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Alaska Genealogy

There are fairly strict privacy restrictions for state documents in Alaska, so you may find it difficult to get many standard records. Even so, there are many things to know about researching Alaska genealogy. Most official state records will date from 1913 but some creative searching can find older material that that.

Alaska Vital Records

Vital records are the most restricted, though if you are looking for your own records or those of a close relative, you may not have that much problem. There is a 100 year privacy restriction on both birth and death records in Alaska, so you can only get records if they are for an immediate relative or for yourself until that much time has passed. Marriage records are even tougher as they are only given out to the parties on the certificate or their legal representatives, regardless of how old the record is.

If you are permitted to have the documents, the procedure for ordering them is pretty simple. You just need to send a request form, along with the search fee. Then a certified copy of the record is sent back to you in about 3 weeks, unless you are at the counter and then you just have it handed to you while you are there.

The office in charge of this material is the Bureau of Vital Statistics, and their website allows you to download the forms for printing. They have offices in Juneau, Fairbanks and Anchorage. For mailing applications, send the papers to Juneau. In-person requests can go to any office.

Along with the completed paperwork, you need to send a photocopy of your own government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license) and the current search fee. The fee for all 3 kinds of vital records is $25, and that is not refunded if the records are not found.

Other Sources for Alaska Genealogy

Because there are restrictions on getting official vital records, you may have to turn to other sources for information on Alaska genealogy.

The Alaska State Historical Library is a good source for archived newspapers, which can lead to quite a bit of birth, death and marriage information and is available to anyone. They also have collections of historical books, photographs and many other types of records. Many indexes can be searched from their website but you will need to either visit the library in person or contact them to get actual copies of any documents. Many are on microfilm.

You can also contact local churches to find additional material. They have records going back to the early 1800s in some cases though that will depend on the church and the region. The State Archives has some of their records collections in their possession for easier access.

Genealogy Societies

And don't forget the resources from other people also looking into Alaska genealogy. The Alaska Historical Society is one that covers the entire state, though they cover all forms of history rather than just genealogy. There are also several smaller groups for the counties within the state. Fairbanks and Anchorage also have their own societies.

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