Maine Public Records
In Maine, access to information is covered by the Maine Freedom of Access Act and the Maine Open Meeting Law. The Maine Freedom of Access Act is a series of laws is designed to ensure public access to public records compiled, maintained, or created by government bodies in Maine. The Maine Open Meeting Law is part of the Maine Freedom of Access Act, and not a separate law, like in some states.
The Maine Freedom of Access Act is located in Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, Title 1, Chapter 13. Under this law, anyone can request public records, without a statement of purpose. In addition, the law does not restrict the use of public records. However, one interesting facet of the law is that, while it imposes a five-day period of time for an organization to reject a records’ request, it does not provide a time limit on how long they have to comply with the request.
The Mine Freedom of Access Act defines public records as “any written, printed or graphic matter or any mechanical or electronic data compilation from which information can be obtained, directly or after translation into a form susceptible of visual or aural comprehension, that is in the possession or custody of an agency or public official of this State or any of its political subdivisions, or is in the possession or custody of an association, the membership of which is composed exclusively of one or more of any of these entities, and has been received or prepared for use in connection with the transaction of public or governmental business or contains information relating to the transaction of public or governmental business." The law specifically exempts certain types of records, including: university administrative committees, some records from the legislature, and documents pertaining to current law enforcement investigations.
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Public & Vital Records for Counties in Maine
More About Maine
Maine, located in a region of the northeastern part of the United States usually referred to as New England, is the country’s 38th largest state, with the 41st largest population. It is not densely populated, especially compared to some of its nearby states, and it is bordered by New Hampshire to the west, and Canada to the north. It is the easternmost state in the contiguous United States, and is almost part of the Great Lakes region. The capital of Maine is Augusta, but its most populous city is Portland.
Maine is a popular tourist destination because of its beautiful and diverse scenery. It is known for its fishing industry, particularly lobster and clams. While Maine does not have the same thriving economy that draws visitors to other states, it does have industries that can lend themselves to temporary workers. Therefore, if you are looking for a background check on someone in Maine, be prepared to search in other areas, as well.
Public Records in ME
Maine’s official state website, www.Maine.gov, serves as a portal to a number of different types of public records in the state, including history, statistics, and birth/death records. You can also email a Maine state public librarian for the website, with questions about how to research and access public records in the state.
There are three basic types of land or property records that you find in the United States: land records, deed records, and property tax records. Maine has all three different types of records, but they may differ from the records that you would find in other parts of the United States, since Maine was literally still part of the Great Britain when the modern system of property ownership began.
Land records, which may also be known as land grant records, is a term that generally refers to a very specific type of property record. It references the original conveyance from the government or other organizing body to the original property owner. In Maine, these land grants occurred on or near the Revolutionary War. You can find information about them in the Revolutionary War Land Grants and Pensions Applications located in the Maine State Archives.
Property Tax Records
In Maine, property tax records describe land, detail owners, describe property boundaries and improvements, tell tax rates, and can tell you if tax payments are current. You access Maine property records through the County Registries of Deeds. You can find information on how to access those registries at the State of Maine Revenue Services County Registries of Deeds page.
In Maine, you can find deed records, which record conveyances of land between individuals as well as any encumbrances impacting land, at the local County Registries of Deeds. In addition, the Maine Registers of Deeds Association maintains an official deed registry for the state.
ME Vital Records
Vital statistics is a catch-all term that refers to different events that states determine are critical occurrences, which can provide important information about the state’s population. In Maine, the Division of Public Health Systems Data, Research, and Vital Statistics handles the collection and distribution of vital statistics and vital records throughout the state. It has records on births, deaths, fetal deaths, marriages, and divorces from January 1, 1892 to the present. It also handles acknowledgments of paternity, adoption, legal name changes, domestic partner registry, and an adoption reunion registry.
You can order birth records online, by phone, in person, or by mail. To order online or by phone, contact VitalChek. To order in person, walk into the Vital Statistics Office in Augusta and order in person. To order a birth record by mail, you must send a $15.00 payment for the first copy, and $6 for each additional copies, as well as a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Vital Records, 11 State House Station, 220 Capitol Street, Augusta, ME 04333-0011. In addition to the payment, you must include the following information in a birth record request: name on the birth record, date of birth, city or town where the birth occurred, the mother’s maiden name, the father’s name, your relationship to the person for whom you are requesting a birth certificate, and a daytime phone number.
You need the same information for a death records request whether ordering in person at Vital Statistics, online or by phone with VitalChek, or by mail. To mail an order a death record, you must send a $15.00 payment for the first copy, and $6 for each additional copies, as well as a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Vital Records, 11 State House Station, 220 Capitol Street, Augusta, ME 04333-0011. You must also provide: the name of the decedent, the date of death, city or town where the death occurred, your relationship to the decedent, and a daytime phone number.
To order a marriage record, you must send a $15.00 payment for the first copy, and $6 for each additional copies, as well as a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Vital Records, 11 State House Station, 220 Capitol Street, Augusta, ME 04333-0011. You must include the following information: the bride’s maiden name, the groom’s name, the date of the marriage, the city or town where the marriage occurred, and a daytime phone number. You can also order marriage records through VitalChek using a credit card, or by walking into the Vital Records Office and making an in-person request.
You can order divorce records three ways: walking into Vital records with a cash or check payment, in the mail, or using VitalChek, which partners with the state of Maine to provide vital records. VitalChek is the only way to use credit cards for divorce records. To order a divorce record in the mail, you must send a $15.00 payment for the first copy, and $6 for each additional copies, as well as a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Vital Records, 11 State House Station, 220 Capitol Street, Augusta, ME 04333-0011. You must also include the following information: the names on the divorce record as they appeared at the time of the divorce, the date of the divorce, and the name of the city/town where the divorce occurred.
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ME State Agency Websites
- Attorney General
- Birth Records
- Business Entity Records
- Campaign Finance
- Crash Reports
- Criminal Records
- Death Records
- Divorce records
- Driving Records
- Election Related Records
- GED and HiSET Records
- Incarceration Records
- Legislation and Statutes
- Marriage Certificates
- Sales Tax Registration
- Sexual Offender Registry
- State Archives
- State Judicial System
- UCC Records
- Vehicle Records
- Watercraft Records
- Workers Compensation