Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Last Thursday, I went into New York City to obtain my grandmother's birth and marriage certificate. Before I went I had called the Department of Health to make sure I would be able to receive the document. It was simply getting a long/international/extended (all of these terms are used to describe the type of form) form, as I have a copy of the short form. The woman I spoke to said I would need to bring in her birth certificate that I had plus the death certificate and my ID. My father came with me because, well, it's better to have company, and also as a precaution... just in case when I got there, they stated only the next-of-kin could receive it or something. I was really worried that they just wouldn't give it to us and that the woman on the phone made a mistake. Plus I brought my dad's and my birth certificates just in case.

Be prepared to wait at Vital Records. The wait was 2 hours long, and you are basically herded like cattle while waiting, as they form groups to go into the office at a time. The earlier you get there, the better. My dad and I got there at 10:45, which was actually a little late.

About receiving the birth certificate - all you actually need is the death certificate and your ID. The woman was confused though, don't know why, as she stated, "she passed away in 2007." I said yes, I have the short form but need the long form for international use...and thought well I wouldn't be here, waiting all this time, if I really didn't need it.

To receive the international form, you will not get it the day you hand in everything. It is mailed out 2 to 3 weeks later.

The next stop was to the County Clerk, which is across the street from Vital Records. This was very simple because it has been 60 years since my grandparents were married, and I would've only had trouble if it had been less than 50. If you can narrow down the year of the marriage, you will be able to receive the document the day you request it. Otherwise, you will have to do a mail-in order to do a search. I only had to wait about 20-30 minutes for the marriage certificate. Not bad!

I also learned today that getting the apostille for marriage certificates is a little different - less paper work. :) ... which I like a lot! The less hassle the better.

If you have any questions feel free to either leave a message in the comment section or e-mail me at,

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