State of Vermont. Vermont Vital Records, 1871–1908. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.
Like other New England states, in Vermont vital records were kept on the town level, and the date when formal record keeping began varied from place to place, with some records dating back to early Colonial days. A law requiring civil registration went on the books in 1779, but compliance was not universal.
In 1857, the state began requiring town clerks to create records of the previous year’s vital events and send them to the secretary of state. The state sent cards to cities and towns, where clerks filled them out with data extracted from their vital records and then sent them back. This database includes images of those cards through 1908.
For earlier years, availability may vary somewhat from town to town. There were also known gaps in early death records, and clerks were encouraged to fill these gaps with cemetery records. You’ll find these among the records with dates prior to 1870 in this database.
What You Can Find in the Records
You’ll find birth, marriage, and death records included in this database. Details vary by record type, of course, but records may contain some of the following information:
- birth date
- parents’ names and birthplaces
- maiden name
- marriage date
- date of death
- cause of death
Even if your ancestor’s record doesn’t appear in this database, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a record doesn’t exist at the town level. And it’s always wise to obtain a copy of the original record from the city or town clerk in case of discrepancies. A list of town clerks can be found on the Vermont Secretary of State website.