Discover where to get birth, death, marriage, and divorce records.
Clerks file important documents and preserve vital records for their municipality. The Clerk’s office is a valuable source for vital records, which are available to the public. The office maintains certificates, death certificate, and marriage records, in addition to divorce decrees. Many Clerk’s Offices have vital records dating back to the 1800s, making them an excellent source for genealogical research. Most Clerk’s Offices provide online ordering forms to request vital records.
Coroners and Medical Examiners investigate deaths within their jurisdiction and perform autopsies and other postmortem examinations. Many vital records are available from a Coroner or Medical Examiner, including autopsy reports, investigator reports, toxicology reports, and in some cases, X-rays or photographs. An autopsy report will include the cause and manner of death. Many coroners and medical examiners provide online access to their reports. In other cases, you can obtain records by contacting the Coroners or Medical Examiner’s Office directly.
Health Departments maintain vital records for their municipality and make them available to the public. A Department of Health can issue certified copies of vital records for births, deaths, marriages, and divorces that took place in their county or state. Many Health Departments have vital records dating back to the 1800s, making them an excellent source for genealogical research. Most Health Departments provide online ordering forms to request vital records.
Marriage License Offices provide marriage licenses to couples who plan to marry in the office’s jurisdiction. They are typically a division of the local county clerk or the health department. Marriage License Offices also maintain copies of marriage licenses they have issued, which are available to the public. In many locations, Marriage License Offices provide online search tools to locate marriage licenses. To access older marriage licenses, you may need to apply in person or by mail.
The Town Hall or City Hall is the chief administrative office that runs the town or city. Town and City Halls often maintain records related to their municipality, including vital records. You can find birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, and divorce decrees at the Town Hall or City Hall. In some locations, these vital records are available online or by filling out an online request form.