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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 either 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.

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

* Write to the appropriate office to have your request filled.

* Under the appropriate office, information has been included for birth and death records concerning whether the State will accept checks or money orders and to whom they should be made payable. This same information would apply when marriage and divorce records are available from
the State office. However, it is impossible for us to list fees and addresses for all county offices where marriage and divorce records may be obtained.

* Type or print all names and addresses in the letter. Give the following facts when writing for birth or death records:

1. Full name of person whose record is being requested.

2. Sex.

3. Parents' names, including maiden name of mother.

4. Month, day, and year of birth or death.

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

6. Purpose for which copy is needed.

7. Relationship to person whose record is being requested.

* Give the following facts when writing for marriage
records:

1. Full names of bride and groom.

2. Month, day, and year of marriage.

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

4. Purpose for which copy is needed.

5. Relationship to persons whose record is being requested.

* Give the following facts when writing for divorce records:

1. Full names of husband and wife.

2. Date of divorce or annulment.

3. Place of divorce or annulment.

4. Type of final decree.

5. Purpose for which copy is needed.

6. Relationship to persons whose record is being requested.


Foreign or high-seas births and deaths and certificates of citizenship


Birth records of persons born in foreign countries who are U.S.citizens at birth


The birth of a child abroad to U.S. citizen parent(s) should be reported to the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy as soon after the birth as possible. To do this, the child's parent or legal guardian should file an Application for Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America

The application must be supported by evidence to establish the child's U.S. citizenship. Usually, the following documents are needed:

1. the child's foreign birth certificate;

2. evidence of the U.S. citizenship of the parent(s) such as a certified copy of a birth certificate, U.S. passport, or Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship;

3. evidence of the parents' marriage, if applicable; and

4. affidavit(s) of the physical presence of the parent(s) in the United States.

Each document should be certified as a true copy of the original by the registrar of the office that issued the document. Other documents may be needed in some cases. Contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for details on what evidence is needed.

When the application is approved, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America is given to the applicant. This document, known as the Consular Report of Birth, has the same value as proof of citizenship as the Certificate of Citizenship issued by the
Immigration and Naturalization Service.

A Consular Report of Birth can be prepared only at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas, and only if the person who is the subject of the report is under 18 years of age when the application is made. A person residing abroad who is now 18 years of age or over, and whose claim to U.S. citizenship has never been documented, should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance in registering as a U.S. citizen.