Vital Records FAQ

Vital Records Questions & Answers


1. How do I obtain copies of birth, death, fetal death, marriage, divorce, and domestic partnership records?

By law, Maine birth records less than 75 years old, marriage records less than 50 years old, death records less than 25 years old and fetal deaths less than 50 years old are considered to be private. In order to inspect these documents, or to obtain copies, an individual must prove that they are permitted by law to do so. Those authorized to view or obtain a copy of a vital record include:

  • The person named on the record,
  • The person's spouse or registered domestic partner,
  • The parent(s) named on the record,
  • Descendants of the person named on the record (including children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to the most remote degree),
  • The legal custodian, guardian, or authorized representative of the person named on the record, and
  • Genealogists who have a researcher card issued by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Data, Research and Vital Statistics.

Click here for our Vital Records Request Form

Effective July 12, 2010, all individuals requesting copies of these records must present positive identification and, if requesting the record of a parent or grandparent and you are not a registered genealogist, proof of direct lineage.

Registered genealogists may only obtain a non-certified copy of a record, unless they can meet the above requirements for obtaining a certified copy. They may only view or obtain a copy of a birth, death, or marriage record.

Birth records 75 years or older, marriage records 50 years or older, death records 25 years or older and fetal deaths 50 years or older are considered public records and informational copies can be issued to anyone requesting them.

2. Why do I need to present positive identification when requesting a record?
While most requests for vital records are honest attempts to obtain one's own personal documentation, some are not; some are attempts to obtain information and documents needed to assume another person's identity. These documents can be used to obtain a driver's license, state photo ID, social security card, and passport under the assumed name, opening the door to credit card, bank and tax fraud; mail theft, and social security and insurance fraud. The requirement that you provide positive identification when requesting a copy of a record helps to protect you and your family from this type of crime.

3. What are acceptable forms of identification?
Acceptable forms of identification include a driver's license, passport or other government issued photo identification.

4. What if I do not have an acceptable photo ID?

If you do not have acceptable photo identification, you may present two items with your name on it from the following list: a utility bill, a bank statement, a car registration, a copy of an income tax return, a personal check with address, a previously issued vital record or marriage license, a letter from a government agency requesting a vital record (for example, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services), a Department of Corrections identification card, a Social Security card, a DD214, a hospital birth worksheet, a license or rental agreement, a pay stub (W-2), a voter registration card, a Social Security disability award letter, a Medicare or Medicaid insurance card, and a school or employee photo ID. Other forms of identification listing your name, date of birth, and address may also be considered.

5. How would a person demonstrate direct lineage?
In order to prove direct lineage when requesting records concerning your parents or grandparents, a copy of your birth certificate will identify your parents. If your parents were married, this document can be used to obtain a copy of your parents' marriage record, which should identify your grandparents.

Other acceptable proof of direct lineage could include a hospital or physician's record of birth or death, a baptismal record, school enrollment records, military records, court records, a family bible record; a newspaper engagement, marriage or birth announcement; an obituary, a U.S. Census enumeration record, an insurance application, or an affidavit.

6. How do I obtain a genealogical researcher ID card?
In order to obtain a genealogical research ID card you have to apply to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Data, Research and Vital Statistics. You can find a link for the application on the Vital Records website Public Forms section listed as Application for Genealogical Research.

7. How much do records cost?
To obtain a certified copy of a vital record the cost is $15.00 for the initial record and $6.00 for each additional copy ordered at the same time.


How to Order Maine Vital Records

Walk-in requests can be processed either at the West Bath Town Office, with payment by cash, check, or credit card. Or through Vital Records at 220 Capitol Street in Augusta, Maine, with payments by cash or check only.

  1. Request your vital record online this service will require payment by credit card.
  2. Written request through the mail with payment by check or money order. Please enclose a copy of your photo ID and a long, self-addressed, STAMPED envelope with your request.

To contact Vital Records, please call (207) 287-3771, or toll-free at 1-888-664-9491 (option 1).


