How to Find Vital Records?

In the 20th century, states started setting up vital statistics registration systems and passing laws to regulate vital records. Vital records most commonly refer to records such as birth and death certificates, marriage licenses and divorce decrees, wills, and the like, and are used as essential identity documents. They are essential documents, often required to complete bureaucratic and legal processes. Different forms of vital records serve different legal purposes — for example, birth certificates are required to apply for a US passport while divorce decrees may have to be provided to obtain a new marriage license. The information that you can find depends on the records that you use. In the United States, vital records are public and in most cases can be viewed by anyone in person at the governmental authority.

birth certificate

These records, collectively known as vital records, can provide details about important milestones in your ancestors’ lives. Vital records usually contain the full name of the individual involved in the event, the date of the event, and the county, state, or town where the event took place. In the U.S., state, county, or city governments, depending on location, usually hold such records. State government vital records offices issue these documents. To get a copy of a vital record, contact the vital records office in the state where the event occurred.

The National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) provides the most complete data on births and deaths in the United States. Data from the records also has important public health and social research significance. Vital records, particularly birth and death records are used to study and monitor the health of a population. Vital records are useful because they offer very detailed information and include information about rare disorders that end in death. Information from vital records is critical to identifying and quantifying health-related issues and measuring progress toward quality improvement and public health goals.