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Where can I search for free public records?
Arizona birth records are made public 75 years after the date of birth, while death certificates are made public 50 years after the date of death. Marriage and divorce records filed prior to 1950 may be held by the Arizona State Archives, depending on the county in which they were filed. It’s not always easy to find free public records, but many vital records in Arizona are freely accessible to the public. If you are prepared to devote substantial time to reviewing records, you can browse Arizona’s archives of birth, marriage, and divorce certificates.
Are Arizona Vital Records Open to the Public?
In Arizona, many state records are publicly accessible, but the access depends on the certificate type and the year when the birth, death, or marriage occurred.
Third-party websites can help you research specific types of vital records. These websites can provide good points of reference and are convenient as they are typically not limited by geographic location. However, the information on these websites is not always consistent with official government records. To search for a record on a third-party website, you must provide the following:
- The location of the record you’re looking for, including the city, county, or state where it was recorded.
- The name of the person on record, if it is not a minor.
Arizona residents have the right to inspect or obtain copies of public vital records under the Arizona Public Records Law.
How to Verify if Your Vital Record is Official
Vital records vary from state to state, county to county, and municipality to municipality. You can check the document’s appearance to ensure you have the official certified copy of your birth, death, or marriage Certificate. One way to differentiate between an official (authorized) copy and an informational copy is to look for a stamp or large printed text on the face of the document that says something like “Informational, Not a Valid Document to Establish Identity.”
What Are the Differences between Authorized Copies Versus Informational Copies?
Only certified copies of vital records constitute legal documents that serve as official identification. Informational copies are for personal reference and can not be used for identification purposes. Therefore, only those with a “direct and tangible interest” in a vital record can order certified copies of the certificate.
In Arizona, informational copies of vital records are essentially unofficial (non-certified) copies of birth, death, or marriage certificates.
While informational copies provide similar details as the authorized (long form) copies (such as names, dates, and locations), they cannot be used for official purposes like establishing identity, obtaining a passport, or proving eligibility for benefits. Instead, informational copies are typically used for personal record-keeping or genealogical research.
Anyone can obtain informational copies, regardless of their relationship to the individuals named on the record. No proof of identity or notarized sworn statement is required to request informational copies. In compliance with the Arizona Public Records Law, citizens are legally entitled to inspect or obtain copies of public records.
Find more references regarding birth, death, and marriage certificates in the resources section.