Washington Birth, Marriage, Divorce and Death records, known as vital records, give information about important occasions in your ancestors life. Vital records, normally maintained by a civic authority, can provide people a much more comprehensive picture of your ancestor, enable you to differentiate concerning two people using the identical name, and assist you to find links to a completely new generation. They might include information like the event date and place, parents’ names, occupation and residence. The cause of death is also provided in many Washington death records.
Washington vital records are a foundation of Washington ancestors and family history research simply because they were normally recorded at or close to the time of the event, helping to make the record more likely to be accurate. This web page contains links, information that can help you obtain copies from Washington state and county vital records keepers. Vital records (births, deaths, marriages, and divorces) mark the milestones of our lives and are the cornerstone of genealogy and family tree research.
Washington Department of Health Office, issues, documents, and stores certified copies of vital records including birth, marriage, divorce death certificates for occurrences that took place in Washington. To verify current fees and information the telephone number is (360) 236-4300.
- Ordering Washington Birth and Death Certificates: The State Department of Health Office has birth records from July 1, 1907 to present and death records from from July 1, 1907 to two months before the present. The fee for all certified copy are $20.
- Ordering Washington Marriage and Divorce Certificates: The State Department of Health Office has records from January 1, 1968 to present. The fee for all certified copy are $20.
- For recent marriage certificates from the last 4 months: contact the county auditor where the license was filed.
- For certificates before January 1, 1968: contact the county auditor where the license was obtained.
- For recent divorce certificates from the last four months: contact the county clerk where the event was filed.
- For certificates before January 1, 1968: contact the county clerk where the event occurred.
How to Order Washington Vital Records
- Physical and Mailing Address: Washington Dept. of Health, Center for Health Statistics, P.O. Box 9709, Olympia, WA 98507-9709; (360) 236-4300 Info. All mail orders should include a Personal check or money order made payable to Department of Health. Do not send cash.
- Website Address: http://www.doh.wa.gov
- Ordering Vital Records Online – get the certificates within 2-5 days with a credit or debit card from USAVital or Social Security Death Index
- Ordering Vital Records by Mail: You can download an application online for Washington Marriage/Divorce Certificate Counter Order form and/or the Birth/Death Certificate Counter Order form Applications. Please allow up to 4-6 weeks for processing of all type of certificates ordered through the mail.
Washington Health Departments by County
Background of Washington Vital Records
There was no official provision for death and birth records in the state of Washington before 1891. Some of the cities and counties in the state did record those records before 1891, but not all of them. The Washington State Archives houses many of those records on microfilm. Each county kept death and birth registers from 1891 through 1907. The Washington State Archives has also placed many of those records on microfilm, but they have not been indexed. On July 1, 1907, it became mandatory for birth and death records to be recorded by the state. However, mandatory state recording of divorce and marriage records didn’t begin until New Year’s Day of 1968.
As of the time that Washington Territory was established, which was 1853, the law has stipulated that all marriages had to be recorded at the county level. Those records generally started shortly after each county came into being and may have included returns, applications and certificates. The county auditor kept all of those records up until 1968.
The Washington State Department of Health holds the vital records from years later than 1907. The following are all housed in the Salt Lake City Family Historical Library (FHL): Death Certificates For 1907-1960,
Death Certificate Indexes For 1907-1979, Microfilmed Birth Indexes For 1907-1954, Delayed Birth Certificates For 1850-1960, Birth Records For 1907-1948, Indexes To Delayed Births For 1900-1980.
Starting in 1854, divorces were granted by Washington Territory’s district courts. The district court clerks kept those records from that year until 1889. Any divorce records from January 1, 1968 onward were kept by the Washington State Department of Health. Any records prior to that may be found with the county clerk of the county where the divorce took place.
Searchable Washington Databases and other Helpful Links
- Social Security Death Index (search.ancestry.com)
- USGenweb Archives Washington Marriage Project (usgwarchives.net)
- Washington Births, 1891-1907 (search.ancestry.com)
- Washington Births, 1907-1919 (search.ancestry.com)
- Washington Marriages, 1802-1902 (search.ancestry.com)
- Washington, County Divorce Records, 1852-1950
- Washington, County Deaths, 1891-1907
- Washington, Death Certificates, 1907-1960
- Washington Deaths, 1891-1907
- Washington Death Index, 1940-1996 (search.ancestry.com)