28 March 2011

Disappointing Mail Day

I had sent away for my grandmother's birth and death certificate, my grandfather's birth certificate and his brother's birth certificate. I filled out the paperwork I had, enlcosed my check and waited. On Saturday I got a fat letter back from the Pennsylvania Dept of Vital Records. I was so excited ... til I opened it.

First my forms were OLD! I had not requested anything for awhile and in my haste to send in my order never - to be honest - thought to check if the form had been updated and if the prices had changed. Boy did they! The prices were considerably higher. The form had changed. I had forgotted that I needed to send a copy of my photo id/drivers license. Then they also told me that in order to get the birth I had to send them a copy of the death - this makes sense to verify that the person in question is not still living. However it is actually illegal to photocopy a birth or death certificate. Try it sometime. Copy your certificate and the word VOID will appear across the image. There will also be the phrase indicating that it was illegal to make copies! So getting my grandparents' paperwork will just take another request and more money. No big deal.

Getting my uncle's birth certificate will be more difficult. I have to state why I want it -- genealogical research. Fine. Then I have to state my relationship to teh deceased - grand niece. Not so fine. I need to get permission from his parents or children of siblings to order that. His parents are both passed. Of his eight brothers and sisters, all but one has passed. So I guess a visit to Aunt Katie must be requested.

While I learned a few valuable lessons, it was quite a disappointing mail day.

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