Birth and Death Records
The General Assembly of Virginia passed a law requiring the official recording of births and deaths in 1853. Every county Commissioner of Revenue registered births and deaths in his district annually, at the same time that personal property subject to taxation was ascertained. The commissioner recorded births and deaths that had occurred prior to December 31 of the preceding year and returned the record to the Clerk of Court by June 1. Information was obtained from heads of family, physicians, surgeons, or coroners.
The Clerk of Court in each locality entered the information supplied by the commissioner into registers and prepared an accompanying alphabetical index. A copy of each register was forwarded to the auditor of public accounts. The law went into effect on July 1, 1853, and continued until 1896, when an economy-conscious legislature repealed the recording provisions.
Learn more about the history of Virginia Vital Statistics records from the Library of Virginia.
The Fairfax Circuit Court Historic Records Center holds Birth and Death registers for:
- 1853 – 1869
- 1870 – 1897
- 1912 – 1917
The Birth and Death registers have been indexed and the information can be accessed using our card catalog in the Historic Records Center.
- No birth or death records exist at the court prior to 1853.
- No births or deaths were recorded in Fairfax County between 1860 and 1865 due to the Civil War.
- The 1870 – 1897 Birth and Death Registers consist of oversized sheets and are incomplete. Due to the size and fragile nature of these registers, we cannot make copies from the original documents.
- No law existed in the Commonwealth of Virginia for recording births and deaths between 1897 and June 1912.
- After 1917, the recording of births and deaths transferred to the Virginia Department of Health .
Please see the Marriages link under Finding Aids.