An official certificate of every birth and death should be on file in the locality where the event occurred. The Federal Government does not maintain these records. They are filed permanently in a State’s vital statistics office or in a city, county, or other local office.
The National Center for Health Statistics maintains an online list of links to every State’s and territory’s vital records resources. To use this valuable tool, first determine the State or area where the birth or death occurred. When you have that information, click on Where to Write for Vital Records, then click on the State or area you want.
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 birth or death occurred. Addresses and fees are given for each type of event in the State or area concerned. Because all fees are subject to change, a telephone number has been included in the information for each State so that you can verify the current fee.
For all requests, make your check or money order payable to the identified office, in the correct amount for the number of copies requested. Do not send cash because the office cannot refund cash lost in transit.
Type or clearly 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.
- 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.
- Your relationship to person whose record is requested.
- Your day-time telephone number with area code.
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