Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ordering a death certificate from Virginia Department of Health

Whenever I send away for a record, I like to make a little post about it.  I also follow up when I receive the actual record in the mail.  This helps to give you an idea of what to expect if you order one for yourself.

In this case, I am ordering the death certificate for my wife's, grandmother's brother.  This man, named John Glasser Bush or sometimes Busch, is a bit of a mystery to me.  I do not think he had any children so there is no one living to really ask about him.  He was born before his mother was married to his father, and was listed on an early census with the last name of Morris...his mother's maiden name.  He was absolutely born before his mother married Albert Bush.  What I do not know is if Albert Bush was his natural father or he adopted John, formally or informally.

I tend to believe that Albert Bush was John's natural father because, when Albert and his wife split up in the 1920s, John stayed with the father.  That is speculation on my part but I would think that a mother would not leave her child with an ex-stepfather.  Anyway...about the ordering process...

I had to fill out the standard request form that you can get on the Office of Vital records website.  I also had to send a copy of my drivers license, a safety measure after 9-11.  The last time I ordered a record, I did not send a copy of my license, and they sent it back unfilled.  I thought that since I was ordering a record in the public domain, I would not need to send an ID but I was wrong!  The most important thing you have to send is a check for $12!  Don't forget that one or your order will not be processed.

To refresh your memory, in the case of Virginia, birth records do not become public domain for 100 years.  Marriage, death and divorce records become public domain after 50 years.  The record I am ordering is from 1943 so I am within the appropriate time period.  My goal is to find the middle names of Albert and Rosezetta Bush, John's parents.  I know their initials but I have never seen their full names.  I am hoping they were recorded on John's death certificate...just taking a shot in the dark.

The whole point of this is to say that I will let you know when the certificate arrives, so you can see how long it took.  The estimate they give is 5-10 day, so we will see.


Steve said...

I recently ordered a birth record for one of my great-grandfathers and forgot to send a copy of my driver's license. It was 3 weeks before I heard back from the records office telling me I needed to resubmit my request. I sent it back in about a week ago, this time with the copy, and am anxiously awaiting the results! Thanks for the reminder about the time frames also.

Lisa said...

Thanks so much for this information! I am filling out my first request for a death certificate from the VDH just today. Thanks for the tip about the drivers license.

K said...

Thanks for these tips. I am requesting a death certificate for the first time, and wondered if genealogical research is an acceptable reason for requesting the record.

Anonymous said...

I have found that even though you order records within the specified time given, they still may not have anything. When I ordered my grandfather's, they sent a reply no record found. Also, the record you get is not a copy of original, You get a document that has the information typed in. I have found errors on the information for my grandmother's birth record.