Background of Florida Vital Records
Any death and birth records filed in Florida from January 1917 onward can be found at the Department of Health, Office of Vital Statistics. Marriage records from June of 1927 onward can also be found there. Researchers should note that birth records that are less than 100 years old can not be accessed by the public. Researchers interested in information on records at the Department of Health, Office of Vital Statistics should visit their website or submit request forms by mail.
Local county health departments also hold copies of death and birth certificates. Researchers should contact the appropriate county offices to inquire about those records. County courthouses hold records of marriages, annulments, and divorces. Visit their websites or call to inquire about information.
Many libraries across Florida, as well as across the country, have microfiche records of deaths and marriages on file. Ancestry.com and the Florida State Genealogical Society website each list several of those records and indexes.
Although the Office of Vital Statistics holds some birth records from 1865 to 1916, official birth registration was not a requirement until 1917. Certain records that are not held on the state level may be available at county health department offices. The Salt Lake City Family History Library (FHL) holds the records for deaths and births in Pensacola from 1891 to 1910. However, anyone inquiring about those records must be over 18 and be the person listed on the certificate, have a court order to view the certificate, or be the legal representative, guardian, or parent of the person listed on the certificate.
In some cases, people may bot have had an original birth certificate. So, some birth records were filed several years after a person was born. The Florida State Archives holds those delayed birth certificate records for 14 of the counties in the state. County health departments also have several of those records on file. Most delayed birth records were registered in or after 1942.
Most Florida death records are from 1877 onward. However, the state didn’t begin trying to regulate death records until 1899. Even then, records were not recorded consistently. Consistent death record recording didn’t begin until 1917. researchers should check health departments in the counties of interest for those records. Some records, have been deposited in historical societies and libraries. For instance, several “death certificates and burial permits” from the 1870s and 1880s were sent to the local historical society library in St. Augustine from the St. Augustine Health Department. Anyone who can pay the small fee can obtain death records. However, the sections on cause of death are not available to the public until the record is at least 50 years old.
The Office of Vital Statistics holds marriage, annulment, and divorce records that were filed from June 6, 1927 onward. The county clerk of the courts in the county of interest should be consulted for earlier records.
As far back as the 1820s, marriage records were recorded in some counties. The clerk of the courts at the county courthouse should be asked for marriage license application copies. Researchers must fill out standard forms to request that information.
Adoption records in Florida are sealed. The circuit court clerk’s office in each county holds the adoption records for that county. The birth family’s medical background is told to the adoptive family at the time of the adoption. The adoptee can obtain that information themselves after they reach the age of 18. They can do so by contacting the Florida Department of Children and Families, Florida’s Adoption Information Center.
The Florida Adoption Reunion Registry was started in 1982. Applications for the registry can be obtained from the registry or from the Florida Adoption Information Center. There is a one-time fee to join the registry.