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.

12 comments:

Duncan said...

Thanks so much for the tip! I was just getting ready to order a bunch of certificates.

PalmsRV said...

I love frugal.

Cathy

Miriam said...

Me too, Cathy, me too! Thanks for dropping by!

Miriam said...

Duncan, glad to be of help. Check first to see if the FHL has microfilmed any of those certificates. It may be more economical to order two microfilm rolls of certificates--if available that way--than the individual certificates themselves.

Charles Hansen said...

Washington State sets the price of birth and death certificates, and the counties must charge the same. Check the LDS as they have Birth certificates on film from 1907-1954 and death certificates from 1907 to 1961. Before 1907 birth and death certificates should be online at the Digital Archives. Marriage certificates are mostly online and are held by county auditors. Each auditor sets the price for marriage records.

Miriam said...

Thanks, Charles!

Holly said...

Don't do either, ask me and I will go to the Muskegon County Court house on my lunch hour!

Harriet said...

Thanks for the information! I'll have to check into my state.

Joan said...

Also, sometimes when I am talking with the county records folks in more rural areas, I find that they impart a lot related information --- kinda like "real folk" talking to one another.

Miriam said...

Good point, Joan!

T.K. said...

And then there's the time I went to a local office for a marriage record and was handed the original from 1915, which had never been picked up!

Lovin' the frugal tips, Miriam. Looking forward to more of this series!

Miriam said...

Very cool, T.K.! They actually let you take it? Wow!