More than 16 Million Virginia Records Are Now Digitized and Online

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced on Tuesday morning that a massive project to help Virginians find important documents is now finished.

So far, birth and death records from 1912 to the present, marriage records from 1936 to the present and divorce records from 1918 to the present have been scanned and are available. Image are available and the records have also been indexed.

Here is the announcement from the Office of Governor McAuliffe:

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced the completion of a two-year, public-private collaboration between the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and Ancestry.com that fully digitizes the state’s vital records. To date, more than 16 million records have been digitized and indexed. Scanned images of the original, public* documents are available online through Ancestry.com. Access to the indexed information on the records is available free of charge through VDH’s Division of Vital Records’ and the Library of Virginia’s websites.

“This public-private project demonstrates Virginia’s continued commitment to innovation, efficiency and leveraging information technology to the benefit of all,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “Having all Virginia vital records digitized mean millions of public birth, death, marriage and divorce records are now more easily accessed for genealogy and family history research. This project also provides a long-term conservation solution for preserving the rich history of Virginia’s people.”

“I am pleased that this project has come to fruition,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Bill Hazel. “It was a major undertaking and citizens will now enjoy the ability to find more information about their heritage.”

“Family history and individual health are closely linked,” said State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, MD, MPH, FAAFP. “Through this project, people can more easily explore their ancestors’ lives and possibly identify family health conditions or hereditary risk factors. This information is empowering and takes us one step closer to our goal of becoming the healthiest state in the nation.”

The project began two years ago following legislation (Senate Bill 660 in 2012) supporting digitizing vital records. So far, birth and death records from 1912 to the present, marriage records from 1936 to the present and divorce records from 1918 to the present have been scanned and are available. Non-public records—those that have not yet reached the required time for release—are only available in a “limited index,” which discloses only an individual’s name and the date and location of the event.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to help Virginia increase access to these records for Commonwealth residents,” said Ancestry Senior Director Global Content Acquisition Quinton Atkinson. Virginia plays a special role in the history of the United States. Tens of thousands of people researching their family history have been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to learn more about their ancestors through these records. It is an exciting moment for the entire genealogy community.”

“Throughout this project and beyond, maintaining the integrity of Virginia’s Vital Records System and the security of people’s records remains our priority,” said VDH Chief Information Officer Debbie Condrey. “All documents were scanned under the supervision of trained VDH Vital Records staff following strict protocols.”

“It is exciting and rewarding to successfully implement a records project of this magnitude and historical significance,” added State Registrar and Division of Vital Records Director Janet Rainey. “This project is one of the first of its kind in the nation.”

For more information on Virginia’s records visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/Vital_Records/, the Library of Virginia or www.ancestry.com.

* In Virginia, death, marriage and divorce data become “public” information 25 years after the event; birth data are “public” after 100 years.

10 Comments

Is Ancestry the only place to view these records? Going to VDH and Library of VA was not helpful.

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Misleading. Nothing at VDH yet, not even LVA. Ancestry don’t have the years online yet.

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These documents have already been so useful for my family research. I have answered several questions about my family already using these documents on Ancestry.

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See Virginia Genealogical Society website , http://www.vgs.org, for more information. VGS pushed hard for this legislation. The state copies of Virginia Vital Records available now through Ancestry are post-1912 (except for delayed birth registrations registered post-1912). Vital records for 1853-1896 will come in future years, as will surviving city vital records from 1896-1912. At present the images of vital records are available only on Ancestry, though patrons at the Library of Virginia can access the images there through the Library’s Ancestry account.

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It would be more useful if the images were available for free, without having to pay Ancestry’s outrageous service fee.

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The press release I read said “near completion.” I don’t think the records are online yet. Looked this morning.

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Peter Broadbandt is right when he says the Virginia Genealogical Society was instrumental in making this possible. What he didn’t say is that if weren’t for him, it would not have been impossible. This did not come about easily and without considerable resistance from many quarters. Without Peter’s untiring efforts, we would not be talking about this. Thank you Peter and to everyone at the Virginia Genealogical Society, and to all of the local historical and genealogical societies whose lobbying efforts turned was at first a legislative and administrative rules disaster to make access to these records even MORE difficult than they already were into this huge success story. It was an amazing feat.

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Bill Cappello–outrageous fee? Do you know how nearly impossible and expensive it was to get these records prior to this agreement? Man, just can’t please some people. You can use ancestry.com at many public libraries, including the Library of Virginia. FOR FREE.

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Now if they would just work to get all the early records online so those of us with Colonial ancestry could sort out our families . . .

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Reblogged this on familytreegirldotcom and commented:
Dick Eastman’s Blog and Newsletter is one of the best to follow, check out his information on Virginia records! Thanks Dick.

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