Maryland Vital Records
Maryland Vital Records
The Office of Vital Records is responsible for maintaining all state-level vital records created, administered and maintained by the state of Maryland 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 birth records were recorded in colonial Maryland by the Maryland General Assembly but not many survived or where ever recorded. There are no state records from 1800 until 1865. The birth registration was inconsistent and not properly recorded that is why the state enacted a state birth records registration again in 1865. In 1875, Baltimore began recording births. In 1898, counties in Maryland began recording births, although full compliance did not happen until the 1910s. The birth records are collected and kept at the Maryland Vital Records.
A death record is most likely a copy of the information contained in a person’s death certificate. The earliest death records in Maryland were the Maryland General Assembly requiring the registration of burials. This law lasted until 1695. The Maryland General Assembly assigned responsibility to the Circuit Courts in 1865 and the County Courts in 1898 - but compliance was spotty. It wasn't until 1914 that all deaths in Maryland were recorded. The records are collected and kept at the Maryland Vital Records.
A marriage/divorce record is issued by a government official only after civil registration of the marriage/divorce occurs. Records of marriages were generally the first vital records kept consistently in Maryland by the Maryland General Assembly. Early colonial marriage records include banns and marriage registers. By 1777, marriage licenses were required but it wasn't until 1865 that the county court recorded all marriages in Maryland. Before the Revolutionary War, no divorces were granted in Maryland. Between the close of the Revolution and 1842, the state legislature granted divorces. For divorces granted before 1992, there is no statewide index, for divorces after 1992 there is an index at Maryland Vital Records.
Why Vital Records are Available to the Public
In 1970, the Maryland State Legislature pass a law named the Maryland Public Information Act. This law was enabled with the last changes in 2000 and aims to ensure disclosure of court records and other public records to the public: https://www.oag.state.md.us/Opengov/pia.htm . 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 Maryland Open Meeting Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted, statute 10–501 of the Annotated Code of Maryland define the law. As the Maryland Public Information Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Maryland. Maryland statutes 10-611 through 10-628 define the law.