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Colorado Genealogy

Some counties have Colorado genealogy records from the mid 1800s, but the state collection of vital records didn't start until 1900. So when researching in Colorado, that's the time period you mainly have to work with. There are several sources for good material, including state vital records and the collections at the Colorado State Archives.

Colorado Vital Records

These are the birth, death and marriage records for the state and the main source for genealogical information. There are some privacy restrictions in place that will limit your access but they are not as difficult as some states.

For birth records, you must be a direct relation to the person on the record (parent, child, sibling or spouse) unless the record is more than 50 years old. After 50 years, you can be any level of relation as long as you can also prove that they are now deceased. Getting a Colorado death record is the same, except the wait period is only 25 years long. Regardless of what your relationship is, you will have to provide proof in the form of your photo ID. If you are a distant relation, they may request that you have a family tree mapped out to prove it.

Both birth and death records can be ordered from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (Vital Records Department). Their website has the proper forms for either a birth or death record request, and you can either mail them to the Denver office or visit their service counter. If you mail, there is a 3 week wait to get your papers back. If you go to the desk, you usually get your papers while you wait.

Along with the application forms, you have to pay a $17 search fee for each record you want. This non-refundable so make sure you have all the correct info about the record you want.

Marriage records are a little different. Only certain years are kept at the Vital Records office (1900 to 1939, and 1975 to the present). If you need documents for the other years, you have to make your request at the county clerk's office. Relationship requirements are not based on how old the record is, and copies will be issued to any direct relative of either parties.

Colorado State Archives

For further Colorado genealogy research, you can do find more material besides vital records if you look to the State Archives. They are located in Denver and open to the public every day except Wednesday and Sunday. Their collections of material includes census records, prison records, old city directories, court records, Civil War documents and some older vital records as well.

Their website has a large number of searchable indexes that you can use in your search but you will have to go in person to get copies of the actual records. They will do some look-ups for people who are not near Denver but there is a charge for their service.

If you are still looking for more Colorado genealogy material, the Colorado Genealogical Society may be able to give you some suggestions.

State Resources

  • A Guide to Colorado Genealogy  Look ups, societies, publications available from societies and individuals, lost female ancestors queries, and related links for genealogy research in Colorado. 

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