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Kentucky Vital Records

Before the twentieth century, recording of births and deaths in Kentucky were not consistent. There was a brief decade, from 1852-1862, when the state required registration, and it never achieved full compliance. After this, sporadic registration of births and deaths occurred from 1874 to 1879 and from 1892 to 1910. In the larger cities, registrations were more prevalent for longer periods of time, but not complete. In 1911, statewide registration of births and deaths began, with compliance occurring by 1920. Please refer to the information to the Statewide Vital Records in Kentucky for current fees and application process.

Records from before 1911 can be found as follows:

  • The Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives
  • The Kentucky Historical Society
  • The Filson Library
  • The Family History Library (FHL)

Jeffery M. Duff’s Inventory of Kentucky Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1852–1910, rev. ed. (Frankfort, Ky.: Department for Libraries and Archives, 1988) can be used to find records at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archibes and The Kentucky Historical Society (see Kentucky Archives, Libraries, and Societies).

Records beginning with the 1911 statewide registration to present can only be obtained by request from the Office of Vital Statistics, Department of Health Services, 275 E. Main St., Frankfort, KY 40601. The indexes for records after this date are on microfilm.

You can usually find original marriage records from the county clerk dating from the year each county was established in Kentucky. Some marriage records pre-date the official county organization. Because statewide registration was required starting in 1958, copies of the county’s records since this date are held by the Office of Vital Statistics, which also has an index to marriages since this time. Certificates, licenses, and bonds might be kept separately. You can also search online for records of marriages, death, and divorce in Kentucky at

Divorces were first handled by the state legislature, from 1792 to 1849. The Kentucky Historical Society and Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives have microfilmed volumes of these records, found in the Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. After this time, the circuit courts normally granted divorces until 1958. The Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives has some of these records. In 1958, statewide registration began; the Office of Vital Statistics keeps records from this date through the present. has the following vital records indexes for the state of Kentucky: has a variety of collections available for free online:

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