Oregon Vital Records

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United States Gotoarrow.png Oregon Gotoarrow.png 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 Oregon Vital Records State Department of Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.

Vital Records.jpg

Vital Records Reference Dates

Oregon's vital records start the following years[1]:

Births Marriages Deaths
Earliest 1871 1842 1862
Statewide Registration July 1903 1906 July 1903
General Compliance 1903 1906 1903

Oregon Birth, Marriage and Death Records Online

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

If you are aware of other online databases, please feel free to add them.

Birth Records

Birth Records 1868-1929 at FamilySearch

Adoption Records

Oregon created a Voluntary Adoption Registry in 1983. This is a passive service to assist eligible persons learning about the adoption finalized in Oregon. The Adoption Service Unit for the state maintains record going back to 1920. 

TheCoalition of Oregon Adoption Agencies' (COAA) may have helped with a private adoptions. Some of the agencies listed were Catholic Charites, Boys and Girls Aid Society, and Albertina Kerr Homes. 

County Records of Births and Deaths

While most counties began keeping birth and death records in 1903, some areas started as early as 1854. For example, birth records for Portland begin in 1864 and death records begin in 1862, but they are incomplete. These are available at the Oregon State Archives.

You can write to each county clerk for information.

The Family History Library has copies of some records such as:

Yamhill County record of deaths 1907-1931, index 1903-1944, coroner's reports 1861-1940

These are the records that have been microfilmed at the Oregon State Archives. There are more birth and death records microfilmed at the county level.

State Records of Births and Deaths

Statewide registration of births and deaths began in 1903. The Family History Library has the index to deaths from 1903 to 1970 and has some county birth and death records on microfilm. The original birth and death records are available from the state. The records that are available can be identified at the State Archives Web Site. To request copies for 1903 to the present, write to:

Oregon State Archives
800 Summer St NE
Salem, OR 97310
503-373-0701 ext. 1
Fax: 503-373-0953

The current fees for obtaining copies of the state's records are provided in their site above.

State records are not open to the public. Birth records are available only to the registrant's immediate family. Death records are available to persons with a “direct and tangible interest.” In your request, state your relationship to the individual you want information about and your reason.

The Oregon State Archives has an index to the state's records of births and deaths from 1903 to 1984. They also have copies of Oregon death records 1903 to the year preceding the current year, some marriage records 1849-1935, and a marriage index 1906-1995 (some years missing). Death certificates are transferred from Center for Health Statistics (CHS) in Portland each year prior to the 50 years rule for public access.

Death Record 1903-1947 at FamilySearch

Delayed Registration of Births

Delayed registration of births began in the late 1930s. To obtain these records write to the Oregon State Health Division. The Family History Library has delayed records for some counties. State-wide index is available on microfilm for entire state.

Marriage Records

Counties began to record marriages soon after they were organized. Some county marriage records date from 1849. Write to the county clerk for information on early records they may have. Beginning in 1906 each county sent copies of the records to the Oregon State Health Division (address above). For records after 1906 you can write to the county clerk or to the state. Records from 1849-1930 are also at the Oregon State Archives (see address in Oregon Archives and Libraries).

Gretna Greens. When an Oregon couple's marriage is not in their home county, search for it in alternate places like Winnemucca, NV, or Coeur d'Alene, Kootenai, ID.[2]

Divorce Records

Before 1853, divorces were granted by the territorial legislature. These records are now kept at the Oregon State Archives. Divorces that occurred after 1853 were recorded in the circuit court of each county. Records since 1925 may also be obtained from the Oregon State Health Division (address above).

Death Records

The Oregon State Hospital is maintaining an index of unclaimed cremated remains of about 3500 people who died in the Oregon State Hospital, Oregon State Tuberculosis Hospital, Mid-Columbia Hospital, Dammasch State Hospital, Oregon State Penitentiary, and Fairview Training Center between 1914 and the 1970s. The purpose of the list is so families may claim their members remains.

Substitute Records

Oregon Church Records

Oregon Cemetery Records

Oregon Census

Oregon Newspapers

Oregon Military Records

Oregon Periodicals


Guide to Vital Records

More information about the history and availability of vital records is in Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in Oregon. [3]

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:


  1. Alice Eichholz, Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, 3rd ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Pub., 2004), 553-54, 563-64. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 2004.
  2. Arlene H. Eakle, "Have you searched and searched for a marriage without finding it?" in Arlene H Eakle's 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).
  3. Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in Oregon (Portland, Oregon: Historical Records Survey, 1942). At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Film 1036701 item 4; Fiche 6051198; Book 979.5 V2h.