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Sending for Birth-Marriage-Divorce-Death Records

It helps to have one location for information on getting vital records. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a full listing online of all fifty states plus the US Territories of Guam, Samoa, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Canal Zone, Mariana Islands, including the District of Columbia. Here clearly and neatly listed for each location is how and where to to get each of the vital records, from births to death certificates.

With each location, an explanation is provided about dates for certain records plus the costs or fees to get copies. If special instructions are necessary, such as having written permission from a living relative or a copy of a photo ID, those are written out. A complete mailing address is also furnished.

When available, an Internet link is also supplied so you can go directly to that state’s web site that has additional ordering information. Some places, especially territories might surprise you on how far back their records go. For the island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean it has birth and death records going back to 1901.

Since it was not common or required to make official birth and death records until the late 19th century or even into the early 20th century, some records start in 1913 for births and 1930 for death such as in North Carolina. Even very old states such as Massachusetts has its records starting in 1916. Not know which dates are available is why such a complete listing of all American locations is essential.

They also have about getting divorce records. You might not think this type of information is of great importance, but it is. I have solved two major family mysteries by getting copies of divorce records. Each provided the proof on some totally previously unknown family history that was not in any other record – marriage, obituaries, etc. Divorce papers are official government documents so the information is something to use as a primary source.

Keep this listing bookmarked for easy reference.

Photo:  1891 Marriage Record

Related Articles at

* Divorce Records in the States

* Musts in Genealogy

* Genealogy Standard of Proof

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