Minnesota Vital 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 Minnesota Vital Records State Department of Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.
Vital Records Reference Dates
Minnesota's vital records start the following years:
Minnesota Birth, Marriage and Death Records Online
The following is a list of online resources useful for locating Minnesota Vital Records which consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths. Most online resources for Minnesota Vital Records are indexes. After locating a person in an index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.
Early - 1908
1908 - Present Minnesota Historical Society www.mnhs.org/genealogy for indexes to birth records 1900 to 1934,
State Records of Births and Deaths (move death info to Death heading)
In Minnesota, the state registration of births began in 1900 and was generally complied with by 1915. Death records have been registered by the state since 1908.
For copies of state records, write to:
Minnesota Department of Health
For an idea of fees for obtaining copies of the state’s records, check:
VitalRecords.com. The vitalrec.com site also shows state and county records office addresses, fees, and years covered and has some links to other internet resources.
Minnesota Birth Certificate Index 1900-1934. There are approximately 2700 records indicated as "Pre 1900".
Minnesota Death Certificate Index 1904-2001. This database indexes the death cards from 1904 to 1907 and the death certificates from 1908 to 2001.
County Records of Births and Deaths
Some counties began recording births as early as 1864 (Redwood County), but most counties began in 1870. Benton County death records were kept from 1867, but 1870 was the general starting date for most counties. Compliance was not good in the early years. The Family History Library has been acquiring microfilms of these county records from the earliest dates to about 1925. For examples, see the following:
For information about early county birth and death records, write to the court administrator of the district court or county recorder in the county.
open / closed / state statues
County Records of Marriages
There is no centralized registration for Minnesota marriage records. The state has kept a statewide index to marriages from 1958 to present. Each county generally began keeping marriage records soon after the creation of the county. Some county marriage records begin in the late 1840s. The Family History Library has been acquiring microfilms of these records. For example, marriage records of Ramsey County (including St. Paul) are in:
There is an index to many pre-1850 Minnesota marriage records on compact disc:
There are also some Bureau of Indian Affairs marriage records on microfilm. An example is:
For copies of marriage records, write to the district court administrator’s office in the county in which the license was recorded. This office also has files for divorces. For information about Hennepin County marriages, write to:
Vital Records Office
For other birth, death, and marriage records, check the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
Divorce and annulment records for each county are found with the civil cases of the district courts. The district courts have handled these cases since 1849. You can write to the court administrator of the district court at the county courthouse for copies or information. For a summary of the types of courts, see the “Minnesota Court Records” article.
The Minnesota Department of Health has a divorce index from 1970 to the present.
Early - 1908
1908 - Present Miscellaneous Death Records and Obituaries: Minnesota Historical Society www.mnhs.org/genealogy for indexes to birth records 1900 to 1934, some pre 1900, and records from death cards 1904 to1907 and death certificates 1908 to 1891.
Lost or Missing Records
Archives, Libraries and Societies