Saturday, March 4, 2017

How to Order Birth, Marriage, and Death Records from Los Angeles County

Los Angeles County recently rolled out a new system for obtaining birth, death, and marriage records. It’s no longer as simple and easy as before, especially if you are ordering older copies of your ancestors’ records. Previously, all it took was to submit an application with a check or money order to cover the costs of copying the record. The county now requires more than just an application and money. But first, let’s look at what records are available.

Records dated after 1964, and are available immediately (same day service from the county).  

·         Birth records are available for births occurring in Los Angeles County since 1964. If the birth occurred from 1972 to 1977, the copy is not available the same day.
·         Death records are available for deaths occurring in Los Angeles County since 1995.
·         Marriage records are available for marriages where the license was issued in Los Angeles County since 1995.

 For older certificates, and will be mailed to you:

·         Birth records are available for births occurring in Los Angeles County since 1866.
·         Death records are available for deaths occurring in Los Angeles County since 1877.
·         Marriage records are available for marriages where the license was issued in Los Angeles County since 1852.
Fees and Payments: (Payments are non-refundable).

·         Authorized Certified Copy Birth: $28 per copy
·         Death: $21 per copy
·         Marriage: $15 per copy

But here’s the hitch—getting these older copies is what’s complicated. Here are the steps:

1.      You must fill out an online application. Once done, you will receive a receipt with a barcode that you must print out. The receipt will include a deadline of 15 days. If you do not follow the 15-day deadline and the next 2 steps, you will have to re-apply.
2.      Along with the receipt, you must have a valid photo ID and fee payment available to bring to the Registrar locations.
3.      Your next step is to walk into one of the Registrar offices and to show your ID, submit your payment, and the receipt you printed out.  Cash, checks, money orders and credit cards are accepted.
4.      However, you will not get your document when you visit the Registrar’s office. Instead, your requested records are mailed out within 20 working days of your order. Yes, you make the trip into the offices, and leave empty-handed waiting the postal service to deliver your certificate.
5.      Here’s the website for Los Angeles County records:
6.      Where are the locations? See the chart, below.


Not very easy nor convenient, especially if you do not live in or near Los Angeles County. So, what do you when you do not live nearby? You will have to order through VitalChek. Yes, VitalChek can be very convenient, but it is not known for being inexpensive.

In addition to filling out the VitalChek application and if you want a certified copy, you have to complete and send in the notarized Certificate of Identity.  If you do not live in California, you must have the notary strike out "California" on the Certificate of Identity and put the state in which the form is notarized. It will be accepted with the change. Helpful hint: request an Informational Certified Copy and you will not need notarization!  
Another option is to order the birth and death certificates from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), located in Sacramento, the state capital. You can mail in the application and a check or money order. No ID required, and no notarization. And the office does not take walk-ins, as they do not have any customer service counters. Only mail-in applications are accepted. It will take 4-6 weeks to receive the certificates—a huge improvement from years ago when it took up to six months or longer. Their website:

 I have used the CDPH, and I found it to be much more convenient than walking into the Los Angeles County offices, which are known to be quite busy with long lines and long wait times. But in their defense, we do live in a world where identity theft is all too common. At least, it seems to me that the County of Los Angeles is making an effort to minimize identity theft.



Sunday, February 26, 2017

SCGS Jamboree Time!!

The Southern California Genealogy Society's 48th Annual Jamboree Conference is coming soon!
When: June 9-11, 2017
Where: Marriott Burbank
 (across the street from the Burbank Airport)
Why? Because it's genealogy time!
And there's LOTS of classes for all genealogists
and family historians.
No previous experience required.
Early bird deadline is in April, so don't wait.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Free Webinars! by Board of Certification of Genealogists (BCG) and Legacy Family Tree Webiners

Hi all,
I just received an awesome email that's worth sharing. The Board of Certification of Genealogists (BCG) and Legacy Family Tree Webinars are co-hosting a full day of FREE webinars on Friday, October 7, 2016.   Here's what's cool about it--it's FREE and can be viewed on your computer at home!! Five of the workshops are available--minus David McDonald's, which appears to be a hands-on only type of workshop. But that's okay. 

By the way--did I mention that it's FREE??? How cool is that?? So, all the details are below:

News Release 20 September 2016 - Board for Certification of Genealogists
Top genealogists Pamela Boyer Sayre, Elizabeth Shown Mills, Ann Staley, Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, David McDonald, and Judy Russell will present six one-hour lectures held at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City Friday, 7 October 2016 between 9 AM and 5 PM mountain U.S. time. The lectures are free and open to the public (registration is not required), sponsored by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Most will also be broadcast online (free registration is required, see below). The board is an independent certifying body and author of the updated 2014 Genealogy Standards.

