New Jersey Vital Records
New Jersey Vital Records
In New Jersey, the Office of Vital Records is put in charge of the maintenance of all state level vital records, including files/records relating to a person’s most important life events. These key events may include births, deaths, marriages, and divorces. The files relating to said events can comprise of divorce decrees, divorce certificates and other divorce records, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, marriage certificates, among other things. Documents are all stored in a central vital record registry to be used later down the line for statistical analysis.
Divorce records are given out by government officials in the state of New Jersey, after the divorce is registered with said state. When someone files for a divorce or an annulment in the state of New Jersey, records of the corresponding event are then kept with all other state vital files in the central registry. These records could include divorce certificates and divorce decrees, and any other divorce-related files. It depends on the individual state as to whether these documents can be accessed/copied by the public. In 2016, there were 23,697 divorces across New Jersey. Divorce records in New Jersey cost $10 per copy.
Marriage records are also distributed by government officials in the state of New Jersey, after the wedding is officially registered. In 1673, the earliest law that required marriage records was ignored by the majority of town clerks. At this time, marriages were usually performed by a justice of the peace or clergyman. Unless banns were published three weeks before the marriage, or earlier, marriage licenses were required post-1719. However, during colonial times, an estimated 25% of marriages were licensed. Starting in 1795, marriage certificates were recorded by the relevant county courts of common pleas. However, these records usually left out the names of the parents. Original records can be found at the relevant county clerk offices. Microfilm copies from between 1795 and 1848 can be found at the state archive. In 1848, a state-wide registration of marriages was introduced. Original records from between 1848 and 1878, as well as microfilm copies from between 1848 and 1940, can also be found at the state archive. In 2016, there were 50,563 marriages across New Jersey. Marriage records in New Jersey cost $25 for an initial copy, and $2 extra for any additional copy ordered at the same time.
Birth records often refer to the certificates/documents printed upon the birth of every single child in the state of New Jersey, or a certified copy of that original document. In 1675 and 1682, the earliest laws that required marriage records was ignored by the majority of town clerks. In 1848, a state-wide registration of birth records came into place, with New Jersey becoming only the second state to introduce such a thing. However, early registrations were not complete, with over 100,000 births before 1920 not being recorded. Between 1878 and 1900, birth certificates included child’s name, gender, place of birth, parents’ names, parents’ ages, father’s job, and a birth number. Birth registers collected similar information. Between 2013 and 2017, there was a birth rate of 11.1 per 1,000 inhabitants in New Jersey, with 496,425 total births. Birth records in New Jersey cost $25 for an initial copy, and $2 extra for any additional copy ordered at the same time.
Death records in New Jersey often relate to the copy of information from a person’s death certificate, after their passing. The first death records in New Jersey came as early as 1665. New Jersey was only the second US state to introduce a state-wide registration of deaths. Between 1848 and 1878, death records showed the names of the parents, date of death, age at death, and name. Between 1878 and 1900, the death records might list parents’ names, but the registers do not. However, these registers list the month/year of death, the age at death, and the parents’ countries of birth. These records were collected and maintained by the New Jersey Bureau of Vital Statistics and the New Jersey Department of Archives and Records. In 2016, there was a death rate of 817.1 per 100,000 male inhabitants, and 820 per 100,000 female inhabitants. A total number of 73,217 people died in New Jersey in 2016. Death records in New Jersey cost $25 for an initial copy, and $2 extra for any additional copy ordered at the same time.
Why are these records available to the public?
The New Jersey Open Records Act was introduced in 1995, with the most recent changes coming in 2002. The Act aims to ensure that all residents of New Jersey have the right to access all public records. Any public record held by the state or local government can be accessed and copied, as long as no other laws prohibit it.
To access records:
Office of Vital Statistics & Registry
NJ Department of Health
P.O. Box 370
Trenton, NJ 08625-0370