Oklahoma Vital Records
Oklahoma Vital Records
In the state of Oklahoma, the Office of Vital Records is in charge of maintaining all state records relating to residents’ key life events. These events include births, deaths, marriages, and divorces. The documents relating to these events can include birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, marriage licenses, and divorce records. These are all stored in one central state registry to be used for statistical analysis.
Divorce records are issued after the event is confirmed and registered by a government official. After 1907, divorces were granted by district courts or circuit courts in the relevant county. Records are available on divorces at the Oklahoma Family History Library. When a couple files for a divorce/annulment, records are kept with other state records. These records can include divorce certificates, divorce decrees, and divorce records. It depends on the state whether these documents can be viewed by the public. There were 15,945 divorces in Oklahoma in 2017.
Marriage records can include licenses and certificates, and are issued by government officials after the marriage is registered. Most counties began keeping certificates, licenses, bonds, and affidavits, around 1890, or when the county was created. In the territorial era, many marriages simply were not recorded. Some were recorded in courthouses in the counties, including Arkansas, Kansas, and Texas. Records are available on marriages at the Oklahoma Family History Library. There were 28,013 marriages in Oklahoma in 2017.
Birth records relate to either the certificate issued upon a child’s birth, or a certified copy of that information. Most counties did not start recording births until1907, by some kept records as early as 1891. These earlier and incomplete records are stored at county courthouses. Some of the vital records of the Superintendent of Public Health are kept by the Family History Library for some counties. State-wide registration for births began in 1908, but was not fully complied with until after 1930. Records are currently kept at the Oklahoma Vital Records Service, as well as some delayed registrations from before 1908. There were just over 50,000 births in Oklahoma in 2017. There is a $15 search fee for birth certificates which includes a copy if found. Additional copies are $15.
Death records usually refer to a copy of the information from a person’s death certificate. County recordings of death records were registered as early as 1891 in Oklahoma. These were collected from the county courthouses and churches. Some county death records are kept by the Oklahoma Family History Library. In 1928, a state-wide registration of death records was brought in, but wasn’t generally complied with until 1930. Some of these records are still incomplete though, as many counties started registering deaths after the state-wide law. Death records can be found today at the Oklahoma Vital Records Service. There were 9,668 deaths in Oklahoma in 2017. There is a $15 search fee for death certificates which includes a copy if found. Additional copies are $15.
Why are these records available to the public?
The Oklahoma Open Records Act was passed by state legislature in 1984, with the most recent amendment coming in 1988. This act allows any resident in the state to access public records whenever they want. It allows access to all public records at all government levels.