18 Jun

Virginia Vital Records Now Available Online


Death certificate for Essie Bruffey Arbagast, who was buried in OCC in 1921. Her official cause of death is “pistol wound of brain–not self-inflicted, homicidal.”


Death certificate for Bettie Bland Thornhill, who was buried in OCC in 1912. These documents usually give parents’ names, which can be invaluable for genealogists, especially when researching African Americans before Emancipation in 1865.

As a result of a public-private collaboration between the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and Ancestry.com, more than 16 million Virginia vital records have been digitized and indexed. Scanned images of the original public documents are available online through Ancestry.com.

So far, birth and death records from 1912 to 2014, marriage records from 1936 to 2014, and divorce records from 1918 to 2014 have been scanned. There may be birth records dating back to 1864 that were filed after 1912. Non-public records—those that have not yet reached the required time for release—are available as an “Index Only Record.” In Virginia, death, marriage and divorce data become public information 25 years after the event; birth data are public after 100 years.

To see a FREE index of records scanned by Ancestry, visit the Virginia Department of Health index. Please note that the birth index on the VDH website includes location and year of birth, but no other information without a subscription to Ancestry.com. Their death, marriage and divorce index gives names only. Please contact the Virginia Department of Health for questions regarding the index.


Adapted from The Library of Virginia (http://www.lva.virginia.gov/)

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