Mississippi 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 Mississippi Vital Records State Department of Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.
Mississippi Birth, Marriage and Death Records Online
The following is a list of online resources useful for locating Mississippi Vital Records which consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths. Check Mississippi Vital Records Online for more information about the resources listed below. Most online resources for Mississippi Vital Records are indexes. After locating a person in an index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.
- Mississippi Links from fhlfavorites.info - Free
- Mississippi Databases listed on Rootsweb.org - Free
- USGenWeb.org Mississippi Site - Free
- Search for Mississippi Collections on FamilySearch Record Search under Canada, USA, and Mexico - Free
- The Vital Records Search and Information Directory for Mississippi - Free/$
- Wee Monster Links for Mississippi Birth & Marriage and Death Records - Free/$
- Linkpendium Links for Mississippi Genealogy and History, including individual Counties - Free/$
- Progenealogists Links for the United States. Press Ctrl + F on the keyboard to search for Mississippi or MS - Free/$
- Search the Mississippi Birth, Marriage & Death Records at Ancestry.com - $
- Order Mississippi Certificates online - $
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 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.
open / closed / state statutes
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.
- 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 found on the record.
- If you are unable to locate vital records recorded by governments, search for church records of christening, marriage,, death or burial. A family Bible may have been used to record births, marriges and deaths.
- Records of African Americans may be recorded in separate files with separate indexes.
- Privacy laws may restrict your access to some vital records. Copies of some vital arecords 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 Mississippi to locate records filed by the State and then search thename of the county to locate records kept by the county.
Lost or Missing Records
Calhoun 1922, Choctaw County 1888, Covington 1904, DeSoto 1940,Franklin 1877, Greene 1875, Hancock 1853, Harrison 1916, Jasper 1932, Jefferson 1904, Jones, Kemper 1882, Lamar 1934, Lawrence, Montgomery 1903, Newton 1877 & 1910, Oktibbeha 1880, Panola 1886, Perry 1877, Pike 1882,Prentise 1912, Simpson 1840, 1872, Smith 1892,1915, Sunflower 1870, Tallahatchie 1908, Tippah 1863, Union 1882,Wayne 1892,
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.