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To protect the rights of others, there are standard laws which govern vital records. Although the Federal Government mandated that the states should maintain vital records at the end of the 1800s, compliance was not achieved in all the states until much later. In addition, some states did not mandate that birth, marriage, death, or divorce records be centralized at the same time or in the same manner.
For example, Alabama's birth and death records were centralized at the state level in 1908 while marriage records were not centralized until 1936.