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How to Find Birth Certificate Information

by Kayla Richard

Birth certificates provide national statistical data that is combined with other data from marriage and divorce certificates, death certificates and census data. Because birth certification is registered with the government, you can get an official copy of your birth certificate if you lose or ruin the original. You may need a copy of your birth certificate for a variety of reasons like applying for a passport or Social Security card, to register for school, or for life insurance.

You can obtain a copy of your birth certificate from the state where the record was originally filed. You have to know your birthplace to get an official copy of your birth certificate. Ask a family member if you don't know your birthplace.

Each state makes its own rules about how birth certificates and other vital records can be ordered. Find out what you will need to send or bring to get a copy of your birth certificate by checking the National Vital Statistics System website, which tracks and posts the rules for every U.S. state.

You can order a copy of your birth certificate from the National Vital Statistics System website. Select the state in which you were born and the National Vital Statistics System will show you what documentation you need to order a copy online. Your photo ID is usually one of the requirements.

Regardless of how you apply for a copy of your birth certificate, you will need to pay a fee. The price varies by state, but is roughly between $10 and $30 as of 2010.

If you are looking for birth information on a family member for genealogical purposes, contact the vital statistics office of the area where the person is thought to have been born and see whether you can obtain a genealogy record. Laws, procedures and fees vary by state. You will likely need to have the name, names of parents, birthplace and reason that you want the birth information.

Tip

  • There are a plethora of websites, like VitalChek and VitalRec, that will help get copies of vital records for a small fee. While it is usually less expensive to contact the government agency directly and order the information yourself, you may enjoy the convenience of ordering your records online.

Warning

  • If you were adopted, you can obtain your adoptive birth certificate, which takes the place your original birth certificate after you are adopted. On the adoptive birth certificate, your biological parents' names are replaced with your adoptive parents' names. In some states, you may also be able to obtain a copy of your original birth certificate.

About the Author

Kayla Richard has been writing from Rochester, N.Y., since 2007. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English writing arts from SUNY Oswego and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from SUNY Brockport.

Photo Credits

  • birth marriage and death image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com