how to find a birth certificate for free

Can I Download and Print a Birth Certificate?

There are plenty of reasons someone might need a copy of their vital records; buying a home, a new job, estate settlements after a loved one has passed, school enrollments…the list goes on. While all of these official and legal matters will usually require certified copies of vital records issued by a state, county or township vital records office, they aren’t the only reason for wanting to get ahold of certain marriage, birth, death or divorce records. Genealogy projects are becoming more and more popular. Family projects attempting to trace a person’s heritage back as far as possible often means going through old marriage and birth records online. If you’ve found yourself asking “Can I download and print a birth certificate or other vital record at home?”, it’s important you understand that the reason you need these vital records will dictate whether a simple copy or an official certified copy is necessary.

Official vital records contain important personal identity information that should only be accessible by the individual or immediate family. This is why finding a free, printable copy of your current vital records online is not possible. Be wary when submitting personal information to any site that is not a government authorized agent.

Can I Download and Print a Birth Certificate?

If trying to obtain vital records for yourself or a loved one is a new venture for you, it’s easy to see how it could be difficult to understand the difference between wanting a free birth certificate online and actually obtaining an official copy. When it comes to verifying identity, usually in employment, financial or other legal situations, it’s important that the vital records you provide are official, certified copies. Only authorized government vital records offices are able to issue these official vital records These records are issued in the city, county or state in which the marriage, birth, death or divorce took place and are not available to download and print online.

For example, if you’ve just had a new baby, you’ll fill out a birth registration form which will be submitted to the vital records office. This has your child’s pertinent identity information – their birth certificate is the first, official, and complete form of identification they have. Due to the importance of the information on this official vital records document and to ensure your identity is not easily obtained or used illegally, most states require all vital records for living people remain confidential – for your personal protection. This is why finding a free birth certificate online and printing it at home will not suffice for official and legal purposes, not to mention, most vital records that are publicly available online don’t contain the pertinent information that a current, official copy will have. Marriage, death and divorce records are equally important in other legal and official situations, so they are securely handled and kept confidential as well.

Vital records like marriage, death, birth and divorce certificates can be misplaced or lost throughout a person’s life. If you’re looking to obtain official copies for legal matters, be sure you’re ordering through a government authorized service like

It is not uncommon for these important vital records to be misplaced, and in some cases may not have been obtained at the time of the life event. Not having official copies of these vital records on hand can be problematic if you find yourself in need of one for official or legal purposes. It’s also extremely important that you know what to look for when wanting to obtain an official certified copy of your birth certificate. An official certified copy should have an individual’s full name, date and place of birth as well as several other important details. When looking to obtain certified copies of your vital records, going directly to the vital record agency in person will be the fastest option as you can generally receive your copy that day. However, if that’s not feasible – and for many of us it’s not – utilizing an authorized ordering service like is one of the safest and most convenient methods available. VitalChek is the only authorized online ordering service for hundreds of government vital records agencies across the nation.

Genealogy Projects – How to Find a Birth Certificate For Free

While laws and timeframes vary from state to state when it comes to accessibility of public vital records, you generally won’t be able to access actual complete current vital records for yourself online anywhere. When it comes to genealogy projects and researching family history, public vital records access is typically the best way to start tracking down your ancestors. In these situations, you can check state by state to see what historical vital records are available online, and which states require a little more leg work to see into your family’s documents. Sites like can help get you access to historical online vital records for your family history projects!

For genealogy projects, having access to public vital records helps complete those family trees. In these cases, free printable vital records may be appropriate.

In genealogy cases, printable vital records may be available online, which are ok and acceptable to be printed. If you’re looking for current vital records for you or your loved one’s however, it’s important that you take caution and only utilize secure and safe ordering methods, like the government agency’s website or their authorized ordering service like Also, remember to be mindful of submitting personal information to any site unless it is secure and an authorized online ordering service for government vital records.


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