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How to Find Public Records in Vermont

Public Records Search: Vermont State Archives

The Vermont State Archives is operated under the office of Vermont’s Secretary of State. Under various guises this agency began to keep records in 1779 and today provides a wealth of public information. By visiting vermont-archives.org researchers have access to a wide variety of records and information that may be obtained electronically via the internet or by visiting the Vermont State Archives at 26 Terrace Street, Montpellier, VT 05609.

The Vermont archival website can be searched by the various links and menus located on the main page, but the simplest way to navigate this site is to click on the “site map” button located on the left side of the main page. This page is organized by simple headings and links for everything contained on the site. Many archives site prove difficult to navigate because they do not post a site map. However, searching Vermont’s site is quite facile.

The site map is organized by major headings that correspond to the main page’s menus. These headings are as follows: About Us, Research, Government History, Managing Records, Publications, APA Rules and Notary Public. Beneath each of these headings are sub-categories that researchers may easily click and visit to obtain the necessary information.

The Research category is where most people searching for records will need to visit. Researchers have the option to obtain research assistance. The site maintains a listing of contacts in various areas along with the individual’s email address. Among the list, researchers in need of court records, genealogy information, archival information, etc…can direct their requests to these professionals.

When requesting staff assistance or reproductions there is a fee schedule that the public should be aware of:

“For staff time involved in physically duplicating a record, $.33 per minute after the first 30 minutes. For senior-level staff time, and information technology specialists' time spent extracting data from databases or performing similar tasks necessary to comply with a request to create a new public record, $.57 per minute. For any other staff time for which cost can be charged and collected under this section, $.45 per minute. For photocopies, $.05 per single-sided page, $.09 per double-sided page for pages up to 8.5 by 14 inches. For color photocopies, $1.00 per single-sided page. For computer-generated paper copies, $.02 per page for pages up to 8.5 by 14 inches. For computer diskettes, $.28 each for 3.5-inch diskettes. For compact discs, $.86 each for write-once CD w/case, $2.31 each for re-writable CD w/case. For audio tapes, $.81 each. For video tapes, $1.69 each. For DVD's, $2.00 each for write-once DVD w/case, $4.00 each for re-writable DVD w/case.”

The Vermont State Archives contains the following records (and more): Manuscript Vermont State Papers, Naturalization records, Vital records, Civil War records, and many other types of genealogy records along with photographs, newspapers, etc…Some of these records may be searched online like the Naturalization records that are located on the Record Series Database.

Of course, not all records are currently archived online which means that a research specialist must be contacted in order to procure the necessary records—unless of course you are able to physically visit the archives. The hours of operation are listed as Monday through Friday from 7:45 A.M to 4:30 P.M.

However, among the online capabilities researchers enjoy at this site is the link to the Series Database Search. This page offers data entry fields whereby researchers may enter keywords like marriage, birth, court, land deed, etc…and procure where such records or collections of records are kept by the archives. For instance, a simple search of “deeds” pulls up information about railroad deeds, state deeds, leases, contracts, maps, etc…Researchers will also learn where these documents are archived—even if not at the State Archives.

The Vermont Archives contains many noteworthy photographs from the 1920s through the 1990s. It also has many photographs before 1920 but the collection is not as thorough and appears more scattered. This area is often of considerable interest for genealogists who require images along with records or other documents.

Until all records are archived online and may be obtained through searchable databases, locating and procuring public records is still labor-intensive and filled with bureaucratic obstacles in the form of confusing procedures and policies. Vermont’s State Archives, does, however offer a navigable website and clear guidelines for the procurement of public records and information.

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