Background of Oklahoma Vital Records
The state of Oklahoma began keeping records of births and death in 1908, but the records were not complete. It took several years after that before some counties complied and kept accurate records on everyone. In fact, some counties took over 20 years to do so. It was mandated that everyone be registered beginning in 1917. However, it took until about 1927 for 90% of people to comply with that. Information on birth and death records can be obtained from county clerks. However, in order to obtain actual certificates, one must send a letter that includes the relationship to the person of interest to Vital Records Section, State Department of Health. Also, keep in mind that older birth certificates are not the same as modern-day ones and thus may not contain as much information as one might hope for.
The land allotment and death notices in the Oklahoma Historical Society’s tribal records section include some birth record information. In fact, the birth records even list mixed marriage children, in some cases.
The Oklahoma Historical Society is also home to some of the marriage records of the Five Civilized Tribes and even includes some records for other tribes as well. The National Archives-Southwest Region is home to more of those records, including marriage records recorded by the U.S. Federal District Court for non-natives and that information even extends to information about Indian Territory residents at the time. The Pittsburg and Muskogee county court clerks’ offices hold Indian Territory records from June of 1890 through 1907, which was before Oklahoma became a state. The court clerks in both Craig and Carter counties can provide some of the marriage records from 1895 and beyond for Indian Territory as well. Other counties that house some of those records are LeFlore, Atoka, Latimore and Bryan counties. The records for marriages in Creek County do not have a central index, but many of them can be found in Muskogee, which is now part of the county of the same name. Others can be found in Drumright, Sapulpa and Bristow counties.
Some of the Oklahoma Territory marriage records from pre-statehood are available in certain counties and many of them are published, but not all. Records of divorces and marriages that post-date Oklahoma’s statehood can be found in the office of the court clerk in whatever county issued the divorce or the marriage license in the first place.