Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Ups and Downs Of Ordering Vital Records

I've started to focus on a different branch of my family recently, and have been ordering a bunch of vital records. The records have been as varied as the states they have been ordered from. It seems my people moved around a lot.

So I've been reflecting a lot on the rules for ordering from different states. There are certain states that are impossible, others semi-difficult, a few that are expensive, some that make the process simple but you wait awhile for the outcome, and still others that make it all seem effortless. Honestly, it makes my hair hurt and reach for the chocolate.

The state I've been tangling with recently is Colorado. They want a photo i.d. (not unusual) with the application, along with $17.00 (not too bad), and proof of relationship. The last requirement can make it tricky, especially if you are ordering death certificates for a gg grandfather and a ggg grandmother. Now I understand the public's fear of identity theft, but these are death certificates.... for people who have been dead a long time. So short of sending in a DAR-like lineage application, I sent in the application just stating my relationship. Then I waited to see what would happen. It got sent back (I wasn't surprised) saying that a "family tree would suffice." Really? I think this is strange. Also, what's the point? Couldn't somebody just make up anything? Well my response was to shrug, hit print for the pedigree chart in my lineage software, and send it all back. I'm waiting for the results.

In my personal opinion, I think California has a fairly decent system. When ordering a vital record, you can either order a "certified copy" or an "informational copy." For the certified copy it has to be notarized and you have to provide a little extra information. The informational copy doesn't require much other than your relationship to the person. Each record has the same information, however the informational copy has a huge red stamp across it saying "Informational copy." I'm fine with the big red stamp. I can still read the record and it doesn't interfere with what it contains. The waiting time for records can be long with California being anywhere from 6-10 weeks.

So Colorado and California, I'm waiting......with a large bowl of leftover Halloween candy (sigh).

1 comment:

  1. I am completely in the same phase! Sometimes the requirements are crazy! I am awaiting a death certificate from Pennsylvania which should arrive today or tomorrow. (I was contacted by email on Monday for more information to discern my guy from a few others with the same name.) I ordered the death certificate on July 19 and was told it would take 18-20 weeks so they beat the estimate. It only cost $9.00. Fingers crossed that his parents' names are on it or my brick wall is probably unscalable as I have almost exhausted every other avenue and he has a frightfully common name. Sigh.