To begin your search for vital records you will need to know some basic information:
- the full name of your ancestor
- the approximate date of the event
- the approximate location of the event
With your request you should also include:
- your relationship to the individual named on the certificate
- the purpose of your request
- your full name, address and telephone number
- your signature
With the burgeoning interest in genealogy, some vital records departments just do not have the staff to carry out extensive searches. They may require more exact information than what I have just mentioned in order to provide you with a certificate. Be sure to take the time to research the specific requirements of the office you are contacting with your request before you waste your time and theirs. Fees and turn-around time to receive the certificates will also vary widely from location to location.
The locations of vital records vary depending upon the country, region, state, county or city. Here are some guides to get you started.
Where to Get Vital Records for:U.S. States & Territories
Information on where to obtain vital records (birth, death, marriage, divorce and adoption) for each of the 50 U.S. states and the U.S. territories of the Canal Zone, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Includes Web sites, addresses, fees and links to major online searchable indexes (when available).
England & Wales
A guide to birth, death, and marriage records in England and Wales including how to locate the records, how to obtain certificates from both the UK and abroad, what information is included on the certificates, and what to do if you can't locate a record for your ancestor.
Civil registers are the most important genealogical resource in France. Learn what information the records include, where to find them and how to write letters of inquiry in French.
Learn where to find records of births, marriages and deaths in each of the Canadian provinces and territories including the dates available, addresses, fees and online databases.
Find birth, death and marriage certificates for your Australian ancestors including addresses for record repositories and the dates available in each state.
Dutch civil registration records are very important for Dutch genealogical research. Learn how to obtain copies of the certificates of birth, marriage, and death, and about the availability of online indexes.
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