Search Public Records
Where can I search for free public records?
Connecticut birth certificates become public records after 100 years, but death and marriage certificates are unrestricted. If you are at least 18 years old and have the information needed to request the record, you can pay the fee and obtain a copy of any death or marriage certificate. It can be challenging to find free public records, but many vital records in Connecticut are freely accessible to the public. If you can devote the time to browse, you can search Connecticut’s archives of birth, marriage, and divorce records to find the information you want.
Are Connecticut Vital Records Open to the Public?
In Connecticut, the majority of state records are open to the public. However, accessibility varies depending on the type of certificate you’re looking for and the year the event took place.
Various third-party websites can facilitate your vital records research. These websites are good reference points, as they allow you to research specific types of vital records and are typically not limited by geographic location. Note: the data on these websites may differ from official government records. To search for a record on a third-party website, you will need to provide the following information:
- 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.
Connecticut residents have the right to inspect or obtain copies of public vital records under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act.
How to Verify if Your Vital Record is Official
Vital record certificates can vary by state, county, and municipality. To confirm that your certificate is a certified copy, you can check what the official, certified documents look like in the county where yours was issued.
What Are the Differences between Authorized Copies Versus Informational Copies?
In Connecticut, there are visual differences between Authorized Copies of Vital Records and Informational Copies. Authorized Copies are official certified copies of the original record and can be used to establish identity. They have the raised seal of the issuing authority and are printed on security paper. On the other hand, Informational Copies are not valid for establishing identity and are typically marked as “Informational, Not a Valid Document to Establish Identity” or something similar. These copies are often used for informational purposes and do not contain the raised seal or security features found on Authorized Copies.
Certified copies of vital records are official identification documents that require proof of eligibility and a “direct and tangible interest” in the document. They can be used as official identification and may contain sensitive information such as social security numbers. Obtaining certified copies can be more difficult compared to informational copies, which are uncertified and cannot be used as official identification.
When requesting a certified birth certificate or a certified death or marriage certificate that includes social security numbers, it is necessary to provide valid identification. Without proper verification of identity, the request will be rejected and returned without processing.
Informational copies of vital records in Connecticut are uncertified and cannot be used as official identification. They are typically easier to acquire compared to certified copies. Informational copies do not require proof of eligibility or a “direct and tangible interest” in the document. They may have limitations on their use and may not be accepted for certain legal purposes. They are sometimes referred to as “Uncertified copies” or “commemorative documents” of vital records.
No paperwork is necessary to obtain informational copies of a public vital record. Under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, citizens have the right to inspect and obtain copies of public records.
Find more references regarding birth, death, and marriage certificates in the resources section.