Mississippi Public Records

Mississippi’s freedom of information law is the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983, Miss. Code Ann. § 25-61-1 et seq., which governs which public records are subject to disclosure and how to make an open records request in the state of Mississippi. In Mississippi, public records include all books, records, paper, or any other type of documentary material that has been used, prepared, possessed or retained for use in the conduct, transaction, or performance of any government business. For a record to be discoverable, it must be a non-exempt record, and it must be identifiable. Some types of records that are exempt are records that would impede criminal investigations, reveal the identity of informants or witnesses, put safety at risk for people identified in the records, or impact the right to a fair trial. While the government must make records available, they can charge a reasonable cost for them; only make them available for inspection or copying during regular business hours; and specify mode, time, manner, and place of access.

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Public & Vital Records for Counties in Mississippi

More About Mississippi

Mississippi is a rare state, in that its population and size are proportionate. It is the 32nd most-populous state and it has the 32nd largest population in the United States. It is in the American South, bordered by the Mississippi River on the west, Alabama on the east, and the Gulf of Mexico on the south. While it is not considered an economic leader among the states, it does play a critical role in American culture. It is considered the birthplace of blues music. Mississippi’s historic economy was built on agriculture and it is still a largely rural state that has a significantly agricultural economy. Generally ranked low in measures such as education, income, and health, Mississippi finds itself with a changing-population because many from Mississippi find themselves traveling out of the state to find economic opportunities. Therefore, if you are running a background check on someone in Mississippi, you may need to consider looking at other states, as well.


Public Records in MS

Although Mississippi’s Public Records Act ensures access to certain types of public records, that does not mean that it makes such access easy. As with most states, people seeking public records in Mississippi need to go directly to the agency that creates, maintains, or possesses the record. Mississippi does not have a single repository for public records. Mississippi’s public records can be divided into the following three broad categories: vital statistics, criminal records, and property records.

Property Records

There are three main types of property records: land records, deed records, and property tax records. While all three of these types of records fall under the general “property record” umbrella, they actually describe different types of records, which can give you different types of information about land ownership. Land records usually refer to records that contain the original grant of the land from the state, federal, or other governmental entity to the original property owner. Deed records include information about transfers from private property owners to other property owners as well as encumbrances on land, such as liens or mortgages. Property tax records not only tell you whether tax has been paid on a parcel, but also the amount of tax, taxation rates, a description of the property, and ownership records.

Land Records

Mississippi is what is known as a federal-land state, which means that private property ownership generally began as grants from federal governments. The different granting governments include France, Spain, and the United States. The Bureau of Land Management maintains a record of federal government purchases, which may also be available through the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History may also have details. Once land was owned by individuals, those transactions were recorded either at the county courthouse or by the chancery clerk.

Property Tax Records

While the Mississippi Department of Revenue has information about Mississippi property tax rates, millage, and other frequently asked questions about property taxes in Mississippi, it does not provide a single portal to property taxes in Mississippi. Local county tax assessors and tax collectors are responsible for maintaining tax records for each county in Mississippi. You can find contact information for them on the Department of Revenue’s [list of tax assessors and collectors](http://www.dor.ms.gov/Property/Documents/Tax Assessor and Tax Collector.pdf).

Deed Records

In Mississippi, records that are known as deed records in other places may be referred to as Chancery Land Records. That is because the chancery clerk is responsible for recording records of land transactions between private individuals, including deeds, mortgages, and liens. To locate these records, you need to go to the chancery clerk’s office in the county where the land is located.


MS Vital Records

The Mississippi State Department of Health Vital Records Department is located at 222 Marketridge Drive, Ridgeland, Mississippi. This office maintains access to vital records for events that have occurred throughout the state. In Mississippi, vital events include births, deaths, and marriages. Divorces are not considered vital records in Mississippi.

Birth Records

You must fill out an application to order a birth certificate in Mississippi. Only certain people are entitled to order birth certificates, and photo i.d. will be required to prove that you fit into one of those categories. You can request a birth certificate via the mail, by ordering online or over the phone using a credit card, or by going to the Mississippi State Department of Health Vital Records Department during normal business hours.

Death Records

Death certificates are available through the Mississippi State Department of Health. You can order them by mail, in-person at the Vital Records Department, over the phone, or online. Only certain people are entitled to certified death certificates, and you must prove your identity to get the death records.

Marriage Records

There are two ways to get marriage records in Mississippi. Marriages in Mississippi that occurred from January 1, 1926 to June 30, 1938 and from January 1, 1942 to the present are maintained at the Mississippi State Department of Vital Statistics. They are also maintained at the local circuit clerk in the county where the marriage occurred. To order marriage records, you can go to the Vital Records Department in person, order online, order by phone, or order by mail.

Divorce Records

Although Mississippi does not maintain divorce records at its Vital Statistics Office, it does have divorce indexes that can be searched, covering the same time period as the marriage records. This search will help you locate the county where the divorce occurred, as well as the book and page number in the Chancery Clerk’s office where the divorce decree was recorded.

Learn About Criminal Records in Other States


Learn about Mississippi criminal records or read about public records in another state from the list below: