An Overview of Vital Records Jane K. Purtill Registrar of Vital Records David Antolini Health Program Supervisor Department of Public Health New Town Clerk Orientation and Workshop January 20, 2012
Agenda • What is a Vital Records system? • Filing / Indexing / Storage • Corrections and Amendments • Access and Issuance • Births • Marriages • Deaths • Contacts
Who are We? • Statewide system designed to record and compile Vital Events for current use and for posterity. • When you think of the Vital Records system you should envision…
City and Town Records Populate the Castle Birth Records Death Records Marriage Records Fetal Death Records AOPs Confidential Files Death Statistics Fetal Death Statistics Marriage Statistics Birth Statistics
Who Relies on the Vital Records System? • Medical Researchers • Social Researchers • State Agencies • Federal Agencies • General Public • Genealogists • Schools • Local Boards of Health
It is Vital that the Facts on the Records are Accurate and True • Each of you, along with other vital event professionals (funeral directors, hospitals, etc.) plays an important role in ensuring that all records brought into the castle are created in accord with state statutes and regulations • The information recorded on the records must be an accurate reflection of the facts surrounding the vital event
Registrar and Other Vital Records Officials • Town Clerk – The town clerk is the ex officio Registrar of Vital Statistics for his or her town or city, except in towns where such registrars are elected or appointed. (CGS §7-37) • Assistant Registrars – Registrar may appoint up to four (4) assistant registrars, who, upon being sworn, will have the powers to perform the duties of the Registrar. Within 10 days, notice of the appointment must be made in writing to Secretary Of State’s office. Appointment shall not exceed term of Registrar. (CGS §7-38)
Registrar and Other Vital Records Officials, cont. • Subregistrars – The Registrar shall appoint at least 2 subregistrars for the purpose of issuing burial and cremation permits. Subregistrars may only issue burial permits for deaths occurring in the town for which the subregistrar is appointed and may do so only when the office of the Registrar is closed. • Appointment is only for the term of the Registrar • Shall be made in writing, with the approval of the selectmen. • Chief Medical Examiner, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner and Associate Medical Examiners shall be considered subregistrars of any town in which death occurs, for purposing of issuing only burial transit removal permits.
Registrar and Other Vital Records Officials, cont. • Oath and Notice – Registrars, Assistant Registrars and Subregistrars must be sworn to the faithful performance of their duties. • Within tens days of Appointment of: • A Registrar, notice must be sent by the appointing authority or chief executive officer to the Secretary of the State. Notice must also be sent to the Department of Public Health • An Assistant Registrar, notice must be sent to the Secretary of the State. Notice must also be sent to the Department of Public Health • A Subregistrar, notice must be sent to the Registrar of vital records at the Department of Public Health.
State Supervision Of Registrars • The state Department of Public Health has general supervision over the registration of Vital Events in Connecticut. • The Department prescribes the uniform methods and forms for obtaining and preserving vital records. • Statutory provisions are in CGS §19a-40 and §19a-41.
Town Registrars Role • Register Vital Events • Filing, Indexing and Storage of Records • Distribute copies of Vital Events • Perform Modifications • Control Access • Issue records
Registering Vital Event • Review each record before signing your name. Leave no fields incomplete. • It is the Registrar’s duty to make certain that the information which is recorded on the record is as accurate and complete as possible before filing.
Filing and Indexing • File vital records chronologically and alphabetically. • Chronologically as the first criterion • Alphabetically as the second criterion • Generate separate yearly indexes arranged alphabetically (by registrants last name) by each group of vital events. • Each index shall record and include the names of all persons whose birth, marriage, death or fetal deaths are filed.
Storage of Vital Records • Records must be stored in fireproof safes and vaults • Approval required by the Department of Public Health and the State Public Records Administrator. • Any offsite storage must be approved. • Location of offsite storage must be within the town limits. • CGS §7-42
Authenticated Copies to DPH • Send an authenticated copy of each Birth, Death, Marriage or Fetal Death record to the Vital Records Section at DPH no later than the 15th of the following month (exception: births recorded in the Electronic Vital Record System (EVRS)) • If no certificates were received by the town Registrar in the month, the Department needs to be notified • Do not send records before the end of the event month
Authenticated Copies to DPH, cont. • Records should be batched by the month of occurrence, in alphabetical order by last name of the registrant • Records should be accompanied by the corresponding “Monthly Report” • Do not put records from different months in the same batch • All records received after the batch has been sent should be sent immediately to DPH, Do not wait until next month’s batch!
All Authenticated Copies sent to the DPH… • Births, Deaths and Fetal Deaths - Must be in alphabetical order by last name • Marriages – Must be in alphabetical order by groom’s last name or for same sex marriages, by party one's last name
Authenticated Copies to the Town of Residence • CGS § 7-44 states that occurrence towns shall send “at once” copies to any resident towns • Births – The town of residence of the mother • Marriages – The town of residence for both parties • Deaths – The town of residence for the decedent • Do not send records to an out of state community!
Authenticated Copies to the Town of Residence, cont. • The town of residence must file the certificate in the same manner as an original record • For EVRS births, the town of residence shall print out their own resident copies (if connected to EVRS)
All Authenticated Copies, cont. • Must be legible • Must contain the “certification” statement • Must be signed, dated and sealed by the Town Clerk • Do not fold
Corrections and Amendments • Correction - to change or enter new information on a certificate/record within one year of the date of the event, in order to accurately reflect the facts existing at the time of the event • Amendment - (1) to change or enter new information on a certificate/record over one year from the date of the event in order to accurately reflect the facts existing at the time of the event (2) To reflect facts that have changed since the event and for which the law allows for change to the certificate/record. (3) to create a replacement certificate/record e.g paternity, adoption, gender change and change to Cause of Death
Corrections and Amendments, cont. • Shall be executed in accordance with statutes and regulations set forth by the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health • Only the Town of Occurrence or the State Vital Records Office may correct or amend a vital record • Unless otherwise provided by statute or court order, the certificate must be an accurate statement of the fact as they existed at the time of the event
Corrections and Amendments, cont. • Only the Commissioner may amend a birth certificate to reflect changes concerning Adoption, Paternity, Gestational Agreements, or Gender Change • In some instances a confidential file must be created
Corrections and Amendments, cont. • Supporting documentation must be submitted, and maintained on file. Regulation 19a-41-9 • An item on a vital record may not be modified more than once, except by court order. Regulation 19a-41-12
Corrections and Amendments, cont. • For records in a paper format: • Line through the original information and insert the new information • Original information should not be erased or “whited out” • A marginal note shall be made on the certificate containing a brief but descriptive summary of the supporting evidence • An attested copy of the corrected or amended certificate must be sent within 10 days to the DPH and the Town of Residence
Corrections and Amendments, cont. • For records in an electronic format: • Corrections and amendments shall be made through the methods incorporated in the electronic system • Not all towns are connected to EVRS so an attested copy of an EVRS record may need to be sent via mail, if the town of residence does not have access to EVRS
Corrections Made within one year of the vital event Are not marked amended Reflect the facts existing at the time of the recording. Correct errors on certificate due to inaccurate or incomplete information provided by informant at time the certificate was prepared. To correct transcribing, typographical, or clerical errors. Amendments Made after one year of the vital event Change or enter new information on a vital event certificate, in order to accurately reflect the facts existing at the time of recording. Create a replacement certificate of birth for matters pertaining to parentage, adoption or gender change. To reflect facts that have changed since the time the certificate was prepared such as a legal name change Corrections and Amendments Summary
Corrections and Amendments, cont. • Let’s look at some specific types of birth amendments….
Replacement Certificates • Replacement certificates are created at the town of occurrence when a birth certificate has been amended for paternity, gender change or adoption • Procedures for filing replacement records. • Remove the original birth certificate from the book and replace it with new birth certificate. • New certificate is to be inserted in book. • Original certificate and accompanying material shall be placed in confidential file. • Establish a confidential file based on year and file number and enter this on the back of new certificate. The number shall continue to be sequential from one year to the another. Example 99-0001, 00-0002, 01-0003, 01-0004, 02-0005.
Replacement Certificates, cont. • On the sealed file, enter the confidential file number, date of creation of the file, new name if applicable and original name in parentheses (example: 12-003. 1/10/12. Jane Smith (Jane Doe)) • Add a complete entry for the child in the permanent vital statistics ledger. If the child’s name has changed, enter the new name
Replacement Certificates, cont. • The new certificate is the legal certificate and shall be used for issuance of certified copies • Paternities, Adoptions and Gender Changes – The original record may be issued only on order of a court of competent jurisdiction. (with new law exception allowing public access to original records of adoptions performed prior tp 10/1/1943)
Replacement Certificates, cont. • If a copy of the original certificate is issued pursuant to court order, the copy must contain a notation indicating the certificate has been superseded by a new certificate as on file (CGS §7-53).
Amending the Registrant’s Name On The Birth Certificate • A REGISTRANT’S NAME MAY ONLY BE CHANGED ON A BIRTH CERTIFICATE VIA COURT ORDER OR TO CORRECT AN OBVIOUS TYPOGRAPHICAL ERROR
Amending the Registrant’s Name On The Birth Certificate • Court ordered name changes • The Commissioner of DPH or the Registrar of the town of occurrence shall amend the birth certificate. (CGS §19a-42(f)) • Request for name change must be requested by person named on certificate or such person’s parents, guardian or legal representative. • Requester must present certified copy of a court order that grants legal name change. • Paper records will be amended by drawing a line through the original name and inserting the new one. • Electronic records shall be changed through methods incorporated in the system. • The certificate is to be marked “Amended”.
Amending the Registrant’s Name On The Birth Certificate • Correcting Names Due to Obvious Error • Requester must provide proof of the correct spelling. If within 30 days of the birth, the Parent Notice may be presented. After 30 days, two items of documentary evidence that were produced during the registrant’s early childhood, must be presented.
Amending the Registrant’s Name on the Birth Certificate • Examples of obvious typographical errors: • Transcribing error due to illegible handwriting, i.e. a script ‘a’ is transcribed as a ‘u’ • Transposition of two letters in a common name, i.e. Michael to Micheal • Transposed letters or other slight misspelling of a last name.
Amending the Registrant’s Name on the Birth Certificate • Examples of Name Changes that are not obvious typographical errors: • Removal of an entire first name because the registrant has always been known by her middle name, i.e. ‘Mary Jane” changed to ‘Jane’ • A completely different spelling of a name, i.e. ‘Doe’ changed to ‘Dough’, ‘Sean’ changed to ‘Shawn’
Corrections and Amendments, cont • Now let’s look at how to amend a death certificate
Amending Cause of Death • Two types of amendments to Cause of Death information. 1) Change to a recorded cause of death and 2) A change to a Pending cause of death
Access to Vital Records • Direct access to birth, marriage, death and fetal death records is restricted • No one other than vital records staff and genealogists may directly access vital records vaults.
Access to Vital Records - Indexes • Anyone may access death and marriage indexes • Birth indexes are accessible to the parties specified in C.G.S. § 7-51
Genealogical Access to Vital Records • Genealogists must be a member of a genealogical society incorporated in Connecticut • Current list of approved societies are listed in handbook. • Genealogists have direct access to most vital records: • Certificates • Ledgers • Record books • Card files • Indexes • Database printouts
Genealogical Access to Vital Records, cont. Exceptions: • Confidential files related to adoption, paternity, gestational agreements, and gender change • Those records and documents that contain social security numbers protected by federal law: • Births from November 1990 to present • Marriage, civil unions and deaths from July 1997 to present. • Genealogists are permitted to make notes from records and shall be permitted to purchase certified copies of such records. • Current list of approved societies are listed in handbook.
Issuance • Only certified copies may be issued from the town • Any indication of mother’s marital status must be redacted from birth records • Some records contain restricted Social Security Numbers • Birth 1900 forward • Marriage • Exceptions – parties to the marriage, state and federal agencies permitted by law to receive the SSN • Death 1997 forward • Exceptions – spouse, next of kin, state and federal agencies permitted by law to receive the SSN
Issuance, cont. • Certified Copies of Vital Records: • Persons 18+ years of age may purchase certified copies of death and marriage records. • The social security numbers of the registrants, and the administrative purposes section of the certificate are restricted. • Only parties enumerated in C.G.S. § 7-51 may obtain certified copies of birth and fetal death records. (Examples: the person whose birth is recorded if over 18; the registrant’s spouse, parent, guardian or grandparent.)
Issuance, cont. • Birth Records (CGS §19a-41-2) • Access to records less than 100 years old restricted. • Requestor shall submit a valid, government photographic ID which includes date of birth, signature and and expiration date • If this is unavailable 2 documents shall be substituted • Examples: Military discharge papers, a letter from a government agency verifying identity, copy of a utility bill showing name and current address
Issuance, cont. • Certified Copies of Birth Certificates • Issued to eligible parties only, 18 years or older • “Short form” certificate may be issued to the registrant at 16 years of age. • Paper certificates are issued by the registrar at town of occurrence, town of residence or Department of Public Health • Electronic birth record may be issued by any registrar with authorized access to the Electronic Birth Registry System.
Issuance, cont. • Uncertified Copies of Vital Records • In Accord with C.G.S sec 7-51a, Only the Department of Public Health can issue uncertified copies of vital records, and only to approved researchers, state and federal agencies • Illegal Issuance of Vital Records • No person other than a Registrar of vital records may issue vital records.