G U I D E    T O    G E N E A L O G I C A L    M A T E R I A L S     
in the New Orleans Public Library's Louisiana Division & City Archives     

          A Note on   V I T A L   R E C O R D S   in Louisiana

Guide to Genealogical Materials Home
Selected Books
Louisiana Library Connection Databases
Note on Vital Records
Birth Records
Death Records
Burial Records
Marriage Records
Civil Records (Parishes other than Orleans)
Census Records
Orleans Parish Civil Court Records
Slavery, Free People of Color & Freedmen
Immigration Records
Naturalization Records
Hospital & Insanity Records
Church Records
Military Records
Land Records
Voter Registration Records
Employment Records
New Orleans Police Department Records
Records of Correctional Institutions
Additional Sources
Appendix A: Ordering By Mail
Appendix B: Genealogical Periodicals
Appendix C: Soundex/Miracode System
Appendix D: Orleans Parish Civil Courts

Birth, death, and marriage certificates are often among the first records genealogists seek in building family lines. In Louisiana, birth and death records are not considered public records, and until the records reach a certain “age,” certified copies may be obtained only by relatives or descendants. Marriage records are public records and not subject to this restriction (see the Marriage Records section of this guide for further information.)

Birth certificates less than 100 years old and death certificates less than 50 years old can be obtained only by relatives or descendants from the Louisiana Office of Public Health, Vital Records Registry (P.O. Box 60630, New Orleans LA 70160).

Birth certificates older than 100 years old and death certificate older than 50 years old may be obtained from the Louisiana State Archives (P.O. Box 94125, Baton Rouge, LA 70804; 3851 Essen Lane). At this point, the records are considered public and access is not limited to relatives or descendants.

The State Archives holds birth records only for Orleans Parish. The Vital Records Registry holds birth records for other parishes only if the birth occurred after 1914. Birth certificates were not required outside of Orleans Parish prior to that date.

The Louisiana Division does not hold copies of birth certificates. Birth certificates must be obtained from the Louisiana State Archives or the Office of Vital Records, the sole custodians of these records.

The Louisiana Division holds death certificates for Orleans Parish only. Researchers may make copies of these records in house, but we do not supply them by mail. Long-distance users of the guide must obtain copies of death certificates from the Louisiana State Archives or the Office of Vital Records.

Indexing and ordering information for for births and marriages in Orleans Parish and Louisiana deaths is available on the Louisiana State Archives' website.

Records of the Day Column

Reports of births, marriages and deaths were carried in the "Records of the Day" column of the Times-Picayune.

The data published in the "Records of the Day" column was supplied to the newspaper by the Recorder of Births, Marriages, and Deaths, a city agency under the New Orleans Board of Health. When the city's separate vital records registry was taken over by the State Vital Records Office in 1974, publication of the "Records of the Day" column was discontinued.

Within the last several years, though, publication of some birth data has been resumed by the Times-Picayune, usually in the Thursday or Sunday "Our Town" or "Picayune" section. These birth listings are irregular, and date of birth is not given. Even in the pre-1974 publication, dates of birth were not listed. One should not assume that a birth listed in the newspaper of October 11, 1947, for example, took place on October 10. The "Records of the Day" column generally did not appear in the Sunday or Monday editions of the newspaper.