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Fulton County board raises price of birth, death certificates

WAUSEON - The price of birth and death certificates in Fulton County will increase in June to $12 - a 20 percent increase and the second increase in just over two years - as part of a move to help pay for computerizing old records.

The county board of health hopes to have all of its birth and death certificates posted on the Internet through the Ohio Department of Health in three years, said Sandy Heising, vital statistics registrar.

As it is now, genealogists and others who want to check records need to contact the health department during business hours and know roughly the year of death. Once the information is on computer, they will only need to know the name of the person they are researching.

At least once a week a genealogist or other researcher visits the health department, Ms. Heising said.

More importantly, however, computerizing old records will make them easier to read.

“The big main reason is to get it on an official looking document,” Ms. Heising said.

The health department has all birth death certificates dating back to 1951 and about 75 percent of the records from 1920 to 1951. Those most likely to be missing are birth certificates from home births. Some of those were not recorded until years after the child was born. Such records were often taken at probate court.

The health department's oldest records date back to 1870, but it only has a few certificates from those years.

The department has entered current records into computer files since 1998.

It started entering old records - focusing on birth certificates - into computer files two years ago, employing a temporary worker for 10 to 12 weeks a year.

It spent about $2,500 on the project last year.

The county issues about 3,100 official birth and death certificates a year so the fee increase from $10 to $12 will give it an extra $6,200 a year.

There are about 300 births and 300 deaths a year in the county but many estates require numerous certified copies, Ms. Heising said.

The last fee increase was in March, 2000, when copies increased to $10 from $7. Part of the reason for the latest increase was that Ohio raised its fees in October for birth certificates.

The state receives $3 of every birth certificate fee, up from $2, for child abuse prevention.

Non-certified copies of birth and death certificates remain 25 cents. But the certified copies are needed for most legal and financial purposes such as traveling out of the country and registering at many schools, Ms. Heising said.

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