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: https://www.lavote.net/home/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: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/birthdeathmar/Pages/CertifiedCopiesofBirthDeathRecords.aspx

 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.