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Are Kentucky Vital Records Open To The Public?

The Kentucky Open Records Law describes the type and content of vital records available for public inspection. For the most part, however, certified copies of vital records in Kentucky are generally limited to persons who fulfill specific statutory eligibility requirements and provide supporting documents.


What Information Do I Need to Search for Kentucky Vital Records Online?

When searching for Kentucky vital records, requestors are typically required to provide information with which to facilitate searches, such as:

  • The full name of persons named on the record (including maiden name if applicable)
  • The place and approximate date of the life event 
  • Mother's maiden name and father's full name (for birth/still-birth records)
  • The license number and approximate date of issuance (for marriage records)
  • The case file number (for divorce record)

How Do I Obtain Kentucky Vital Records?

The Kentucky Cabinet For Health and Family Services Office of Vital Statistics (OVS) processes vital records requests from persons who submit a written and signed request detailing facts of the event. Typically, these written requests are sufficient for obtaining open records or genealogical information. However, persons requesting certified copies of vital records must provide additional documents, including a government-issued photo ID or a court order.

Generally, the record custodian provides application instructions and requirements for submitting vital records requests. So, it is best to contact the record custodian's office for information on submitting vital record requests beforehand.

Publicly available vital records are also managed and disseminated by some third-party aggregate sites. These sites are generally not limited by geographical record availability and may serve as a reliable jump-off point when researching specific or multiple records. However, third-party sites are not government-sponsored. As such, record availability may differ from official channels. To find a record using the search engines on third party sites, the requesting party will be required to provide:

  • The location of the record in question, including the city, county, or state where the case was filed.
  • The name of someone involved providing it is not a juvenile.


What's The Difference Between a Certified Record and Informational Copy?

Certified records are documents authenticated by a record custodian. These documents provide the bearer with the legal authority to use the record for official purposes. Thus, only requestors who meet specific eligibility requirements may obtain certified vital records. On the other hand, informational copies of vital records are primarily issued for personal, genealogical, or research purposes. Interested members of the public may inspect and obtain these records upon request. These copies are often watermarked with a disclaimer indicating limitations and are invalid for official purposes.

Are Kentucky Marriage Records Public Information?

The public may obtain an informational document showing the list of spouses, date of marriage, and location of marriage from the Department of Health upon request. A public index of marriages that occurred in the state before 1999 is also available for public inspection through the Kentucky State Archives. However, certified copies of Kentucky marriage records are only available to persons named on the vital record.

How Do I Obtain Marriage Records in Kentucky?

The Kentucky OVS processes requests for the public list of marriage events in Kentucky. Interested persons may submit a public records request to the Office of Vital Statistics. Alternatively, a requester may obtain the index of public marriage records from the state archives.

Requesters who wish to obtain a certified Kentucky marriage record, interested persons must submit a completed marriage/divorce application form, using the spouses' full names, date, and location of the marriage. The requester must also provide their full name, mailing address, and contact information. Attach a check or money order for the application and enclose the application packet in a self-addressed stamped envelope and deliver in person or mail it to:

Office of Vital Statistics
275 East Main Street, 1E-A
Frankfort, KY 40621
Phone: (502) 564-4212

Are Kentucky Divorce Records Public Information?

Interested persons may obtain a public list showing divorcees' names, divorce dates, and locations from their local health department. Likewise, the state archives maintain a public index of divorce records created before 1999. Persons looking to obtain certified Kentucky divorce records must submit an application to the Department of Health.

How Do I Obtain Divorce Records in Kentucky?

Kentucky divorce record requests are primarily processed by the County Clerk of the county where the divorce decree was granted. However, the state Vital Statistics Office also maintains a central repository of statewide divorce records. To obtain Kentucky divorce records at the state or county level, interested persons may prepare a written request stating:

  • The full names of the parties involved
  • The place and date the divorce was granted
  • Number of copies required
  • The full name and contact information of the requestor
  • Mailing address where the requested document is to be received.

