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Arizona Genealogy

The bulk of Arizona genealogy documents exist from around 1909 though some areas have older collections starting around 1887. There are many options for getting documents, and many different places where you can direct your research.

Arizona Vital Records

Documents on births, deaths and marriages are the cornerstone to any Arizona genealogy research and the best place to begin.

You can place a request to get a copy of most birth or death records from the State Office of Vital Records. All you need is a completed application form (available from the Arizona Department of Health Services website) as well as the current search fee. Mail these to the Vital Records office in Phoenix, or you can send the application to the local county health office (only for records more recent than 1989). Mailed-in applications take about 3 weeks but if you visit the office yourself you can usually get your documents while you wait.

The catch is that you have to be a direct relation to the person on the certificate, unless the privacy period is over. It takes 75 years for birth records to become public and 50 years for death records. After that, they are public and can be ordered by anyone.

For records that are public, you can also use the Arizona Department of Health Services website to find the records online for free. They offer a full search system that will show you digitized images of the original documents. It's a great resource for all kinds of Arizona genealogy.

Marriage records are not managed by the state, so you will have to contact the county office where the marriage took place in order to access records.

The fees for all forms of vital records will vary by county, but the typical cost is between $10 and $20 each.

Arizona State Archives

Rather than place an order with the government offices, you can also do your own research at the Arizona State History and Archives Division of the State Library. They have quite a collection of material available to the public. Located in Phoenix, you can get copies of most vital records that are beyond the privacy dates as well as many other types of documents.

Archived newspapers, maps, photographs, court records, tax records, some prison documents and military references can all be of great help to the genealogist. If you cannot visit the archives in person, their staff can do some limited searching on your behalf. You will want to contact them to find out the rules for that. Otherwise, the only costs are limited to a very small fee for photocopying.

Arizona Genealogy Societies

And finally, you should also check on the local groups for genealogy. The main one for the state is the Arizona State Genealogy Society though there are also smaller county-based groups as well. These groups can help you connect with others possibly researching the same family, or also provide access to otherwise unknown personal genealogical papers. You never know where a contact might lead.

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