​​​Genealogy Detective

Many public records are available online and the number of records available increase daily. For those records not available online, you can often request copies of documents from a wide variety of sources.

Examples of public records are as follows:

  • Birth Records
  • Death Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Divorce Records
  • Social Security Records
  • Military Records

Over the next few weeks we will be discussing each of these types of records and how to obtain them in depth. There is a comprehensive list with links to  Texas records and resources.

“When available, vital records can play a vital role in locating our ancestors. Because availability, restrictions, fees, and request procedures vary from state to state and change periodically, it is a good idea to check with the appropriate agency for the state of interest to make sure you have the most current information. Ancestry.com reference corner contains a list of  links to state vital records departments  for each state in the U.S.”

What is a birth certificate?
“A birth certificate is a vital that documents the birth of a child. The term "birth certificate" can refer to either the original document certifying the circumstances of the birth or to a certified copy of or representation of the ensuing registration of that birth. Depending on the jurisdiction, a record of birth might or might not contain verification of the event by such as a midwife or doctor. “

“From 1900 to 1946 the U.S. Census Bureau designed standard birth certificates, collected vital statistics on a national basis, and generally sought to improve the accuracy of vital statistics. In 1946 that responsibility was passed to the U. S. Public Health Service. “

Prior to 1903 birth records were not filed with the state government and were filed at local court house. Therefore, you will have to rely on church records, or local court jurisdictions.

TEXAS: Birth records are confidential under Texas Law for seventy-five years and are protected records. Prior to the release period, they are available to immediate family members either by blood or marriage, guardians or legal representatives. Texas residents can order their own birth records; or the birth records of immediate family members as stated in Section 181.1(13) of the Texas Administrative Code for what qualifies as an immediate family member.

Request can be made online or by mail from the State Department of State Health Services.  You can apply in person at 1100 W. 49th St., Austin, Texas 7875; Monday- Friday 8 am – 5 pm. The cost for a certified copy is $22 and $60 for an Heirloom copy. An heirloom copy celebrates the birth of a native born Texas by having the birth record printed on a special certificate. The Texas Legislature authorized the creation of an “heirloom” birth certificate, a legal birth certificate celebrating the unique heritage of being a native Texan.

Ancestry provides a Texas Birth Index for 1903 – 1997 This is an index and can assist you in getting the information necessary to request an actual copy of the birth certificate.

Ancestry Academy offers a video tutorial on Birth Certificates.

FamilySearch.org  offers tutorials on a vast array of different types of birth records, including International Records.

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Sharron Mirikitani