Maine Vital Records
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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. If you meet the criteria stipulated by law (in effect as of September 2011) you may purchase a copy or an extract of most original records from the Office of Data, Research and Vital Statistics or the town clerk's office in the town where the event occurred.
Vital Records Reference DatesMaine's vital records start the following years:
Maine Birth, Marriage, and Death Records Online
The following is a list of online resources useful for locating Maine Vital Records which consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths. Most online resources for Maine Vital Records are indexes. After locating a person in an index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.
- Maine State Archives - marriage index 1892-1967, 1977-1996; death index 1960 to three years ago
- Maine Office of Vital Records
- FamilySearch's growing Historical Records Collection includes:
- Maine Deaths and Burials, 1841-1910 — index
- Maine & Massachusetts, Case Files of Deceased and Deserted Seamen, 1837-1965 — images
- Maine Death Index, 1960-1996 — index
- Maine Marriages, 1771-1907 — index
- Maine, Marriage Index, 1892-1966, 1977-1996 — index
- Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921 — index and images
- Maine Databases listed on Rootsweb.com - Free
- United States Marriages – Maine, 1589-1966 ($) index
- Search marriage, death and divorce records at Maine Genealogy - Free
- USGenWeb.org Maine Site - Free
- The Vital Records Search and Information Directory for Maine - Free/$
- Linkpendium Links for Maine Genealogy and History, including individual Counties - Free/$
- Search the Maine Birth, Marriage & Death Records at Ancestry.com - $
- Order Maine Certificates online - $
- 1899-2012 - United States, Obituaries, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1899-2012 at FamilySearch — index and images
Birth, Marriage, and Death Records
Vital records are kept by town clerks or selectmen. Although some towns have existed since the 1650s, most vital records date from about 1700. The vital statistics are often arranged by family. Vital records prior to 1892 are (by law in effect as of September 2011) open to the public; anyone may purchase a copy. [NOTE: See the article "Accessing Vital Records in Maine" on the Maine Genealogical Society website for complete information.]
Although the original vital records are kept by the town clerks, copies of some of the existing pre-1892 vital records are at the Maine State Archives. The Family History Library also has an extensive collection of Maine town vital records, including:
- Noyes, Benjamin Lake. Vital Records Copied from Town, Church, & Cemetery Records in Various Towns and Counties of Maine Along the Atlantic Seaboard. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1971, 1972. This source organizes names alphabetically by locality. It includes histories of some areas; people's birth, marriage and death dates; and names of spouses and children. FHL film 873738 items 1-2
- Torrey, Clarence Almon. New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Andover, Massachusetts : Northeast Document Conservation Center, [1983?]. Most of the pre-1700 New England marriages collected from printed and manuscript records in the New England Historic Genealogical Society. FHL films 929494-929500
- Maine. Division of Vital Statistics. Index to Vital Records Prior to 1892 of . . . 80 Towns. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1953. These records of births (including delayed births), deaths, and marriages are arranged alphabetically by surname and then chronologically by year within each surname. FHL films 009743-883
- Maine State Archives. Delayed Returns for Births. Deaths, and Marriages, 1670-1891. [N.p., 197-]. The records are arranged alphabetically by surname and then chronologically, earliest date through 1891. Some records are out of order. FHL films starting at 1002375
Many of the births and marriages recorded in the town records have been extracted and are listed in the International Genealogical Index (IGI) at the Family History Library and Family History Centers. Some vital records have been published in genealogical periodicals.
State registration of vital statistics began in 1892. Birth records are closed for 75 years; marriage records, marriage applications/bonds, records of domestic partnerships, and records of fetal deaths are closed for 50 years; death records are closed for 25 years.
See the article "Accessing Vital Records in Maine" in the Maine Genealogical Society website for complete information on who has access to which records, and how (if you meet the criteria for access) and where to order copies. Rules for implementing the new law accessing vital records (which took effect in September 2011) are not yet (July 2012) complete. The aforementioned article lists alternative sources for vital records.
For indexes of birth, marriage, and death records see:
- Maine State Archives - marriage index 1892-1967, 1977-1996; death index 1960 to three years ago
- Maine Death Records & Indexes (deathindexes.com)
- Maine. Division of Vital Statistics. Index to Vital Records, 1892-1907. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1954. Births, marriages, and deaths are arranged alphabetically by surname and then chronologically by year within each surname. FHL films 9884-10067
- Maine. Division of Vital Statistics. Index to Vital Records 1908-1922. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1954. Records are arranged alphabetically by surname. FHL films 10068-215
- Maine. Division of Vital Statistics. Index to Vital Records: Bride's Index to Marriages, 1895-1953. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1954. This index includes names of brides, names of grooms, and marriage data. FHL films 010261-371
Gretna Greens. When an eloping Maine couple's marriage is not in their home county, search for it in alternate places like Elkton, Cecil, Maryland, or Prince William County, VA, or in towns just across the Canadian border.
Original records are in the office of the clerk of the district court where the divorce was granted. Divorce proceedings prior to 1892 can be found in the court records at the Maine State Archives. For certified abstracts of divorce decrees since 1892 contact:
- Office of Vital Records
244 Water Street, SHS #11
Augusta, Maine 04333-0011
The Family History Library does not have copies of these divorce records.
- Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child and Family Services - Maine Adoption Reunion Registry
- adoption registry connect - Maine Adoption Registry
- Adoption Database - Maine Adoption Registry
- adoption.com - Maine Adoption Records
- G'S Adoption Registry - Born in Maine 1800-1959
These links will take you to wiki pages describing alternate sources for birth, marriage and death records.
- Church Records: Depending on the denomination, church records may contain information about birth, marriage and death.
- Cemetery Records: Cemetery records are a rich source of birth and death information. These records may also reveal family relationships.
- Census Records: 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.
- Newspapers: Besides obituaries, local newspapers may contain birth and marriage announcements and death notices. Also check newspaper social columns for additional information.
- Periodicals: Local genealogical and historical societies often publish periodicals which may contain abstracted early birth, marriage and death information.
- Military Records: Military pension records can give birth, marriage and death information. In addition, soldiers' homes records can include this same information.
- Probate Records: If no death record 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. Often this information is found in county-level records or in surname searches of the FamilySearch Catalog.
- 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-name Search and then choosing Vital Records. Search for Maine to locate records filed by the state and then search the name of the county to locate records kept by the county
Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:
- Maine Births and Christenings (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Maine Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Maine Deaths and Burials (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Arlene H. Eakle, "Have you searched and searched for a marriage without finding it?" in Genealogy Blog at "http://www.arleneeakle.com/wordpress/2007/02/19/
"Accessing Vital Records in Maine" by Helen A. Shaw, CG, on the Maine Genealogical Society website.