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Where can I search for free public records?
Nebraska birth and death records become public after 50 years from the individual’s death. However, Nebraska marriage records are kept confidential indefinitely. While searching for free public records can be challenging, many vital records in Nebraska are available to the public for free. You can browse through Nebraska’s archives of birth, marriage, and divorce records to find the information you need, but be prepared to spend a significant amount of time reviewing the records.
Are Nebraska Vital Records Open to the Public?
In Nebraska, most state records are available to the public. However, the accessibility of these records depends on the type of record you are looking for and the year when the birth, death, or marriage occurred. Several third-party websites are available that are not limited to your geographical location to make it easier to research specific types of vital records. While these websites can provide a good point of reference when researching records, it’s important to keep in mind that the data on third-party sites may differ from official government records.
To find a record on a third-party website, the person requesting must 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.
Birth and death records are made available to the public under the Public Records Statutes.
How to Verify if Your Vital Record is Official
Vital records vary by state, county, and municipality. Depending on where your Birth, Death, or Marriage Certificate was issued, it may be helpful to compare the appearance of your documents to official certified copies to ensure you have the correct version. One way to distinguish informational copies from certified copies is to look for a stamp or text on the document that indicates it is not valid for establishing identity. To verify whether your certificate is a certified copy, you can check the official documents in the county where it was issued.
What Are the Differences between Authorized Copies Versus Informational Copies?
Authorized or certified copies of vital records are considered legal documents and can be used for official identification purposes. Alternatively, informational copies cannot be used to establish identity. It is also worth noting that certified copies of vital records are only issued to individuals with a “direct and tangible interest” in the document.
When you request a copy of a birth or marriage certificate for informational purposes, it is known as a short-form, unofficial (non-certified), “heirloom,” or “commemorative certificate.” You are not required to provide a Sworn Statement when requesting an informational copy. Informational copies are not official legal documents and, therefore, cannot be used for official purposes such as establishing identity, obtaining a passport, or proving eligibility for benefits. Instead, they are intended for personal reference or display and are often used for personal record-keeping or genealogical research.
In Nebraska, citizens have the right to inspect or obtain copies of public records in compliance with the Nebraska Public Records Statutes. Only one form of non-certified/commemorative certificate is available: a commemorative birth certificate for non-viable births. These certificates are not available for regular births. If you order a commemorative birth certificate for a non-viable birth, it is important to note that it is not proof of a live birth. The commemorative certificate is commemorative in nature and has no legal effect. The department will not register the birth associated with a commemorative certificate issued under this section or use it to calculate live birth statistics.
A commemorative certificate cannot be used to establish, bring, or support a civil cause of action seeking damages against any person or entity for bodily injury, personal injury, or wrongful death for a non-viable birth. The following statement will appear on the front of the commemorative certificate: “This commemorative certificate is not proof of a live birth.”
Find more references regarding birth, death, and marriage certificates in the resources section.