How to order Kentucky Vital Records

Kentucky Birth, Marriage, Divorce along with Death records, also known as vital records, provide information about crucial events in your ancestors life. Vital records, generally kept by a civic authority, can give a person a far more comprehensive picture of your respective ancestor, assist you to distinguish between two people utilizing the identical name, and assist you to find links to a completely new generation. They might consist of information and facts like the event date and place, parents’ names, profession and residence. The cause of death is also provided in the majority of Kentucky death records.

Kentucky vital records certainly are a basis of Kentucky ancestors and family history research because they were normally recorded at or close to the time of the event, helping to make the document more likely to be accurate. This web page contains links, information and facts that will help you request copies from Kentucky state and county vital records keepers. Vital records (births, deaths, marriages, and divorces) mark the milestones of our lives and are the foundation of family history research.

Kentucky Office of Vital Statistics, issues, documents, and stores certified copies of vital records including birth, marriage, divorce death certificates for occurrences that took place in Kentucky.  To verify current fees or for information on how to expedite a document, call (502) 564-4212. The fee for Kentucky Birth Certificates is $10, the fee for Kentucky Death, Marriage and Divorce Certificates is $6.

  • Ordering Kentucky Birth and Death Certificates: The Office of Vital Statistics has birth Certificates from January 1911 to present.
  • Ordering Kentucky Marriage and Divorce Certificate: The Office of Vital Statistics has marriage records from June 1958 to present. For Marriage and Divorce Certificates prior to August 1936, contact the Clerk of County Court in county where license was issued. The fee for the copy varies.

How to Order Kentucky Vital Records

  • Physical and Mailing Address: Office of Vital Statistics, Department for Public Health, Cabinet for Health and Family Services, 275 E. Main St., 1E-A, Frankfort, KY 40621. All mail orders should include a Personal check or money order made payable to Kentucky State Treasurer. Do not send cash. Directions to Vital Statistics Office and Map of Vital Statistics Office Location
  • Website Address: http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/vital.htm
  • Ordering Vital Records Online - get the certificates within 2-5 days with a credit or debit card from USAVital.comor VitalChek.com
  • Ordering Vital Records by Mail: You can download an application online for Kentucky Birth CertificateMarriage or Divorce CertificateDeath Certificate Applications. Please allow up to 30 working days for processing of all type of certificates ordered through the mail. Expect longer delays during peak request periods from May through September
  • In Person:  Stop in our office at in Frankfort to complete an application for a certified copy of a birth, death, marriage or divorce certificate between the hours of 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. EST, Monday-Friday. Most certificates can be issued while you wait.

Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives Vital Records

The Archives contains birth and death records for the cities of Louisville, Lexington, Covington and Newport, which introduced records gathering laws before 1911. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives also offers birth and death records (statewide coverage) before to 1911 and 1911-1957 death records (statewide coverage).

  • Physical Address: P.O. Box 537, 300 Coffee Tree Road, Frankfort, KY 40602; General Information Number: (5O2) 564-8300
  • Website Address: http://kdla.ky.gov/

Background of Kentucky Vital Records

Statewide death and birth registration was first enacted in the state of Kentucky in 1852. However, there was never 100% compliance with that new rule and the rule only lasted until 1862. Between the years of 1874 to 1879 and 1892 to 1910, there were some recorded deaths and births, but they were not recorded on a consistent basis.

Certain Kentucky cities did maintain their own records of deaths and births that took place before 1911. Four of those cities are: Louisville (1898–1911), Covington (1890–1911), Newport (1890–1911), Lexington (1906–1911)

They each registered births with their local health departments, but the records were incomplete.

Early vital records (from 1852 to 1910) have been recorded at the Kentucky Historical Society, as well as at the Kentucky Department for Libraries. They are organized according to the county where the records were first recorded. Some copies are also on file in Salt Lake City at the Family History Library (FHL) and at other repositories, such as Filson Library. However, there is no complete index of the state of Kentucky’s early vital records available. Nevertheless, a card index for deaths and births occurring between 1852 and 1862 is available at the Kentucky Historical Society. Also, the Kentucky Historical Society’s Register has published some issues containing early Kentucky records, which were indexed according to the county where the records were initially recorded.

On January 1, 1911 statewide registration of death and births was enacted. However, it took until 1920 for most people to comply with it. The records for deaths and births after 1911 have not been placed on microfilm, but their indexes are available on microfilm. Only the Frankfort, Kentucky Office of Vital Statistics has death and birth certificates from 1911 onward available. However, the index on microfilm can be found in a variety of places. Some of those places include:

The Office of Vital Statistics maintains any delayed birth registrations.

In general, marriage records in the state of Kentucky are organized according to county. Those records tend to date back to when a county was formed, or within a few years of that county’s formation. In a few cases, county records of marriages pre-date the year when the county was organized. For example, records going back as far as 1785 are available for the counties of Lincoln, Jefferson, and Fayette. Marriage records are kept by each county’s County Clerk.

Marriages were not required to be recorded on a statewide level in Kentucky until 1958. Each county maintains its own marriage records, but the Office of Vital Statistics has copies of those records on file. It also has an index of marriage records that occurred from 1958 onward. Researchers should note that marriage bonds and licenses may not be filed with the actual marriage certificates.

From 1792 to 1849, the state legislature of Kentucky was responsible for presiding over divorce granting. Then, until 1958, county circuit courts handled most divorce cases. The Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives has some early records from the circuit courts relating to divorces on file. They are a part of the “Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.” The Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives and the Kentucky Historical Society each have those volumes on file, along with some circuit court records on microfilm. The Office of Vital Statistics has divorce records on file from 1958 (the time that statewide recording began) onward.

Searchable Kentucky Databases and other Helpful Links

Further Reading

  • Kentucky Marriage Records(1983; by Antoniak, Eleanor, indexer.). Lists all marriages published in the Register of Kentucky but does not include records for all counties.
  • Kentucky Marriages, 1797-1865(1974. Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1987; by Clift, G. Glenn, comp). Newspaper marriage notices previously published in The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society. Alphabetical by county and alphabetical within each county by groom’s surname.
  • Inventory of Kentucky birth, marriage, and death records, 1852-1910 (Frankfort, Ky.: Department for Libraries and Archives, 1988; by Jeffery M. Duff), lists what is available by year and county at both of the repositories.
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