Vital records are those documents that provide an important milestone or event in each of our lives. These records include legal certificates of your birth, marriage, death, and court documents of any divorces. Each of these vital records provides not only documentation of the event, but they are equally important in other ways after the event.
People search for vital records for many reasons, including but certainly not limited to:
• Verifying family history (genealogy)
• Locating an individual
• Background checks on individuals
• Providing proof of a death for insurance purposes
• Obtaining a driver’s license
Where to Begin Your Search
Searching for vital records can be a challenge. The good news is that if you know the state and county in which the event took place, you can contact that government agency, such as a county courthouse, registrar, or state office of vital statistics, and request access to these documents. Usually there is a small fee and forms to complete for the request. The bad news is that if you do not know the state or county, your search could take longer.
State-Specific Searches Available Online
Thankfully, there is more good news. In our current digital age with databases connected through a worldwide network of computers, you can still obtain vital records with diligent research and by using the right resources.
State and county agencies can be contacted via the internet where you can make your request. A good place to start looking for the proper state vital records agency is by using the state-by-state resource provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w.htm. Here you can click on the state you need and find specific offices for each vital record.
Other Online Resources
However, where do you go if you only have a name and not a clue where the vital event took place? There are many companies that provide a valuable service by searching for vital records. One resource is www.vitalchek.com, which is a company owned by LexisNexis, the world’s leading research organization. VitalChek offers you an easy, step-by-step process to order your vital record. At the end of your order, you simply pay the required agency fee, plus a single VitalChek order fee, and your document will be on the way.
Another online resource for all vital records is www.archives.com. This resource is helpful for family searches and genealogy, and it has over 1 billion records accessible. In addition, you can browse collections of records, network with other family history buffs, and get expert vital record search advice. Archives.com does charge a reasonable subscription to access their records, but they also offer a free 7-day trial where you can try searching their databases with no payment obligation.
Your vital records search, whether it is for yourself, a family member, or other individual, begins at your fingertips. Using these online resources can save you time, stress, and money, and get you the records or information you need.