Oklahoma Vital Records

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Introduction to Vital Records

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. United States Vital Records has additional research guidance on researching and using vital records. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Oklahoma Vital Records State Department of Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.

Vital Records.jpg

         Birth Marriage Death
Earliest 1891 1890 or when the county was created -
Statewide Registration 1908 No Statewide Records 1908
General Compliance 1928 - 1928
  • All of Oklahoma except a few areas; Greer County and No Man's Land, and Unassigned Lands were Indian Territory until April 22, 1889.

Online Oklahoma Birth, Marriage and Death Records[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of online resources useful for locating Oklahoma Vital Records which consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths. Most online resources for Oklahoma Vital Records are indexes. After locating a person in an index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.

By Event[edit | edit source]


If you are aware of other online databases, please feel free to add them.

Birth Records[edit | edit source]

Birth and Death Records[edit | edit source]

Some counties kept birth and death records as early as 1891, although most did not start until after statehood in 1907. The early records, which are quite incomplete, are at county courthouses. Contact details for county courts can be found on individual county pages. The Family History Library has copied some of the vital records of the Superintendent of Public Health in a few counties.

The statewide registration of births and deaths began in Oklahoma in 1908 and was generally complied with by 1930. You can write to:

Vital Records Service
Oklahoma State Department of Health
1000 Northeast 10th Street, Room 111
Oklahoma City, OK 73117
Telephone: 405-271-4040

The current fees for obtaining copies of the state's records are listed on the Internet site above. Copies of birth records are restricted to the individual, their next of kin, or a legal representative. See the above Internet site for requirements for requesting records. Death records are not restricted.

Accessibility to Oklahoma Birth and Death Records[edit | edit source]

Oklahoma vital records are protected by state law, 63 O.S. Sec. 1-323 (Effective Nov 1, 2016). Birth records that are at 125 years old and records of death at least 50 years old are considered open records. However, as stated on the Oklahoma State Department of Health: “…a genealogist will need written permission from the subject (if alive) or a family member if the subject is deceased. Proof of relationship between the family member and the deceased will be required.”

A list of who can request a vital record is contained on the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s website and is also in the state law. The state does provide a free searchable index of births and deaths that occurred in the state of Oklahoma and is available at: Ok2Explore. If you are eligible to receive a record and want a certified copy of the record you can apply online through a partner website or by phone (or mail) to the Vital Records Service. You will have to pick up the record in Oklahoma City and provide proof of eligibility to receive the record.

Delayed Birth Records[edit | edit source]

Delayed registrations of births (for persons born before registration began in 1908) are available from the Vital Records Service mentioned above.

Marriage Records[edit | edit source]

Marriage bonds, affidavits, licenses, and certificates were kept by each county beginning about 1890 or when the county was created. Many marriages in the territorial era were not recorded, and some were recorded in county courthouses in Arkansas, Kansas, and Texas. Write to the appropriate county clerk for information.

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:

The Family History Library has marriage records for some counties. Published transcripts of marriage documents include:

Divorce Records[edit | edit source]

Divorces were granted after 1907 by the district courts or the circuit court in each county. Write to the county clerk of the court for information. The Family History Library has records from some counties.

Death Records[edit | edit source]

In 1908, death records were mandated by the state with copies sent to the state capital. Compliance to this law reached 90% by 1928.

After 1928, death records usually give information about the deceased, such as name, age, birth date, state or country of birth, and names of parents and the informant. The date and place of death are given.   Sometimes burial information, the cause of death, and the names of physician and morticians are provided. 

Cause of Death[edit | edit source]

  • Causes of Death - use this resource when trying to interpret a disease or medical condition listed on a death record or certificate

Alternative Records[edit | edit source]

These links will take you to wiki pages describing alternate sources for birth, marriage, and death records.

Oklahoma Church Records:  Depending on the denomination, church records may contain information about birth, marriage and death.

Oklahoma Cemetery Records:  Cemetery Records are a rich source of birth and death information. These records may also reveal family relationships. 

Oklahoma Census:  Census records are a valuable source for birth and marriage information.  You may also determine approximate time of death when the individual disappear from the census.  This is a good place to begin a search.

Social Security Death Index (SSDI):  the SSDI indexes deaths for those who had social security numbers and the death was reported to the Social Security Administration. 

Oklahoma Newspapers:  Besides obituaries, local newspapers may contain birth and marriage announcements and death notices.  Also check newspaper social columns for additional information. 

  • Obituaries: Obituaries found in newspapers can list the age of the deceased, birth date and place, death date and place, and names of living relatives and their residences.

Oklahoma Military Records:  Military pension records can give birth, marriage and death information.  In addition, soldiers' homes records may include this same information.  

Oklahoma Periodicals:  Local genealogical and historical societies often publish periodicals which may contian abstracted early birth, marriage and death information. 

Probate Records:  If no death records exists, probate records may be helpful in estimating when an individual has died. Probate records in the 20th Century often contain the exact death date.

History: Local histories, family histories and biographies can all be sources of birth, marriage and death information.

Tips[edit | edit source]

  • Information listed on vital records is given by an informant.  Learn the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) of the record.  The closer the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) and whether or not the informant was present at the time of the event can help determine the accuracy of the information found on the record.
  • If you are unable to locate vital records recorded by governments, search for church records of christening, marriage, death or burial.  A family Bible may have been used to record births, marriages and deaths.
  • Privacy laws may restrict your access to some vital records.  Copies of some vital records recorded in the last 100 years may be unavailable to anyone except a direct relative.
  • Search for Vital Records in the FamilySearch Catalog by using a Place Search and then choosing Vital Record.  Search for Oklahoma to locate records filed by the state and then search the name of the county to locate records kept by the county.

Archives, Libraries and Societies[edit | edit source]

Oklahoma Archives and Libraries

Oklahoma Societies

Inventory of Vital Records[edit | edit source]

You can learn more about the history and availability of birth, marriage, death, and divorce in Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in Oklahoma. Oklahoma City: Historical Records Survey, 1941. [3]This guide describes the records kept by the state, and each county.

Websites[edit | edit source]

A wiki article describing this collection is found at:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Bode, Frances M. Oklahoma Territory Weddings. Geary, Oklahoma: Pioneer Book Committee, 1983. (Family History Library book 976.6 V2bf; fiche 6104367.)
  2. Tiffee, Ellen. Oklahoma Marriage Records, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. 10 vols. [Howe, Oklahoma]: E. Tiffee, N.d. (Family History Library book 976.6 V2t; film 1,321,223 items 11-16, vols. 1-6.)
  3. Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in Oklahoma. Oklahoma City: Historical Records Survey, 1941(Family History Library book 976.6 A3hr; film 874,325 item 3.)