All branches of the Washington State Library are currently closed to the public. Questions received via email, chat, and phone will be answered between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Collection items are available through your local library using interlibrary loan. All collection materials currently checked out due July 15, and the blue book drop located near our back door is available for use. For more information, please visit our page regarding the closure.
Washington State Library COVID-19 Resources
Vital Records in Washington State
Births Deaths Divorces Marriages
The Washington State Library does not have any vital records certificates in its collection.
However, many Washington counties have given the vital records they collected to the Washington State Archives. The Archives has begun to put many of the vital records in their collection up on their Digital Archives site.
Vital records collected by Washington State are held by the Department of Health.
For information about Vital Records in other States, try VitalRec.com
Some important dates in Washington State Vital Records:
- 1891 - Washington Counties are required by law to keep vital records
- July 1, 1907 - The State takes over collecting birth and death records
- January 1, 1968 - The State takes over collecting divorce and marriage records
Washington Birth Records before July 1, 1907 are held by the County Auditor, after July 1, 1907, they are held by the Health Department
Washington Death Records before July 1, 1907 are held by the County Auditor, after July 1, 1907, they are held by the Health Department
Washington Divorce Records before 1968 are held by the County Clerk, after 1968, they are held by the Health Department
- How to find Washington State MARRIAGE & DIVORCE Records handout
- WA Digital Archives - some early Washington State divorce records can be found in their Frontier Justice collection, along with other court records. A state-wide divorce index, 1969-2014 is also available (1968 not available in online index).
- WA Divorce Index 1968-2004 - on microfiche at the State Library, indexed by the name of both husband and wife (no fiche from 2005-2014).
- King County Superior Court case ledgers, 1935-1979: The King County Superior Court Clerk originally kept large ledger books that served as indexes to case files. These books were microfilmed and are now available online. To search, you must browse through images (PDF files) of the original index books, which are organized semi-alphabetically. The case file number can be used to request records from the King County Superior Court Clerk.
- For divorces between 1935 and 1967, you must search under the "General Plaintiff" index.
- For divorces between 1968 and 1979, you must search under the "Domestic" index.
- The ledgers will only provide the filing date of the case--not the final date of divorce.
Washington Marriage Records before 1968 are held by the County Auditor, from 1968 forward they are held by the Health Department