Florida Vital Records
Florida Vital Records
The Office of Vital Records is responsible for maintaining all state-level vital records created, administered and maintained by the state of Florida regarding a person’s most important life events. These records include such documents as birth certificates, marriage licenses and death certificates and are compiled and stored in a permanent central registry that state entities use to develop statistical analysis of its population.
A birth certificate is a vital record that documents the birth of a child. The term "birth certificate" can refer to either the original document certifying the birth or to a certified copy or representation of the original document. The state of Florida divides the birth records catalog into two categories: early-1899 and 1899-present. In the early-1899 category, all the records were collected from Florida county records, which provided the earliest evidence of births. The Family History Library has copies of original birth records for some counties of Florida as well as an extensive collection of delayed birth records dating to 1860. Statewide registration of birth records began in 1899 and was generally complied with by 1920. Some earlier city and county records have been deposited with the state office and include incomplete records of births from 1865-1917. In the 1899-present category, all the records are collected from Florida Family Search.
A death record is most likely a copy of the information contained in a person’s death certificate. The state of Florida compiled the death records catalog into two categories: early-1917 and 1917-present. All records from the first category were collected from the county and clerk offices. A statewide registration of death records began in 1899 and was generally complied with by 1920, but some periods of time still lack registered records such as from 1877 to 1917. In the last and second category, the records are collected from towns, city, and county offices where the death occurred. The Family History Library has copies of original death records for some counties of Florida.
A marriage/divorce record is issued by a government official only after civil registration of the marriage/divorce occurs. In the state of Florida, a statewide registration of marriage records was enacted in 1927, which is why there is only one category in the marriage records catalog: 1917-present. All the marriage records dating before 1927 were collected from county offices. Marriage records have been kept by each county, usually from the date the county was created. Today, the Family History Library has a large collection of county marriage records from the earliest date to present.
Why Vital Records are Available to the Public?
In 1995, the Florida State Legislature passed the Florida Public Records Law. This legislation was created to ensure that the full disclosure of court records and other public records be made available to the public: Government in the Sunshine.
Every person throughout the state can request access to all public records through the assigned specialized offices within its determined terms.
What Vital Records Access Mean to You?
The Florida Public Records Law is designed to guarantee public access to Florida’s public records. The law states that “it is the policy of this state that all state, county, and municipal records shall at all times be open for a personal inspection by any person.” The law is similar to the Florida Sunshine Law. It states that the government of the state of Florida declares itself an open government, fully accountable and accessible to the people it proudly represents. Any person can request public records without having to specify a reason for the intended access.