Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ordering Vital Records

This morning I mailed off applications for vital records for ancestors of my husband. I was prompted by the posting at GenealogyBlog a few days ago that mentioned that there was a bill before the Colorado State legislature that, if passed, will prevent access to Colorado marriage records. Ridiculous! Of course, the reasoning behind this bill is identity theft and terrorism prevention, but once, again, paranoia has driven things too far! I can understand protecting records that are less than 50 or even 60 years old...but tell me how restricting access to marriage records that are 100 years old will prevent identity theft and terrorism? I can see it now...members of Al-Quaida are meeting to figure out a way to get counterfeit ID, and decide they will use Norm's great-grandparents' marriage record of 1907 to show proof of residence and thus citizenship. Oh, wait...that couple married 101 years ago! So I guess that member of Al-Quaida looks a little young to be married in 1907! Nevertheless, we must protect our citizens. Quick, shut down access to public records in the name of Homeland Security!

OK, off my soapbox. I ordered a marriage certificate from Colorado for John Franklin Midkiff, Sr. and Margie Ethel Tolliver; a birth record for Helen Mary Westaby (Norm's paternal grandmother) from Montana; and a death certificate for John Franklin Midkiff, Jr. (Norm's paternal grandfather) from Washington (State). To get applications, I simply went to www.co.gov, www.mt.gov, and www.wa.gov. I looked for "vital records" or "public health" links on the main pages of each website. All three sites were user-friendly, and I was able to find what I needed right away. If I hadn't been able to, I would have looked on the main page for a link to a site map, or done a site search.

I chose mail-in applications which I printed (all were .pdf files which I viewed with Adobe Acrobat) over online applications, which used third party businesses and were rather expensive. The mail-in applications may take some time, but they were reasonably priced. I didn't pay more than $17 apiece for the certificates.
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