Kentucky Public Records

Kentucky’s Open Records Act dates back to 1976, when the General Assembly enacted the Kentucky Revised Statutes §§ 61.870 to 61.884, known collectively as the Open Records Act. The purpose of the Act is to establish a right of access to public records, which allows anyone to inspect any nonexempt public record and to seek enforcement of the act if denied access. The Open Records Act defines public records as those records maintained by state and local government agencies, including bodies that may not be entirely governmental but that receive at least 1/4th of their funding from a state or local authority, entities where most of the governing body is appointed by a public agency, and boards that are established, created, or controlled by public agencies. The term “records” refers to any type of saved data, including emails, databases, and other electronically generated or stored data, including data that is not maintained on an agency’s premises. There are fourteen exemptions to public access to records, and, if data does not fall within an exemption, then the Act applies to it.

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Public & Vital Records for Counties in Kentucky

More About Kentucky

The state of Kentucky is actually the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It is one of four commonwealths in the country. It is the 26th most-populated state, but the 37th largest in terms of physical size. It has two major cities, Louisville and Lexington. Kentucky is considered part of the east-south-central part of the United States. Remember, when searching for background checks on people in Kentucky that you may want to search for information on them in neighboring states as well.


Kentucky Vital Records

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services maintains vital record information for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Kentucky Vital Statistics Law required Kentucky to begin maintaining a record of births and deaths in 1911; older records may not exist and are not held at the state level. In Kentucky, central registration of both marriages and divorces began in June 1985; the Office of Vital Statistics will not have records prior to June 1958.

Birth Records

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Service’s Office of Vital Statistics maintains birth records for births occurring after 1911. You may get those records by visiting the office in person, ordering them online through VitalChek, or ordering them by mail. Expect delays from May through September, which is peak birth certificate season.

Death Records

The Office of Vital Statistics has death records going back to 1911. You can order them in a variety of ways: online, by mail, or in person. Death records may be delayed if there is a delay in the funeral home filing the original.

Marriage Records

Records for marriages that occurred in or after June 1958, are available through the Office of Vital Statistics, but for records for marriages before that time, you must contact the county clerk of the county that issued the marriage license.

Divorce Records

The Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Family Services has records for divorces that occurred in June 1958 or later, but does not have full divorce decrees, just registration of the divorce. For further information about the divorce or for divorce records prior to that date, you must contact the county circuit court that granted the divorce.

Learn About Criminal Records in Other States


Learn about Kentucky criminal records, KY Property Records, or read about public records in another state from the list below: