Minnesota Vital Records

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United States  Gotoarrow.png  Minnesota  Gotoarrow.png  Vital Records       UNDER CONSTRUCTION

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 Minnesota Vital Records State Department of Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.

Vital Records Collage.JPG

Vital Records Reference Dates

Minnesota's vital records start the following years:

Births Marriages Deaths
Earliest 1870 1870* 1870
Statewide Registration 1900 1958 1908
General Compliance 1915
  • Most counties started recording marriages much earlier.

Minnesota Birth, Marriage and Death Records Online

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

Birth Records

Early - 1908

1908 - Present Minnesota Historical Society www.mnhs.org/genealogy for indexes to birth records 1900 to 1934,

State Records of Births and Deaths (move death info to Death heading)

In Minnesota, the state registration of births began in 1900 and was generally complied with by 1915. Death records have been registered by the state since 1908.

For copies of state records, write to:

Minnesota Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Health
Attention: Office of the State Registrar
P.O. Box 64882
St. Paul, Minnesota 55164-0882
Telephone: 612-623-5121
Fax: 651-291-0101
Internet: Minnesota Department of Health

For an idea of fees for obtaining copies of the state’s records, check:

VitalRecords.com. The vitalrec.com site also shows state and county records office addresses, fees, and years covered and has some links to other internet resources.

Minnesota Birth Certificate Index 1900-1934. There are approximately 2700 records indicated as "Pre 1900".
Delayed and supplemental filings have been added. These include Pre 1900 records.

Minnesota Death Certificate Index 1904-2001. This database indexes the death cards from 1904 to 1907 and the death certificates from 1908 to 2001.

County Records of Births and Deaths

Some counties began recording births as early as 1864 (Redwood County), but most counties began in 1870. Benton County death records were kept from 1867, but 1870 was the general starting date for most counties. Compliance was not good in the early years. The Family History Library has been acquiring microfilms of these county records from the earliest dates to about 1925. For examples, see the following:

  • Minnesota. District Court (Hennepin County). Birth Records, 1870–1915. [1]
  • Minnesota. Division of Vital Statistics. Delayed Birth Records, ca. 1942–1981. [2]Contains delayed birth records for Ramsey County and the city of St. Paul.
  • Mower County (Minnesota). County Recorder. Death Records, 1870–1993; Index, 1870–1993. [3]

For information about early county birth and death records, write to the court administrator of the district court or county recorder in the county.

Adoption Records

open / closed / state statues

Marriage Records

County Records of Marriages

There is no centralized registration for Minnesota marriage records. The state has kept a statewide index to marriages from 1958 to present. Each county generally began keeping marriage records soon after the creation of the county. Some county marriage records begin in the late 1840s. The Family History Library has been acquiring microfilms of these records. For example, marriage records of Ramsey County (including St. Paul) are in:

  • Minnesota. District Court (Ramsey County).Marriage Indexes, 1850–1917; Marriage Records, 1850–1916. [4]

There is an index to many pre-1850 Minnesota marriage records on compact disc:

  • Marriage Records Early–1850. [5]Although incomplete, this disc has many marriage records for various states west of the Mississippi.

There are also some Bureau of Indian Affairs marriage records on microfilm. An example is:

  • Marriage Licenses, 1902–1922. [6]

For copies of marriage records, write to the district court administrator’s office in the county in which the license was recorded. This office also has files for divorces. For information about Hennepin County marriages, write to:

Vital Records Office
Public Service Level Government Center
300 South 6th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55487
Hennepin County, Minnesota Vital Records

For other birth, death, and marriage records, check the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:


Divorce Records

Divorce and annulment records for each county are found with the civil cases of the district courts. The district courts have handled these cases since 1849. You can write to the court administrator of the district court at the county courthouse for copies or information. For a summary of the types of courts, see the “Minnesota Court Records” article.

The Minnesota Department of Health has a divorce index from 1970 to the present.

Death Records

Early - 1908

1908 - Present Miscellaneous Death Records and Obituaries: Minnesota Historical Society www.mnhs.org/genealogy for indexes to birth records 1900 to 1934, some pre 1900, and records from death cards 1904 to1907 and death certificates 1908 to 1891.

Substitute Records

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 addtion, soldiers' homes records can included 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 Family History Library catalog.


  • Information listed on vital records is given by an informant.  Learn the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) of the records.  The closer the relationship of the informatn to the subjects(s) and wether or not the infromant 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 govenments, search for church records of christening, marriage, death or burial.  A family Bible may have been used to records births, marriage and deaths.
  • Privacy laws may restrict your access to some vital records.  Copies of some vital arecords recorded in the last 100 years may be uanavailable to anyone except a direct relative.
  • Search for Vital Records in the Family History Library Catalog by using a Place Search and then choosing Vital Records.  Search for Minnesota to locate records filed by the State and then search athe name of the county to locate records kept by the county.

Lost or Missing Records


  1. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1983. (On 5 Family History Library films beginning with 1309389.)
  2. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1982. (On 3 Family History Library films beginning with 1314525 item 4.)
  3. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1993. (On 26 Family History Library films beginning with 1902894.)
  4. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1982. (On 54 Family History Library films beginning with index film 1314520 item 3.)
  5. Orem, Utah: Automated Archives, 1992. (Family History Library compact disc no.9, pt. 227.)
  6. United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Red Lake Agency. Marriage Licenses, 1902–1922. Kansas City, Missouri: Federal Archives and Records Center, 1977. (Family History Library film 1204883 item 3.)