Virginia Vital Records

Virginia State Vital Records

The Office of Vital Records is responsible for maintaining all state-level vital records created, administered and maintained by the state of Virginia regarding a person’s most important life events. These records include such documents as birth certificates, marriage licenses, and death certificates and are compiled and stored in permanent central registry state entities uses to develop statistical analysis of its population.

Birth Records

A birth certificate is a vital record that documents the birth of a child. The term "birth certificate" can refer to either the original document certifying the birth or to a certified copy or representation of the original document. The state of Virginia manages the birth records catalog into two categories: pre-1912 and 1912-present. Few births were recorded by civil authorities before 1853. The requester may find some information on pre-1853 birth records in genealogies, histories, church and Bible records, and collections of personal papers. The birth records from 1853 to 1896, the state required county officials to record all births occurring in the county perimeters. The birth records from this time are available at Virginia Family History Library and Library of Virginia. The state of Virginia statewide registration of vital statistics including birth records began in 1912. The existing of birth records are kept and are available at the Division of Vital Records from 14 June 1912 to the present.

Death Records

A death record is most likely a copy of the information contained in a person’s death certificate. The state of Virginia manages death records in the following categories: early-1912 and 1912-present. All records in the early-1912 category were collected from Virginia’s Family History Library, which has acquired microfilmed copies of the original records from many counties.  The statewide registration began in 1912, but it was complied with in the early 1920s. The records in the second category are collected annually from the Virginia Department of Health.

Marriage/Divorce Records

A marriage/divorce record is issued by a government official only after civil registration of the marriage/divorce occurs. The state of Virginia has few marriage records prior to 1730 have survived. Those records that exist may be found in various counties, where the event has occurred.  The marriage records since 1853 were preserved more because of the law requiring the clerks of the courts in the county or independent city to issue marriage licenses and to keep the register the marriage records. The existing marriage records are kept and available at the Virginia Family History Library. The divorce records are kept and available at the county courts.

Why Vital Records are Available to the Public?

In 1968, the Virginia State Legislature passed a law named the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. This law was enabled with the last changes in 2000 and aims to ensure disclosure of court records and other public records to the public: FOIA Council Statement of Rights & Responsibilities. Every person throughout the state can request access to access all public records through the assigned specialized offices within its determined terms.

What Does Vital Records Access mean to You?

The law is similar to the Virginia Open Meeting Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The Virginia Freedom of Information Act intent is to make all records, including criminal and court records, available to the public without expressing the purpose of copying, analyzing, and searching.

Virginia State Archives

State Archives

Contact: (757) 215-4787

Results Include

Full State Record Report:

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Virginia Warrenton Courthouse 1862

Virginia Warrenton Courthouse 1862

  • State archives hold over 11,000 cubic feet of records.
  • There are 2 levels of courts – trial and appellate.
  • The Court of Appeals of Virginia hears appeals from decisions of Virginia's circuit courts and the Virginia Worker's Compensation Commission.
  • There are 120 Circuit Courts in Virginia divided among 31 judicial circuits.
  • The highest court in Virginia is the Virginia Supreme Court.
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