Missouri Vital Records
Missouri Vital Records
The Office of Vital Records is responsible for maintaining all state-level vital records created, administered and maintained by the state of Missouri 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.
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. Statewide registration of birth records began in 1863, but registration was not compulsory. Missouri has required registration in each county only during the years 1883 to 1893 and since 1909. The state did not achieve 90 percent registration of birth records until 1927. The Family History Library has copies of most of the existing civil vital records in Missouri from about 1883 to the early 1900s. The state records of birth are to be found Missouri Bureau of Vital Records.
A death record is most likely a copy of the information contained in a person’s death certificate. Statewide registration of death records began in 1863, but registration was not compulsory. Many of these records are not complete; they are kept by the county offices. The state of Missouri enacted a statewide registration in 1883, which was complied with from 1893 to 1909. Missouri State Archives provides access to death records from 1910-1960. All records are kept and collected by the Missouri Bureau of Vital Records.
A marriage/divorce record is issued by a government official only after civil registration of the marriage/divorce occurs. Marriage records have been kept by Missouri county clerks from the earliest days of each county. Some records date from the early 1800s when the area was a territory without counties. Most pre-1850 marriages in Missouri have been transcribed in publications such as the Missouri Marriage before 1840 and Missouri Marriage to 1850. Statewide registration of marriage began in 1881, and the files are mostly complete after that date. The existing records are kept at the Bureau of Vital Records and Missouri Family Search.
Why Vital Records are Available to the Public
In 1961, the Missouri State Legislature pass a law named the Missouri Public Records Law. This law was enabled with the last changes in 2006 and aims to ensure disclosure of court records and other public records to the public: http://www.nfoic.org/missouri-foi-resources . Every person throughout the state can request access to access all public records through the assigned specialized offices within its determined terms.
What Vital Records Access Mean to You
The law is similar to the Missouri Sunshine Law, the law states a policy intent of disclosure of all documents which have been supported and upheld by decades of case law. The Missouri Public Records Law intent is that all records maintained by state and local government entities be available for public at all state levels.