Where are birth records kept
Vital records offices keep documents for roughly 80 to years.
Older records may be kept at the state archives , and are generally available with fewer restrictions. Very old records, like from the 17 th and 18 th centuries, may be at a local historical society. The National Archives in Washington D. The Social Security Death Index also known as the Death Master File is a government database that includes the name, birthdate, date of death and Social Security number of most Americans who have died since It is often used by genealogists, who can purchase information through commercial sites like Ancestry.
The entire database is available from the National Technical Information Service for an annual fee.
But when it came to public health, they lacked data. They began to pressure the U. Bureau of the Census to register all births. New York birth certificate, Credit: The Library of Congress. And since hospital deliveries were not yet common, the system still missed a large percentage of people born at home. It also failed to do away with a worrisome problem: the risk of a child being switched or lost track of after birth.
Early maternity wards did not have stringent identification policies. As historian Judith Walzer Leavitt writes , mothers worried they would go home with the wrong baby— and sometimes they did.
It took a world war to finally give birth certificates the push they needed to become universal. Digital images of the records along with a search capability are available at Ancestry.
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Since September 30, , marriage licenses have been issued by the Clerk of Orphans Court at each county courthouse. While the State Archives holds microfilm copies of these marriage records for some counties for use by on-site researchers, mail inquiries should be directed to the courthouse of the county in which the marriage took place.
For a complete list of county marriage records found on microfilm at the Archives, consult the county records microfilm Record Group 47 listing on the Archives website.
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The State Archives also holds the following marriage-related records:. You may be trying to access this site from a secured browser on the server.
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