Vital Records

Search free public vital records, including vital statistics, certificates, documents, and checks.

What are Vital Records?

Vital records include vital statistics, certificates, documents and other records that are maintained by government agencies. The most common forms of vital records are birth and death records, marriage records, domestic partnership records, and divorce records.

Vital records may be maintained at the state or municipal level, such as in the county clerk's office. In some cases, the government also archives them at the national level.

Vital Records consist of

  1. Birth certificates. Legal birth certificates are documents that confirm a person's full, legal birth name as well as their birth date. These documents also contain additional information about known parents.
  2. Death certificates. A death certificate lists pertinent information regarding an individual's death. It includes the date, the authority who confirmed it, and sometimes its cause.
  3. Marriage certificates. Marriage certificates confirm that two individuals are or were legally married. These documents include personally-identifiable information of each party including their names, dates of birth, and birth cities. They show the date of the marriage and the time of recording.
  4. Domestic partnerships Records. Similar to marriage certificates, domestic partnership records include the same information, but for those who choose to register as domestic partners.
  5. Divorce decrees. Divorce decrees legally confirm that a couple has decided to dissolve their marriage and are no longer married. The state creates similar documents in cases where two individuals choose to leave a domestic partnership.

Are there different types of Vital Records?

Yes. As mentioned above, a wide range of records qualifies as vital records. These records are similar categorically, as they all document a person's life including any legal changes in their family status. Documents associated with wills can also be considered vital records.

Although access to some vital records is restricted based on whether the person who requests them is authorized to receive them, other information is usually available via public record inquiries. This information may include data for certain research activities or information related to a person's ancestry.