Kansas Vital Records
The recording of births and deaths began at the statewide level in July 1911. Marriage records are on file from 1 May 1913 as are divorces from 1 July 1951. These records are located in the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Office of Vital Statistics, Curtis State Office Bldg., 1000 Southwest Jackson, Ste. 120, Topeka, KS 66612-2221. The most current fee (2004) for these certificates was $12 for birth, marriage, and divorce documents, and $13 for death certificates. Divorces that occurred prior to 1951 are in the office of the clerk of the district court in which the case was filed.
Territorial records of marriages and deaths located in Kansas newspapers from 1854 to 1861 were published in several issues of volume 18 of the Kansas Historical Quarterly (1960). Births and deaths were published in volume 19 (August and September 1961), and marriages were published in volume 21 (Summer 1955): 445-86. Reprints are available from the Midwest Historical Genealogical Society, Box 1121, Wichita, KS 67201, and Jefferson County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 174, Oskaloosa, KS 66066. The First Bicentennial Report of the State Board of Agriculture also lists some vital statistics taken in the territory. Before statewide registration, some births and deaths were kept at the county level. Compliance was inconsistent and sporadic. The researcher should consult the Historical Records Survey—Kansas, entitled Guide to Public Vital Records in Kansas, which lists the location of vital records not held by the Bureau of Vital Statistics. It is divided into type of record—birth, marriage, death, and divorce—and then by county.
As recently as 1987, Kansas law was changed to allow access to records of births, marriages, and deaths that occurred between 1885 and 1913. The Kansas State Historical Society is currently involved in a cooperative microfilming project with the Genealogical Society of Utah. As of 2000, thirty counties have had their records filmed. The film is available at the Kansas State Historical Society, Center for Historical Research (see Kansas Archives, Libraries, and Societies). Published indexes, abstracts, and transcriptions of vital records from a number of sources are in the collections at the society as well.