Mississippi Vital Records
Mississippi Vital Records
The Office of Vital Records is responsible for maintaining all state-level vital records created, administered and maintained by the state of Mississippi 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 permanent central registry state entities uses 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. A few counties kept birth records as early as 1879. These early records were kept intermittently and are very incomplete. The Family History Library has copies of these records for Hancock, Harrison, Lauderdale, Panola, and Tallahatchie counties. The State Board of Health has early records for Harrison, Hinds, and Pike counties. State registration of birth records in Mississippi began in November 1912, and was generally complied with by 1921.
A death record is most likely a copy of the information contained in a person’s death certificate. The earliest death records were collected from the county offices. The state registration began in 1912, and was complied with by 1921. The Mississippi State Department of Health held the death records from early time and present.
A marriage/divorce record is issued by a government official only after civil registration of the marriage/divorce occurs. Many counties began recording marriages as early as 1800. Unfortunately, only about one-half of the pre-1850 marriage records have survived. The Department of Archives and History has an index of pre-1926 Mississippi marriages. State registration of marriages began in 1926. The State Board of Health (address above) has records from 1 January 1926 to 31 July 1938 and from 1 January 1942 to the present. Records for the 1938 to 1942 interim period are available from the county circuit court office in each county. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of most existing marriage records to about 1926. For example, the library has 26 microfilms from the Adams County Circuit Clerk that include marriage records, (1802-1927), an index to white marriages, (1802-1927), and an index to African-American (designated as “colored”) marriages (1866-1942). The circuit courts have the county marriage records from the earliest years to the present.
Why Vital Records are Available to the Public
In 1941, the Mississippi State Legislature pass a law named the Mississippi Public Records Act. It was not until forty years later in 1985, however, that the public’s right to inspect and copy public records was codified in Chapter 61 of Title 25 in the Mississippi Code. The law aims to ensure disclosure of court records and other public records to the public: http://www.ethics.state.ms.us/ethics/ethics.nsf/webpage/A_records?OpenDocument .Every person throughout the state can request access to access all public records through the assigned specialized offices within its determined terms.
What Vital Records Access Mean to You
The law is similar to the Mississippi Open Metting Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted as the Mississippi Public Records Act intent is to ensure that all public documents and records are available to the public without expressing the purpose of the inquiry.