Maine Vital Records

Maine Vital Records

The Office of Vital Records is responsible for maintaining all state-level vital records created, administered and maintained by the state of Maine 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.

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 Maine manages birth records into two categories based on the sources the information was/ is collected and the periods of time the information was/ is taken from, which includes: early-1892 and 1892-present. In the early–1892 category, all the records were collected from Maine church records and county records of vital statistics, which provide the earliest evidence of births. Most clerks kept better records in the early 1900s. In the 1892-present category, all the records are collected from Maine Vital Statistics.

Death Records

A death record is most likely a copy of the information contained in a person’s death certificate. The state of Maine manages death records in the following categories: early-1892 and 1892-present. All records in the early-1892 category were collected from Maine’s Family History Library, which has acquired microfilmed copies of the original records from many counties. The records in the second category are collected annually from Maine State Register and Maine State Archives.

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 Maine organizes marriage/divorce records into two categories based on the sources the information was/is collected from, which includes early-1892 and 1892-present. When the county was formed, county clerks were assigned the task of recording marriages. The first law that required the recording of marriages was passed in 1892. Each county usually kept these records as soon as it was organized, so all records from the first category were collected from county clerks offices. All records collected from the beginning of 1892 are indexed. Maine’s Family History Library and Maine State Archives have copies of marriage records from many counties.

Why Vital Records are Available to the Public?

In 1959, the Maine State Legislature passed a law named the Maine Freedom of Access Act.  Following an independent report on the openness of the government in 2004, the state legislature amended the act to establish a schedule for regularly reviewing each title that contains exemptions. So the law was enacted with the last changes in 2004. It aims to ensure disclosure of court records and other public records to the public: The Maine Freedom of Access Act. Every person throughout the state can request access to access all public records through the assigned specialized offices within its determined terms.

What Does Vital Records Access mean to You?

The law is similar to the Maine Open Meeting Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted at the Maine Freedom Of Access Act intent is that all records maintained by state and local government entities be available for public access and copying.


Maine State Archives

State Archives

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Maine Portland Post Office and Old Courthouse 1867

Maine Portland Post Office and Old Courthouse 1867

  • State Archives hold over 6,325 cubic feet of records.
  • There are 2 levels of Courts: trial and appellate.
  • The District Court has 36 judges who hold court in 13 districts at many locations throughout Maine.
  • The Maine Superior Court is Maine's trial court of general jurisdiction and is the only level of the court where jury trials are available.
  • The highest Court in Maine is Maine Supreme Court.
  • Advocates for Children
  • Frenchman Bay Conservancy
  • Institute for Human Education
  • Maine Coalition to End domestic Violence
  • MPRC