Vital records available from register of deeds

Vital records available from register of deeds Certified copies of birth, marriage and death records can now be purchased at the Clay County Register of Deeds office, cutting days off the time required to fill mail orders for records through the state Department of Health. Certified copies of vital records, such as birth records, are often used for applying for passports, driver's licenses, and social security.

Such records have always been available from the state Department of Health in Pierre but until recently, counties were only able to issue records for events occurring in that county. But now, thanks to the state's ongoing automation project and a statewide issuance system of certified copies, it's possible to issue records from any county office. Currently, the following South Dakota vital records can be issued by any county register of deeds office in the state:

* Birth records � all

* Marriage records � 1970 to the present.

* Death records � in process; any death occurring after Jan. 1, 2004 will be available for issuance at any register of deeds office.

The Clay County Register of Deeds office is located at 211 W. Main, Vermillion. Business hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday.

State Registrar Kathlene Mueller said there have been changes in how vital records are used since the terrorism attacks of 9/11.

"The biggest change is that federal agencies and others that used to accept a hospital record or a copy of birth record or other vital record, now require a certified copy," said Mueller. "Unfortunately, most people are unaware of this requirement and therefore find they need their record very quickly in order to take a trip that has been planned for months or apply for a driver's license that day. Having the records available on the county level is the quickest way to make sure south Dakotans can access their records when they need them."

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