Virginia Vital Records Update, February 2013
The 2012 Virginia General Assembly legislation (SB 660) reduced the closed period for marriage and death records from 50 to 25 years; and marriage and death records created prior to 1987 are now available to the public through orders placed with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). The legislation also gave VDH a goal of entering into a contract with a genealogical indexing company (to index open and closed vital records, and to link open records to underlying images) by June 1, 2013, and to have an index online on the VDH and Library of Virginia websites by June 1, 2015.
VDH has been negotiating an indexing contract or contracts with Ancestry and FamilySearch, and it is expected to announce a contract before the June 1, 2013 target date. It is anticipated that Ancestry/ FamilySearch may start to index and film records in batches, perhaps starting with the oldest first (e.g., 1853-1896), and once a batch has been scanned and indexed, the original records in question will be turned over to the Library of Virginia. When a contract is announced, tentative timetables and initial batches may be announced, though these will undoubtedly still be subject to change as the original records are organized and processed.