Informational Guide To Conducting
Genealogy Research in West Bath, Maine

Genealogy is the number one hobby in America today. As a result, municipal clerks offices receive numerous requests each week for information. Requests are received in person, in the mail, via email and over the phone. Municipalities have different polices regarding conducting genealogy research - some charge by the hour, some charge per search. This pamphlet is developed with the intent to provide information to citizens conducting genealogy research on ancestors from West Bath, Maine.  Specific questions regarding office policy for genealogy research in West Bath should be directed to the West Bath Town Clerk at (207) 443-4342 or by email to townclerk@westbathmaine.gov.

Helpful Hints:

  1. Prior to 1892, towns were not required to file records of birth, marriage and death. Some towns have records before 1892, but these are not a complete recording of events.
  2. From October 1967 to September 1985 the town of residence was not entitled to a copy of the birth certificate from out-of-wedlock births.
  3. Unsure where the event took place? Begin by contacting the state (The Maine State Archives in Augusta); they maintain copies of records from every town in Maine.
  4. Be sure to check family bibles, city directories, obituaries, old maps, old photographs, town history books and old newspapers of information.
  5. State Archives keeps a list of professional genealogists who will provide research for a fee.

Town of West Bath Municipal Records:

There is no public access to birth, marriage or death records in the Town of West Bath. Birth, Marriage and Death records for West Bath date back to the late 1800s. Records before 1892 are not a complete listing.

Fees (which go to the cost of book restoration):
  1. All fees are to be paid in advance.
  2. There is an initial search fee of $5.00 for the first name, and a then $1.00 for each additional name listed in the request. If a record is found, the fee includes a photocopy with a note This is not a legal document written on the copy.
  3. For a legal certified copy of birth, death or marriage records there is a fee of $10.00 for the 1st copy and $5.00 for each additional copy requested at the same time (if original record is available).
  4. Make check payable to the Town of West Bath.
  5. Include all known information with the written request – name(s), maiden name, dates, location, etc.

 Office hours are:  Monday - Friday  8:30 to 4pm

Contact Information:
Town Clerk
219 Fosters Point Road
West Bath, ME 04530
Phone: (207) 443-4342
Fax:      (207) 443-3256

Other local sources of genealogy records are:

Patten Free Library Genealogy Room/Bath Historical Society
33 Summer Street, Bath ME 04530

Maine Maritime Museum
243 Washington Street, Bath ME 04530

Sagadahoc County Register of Probate
(Adoptions, wills, legal name changes)
752 High Street, Bath ME 04530(207-443-8218)

Sagadahoc County Register of Deeds

(Land records, property deeds, and titles to property)
752 High St, Bath ME 04530


State Level Resources:

Maine State Archives
(Birth, marriage and death records for each town in the State from 1892 - 1922)
84 State House Station, Cultural Building, Augusta, ME 04333-0084.
Search Room (207) 287-5788
State Records Center (207) 287-5792

Office of Vital Statistics
(Birth, marriage and death records for each town in the state from 1923 - present.
Also maintain divorce records from state courts. Will accept credit cards.)
211 State St, Augusta, ME 04333-0011. (207) 287-6490

Regional and National Resources:

Maine State Historical Society
Center for Maine History
Library Research Center, 485 Congress St., Portland ME 04101

National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution
Exclusive cemetery indexes, data from graves of Revolutionary War soldiers, and more.

New England Historic Genealogy Society Boston
Nation's oldest society. (617) 536-5740

Military records, Old Census records, Ship's Passenger Lists, etc.

Mormon Church Records
http: //www.familysearch.org

Helpful Internet Websites:

Cyndi's List of Maine Genealolgy Sites.
http://www. cyndislist.com/me.htm

National Archives site - census records from 1790 -1920 military records Revolutionary War to WW1; military pension records; passport applications back to 1795; ship passenger lists; naturalization; more

Links to state and county information.

Includes Social Security Death Index -find death records by date of death or SSN; databases; more

Family History Library, Church of the Latter Day Saint/Mormons, Salt Lake City

Good place to start genealogy research if you were adopted.

Local History and Genealogy Reading Room, Library of Congress

Online newsletter

National Genealogical Society
The Internet’s oldest genealogy site - lets you see who is looking for the same surnames you are.