Times, topics, and speakers:

9:00 AM - "Enough is Enough. Or Is It?" Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL

10:15 AM - "FAN + GPS + DNA: The Problem-Solver's Great Trifecta." Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL

11:30 AM - "Black Sheep Ancestors and Their Records." Ann Staley, CG, CGL

1:30 PM - "Bringing Life to Our Ancestors: Manuscript Collections." Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG

2:45 PM - "Document Transcription & Analysis: A Workshop." David McDonald, CG
                  (Not available online)
4:00 PM - "When Worlds Collide: Resolving Conflicting Evidence." Judy G. Russell, CG, CGL
“Whether you stop in for the lectures or join online, you will learn more about how to apply good methodology to your family research,” said President Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG. “The Board for Certification of Genealogists strives to foster public confidence in genealogy by promoting an attainable, uniform standard of competence and ethics. Educating all family historians of every level is part of this mission.”

For questions or more information contact
Register for the Online Broadcasts
Five of the six classes will be broadcast online by BCG's webinar partner, Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Visit to sign up individually (free), or click here to sign up for multiple classes at once.

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by board-certified associates after periodic competency evaluations, and the board name is registered in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Cari A. Taplin, CG
BCG News Release Coordinator
Pflugerville, Texas

 The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designation CG a proprietary service mark, of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by authorized associates following peer-reviewed competency evaluations. Certificate No. 1058, expires 24 February 2020.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Do you mysteries as much as you love genealogy?

Do you mysteries as much as you love genealogy? If you do, take a look at the series of books by Steve Robinson, who combines genealogy and mystery. The latest is book 5 of his Jefferson Tayte novels called Kindred. To be honest, I have not read the first 4 books of the series--but don't let that stop you from reading them.
The book is a fun read--once you get past the first couple of chapters when the story really starts to take off.  The author incorporates several genealogical skills into the storyline. Granted, it won't change your life, but if you're looking for one more book to finish your summer reading, try any one of Robinson's books. And then enjoy the read!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Thoughts on DNA percentages.....

Hi all,
It's been a while, hasn't it? I've been busy doing blog posts for the Southern California Genealogy Society. Ever since I was elected to its board, it's been keeping me busy. That's a good thing. And I am still looking for items of this ol' blog.
So here's today tidbit, courtesy of the Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell. She has some wonderful insights in the DNA results from Ancestry and 23andMe testing.  So, here's the article:


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Original 29: via the Genealogy Roadshow

I'm currently watching the season premiere of Genealogy Roadshow on PBS. What a wonderful episode, so far!!!
Josh Taylor assisted in helping a young woman of Navajo heritage, named Charlotte. She never knew her father and his family. Turns out that her paternal grandfather was one of the "Original 29", a group of native Navajo speakers who helped the US Government during WW2. The Navajo language is very complicated language and has no written alphabet and language. The US Government needed an unbreakable language to be used against the Japanese during the war. It turns out that every other language and code the government used would always be decoded and broken by the Japanese. At least until the US government hired the Navajo--the Original 29--and used their language to keep things coded. And it worked! The Japanese were never able to crack the Navajo code.
Another high point was the discovery of family photos that Charlotte got to see for the first time. They were provided by her paternal aunt, Nancy. At the end of the segment, Charlotte met her Aunt Nancy for the time.
But this is what we do as genealogists. We find the stories. And sometimes, we find relatives we did not know we had. And our world becomes a bigger place, and a more intimate place. What other hobby expands our world and makes it more intimate, at the same time??

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Jamboree 2016 is almost here!

Jamboree 2016--the annual conference hosted by the Southern California Genealogy Society--is almost here! It takes place June 3-6 at the Burbank Marriott hotel, right across the street from Burbank Airport. It can't get any easier to get to!

And I'll be there--but this year as a member of the Southern California Genealogy Society board. I'm planning on attending as many of the German-related workshops as possible. I'm also volunteering for the APG helping people with research assistance.

Looking forward to seeing friends from the ProGen group--a mix of alumns and current students for lunch. And seeing friends from the So Cal APG group.

Looking forward to the Family Search breakfast on Saturday, and seeing Kenyatta Berry as the keynote speaker at the Saturday night banquet.

And I plan on being thoroughly--and happily--exhausted by Saturday night. Sunday will be a different story--how can I attend more workshops and still make my friend's 80th birthday at noontime?? Hmmm.....

BTW-the Jamboree app just was released--at this link: