Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesGenealogy · 2 months ago

How long has the US been keeping track of family, marriage and death records?

9 Answers

  • 2 months ago

    The states maintains vital statistics departments that register and store records on births, deaths, and marriages within the state.  Some have records back to revolutionary times and others only have records from when they became a state or later, like Oregon which became a state in 1859.

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

     Probably over I00 year's running would be my guess zxvqp

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  • 2 months ago

    The US doesn't. States and counties do. Individual counties within the same state started in different years. Most of them were doing it by 1900. Most started with marriage licenses, then added births and deaths later. Most, not all. An accurate answer would be by county within state and have the year they started collecting each kind of record, and would take hours and hours of research. None of us regulars are going to do that for someone who posts as Anonymous and isn't going to award a favorite answer.

    People have been recording BMD dates in family Bibles for a long time. The Library of Virginia has copied and digitized a bunch of them. Other state libraries may have done the same.

    Some townships, especially in New England, started keeping records well before they were mandated.

    Finally, especially in the South, there are gaps where the courthouse burned, either from Union troops wanting to cause trouble, or from other reasons.

    To give you an idea, here are the first 10 counties in WV (from a complete list of counties, but I didn't want to give you a wall of text) and what years they have birth records for. The site had marriage and death records too. It is free, at

    Barbour: 1833, 1853 - 1919

    Berkeley: 1860, 1862 - 1919

    Boone: 1822, 1832, 1862, 1865 - 1910 **

    Braxton: 1853 - 1862, 1865 - 1919 **

    Brooke: 1852 - 1862, 1864 - 1919

    Cabell: 1811, 1853 - 1854, 1856, 1864 - 1865, 1867 - 1919 **

    Calhoun: 1855 - 1858, 1863, 1865 - 1944 **

    Clay: 1858, 1860, 1866 - 1868, 1870 - 1919 **

    Doddridge: 1853 - 1919Fayette: 1852, 1861 - 1919

    You'll notice gaps around the Civil War in several of them, which I marked with "**".

    And, just because a state required BMD data doesn't mean you can access it on-line for free. Even if you can, most counties have limits - typically 50 years - on how many years old a records must be before they release it to the public.

    The people saying "forever" or giving you one year across all states are getting down votes because they are wrong. I've been doing genealogy by hand since 1968, and on-line for at least 20 years. I have just under 20,000 individuals in assorted databases. Some have a 20-year span in their birth year and "after yyyy" in their death year because I couldn't find a record.

  • Maxi
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    United States: first date is  County second date is State·

    Alabama1881 1908·





    Colorado1876 1907·


    Delaware1861-63; 1881 1913·

    District of Columbia1874·

    Florida1865 1899·



    Idaho1907 1911·

    Illinois1877 1916·

    Indiana1882 1907·

    Iowa1880 1880

     Kansas1885 1911·

    Kentucky1852 1911·

    LouisianaEarly 1800s 1914·



    Massachusetts1630 1811·



    Missouri1863 1863·

    Montana1864 1907·


    Nevada1887 1911

    New Hampshire1600s·

    New Jersey1675/1682 1848·

    New Mexico19071920·

    New Yorkvaries1880·

    North Carolina1913·

    North Dakota1907·


    Oklahoma1891 1908·

    Oregon1903 1903

    Pennsylvania1852-1854,1893 1906·

    Rhode Island1630s 1853·

    South Carolina1915·

    South Dakota1905·




    Vermontc1760 1857·

    Virginia1853-1896 1912·

    Washington1907 1907·

    West Virginia1853 1917·



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  • 2 months ago

    The U.S. has not. Individual states and local governments do.  They typically started about 100-150 years ago, but it varies from state to state.

    For African-Americans, birth records go back much farther: Slave owners kept records of the births of slaves, because they were valuable "property".

  • 2 months ago

    Always. You can find records of births, deaths and marriages on dating from the earliest settlements by colonizers. 

  • Lisa A
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Death records have been mandatory since 1909.

  • 2 months ago

    probably forever

  • 2 months ago

    Since I was born and before. Probably since the us Constitution. 

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