To continue the discussion about vital records from the last newsletter, there seems to be some confusion about how many generations need to be sourced with certificates. Remember, the Historian General's guidelines state that all birth, marriage and death events need to be documented with primary sources whenever possible, turning to secondary sources only when primary cannot be found.
At a minimum, this means that the last 3 generations need certificates if they exist, but any event that occurred after certificates were required must have them. A marriage or death index or the Social Security Death Index is not sufficient. If the event is in the index, then a real certificate exists and should be provided.
There is a great website, www.vitalrec.com that will give you great detail on what certificates are available and even let you order online (though often with a hefty surcharge). The site will also let you know what documentation you will need to provide for those sites that restrict certificates to family members. If you get a letter refusing to provide a certificate for you, please include that letter in your documentation.
There are many areas where local governments kept great vital records. It is always a good idea to check at local courthouses for any vital records, wills, probate records, land records and any other documents that can be used to prove the events in your lineage. One of the more creative records I have seen lately was a school record from the 1870’s that clearly listed both the child’s name and the fathers’ name!
Did you know that you can now get birth certificates for any Ohio County at any Health Department? No longer do you need to go to the County where the birth occurred! The Ohio Heath Department has digitized birth certificates back to 1908 and has made the database available to every County Health Department. So not only can you get every certificate you need at one place, but you can get your copies in minutes instead of weeks!