Researchers should be aware that in New Hampshire, birth, marriage, and death records were recorded by each town from the date of its formation. At first the town clerk usually recorded these somewhere in the town record books. In most towns early vital records are scattered throughout the early record books and coverage is often quite spotty. In Lebanon probably less than 25 percent of all births were recorded before the Civil War and coverage is only slightly better after that. Coverage from the 1890s onward tend to be more comprehensive, but only those records before 1901 are accessible for public viewing.
Marriages and Deaths were somewhat more regularly recorded, but be advised that not all marriages that took place in Lebanon in the 19th Century were recorded in the town records. If you cannot find record of a marriage or birth in the town record, you might find a record of a marriage or death in one of the parish registers at the church were the marriage or burial occurred or in the record books of the cleric who officiated.
Original Vital Records, City Clerk’s Office
At present, records of Births before 1901 are accessible to researchers from two sources. The original record is filed at the Lebanon City Clerk’s Office and may be consulted in the lower level of City Hall. Contact Sandra Allard, City Clerk (603) 448-3054.
For further information see
More recent birth records have restricted access and you should consult the City Clerk’s web page for criteria and fees.
Marriages and Deaths
Marriage and Death Records up to 1961 are currently accessible to the public. Original records may be consulted at the City Clerk’s Office (see Births, above). The City Clerk also has records after 1961 but these are restricted. Contact the City Clerk for possible access and fees for copies.
State-wide Vital Records in the Vault of Bureau of Vital Records
Beginning about 1905, copies of birth records were sent by each town to the Bureau of Vital Records in Concord, where they were indexed by surname with records from all towns in New Hampshire. These records are normally accessible during business hours Monday-Friday. Volunteers are on duty to help you find the records you are searching for if they exist. The Genealogical Vault Bureau of Vital Records used to be located in the State Office Complex on Hazen Drive. But the vault was temporarily closed to the public on 21 Dec 2006 to allow staff to move the records and offices to their new facility at 71 South Fruit street, Concord (adjacent to the State Archives). The new Vault is now open to the public. You may contact them directly at (603) 271-4651 or view their web page
The Bureau of Vital Records has the following records:
Births Records before 1901
Marriage Records before 1948
Death Records before 1948
Divorce Records before 1948
Disinterment Records before 1948
Marriages records are indexed by groom’s surname, and then by first name.
There are bride indexes on microfilm in the vault that may be consulted to find the groom’s name, which will then allow the researcher to find the full record.
A Word of Caution: Early vital records are often quite incomplete and may contain inaccurate information. Birth records may have been submitted to the Town Clerk by a physician, a midwife, or a parent (or other relative). Clergymen or Justices of the Peace typically reported marriages to the Town Clerk, but they may not have correct names or places of residence in the notes they turned over to the Town Clerk. Death Records also contain numerous inaccuracies.
Later records are more complete, particularly during the 20th Century when the State began to issue forms for recording vital record data. But all of these records are only as good as the information provided by an informant.
Early Vital Records in the Early Town Record Books
Another source for early Vital Records in Lebanon up to about 1825 is in Town Record Books, that were the source for the information in the Bureau of Vital Records. About 1917 the State Legislature took steps to preserve the early history of New Hampshire towns by requiring that each Town Clerk send its Town Record Books to the State House, where they were copied by hand into other books. Then the original records were sent back to the Town Clerk. The Copies of these books have been microfilmed and every individual named in them has been indexed. For many years this index was typed on index cards for each individual giving the page number for each mention of the person at town meetings, tax rolls, registration of ear marks for cattle, as well as vital records. A few years ago the Index was microfilmed and the index cards are no longer available to the public. Microfilms of both the Indexes and Copies of the Town Records are available at the New Hampshire State Library at 20 Park Street, Concord, NH (603) 271-2205.
The Lebanon Public Library, at 9 East Park Street, Lebanon (603) 448-2459, also has a copy of the microfilm of the early town records, but they do NOT have the index to names in the Town Records. The Library also has a full run of the Lebanon Town Reports, which contain brief versions of births, marriages, and deaths that occurred in Lebanon from the 1880s until the 1930s.
The Lebanon Historical Society has another set of Town Reports and an Obituary file, but otherwise has NO Vital Records. (See notes under Obituaries.)