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Guidelines for Ordering Vital Records in the United States
Please remember, following these guidelines can greatly assist you in your search for records!
Make your letters concise and to the point. Do NOT include more than one or two requests at once, and be careful not to write confusing details of your family lines.
Provide complete information on an individual and event for which you need documents. Include all names that may have been used, including nicknames, alternate spellings, etc. List dates and type of event as completely and accurately as possible. If you don't know the exact date, specify the span of years you wish searched and be prepared to pay for searches that span several years.
Patience pays! Unless you already know the # of pages in a deed, or the exact cost of a document, don't send a specific amount of money in cash or a check. It is appropriate to send a signed, BLANK check, however, with a notation written, (preferably in red ink), UNDER the "$__________" line of the check which states, "Not to exceed $5.00", or any amount you wish to specify. If you don't care to do that, you will need to make your first letter a statement of what records you need and a request for them to send you a statement of charges. You can then send a check for the exact amount in a second letter.
Always provide an S.A.S.E., (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope).
County and State offices have limited personnel and are often swamped with paper work. Genealogical queries are done as a service which is outside of their realm of responsibility. They ask therefore that you exercise patience and courtesy in your transactions with their offices.
When you write for a birth certificate be sure and include following information:
When you write for a death record be sure and include following information:
When you write for a copy of a marriage license be sure and include following information: