vital-record

How to Get Vital Records

It can seem overwhelming to deal with government agencies, especially when you’re requesting something as important as a vital record. Knowing in advance what to do can make the process much easier. Here, the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the federal Centers for Disease Control, shares the best ways to get the records you need.

An official certificate of every birth, death, marriage, and divorce should be on file in the locality where the event occurred. The Federal Government does not maintain files or indexes of these records. These records are filed permanently in a State vital statistics office or in a city, county, or other local office.

To obtain a certified copy of any of the certificates, write or go to the vital statistics office in the State or area where the event occurred. Addresses and fees are given for each event in the State or area concerned.

For a complete list of state offices with addresses and telephone numbers, click here.

To ensure that you receive an accurate record for your request and that your request is filled as quickly as possible, follow the steps outlined below for the information in which you are interested:

For all requests, make check or money order payable to the identified office, in the correct amount for the number of copies requested. Sending cash is not recommended because the office cannot refund cash lost in transit. Call the agency to make sure you are sending the correct amount; fees can change.

Type or print all names and addresses in the letter.

Give the following facts when writing for birth or death records:

Full name of person whose record is requested.

Sex.

Parents’ names, including maiden name of mother.

Month, day, and year of birth or death.

Place of birth or death (city or town, county, and State; and name of hospital, if known).

Purpose for which copy is needed.

Relationship to person whose record is requested.

Daytime telephone number with area code.

Give the following facts when writing for marriage records:

Full names of bride and groom.

Month, day, and year of marriage.

Place of marriage (city or town, county, and State).

Purpose for which copy is needed.

Relationship to persons whose record is requested.

Daytime telephone number with area code.

 

Give the following facts when writing for divorce records:

Full names of husband and wife.

Date of divorce or annulment.

Place of divorce or annulment.

Type of final decree.

Purpose for which copy is needed.

Relationship to persons whose record is requested.

Day time telephone number with area code.

Additionally, keep a copy of any request with your records.

 

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