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Mississippi Genealogy

As a state, Mississippi began collecting most times of vital records in 1912 though it took until 1921 for it to be a consistent collection. If you are in need of Mississippi genealogy material, you can get access to several different types of records.

Mississippi Vital Records

Most people start with vital records, which are the state registrations of births, deaths and marriages. They are not fully open to the public and there are some privacy restrictions in place. The time period for birth records is 100 years, but it is only 50 years for death records. During these times, you can only get a certified copy of a record if you are an immediate relation (parent, child, spouse, sibling, grandchild or grandparent).

Records after their privacy time has passed can be issued to anyone (no relationship necessary) but you get a "plain paper copy" and not a certified one. They are specifically intended for Mississippi genealogy purposes.

The Vital Records office can grant requests for these records, typically back to 1912. If you need older documents, you can try the local county clerk's office (where the birth or death took place). You will also have to contact the county office if you need a marriage record because they are not held by the state.

The Vital Records office is in Jackson, and you can either mail your request or take it to their service counter. At the counter, you get while-you-wait service, but through the mail is will take around 3 weeks. You will have to submit your completed application form (download-able from the Department of Health website), your own personal ID and the current search fee. Birth and death records are both $15 each, and the fee is non-refundable if your record is not found.

Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Aside from the official collection of vital records, you can continue looking into Mississippi genealogy at the Department of Archives and History.

Their collection of historic material includes court documents, military records, Dawes rolls (Native American records), census records, old photos and maps, state and county government documents and a large collection of personal manuscripts and published historical books.

The archives are located in the William F Winter Archives and History building in Jackson. They are open to the public Monday through Friday (usual business hours) and most Saturday mornings. If you cannot visit their reading room yourself, you can make a request for some limited research done for you by staff.

Mississippi Genealogy Groups

The Mississippi Historical Society is the main state-wide group even though they cover more than just genealogy. There are also a number of smaller groups for individual counties or other regional areas.

Joining these types of groups can really boost your genealogy studies. Networking with others who are researching in the area can lead to obscure records that you would never find on your own, and there are usually private collections of material within the group.

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