exists, probate records may be helpful in estimating when an individual has died. Probate records in the 20th Century often contain the exact death date.
- History: Local histories, family histories and biographies can all be sources of birth, marriage and death information. Often this information is found in county-level records or in surname searches of the Family History Library catalog.
- 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 infomation found 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.
- Privacy laws may restrict your access to some vital recors. Copies of some vital records recorded in the last 100 years may be unavailable 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 Maine to loacate records filed by the state and then search the name of the county to locate records kept by the county.
- Noyes, Benjamin Lake. Vital Records Copied from Town, Church, &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; Cemetery Records in Various Towns and Counties of Maine Along the Atlantic Seaboard. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1971, 1972. (Family History Library film 873738 items 1-2.)
- Maine. Division of Vital Statistics. Index to Vital Records Prior to 1892 of . . . 80 Towns. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1953. (Family History Library films 009743-883.)
- Maine State Archives. Delayed Returns for Births. Deaths, and Marriages, 1670-1891. [N.p., 197-]. (On 109 Family History Library films starting at 1002375.)
- Maine. Division of Vital Statistics. Index to Vital Records, 1892-1907. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1954. (Family History Library films 9884-10067.)
- Maine. Division of Vital Statistics. Index to Vital Records 1908-1922. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1954. (Family History Library films 10068-215.)
- Maine. Division of Vital Statistics. Index to Vital Records: Bride's Index to Marriages, 1895-1953. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1954. (Family History Library films 010261-371.)
- Arlene H. Eakle, "Have you searched and searched for a marriage without finding it?" in Genealogy Blog at http://www.arleneeakle.com/wordpress/2007/02/19/have-you-searched-and-searched-for-the-marriage-without-finding-it/ (accessed 8 January 2011).