Mississippi Vital Records
- 1 Mississippi Birth, Marriage and Death Records
- 2 Mississippi Vital Records Online Links
- 3 Introduction to Vital Records
- 4 Birth Records
- 5 Marriage Records
- 6 Death Records
- 7 Substitute Records
- 8 Tips
- 9 Lost or Missing Records
- 10 Analyzing Records
- 11 Archives, Libraries and Societies
Mississippi Birth, Marriage and Death Records
Mississippi Vital Records Online Links
Introduction to Vital Records
State Records of Births and Deaths
State registration of births and deaths in Mississippi began in November 1912, and was generally complied with by 1921. The Family History Library does not have copies of the state records. You can obtain information by writing to:
State Department of Health
2423 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39216
The current fees for obtaining copies of the state's records are listed in Where to Write for Vital Records: Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Divorces (Hyattsville Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, March 1993; Family History Library book 973 V24vw). Copies of this booklet are at the Family History Library and at many family history centers.
Individuals who were born prior to 1912, or who for some reason do not have a birth certificate, can apply for a delayed certificate of birth. The State Board of Health began keeping delayed certificates of birth in 1912. Some of the records are kept at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
County Records of Births and Deaths
A few counties kept birth and death records as early as 1879. These early records were kept intermittently and are very incomplete. The Family History Library has copies of these records for Hancock, Harrison, Lauderdale, Panola, and Tallahatchie counties. The State Board of Health has early records for Harrison, Hinds, and Pike counties.
For information about county birth and death records prior to 1912, contact the local county health department. The county health departments do not usually have records of births and deaths occurring after November 1, 1912. The clerks in these offices cannot do research for genealogists. However, they can send a copy of a specific record of an individual.
State Records of Marriages
State registration of marriages began in 1926. The State Board of Health (address above) has records from 1 January 1926 to 31 July 1938 and from 1 January 1942 to the present. Records for the 1938 to 1942 interim period are available from the county circuit court office in each county.
The Department of Archives and History has an index of pre-1926 Mississippi marriages. The State Board of Health has an index to marriages (male names only) from 1926 to the present. The Family History Library does not have copies of the state records or indexes.
County Records of Marriages
Many counties began recording marriages as early as 1800. Unfortunately, only about one-half of the pre-1850 marriage records have survived. The circuit courts have the county marriage records from the earliest years to the present.
The Family History Library has microfilm copies of most existing marriage records to about 1926. For example, the library has 26 microfilms from the Adams County Circuit Clerk that include marriage records, (1802-1927), an index to white marriages, (1802-1927), and an index to African-American (designated as “colored”) marriages (1866-1942).
Divorce proceedings are usually kept by the chancery court in each county and are usually interfiled with other court matters. The Family History Library has microfilmed the chancery court records for most Mississippi counties.
A statewide index of divorces (male names only) from the 1920s to the present is available at the State Board of Health. This office will search the divorce index for a fee.
Lost or Missing Records
Archives, Libraries and Societies
Inventory of Vital Records
You can learn more about the history and availability of Mississippi vital records in Guide to Vital Statistics in Mississippi: Volume 1, Public Archives (Jackson, Mississippi: Historical Records Survey, 1942; Family History Library book 976.2 V23h; film 1036275).