Along with the written request or a filled out marriage/divorce application form, requestors must enclose a check or money order payment of $6 (per certified record requested) which should be made payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer. Requests may be made in person or via mail. However, mail requests should be allowed up to 30 working days for processing. All requests are to be made to:

Office of Vital Statistics
275 East Main Street, 1E-A
Frankfort, KY 40621
Phone: (502) 564-4212

Are Kentucky Birth Records Public Information?

Per KRS 213.131 (2), a public list of births in Kentucky is available for public inspection. This list contains the person's name, mother's maiden name, as well as the date and county of birth. The information obtained from this list suffices for most informational and personal research purposes.

Meanwhile, certified copies of Kentucky birth records are restricted to the person, immediate family members, and the legal representatives of these persons. Public requesters must provide a court order authorizing access before inspecting birth records. Even at that, the record custodian shall redact sensitive information like social security numbers before releasing the document.   

How Do I Obtain Kentucky Birth Records?

The public list of birth information is available through the Department of Health. Interested requesters may also obtain a public index of births that occurred before 1999 from the state archives.

To order a birth certificate replacement, parties must inquire with the Kentucky OVS. Interested and eligible persons may download and complete the birth certificate copy request form or prepare a written request describing the record requested. The information contained in the application or written request must indicate:

  • The full name of the person named on the birth record (at birth)
  • The country and full date of birth 
  • The maiden name of the person's mother and father's full name
  • The requestor's full name and contact information
  • The relationship between the requestor and the person named on the record
  • The number of copies required

Attach a check or money order made payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer to the request. Note that the service fee is non-refundable. Next, attach a copy of valid, government-issued photo ID, proof-of-relationship, or certified court order if applicable. Enclose the request in a self-addressed stamped envelope and mail it to:

Office of Vital Statistics
275 East Main Street, 1E-A
Frankfort, KY 40621
Phone: (502) 564-4212

Are Kentucky Death Records Open to the Public?

Abstracts of Kentucky death records are open to the public. Interested persons may access public death records from the applicable record custodians without additional documentation. Certified death records are, however, only open to the deceased's immediate family members and legal representatives.  

How Do I Obtain Death Records in Kentucky?

Interested persons could obtain death records from the Kentucky State Archives if the death happened before 1999. Alternatively, the requestor may contact the Office of Vital Statistics for records of deaths dating as far back as 1911. Meanwhile, eligible persons may submit a request for certified copies of Kentucky death records. Upon receiving the request, the record custodian shall perform a death certificate search and issue the requested copies. Completed applications must be accompanied by the indicated fees and ID requirements and submitted in person or via mail to:

Office of Vital Statistics
275 East Main Street, 1E-A
Frankfort, KY 40621
Phone: (502) 564-4212 

Also, there are certain third-party sites that help individuals obtain death records. Through these websites, interested persons can perform a death record search by name or place.

How Do I Obtain Sealed Vital Records in Kentucky

The Kentucky Vital Statistics Law places restrictions on the public inspection and dissemination of sealed vital records in Kentucky. Thus, sealed vital records are only accessible to persons who fulfill the state's eligibility requirements. Persons who wish to access sealed vital records must prove a direct and tangible interest in the record and obtain a certified court order from a court of competent jurisdiction. And upon receiving the court-issued order, the applicant may complete the appropriate request form and attach the certified court order as well as other supporting documents.

Kentucky State Archives

State Archives

Search Includes

  • Arrests & Warrants
  • Criminal Records
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies & Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Marriages & Divorces
  • Death Records
  • Birth Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • Unclaimed State Funds
  • Relatives & Associates
  • Address Registrations
  • Affiliated Phone Numbers
  • Affiliated Email Addresses

Results are based upon available information from state, county and municipal databases, and may not include some or all of the above details.


Built in 1816, The Washington County Courthouse is the oldest active courthouse in Kentucky. Government officials use it for civic and judicial matters.