Search Public Records
Where can I search for free public records?
Finding free public records can be complicated, but many vital records in Maine are freely and readily available to the public. You can search through Maine’s archives of birth, marriage, and divorce records to find the information you want, but be prepared to devote substantial time reviewing records. Maine birth records are made public after 75 years, while Maine marriage records are made public after 50 years. Maine death records are made public after 25 years.
Are Maine vital records open to the public?
Most state records in Maine are public, but the level of access may vary depending on the type of record and the year of the birth, death, or marriage. When researching vital records, exploring third-party websites specializing in specific types of records can be helpful. These websites can provide additional information and serve as a helpful point of reference. However, it’s important to note that the data found on third-party sites may not always align with official government records.
To locate a record on a third-party website, the requester needs to provide the following details:
- 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.
How to Verify if Your Vital Record is Official
To ensure that your certificate is an official certified copy, it is essential to check the official documents’ appearance in the county or municipality where it was issued. Different states, counties, and municipalities may have varying formats for their vital records. One way to identify informational copies of vital records is by looking for a stamp or large print on the document indicating that it is “Informational” and cannot be used as a valid document for establishing identity.
What Are the Differences between Authorized Copies Versus Informational Copies?
Authorized (certified) copies of vital records are considered legal documents and can be used for official identification purposes. On the other hand, informational copies are not suitable for establishing identity. Certified copies of vital records are only issued to individuals with a “direct and tangible interest” in the document. These copies are intended for those who can demonstrate a legitimate need for the information contained within the records.
Informational copies of birth or marriage certificates, also known as short-form, unofficial (non-certified), heirloom, or commemorative certificates, are not official legal documents. They are intended for display or personal reference purposes only and cannot be used for official purposes such as establishing identity, obtaining a passport, or proving eligibility for benefits. These copies are typically used for personal record-keeping or genealogical research. According to the Maine Freedom of Access Act (FOAA), citizens have the right to inspect or obtain copies of public records. Birth records that are 75 years or older, marriage records that are 50 years or older, death records that are 25 years or older, and fetal deaths that are 50 years or older are considered public records. Informational copies can be issued to anyone requesting them. A non-certified copy of a vital record costs $10.00 and is stamped “not for legal purposes.” Individuals not listed on the record must prove their relationship or demonstrate a direct and legitimate interest in the requested record. It is important to note that the ID requirements are the same when ordering non-certified or certified copies, and they can only be obtained by authorized individuals or genealogists unless they are older than the specified time frames. There is a separate application for non-certified copies for adoptees.
Find more references regarding birth, death, and marriage certificates in the resources section.