On Monday, 9 January 2017, the Oklahoma Department of Health launched OK2Explore, a new vital records website, before a standing room only meeting of the Oklahoma Genealogy Society in Oklahoma City. The new website which can be found at https://ok2explore.health.ok.gov/ is the result of a public agency working closely with the non-profit state genealogical society so family history researchers can now search Oklahoma vital record indices for free.
The new vital records index includes death records occurring more than 5 years ago and birth records occurring more than 20 years ago. Knowing when someone was born and died helps a genealogist differentiate people by the same name, establish a timeline for the individual, and determine in which counties additional research is needed. OGS President Mike Birdsong remarked “We certainly respect the privacy rights of living and recently deceased Oklahomans, and feel this index is a good balance between protecting privacy and researching family records.”
2016 legislation authored by Representative Elise Hall and Senators David Holt and Anastasia Pittman now allows full death records to be public after 50 years and birth records to be public after 125 years. The genealogical community thanks Kelly Baker, OSDH Registrar of Vital Records for her leadership of this project which was delivered six months ahead of the deadline.
Certified copies can be ordered from the website if eligibility requirements are met.