Birth Records

Public birth records, including birth certificates, are required to be filed by the government in every state of the United States. It is your right to access these records. There are many public databases of public records that, for a small fee, will grant you access to these and other records. Birth Records Database and Family Birth Records are just two examples of these services.

If you want an official copy of your birth certificate, you must contact the vital records' office from the state in which you were born. You can find a list of every state's vital office information at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. If you have a photo identification -- like a driver's license or passport -- and pay a small fee, the state's vital records' office will give you a certified copy of your birth certificate, complete with the seal and signature of the state's registrar office.

You will need a certified copy of your birth certificate to obtain a marriage license, a passport and, in some states, a driver's license. You also need your child's birth certificates to register for school or youth sports. You will also need your child's birth certificate to obtain their Social Security cards.

Usually if you are an immediate family member, you are allowed access to others' birth certificates. If you are a personal or legal representative of a particular person and have a notarized letter of authorization from them, as well as their identification, you may request another person's birth record. For more details on your state's law, ask your state's vital records' office.

More Genealogy Terms defined from ParentDish:
Family Tree
Death Records
Marriage Records


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