Nebraska Vital Records
Nebraska Vital Records
The Office of Vital Records is responsible for maintaining all state-level vital records created, administered and maintained by the state of Nebraska 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 permanent central registry state entities uses to develop statistical analysis of its population.
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 earliest civil vital records were kept by a few city health departments. The city of Omaha has birth records dating from 1869. A few Nebraska counties also began recording births before statewide registration. To obtain copies of birth records the requester needs to contact the county clerks. Copies of the incomplete county records before 1905 (except Douglas County) are also available at the Bureau of Vital Statistics. Statewide registration of birth records began in 1904 and was generally complied with by 1920. Delayed registrations are also available from 1917 for births that occurred before that time. The records are kept and collected at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
A death record is most likely a copy of the information contained in a person’s death certificate. The state of Nebraska starting registering death records from earlier time at the county offices. The city of Omaha has death records from 1873. But few counties began to record death records before the statewide registration law. The records from this period are incomplete and they are kept by the Nebraska Bureau of Vital Records. The statewide registration was enacted in 1904 and was complied with by 1920. These records are available at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
A marriage/divorce record is issued by a government official only after civil registration of the marriage/divorce occurs. Marriages have been recorded by individual counties since the date each county was organized. Marriage documents since 1867 often list the names of parents of the bride and groom. Copies can be obtained by writing to the office of the probate judge in the county. Some of the earliest marriage records are now in the custody of the Nebraska State Historical Society. The Family History Library has microfilms of marriage records for many counties. Statewide registration of marriages began in 1909. Since that time, each county clerk has been required to submit a copy of all marriage records to the Bureau of Vital Statistics. Divorce proceedings since the 1850's have been kept by the clerk of the district court for each county. Divorce records since 1909 are also at the Bureau of Vital Statistics.
Why Vital Records are Available to the Public
In 1886, the Nebraska State Legislature pass a law named the Nebraska Public Records Law. This law was enabled with the last changes in 2007 and aims to ensure disclosure of court records and other public records to the public: http://nebraska.edu/docs/NebraskaPublicRecordsLaw.pdf . 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 Nebraska Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted as the Nebraska Public Records Law intent is that all records maintained by state and local government entities be available for public access and copying. Sections 84-712 - 84-712.09 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes define the law.