Oklahoma Birth and Death Record Searches
Oklahoma began accepting birth and death records for filing in October 1908. The filing of these records became mandatory in 1917. However, the practice of filing birth and death records with the state did not become routine until the 1940’s when they began to be used for identification purposes.
- Birth Records: There are no timely filed birth records on file prior to October 1908. There are a limited number of “delayed” records for births occurring prior to October 1908. A delayed birth is a record filed more than one (1) year after birth.
- Death Records: There are no death records available on file that occurred before 1908.
Effective Nov. 1, 2014, Oklahoma Legislature has determined that records of births that occurred more than 125 years ago and records of deaths occurring more than 50 years ago should be open record. Applications, payment and identification must be provided, but no proof of eligibility is required for those records. A full list of acceptable identification documents and the items that can be used to establish relationships are posted on-line at http://vr.health.ok.gov.
Effective Nov 1, 2014, all non-sealed records of births that occurred more than 125 years from the current date will be open record, as will all records of deaths occurring more than 75 years prior to the current date. No proof of eligibility will be required for those records. An application, photo ID and fees will still be required.
For all other records, records may only be released to eligible applicants (see section below). This is due to the sensitive nature of the information contained in the records, as well as the risk of emotional and financial harm that can occur to families if sensitive data were openly released.
Depending on which type of record is requested, these records contain information which can be used to steal an identity or may contain information which is very personal to families such as a birth to a teen mother, some parental identifications, and sensitive causes of death.
Sealed birth records, i.e. adoptions, require a certified copy of a court order to open.
Eligible applicants must be working in the best interest of the subject of the record.
- The subject (or parent of the subject of the record if a minor) may obtain the record directly
- All others (spouse, grandparent, children, etc.) should bring a signed authorization from the subject of the record and a copy of the subject's ID
- Legal representatives will need to provide a proof of legal relationship, i.e. court order, client agreement, etc.
- Applicant must provide proof of familial or legal relationship, i.e. birth, death or marriage certificates; court orders, legal will and testament, contracts, etc.
Genealogists will need written permission from the subject (if alive) or a family member if the subject is deceased. Proof of relationship between the family member and the deceased will be required. If the subject is deceased and the state of Oklahoma was not previously notified, you will be required to provide a copy of the death certificate.
63 O.S. Sec. 1-323 (Effective Nov 1, 2016)
A. To protect the integrity of vital statistics records, to ensure their proper use, and to ensure the efficient and proper administration of the vital statistics system, it shall be unlawful for any person to permit inspection of, or to disclose information contained in, vital statistics records, or to copy or issue a copy of all or part of any such record except to:
- The person who is the subject of the record
- A parent named on the record or a person acting with the parent's permission
- Somone acting with permission of the person who is the subject of the record
- Someone acting as a legal representative of the estate of the person who is the subject of the record
- Someone acting as a legal representative of a person involved in a probate of the estate of the person who is the subject of the record, as demonstrated by affidavit
- An attorney licensed to practice in the United States who demonstrates by affidavit that the record is necessary in order to administer a client's estate
- Someone in receipt of a court order from a court of competent jurisdiction ordering access to the record
- The Attorney General or to any district attorney upon request in the course of a criminal investigation
- Only in the case of a death certificate, a funeral director
- A representative of the Department of Corrections, when the subject of the record is under supervision of the Department of Corrections
- Any other person working in the best interest of the subject of the record, as determined by regulations of the State Board of Health
B. The State Department of Health shall, by July 1, 2017, make available an online public index that includes, as is applicable, the name, gender, date of birth, date of death, county of birth, and county of death of all persons in its records. Birth data shall not be added to the index until twenty (20) years after the birth. Death data shall not be added to the index until five (5) years after the death. The index shall be made available online at no cost to users.
OK2Explore is a free searchable index of births and deaths that occurred in the state of Oklahoma.
- Search by type of event (birth or death), date of event, county of event, name of the subject and sex of the subject
- Identify whether a record is on file with the Department of Vital Records in Oklahoma without paying a search fee
- Information from records of births occurring in Oklahoma 20 or more years ago and records of deaths occurring in Oklahoma five (5) or more years ago
Searching to see if the record is on file through OK2Explore is a different process than ordering the record once it has been identified. If you would like to order a record, a non-refundable search fee of $15 per record is required before locating the record and issuing a copy. Additional copies may be obtained for $15 each.
Request a search by submitting a completed application online, over the phone or through the mail with a valid identification/photo ID, the required fees, and proof of eligibility.
Please note, eligibility rules will still apply for non-open records.
Short Courses on Searching Techniques
Ancestry.com has short instructional videos that may be value to you when looking at different types of records e.g. changes to census over the years, military draft documents, passports, birth/death records, etc.
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Vital Records Service
PO Box 248964
Oklahoma City, OK 73124-8964
Phone: (405) 426-8880