Unfortunately, most of the registers from colonial times are no longer extant.
Virginia Vital Records Research Guide
A law required that the Secretary of the Colony be presented with the registers. However, very few of those lists were actually recorded as ordered. In March of the vital records laws were strengthened by the House of Burgesses. Early Virginia marriages required publication of banns. The House of Burgesses stated that governors should grant marriage licenses, as of However, couples could choose to have banns read, instead, reducing their costs.
U.S. Vital Records Online - State by State Listing
Verbal or written consent was required for marriages that included anyone under 21 years old or anyone who was a servant at the time. As of marriage bonds were also required. Each couple had to give a bond to the county clerk before receiving their marriage license, certifying that there was no lawful reason why they should not be married. A list of licenses was forwarded from the clerk to the Secretary of the Colony each September.
However, the Williamsburg, Richmond, and Jamestown fires destroyed those records. In a new marriage law was passed. It stated that each clerk of all independent cities and counties had to keep a marriage register and issue marriage licenses. When the marriage ceremony was complete, it was up to the minister to send a record of the marriage to the appropriate clerk.
The clerk then recorded the event in the marriage register for that county or city. Several Virginia county courthouses still have those records on file.
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Most marriage records from before have been published in various places. Many genealogical libraries across the state and the country also have similar collections on file. Aside from New England states, Virginia was one of the earliest to require death and birth recording.
From to registrations were recorded on the county level. However, the Civil War caused many counties to stop keeping records for a time. So, only a few deaths and births were recorded while the war was going on. For the most part, records were not properly recorded from to June 14, Personal check or money order should be made payable to State Health Department. To verify current fees, the telephone number is This is a recorded message.
Information on how to obtain certified copies is also available via the Internet at the Virginia Department of Health website External.
National Center for Health Statistics. An expedited service is available through a company called VitalChek at an additional charge.
West Virginia Vital Research Records - Select Search Type
Before calling, please print out a copy of the application form and be prepared to give all of the information, along with your credit card information, to the customer service representative. The VitalChek web site also provides information on obtaining birth and death records from other states, in addition to offering online ordering of certificates. If you have questions concerning individual birth records, please call Vital Registration between the hours of AM and PM eastern time at Top of page Obtaining a copy of a death certificate: The West Virginia Vital Registration Office issues certified copies of death certificates of individuals who died within the borders of West Virginia.
Certificates will only be issued to the next of kin or to persons with a legal right to the certificate. If you have questions concerning the right to obtain a copy of a death certificate, please contact the Vital Registration Program at The search fee covers a three year search that includes the year specified, the year before, and the year after the year specified. If no record is found, a letter will be returned informing you of the inability to locate a record for the person. To request copies of a death certificate, link to and print out the form and send it along with the appropriate fee to:.
Once the death certificate has been completed by a physician or other authorized individual, and submitted and processed by the Vital Registration Office, the following turnaround times can be expected. The completion and submission of the actual death certificate forms to the Vital Registration Office is usually handled by the funeral home.
The funeral home will usually provide the family with some certified copies of death certificates as part of their fee. Subsequent requests should be directed to the Vital Registration Office. During low-volume periods, requests are usually processed within five working days. Normally you will have two or three days for mail delivery of the request, three to four days for processing and two to three days for return mailing. With weekends and holidays, this results in a period of about ten to fourteen days to receive a response in the mail.
During high-volume periods for the Vital Registration Office, such as around school entry times, Little League registration, and holidays, it may extend to as much as three weeks.
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The VitalChek Website also provides information on obtaining birth and death records from other states. The West Virginia Vital Registration Office issues certified copies of the applications for marriage licenses for those who applied for a license and were married in West Virginia. The completed marriage license application contains all of the facts of marriage and is legal proof that a marriage occurred in West Virginia.
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