The Availability of Birth Records in the State of Virginia

The state of Virginia kept birth and death records by county or city beginning in 1853. The state ceased recording births and deaths from 1896 until July 1, 1912 as a poorly-planned budget cutting measure. The earliest records are not quite what we would wish them to be.

Birth records for someone born about 1800 probably do not exist unless they were kept as part of their church's records or in family Bibles. The Library of Virginia has a large collection of copies of Virginia family Bible records. They obtain the records from private individuals who lend their family Bibles for copying. There are also some early church records available.

Birth and death records for 1853-96 are available on microfilm at the Library of Virginia. Records since 1912 are only available for a fee from the state Bureau of Vital Statistics, Virginia Department of Health. Records recorded within the last 50 years may only be requested by the primary party in the record or their next of kin. Records over 50 years old are considered public records and may be requested by anyone.

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Created March 26 2001
Updated April 24, 2006
© 2001 - 2006