Vital records are records of life events kept under governmental authority, including birth certificates, marriage licenses, and death certificates. In some jurisdictions, vital records may also include records of civil unions or domestic partnerships. In the United States, vital records are typically maintained at both the county and state levels. In Ohio, birth and death records can be obtained through the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) or a local health department. The MCHD can issue any Ohio birth record and death records of those who were pronounced deceased in Meigs County from 1909-present. Business hours are Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The ODH and MCHD are tasked with the safekeeping of the vital records, effectively providing a source of income through fees. The original copy of the vital record is always kept by the ODH. In the United States vital records are public and, in most cases such as in Ohio, an open record state can be viewed by anyone in person at the governmental authority. Copies can also be requested for a fee. There are two types of copies: certified and uncertified. Ohio does not allow for the issuance of uncertified copies. Certified copies are official copies that can be used as identification whereas uncertified copies do not contain the governmental authority’s seal and often are marked that they should not be used for identification. Certified copies are $25 each at the MCHD of which $13.50 is remitted to the state for various purposes. This fee has remained unchanged since October 2009. We currently accept cash, check or money orders, but do not accept debit or credit cards.
What are vital records used for?
- Establishing date of birth and age; school registration; obtaining drivers’ license; proving age of majority/minority in court; qualifying for pensions, social security or health insurance; obtaining work permits; voting; entering military service; obtaining a social security number; playing sports.
- Establishing birthplace to prove citizenship: obtaining a passport; entering employment limited to citizen; obtaining licenses limited to citizens.
- Establishing family relationships: proving legal dependency; obtaining inheritance benefits; receiving insurance benefits; conducting genealogical research.
- Individual uses of death certificates: establishing the fact and date of death; claiming life insurance benefits; claiming pensions; settling estates; cause and circumstances of death; death and place of interment; evidence of age, gender, and race; genealogical information.
- Non-statistical uses of vital records and demographic uses of vital statistics include: policy making -to form the basis for policy guidance, planning and projections; for administration -to monitor current demographic trends and action programs; and for research -to support the scientific study of the interrelationship between fertility and mortality trends and socioeconomic development.
In Ohio, the public is permitted to hand write information from or take a photograph of a “view only” of a birth or death record copy for genealogy purposes. We have a kiosk available to the public to search for birth and death records maintained for the state by ODH.
With the passage of Ohio Revised Code 3705.25 (5), individuals needing a certified death certificate including the Social Security Number of someone who passed away in the past five years, must present satisfactory information to prove relationship to the decedent such as a marriage license; decedent’s death certificate designating the name of the surviving spouse; most recent income tax return, joint banking/financial account documentation; birth certificate of the natural or adopted child listing the decedent as the parent, medical or life insurance policy listing the relationship to the decedent, baptismal record listing lineal decedent; notarized affidavit of relationship.
The MCHD Vital Statistics (VS) Staff includes I as Registrar; Sharon Buchanan as Deputy Registrar and Michelle Willard as VS clerk. In 2015, the MCHD registered 197 Meigs County deaths; three Meigs County home births and two Meigs County fetal deaths. We issued certified copies as follows: 674 death certificates and 468 birth certificates. We issued 183 burial transit permits.
For more information, see the Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3705 and the Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 3701-5 or contact me at 740-992-6626.
Courtney C. Midkiff is the administrator/registrar at the Meigs County Health Department.