Vital records, as their name suggests, are connected with central life events: birth, marriage, and death. Maintained by civil authorities, they are prime sources of genealogical information; but, unfortunately, official vital records are available only for relatively recent periods. These records, despite their recent creation in the United States, are critically important in genealogical research, often supplying details on family members well back into the nineteenth century. The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, by Loretto Szucs and Sandra Luebking.

Before 1899, some Florida cities enacted ordinances requiring the recording of vital events and provided their own system for doing so. The City of Key West has the oldest known records, dating back to 1865. A law was enacted in 1927 providing for the centralization of marriage and divorce records. Currently, the Bureau of Vital Statistics maintains more than 25 million vital records. Florida certificates are issued through the Bureau of Vital Statistics at the Department of Health. Orders may be placed in person, by mail, or online through VitalChek.

 

Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics

To order your certificate from the state office, use the navigation pane on the left of the web page to choose your desired certificate, birth, death, marriage or dissolution of marriage (divorce.) You may complete the state forms online using your computer, print and mail them to the Bureau of Vital Statistics in Jacksonville for processing. The Bureau is open for walk-in service Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

(Eastern Standard Time) and phone service until 5:00p.m., excluding holidays.

Phone: (904) 359-6900

Birth Certificates

Birth registration began in 1917, and scattered records from 1865 through 1916 are available. Some county offices have additional records not recorded with the state.

Marriage Certificates

Marriage Certificates can only be issued for marriages occurring in Florida, from June 6, 1927 to the present. Marriage certificates prior to June 6, 1927 are obtainable from the Clerk of Court in the County where the marriage license was issued. County marriages were recorded as far back as 1820, it all depended on the county.

Divorce Certificates

Divorce Certificates can only be issued for divorces occurring in Florida, from June 6, 1927 to the present. Divorce certificates prior to June 6, 1927 are obtainable from the Clerk of Court in the County where the divorce was granted.

Death Certificates

Florida death records begin in 1877, but the first state law mandating registration of deaths was passed in 1899. Records before 1917 are spotty. Death records less than 50 years old will not contain the cause of death.

Florida Online Vital Records

  • Ancestry.com Florida State Database
    A large collection of databases of births, deaths, marriages, census, obituaries, directories, estate records, and service records.

Free Florida Vital Records – Statewide

  • Florida Births and Christenings 
    Name index to birth, baptism and christening records from the state of Florida for the years of 1880-1935. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and Family History Centers. This set contains 28,301 records. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later.
  • Florida Deaths and Burials
    Name index to death and burial records from the state of Florida for the years of 1900-1921. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and Family History Centers. This set contains 24,800 records. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later.
  • Florida Death Records
    Name index of Florida death records created by Florida Department of Health and Vital Statistics in Jacksonville,  Florida for the years of 1877-1939. Microfilm copies of original records are available at the Family History Library and at Family History Centers.
  • Florida Marriages
    Name index to marriage records from the state of Florida for the years of 1837-1974. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and Family History Centers. This set contains 860,110 records. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later.