Oregon 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 Reference Dates
Oregon's vital records start the following years:
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, marriages, divorce, 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.
- Oregon State Archives Oregon Historical Records Index. Free searches for some births, marriages, divorce, and deaths.
- FamilySearch collection: Oregon, Births and Christenings, 1868-1929. This was taken from the extracted record and is not complete.
- Ancestry: Oregon, Marriage Indexes, 1906-2008 $ Over 2 million names.
- FamilySearch collection: Oregon, County Marriages, 1851-1975. Some are indexed, some will need to be browsed. Read the description.
- Ancestry: Oregon, Marriage Indexes, 1906-2008 $
- FamilySearch collection: Oregon, Death Index, 1903-1998 Index from Ancestry
- Where to write for Oregon Certificates
Statewide registration of births began in 1903. Some counties and cities kept records earlier than 1903. Most of the records have been given to the State Archive. You can find there collection by contacting them or at the website.
State records are not open to the public. Birth records are available only to the registrant's immediate family. In your request, state your relationship to the individual you want information about and your reason.
- FamilySearch collection: Oregon, Births and Christenings, 1868-1929. This was taken from the extracted record and is not complete. See the Wiki articles Oregon Births and Christenings (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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.
The Family History Library has microfilm of the records arranged chronological by birth and by county. FHL films 2363225 (first of 74 films)
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.
The Coalition 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.
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).
- Many of the marriages for the state are searchable online at no cost in the Western States Marriage Index.
- Marriage Records 1853-1935 at FamilySearch
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).
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.
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
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
- Information listed on vitial 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 informaiton found on the record.
- If you are unable to locate vital records recorded by governments, search for church records of chifrstening, 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 records. Copies of some vital records recorded in the last 100 years may be uaavailable 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 Oregon to locate records filed by the State and then search thename of the county to locate records kept by the county,
Guide to Vital Records
More information about the history and availability of vital records is in Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in Oregon. 
Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:
- Oregon Deaths and Burials (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Oregon, Death Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Oregon County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Oregon Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.