Genealogical Research in Arizona

Carrying out genealogical research can take up time and some resources. In Arizona, many resources are available to help discover your ancestry. Genealogical research can be rewarding, and you will learn about the stories, achievements, and history of your ancestors. 

Researchers will need to gather and sort a lot of information to trace their family line. It is ideal to work your way from the present to the past. The records of each person you find will shed light on their family history and help you discover more past generations. Begin by collecting information and relevant items from present family and friends. Furthermore, inquire about the family traditions, old pictures, journals, documents, and newspaper clippings that may have details on the family. 

Documenting the information you gather is very important. Ensure that you use research notebooks and charts to document your findings and log the timeline of live events (birth, death, marriage) that you are aware of. 

The Arizona State Library, Archives & Records is a great site to discover resources to assist you in your genealogical research. Access to old records and documents not considered confidential by the law are available on the platform. Visit the Genealogy Information Portal site to access various state and third-party resources that assist you in your genealogical research.  

Obtaining Arizona public records, including personal records, court records, and business records can be useful in the research. Personal records include:

Adoption records: Adoption records can be helpful in genealogy research. Identifying information and non-identifying information about adoptees are important. However, access to adoption records is limited because they are sealed records in Arizona. Find out more about how to get adoption records on the child-welfare site

Arizona adoption records are confidential for 99 years, but with the Confidential Intermediary Program, individuals can reconnect with adoptees that are immediate family members. If the record is older than 99 years, you can contact the Arizona State Archives to obtain it or send a request and get it from the state court that handled the proceedings.

Birth Records

While doing genealogical research, it is important to confirm and document the birth timeline of family members you discover. The birth records for births that occur within 75 years are kept by the Bureau of Vital Records of the Arizona Department of Health Services. You can order online or send a request to the mailing address:

Mailing Address

PO Box 6018

Phoenix, AZ 85005

You will also have to confirm your eligibility to get a copy of a birth certificate. For genealogy purposes, researchers must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Applicants must not be younger than 18 years of age.
  • Applicants must present valid documentation that shows their relationship to the owner of the record they wish to obtain (This could be a birth certificate, death certificate, marriage certificate, or any document that confirms their relationship).
  • Some information about the owner of the record must be provided to facilitate the finding of the record in the applicable electronic registry system.
  • The department does not accept pedigrees, lineage charts, and family trees as proof of the relationship between the applicant and the person named on the record.
  • The application must have the signature of the applicant. 
  • Applicants must provide a valid, government-issued identification document with their name and signature on it.
  • Applicants must also pay the associated fees for the process.

If a birth record is 75 years after the date of birth, you can use the Arizona Genealogical Search site to find it. Users need to input the full name, mother’s maiden name, and date of birth on the site to retrieve the results.

Death Records

 The Department of Health Services provides death records in Arizona. There is limited access to the general public spanning 50 years from the death event. However, It becomes an unrestricted public record after 50 years. 

You can find death records in Arizona by ordering online from the Bureau of Vital Records. Ensure that you qualify under the bureau’s eligibility requirements (same with birth records). 

The Arizona Genealogical Search site is also suitable for finding older death certificates maintained by the Arizona State Archives. 

Divorce Decrees and Marriage Certificates

The Superior Court in the county where the divorce proceedings occur is responsible for maintaining the records generated from the case. The court also keeps records of certificates for marriage licenses issued in the county. Interested persons can find recent divorce records or marriage records by requesting them from the clerk of the court in the county the event occurred. The process involves writing the request or form (if available) and submitting with required documents or information. Certain fees for the delivery may apply. 

Older divorce decrees and marriage records filed before the year 1950 may be gotten from the State Archives. However, confirm from the clerk’s office if they can provide the older files or you will need to contact the state archives. 

Naturalization Records: Naturalization records can provide you with information on how your ancestor became a citizen of America and they settled down in Arizona. Most naturalization records before 1906 that contain information on naturalizations granted in Arizona are available by contacting the Record Management Center of the Arizona State Archives.

You can find records on Naturalizations granted by the federal courts via the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). You can send a request for the records with the details of the event, including the possible date of entry in the county and of the naturalization.  

Arizona Newspapers

Newspapers can be a valuable contribution to your geological research. You can obtain stories regarding events involving your ancestors and information about them. You can find out their achievements, occupations, and other pieces that are useful to your research

Arizona newspapers at the state research library are either in print or digital forms. Print newspapers are available at the library from Monday to Friday, during the open hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding Arizona holidays.

Polly Rosenbaum Archives and History Building 

1901 W. Madison Street 

Phoenix, AZ, 85009 

Phone: (602) 926-3870

If you wish to find digital newspaper copies, microfilm collections, and databases, the state research library site has useful resources for this in the newspaper section.

Arizona Biographical Database

This database is searchable and can provide the listing of persons that appear in Arizona records, including the state’s collection of newspapers, periodicals, books, and tributes. The search tool allows users to type the name and perform a search. Results on the search will provide the full name, record source, location, page source, dates, and subject of the information of the person of interest.

However, the database does not contain everyone listed in a public record or include all the available records in Arizona.