Search Public Records
Where can I search for free public records?
In the state of New Hampshire, birth certificates become accessible to the public after a period of 100 years, while death and marriage certificates become available after 50 years. Although finding free public records can be challenging, many vital records in the state of New Hampshire can be obtained freely and efficiently by the public. If you’re looking for specific information, you can search through the state’s birth, marriage, and divorce records archives. However, be prepared to devote significant time to reviewing records.
Are New Hampshire Vital Records Open to the Public?
While most state records in New Hampshire are public, access to these records will depend on the type of record you’re looking for and the year of the birth, death, or marriage.
If you’re looking for specific types of vital records, third-party websites can make it easy to research. These websites are not limited to your geographic location and can provide a good reference point when analyzing records.
It’s important to note that data found on third-party sites may differ from official government records.
To find a record on a third-party website, you need to provide:
- the location of the record, including the city, county, or state where it was recorded,
- and the name of the person on the record if they are not a minor.
New Hampshire residents have the right to inspect or obtain copies of public vital records under the New Hampshire Right-to-Know Law.
How to Verify if Your Vital Record is Official
To confirm that the vital record you possess is the official certified copy of a birth, death, or marriage certificate, you can compare it with the official, certified documents in the county where it was issued. Each county and municipality in New Hampshire designs and issues unique vital records, so it depends on the municipality or agency that issued the certificate. You can differentiate between informational and certified copies by looking for a stamp or large print across the document that reads “Informational, Not a Valid Document to Establish Identity” or something similar. To confirm that your certificate is a certified copy,
What Are the Differences between Authorized Copies Versus Informational Copies?
Authorized (certified) copies of vital records are legal documents that can be used for official identification. These copies are only issued to individuals with a “direct and tangible interest” in the document. It’s important to note that informational copies cannot be used to establish identity.
Short-form, unofficial (non-certified), “heirloom,” or “commemorative certificates” are copies of birth or marriage certificates that are intended only for display or personal reference purposes. They cannot be used for official purposes such as establishing identity, obtaining a passport, or proving eligibility for benefits. Informational copies are not official legal documents and are typically used for personal record-keeping or genealogical research.
Applicants are still required to provide an accepted form of identification when requesting a heirloom birth certificate in compliance with the Right-to-Know Law. Citizens have the right to inspect or obtain copies of public records.
New Hampshire offers non-certified heirloom birth certificates, but the recipient of the certificate must be able to meet the state’s access requirements. If you are not eligible to obtain a record for a friend or loved one, you may purchase an informational certificate as a gift, entitling the eligible recipient to receive a copy. The state has one application for all non-certified certificates, including Stillborn/Fetal Death Certificates, Affidavit of Paternity, and Pre-adoption Birth Record.
Find more references regarding birth, death, and marriage certificates in the resources section.