Alaska Vital Records

Alaska Vital Records

The Office of Vital Records is responsible for maintaining all state-level vital records created, administered and maintained by the state of Alaska 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 a permanent central registry state entities uses to develop statistical analysis of its population.

Birth Records

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. The state of Alaska manages the birth records catalog into two separate categories: early-1913 and 1913-present.  There are no government laws till 1913 that required birth records to be recorded. So no births were recorded by government agencies prior to 1913, all the records dating that time were collected and gathered from the local churches registers. The Bureau of Vital Statistics has microfilmed local Church Records for the purpose of creating delayed birth records. The state of Alaska started requiring the registration of births in 1913 after becoming a territory in 1912. Birth Registration was generally complied with by 1945. Most of the Bureau of Vital Statistics collection of birth records date from 1930 and later. According to State Law, only individuals listed on a birth record may obtain copies.

Death Records

A death record is most likely a copy of the information contained in a person’s death certificate. The state of Alaska divides the death records catalog into two categories having as determinative cause the year the statewide registration of death records was enacted:1804-1913 and 1913-present. Sitka was the center of the government in Alaska until 1906 when Juneau became the capital of Alaska. Territorial registration of Death Records began in 1913 and was generally complied with by 1945. The Death Record collection at the Alaska State Bureau of Vital Statistics contains a few records beginning in 1890 but the greater part of the collection is after 1930. Access to death records is restricted to family members and legal representatives for 50 years after the date of death.

Marriage/Divorce Records

A marriage/divorce record is issued by a government official only after civil registration of the marriage/divorce occurs. The state of Alaska organizes marriage/ divorce records into two categories, based on the sources of information was/is collected from, which includes 1890-1913 and 1913-present. The Alaska State Bureau of Vital Statistics has a scant number of Alaska Marriage Records beginning in 1890 but most are after 1930. Church records are a good source for marriages not found at the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics. The Western States Marriage Index has collected a few Alaska marriages between 1896 -1911. Territorial registration of Marriages in Alaska started in January of 1913 but it was compiled by the year of 1930. The Alaska State Bureau of Vital Statistics holds few records prior to 1930. Marriage records are restricted for 50 years after the date of the marriage. Only those named on the certificate, their legal representatives, any person who can prove they are legally entitled can obtain copies.

Why Vital Records are Available to the Public

In 1982, the Alaska State Legislature passed a law named the Alaska Public Records Act. The law went through a couple of changes from 1983 to 2003 when the last changed was enabled. It aims to ensure disclosure of court records and other public records to the public: Alaska FOI Resources. 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 Alaska Open Meeting Act, aiming to ensure that people have the right to access the information concerning the conduct of people’s business.  Alaska Public Records Act ensures that access to public records is viewed as "a fundamental right".

Alaska State Archives

State Archives

Contact: (855) 235-2845

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Alaska Anchorage Old Federal Building 1940

Alaska Anchorage Old Federal Building 1940

  • State Archives holds over 30,000 cubic feet of records.
  • There are 65 judges employed in the state courts.
  • There are 2 levels of Courts: trial and appellate.
  • There are 4 District courts in Alaska: one in each district.
  • The highest Court in Alaska is the Alaska Supreme Court.
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