Friday, January 02, 2009

United States Vital Records Online

When I think of my grandmother and the methods she had available to her for doing genealogy, namely writing lots of letters, I feel very blessed to live in the age of the computer and the Internet. Increasingly, we are able to look at more and more records with just the click of a mouse. It seems that most recently, more vital records are becoming available to us both in digitized form and transcriptions. Some of these projects are collaborations between genealogy/historical societies and the Family History Library. As the Family History Library continues its indexing/digitizing project, even more records will become available to us.

Because of the vastness of this topic, I have not included other records that would confirm a birth, marriage or death date such as burial records or christening records. The web sites mentioned here are not the only ones with vital record information, they are just a sampling.

Also, you may find duplication here. In some cases records made available through Family Search Labs and through the state archives or are duplicates of each other. I have decided to include these duplications because in some cases you may be able to find an ancestor in one of the web sites but not in another. Leland Meitzler, editor of Everton's Genealogical Helper, discussed this recently in his Genealogy Blog. He was able to find an aunt in the Family Search Labs transcription of the Washington State Death Certificates, but hadn't found it in microfilm versions or in Ancestry's version. So it always pays to check multiple copies.

Ancestry has vital records or indexes for the following states or parts of states:
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, Ohio, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

To peruse Ancestry's collection of records for your state of interest, go to Ancestry's website at and then click on the ‘Search' tab. From the Search page click on the United States Map or on the list of states. To keep abreast of Ancestry's addition to its collections, check out the Ancestry Blog or its blog for Ancestry Weekly Journal

Family Search Labs

You can also view vital records that are being indexed and digitized by the Family History Library through its Family Search, website. Click on the link to the right that says U. S. and U.K. census on the Family Search homepage and it will take you to the digitized images.

Death records indexed include:
• Georgia Deaths, 1914-1927
• Ontario Deaths, 1869-1947
• Utah, Salt Lake County Death Records 1908-1949
• Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953
• Utah Death Certificates, 1904-1956
• Washington Death Certificates, 1907-1960
• West Virginia Deaths, 1853-1970
• Texas Deaths, 1890-1976
• Texas Death Index, 1964-1998

Marriage records indexed include:

• Cheshire, Church of England Marriage Records, 1538-1907
• Freedman's Bureau Virginia Marriage Records, 1815-1866
Upcoming indexing projects will include marriage records from Wales, Ireland, Philadelphia, Arkansas, and Indiana. To learn more about upcoming indexing projects through the Family History Library and in cooperation with other agencies, see the Family Search Indexing website.

Other Websites

Rootsweb, has a few vital records indexes, including ones for California, Kentucky, Maine, Texas. In addition, it has transcribed vital records for parts of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia Washington D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin. To look at the previously mentioned indexes click on . To look at regional resources, including the transcribed records check out the Rootsweb regional index at

Overall, for a listing of various vital records online, you should consult Joe Beine's websites, Online Death Indexes and Online Birth and Marriage Records Indexes for the USA


Unknown said...

There are many vital records which are necessary in United States. The list of Government agencies and universities for public records is very useful.

Gena Philibert-Ortega said...


Very true and there are many more since I originally published this in 2009.

Thanks for stopping by.