General collection information
This collection contains county records of birth and death for individuals from Oregon between 1855 and 1970. Records in this collection include birth registers, death registers, death certificates, fetal death reports, birth certificates, and decrees for registration of birth.
These vital records can be a valuable source of genealogical data. Besides being thorough and accurate, they also often include information about other family members.
Using this collection
Records in the collection may include the following information:
- Person’s name
- Names of parents
- Birthplaces of parents
- Races of parents
- Ages of parents
- Name of spouse
- Age of spouse
- Age at death
- Death date
- Death place
- Certificate number
You can purchase an official copy of a birth or death certificate at: https://www.vitalchek.com/ancestry/order_main.aspx
The registration of vital statistics wasn’t enforced on a statewide level until 1903. If you can’t find a record from before 1903, you might find it recorded in other places. If you know your family member’s religious affiliation, try searching local church records. Many churches recorded baptisms and burial information. The obituary or birth announcement sections of local newspapers may also be a good place to research.
Deaths are recorded by the county where the death occurred, not where the person resided, so consider checking the counties surrounding your family member’s home, especially those containing large hospitals.
Collection in context
Oregon began issuing birth and death certificates on a statewide level in 1903, but many counties started registering vital records as early as 1845. Oregon birth certificates are accessible to the public after 100 years; death certificates are accessible after 50. In 1933, the U.S. government began to require the civil registration of deaths on a federal level.
Ancestry.com. “Using Death Records to Find Hidden Children and Married Daughters.” Last modified March 28, 2016. https://www.ancestry.com/corporate/blog/using-death-records-to-find-hidden-children-and-married-daughters
Cdc.gov “The Organization of the Civil Registration System of the United States.” Last modified May 1980. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/isp/008_the_organization_of_the_civil_registation_system_of_the_united_states.pdf
Cdc.gov “Where to Write for Vital Records - Oregon.” Last modified January 18, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w/oregon.htm
Oregon Secretary of State. “About Vital Records.” Last Modified August 5, 2021. https://sos.oregon.gov/archives/Pages/records/aids-vitalrecords.aspx