Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Frugal Genealogy: Records

If you must order an individual vital record, the county clerk’s office is generally a bargain over the state’s vital record department. For instance, I can order a birth record from the State of Michigan online and it will cost me $22.50 plus shipping - or $26 if I order by mail. However, if I order the same birth record from the Muskegon County Clerk, it will only cost me $15.00.

Yes, the birth record from the state will arrive on fancy certificate paper, whereas the record from the county clerk will not. However, I know both the county clerk and the clerk at the state office are required to verify the accuracy of the record before they send it out. Paying $7.50 - 9.00 more for the same record to be printed on certificate paper to prove they did so is not worth it to me.

This won't work in every situation, dependent upon which years' records were kept at the county level versus the state level, the laws of each particular state in regard to vital statistics, and the accessibility of vital records to the public.

This post is part of a ten-part series on Frugal Genealogy, based on my most-requested presentation, "Frugal Genealogy, or How Not to Spend a Fortune on Your Family Tree." Each post in this series will focus on one of ten topics I discuss in my presentation, and I freely share one tip from each topic. If you would like me to speak to your group anywhere in the Pacific Northwest on this or any other subject, please contact me.

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