Nevada Vital Records
This entry was originally written by Nell Sachse Woodard and Dwight A. Radford for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
Birth and death records are at the Nevada State Department of Human Resources, Health Division, Office of Vital Records and Statistics, 505 E. King St., Carson City, NV 89701. These records date from 1911 to the present. Some counties have available birth and death registers beginning in 1887, a few of which have been deposited with the Office of Vital Records and Statistics. Most of those that still exist are in the county recorder’s office. None of the pre-1911 birth and death records are included in the statewide index, which begins in 1911 and has restricted access.
Although vital statistics are held by county recorders or health officers, those officers are restricted by law from providing certified copies of such documents. Only the Office of Vital Records and Statistics can provide certified copies of birth or death records. Abbreviated birth certificates, which contain birth date, sex, race, and birthplace of the person, are provided. An applicant for a copy of a birth or death certificate must have a direct and tangible interest in the matter recorded. The only available sources for births before 1887 are the extant newspapers or church baptismal records (see Nevada Church Records).
County coroners issued burial certificates based on death certificates issued by physicians. If no physician had been in attendance, it was the duty of the county coroner, based on the facts of the death, to file all physicians’ certificates and memoranda of burial permits issued and turn them over to the successor in office. Incorporated cities required burial permits from the county coroner’s offices (1879 and 1911). These exist for Virginia City and Gold Hill (1879–87) and Carson City (1893–96). Nevada State Library and Archives, Division of Archives and Records, has the Ormsby County Coroner’s burial permit register (1893–96), which includes Carson City’s permits and Storey County’s coroners’ records. There is a compilation of names from the coroner’s records at the Nevada State Library. The Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City has some county birth and death records on microfilm.
The Office of Vital Records and Statistics also has marriage and divorce records after 1969. Prior to that date, marriage records are located in the county recorder’s office where the license was originally obtained. Nevada marriage indexes can be found in two formats available to the public. A large collection of marriages is found on the CD-ROM index “Arizona, California, Idaho and Nevada (1850–1951) Marriage Index” through www.genealogy.com. The second is an online index, part of the “Western States Historical Marriage Records” on BYU- Idaho Family History Center’s website. These latter indexes currently cover from the beginning of county marriage records to about 1900 with some extending to the 1930s. The FHL has microfilm copies of the county marriages.
Divorce records from 1862 are kept by individual county clerk’s offices. The indexes of divorce records for the territorial period for Carson County and both Utah and Nevada territories are at the Nevada State Library and Archives, Division of Archives and Records.
FamilySearch.org has a variety of collections available for free online:
- Nevada, County Birth and Death Records, 1871-1992
- Nevada, County Marriages, 1862-1993
- Nevada, Marriage Index, 1956-2005
- Nevada Birth, Marriage, and Death Records - free up-to-date guide to accessing Nevada birth, marriage, and death records (FamilySearch Research Wiki). Includes links to FamilySearch vital record databases.