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An Overview of Vital Records

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1 An Overview of Vital Records
Jane K. Purtill Registrar of Vital Records David Antolini Health Program Supervisor Department of Public Health New Town Clerk Orientation and Workshop January 20, 2012

2 Agenda What is a Vital Records system? Filing / Indexing / Storage
Corrections and Amendments Access and Issuance Births Marriages Deaths Contacts

3 Who are We? Statewide system designed to record and compile Vital Events for current use and for posterity. When you think of the Vital Records system you should envision…


5 City and Town Records Populate the Castle
Birth Records Death Records Marriage Records Fetal Death Records Confidential Files AOPs Death Statistics Fetal Death Statistics In the castle resides all of Connecticut’s Birth, Death, Fetal death, and Marriage records and the Abstracts of all the relative statistics extracted from the records. Each town is like a part of the castle. the town’s records are carefully brought into the castle where they reside safe and secure to be called upon when needed. Marriage Statistics Birth Statistics

6 And if the Connecticut Vital Records system is like a castle,
Then each of you, all of us…

7 Guardian and Protector of the Castle

8 Who Relies on the Vital Records System?
Medical Researchers Social Researchers State Agencies Federal Agencies General Public Genealogists Schools Local Boards of Health

9 It is Vital that the Facts on the Records are Accurate and True
Each of you, along with other vital event professionals (funeral directors, hospitals, etc.) plays an important role in ensuring that all records brought into the castle are created in accord with state statutes and regulations The information recorded on the records must be an accurate reflection of the facts surrounding the vital event

10 Registrar and Other Vital Records Officials
Town Clerk – The town clerk is the ex officio Registrar of Vital Statistics for his or her town or city, except in towns where such registrars are elected or appointed. (CGS §7-37) Assistant Registrars – Registrar may appoint up to four (4) assistant registrars, who, upon being sworn, will have the powers to perform the duties of the Registrar. Within 10 days, notice of the appointment must be made in writing to Secretary Of State’s office. Appointment shall not exceed term of Registrar. (CGS §7-38)

11 Registrar and Other Vital Records Officials, cont.
Subregistrars – The Registrar shall appoint at least 2 subregistrars for the purpose of issuing burial and cremation permits. Subregistrars may only issue burial permits for deaths occurring in the town for which the subregistrar is appointed and may do so only when the office of the Registrar is closed. Appointment is only for the term of the Registrar Shall be made in writing, with the approval of the selectmen. Chief Medical Examiner, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner and Associate Medical Examiners shall be considered subregistrars of any town in which death occurs, for purposing of issuing only burial transit removal permits.

12 Registrar and Other Vital Records Officials, cont.
Oath and Notice – Registrars, Assistant Registrars and Subregistrars must be sworn to the faithful performance of their duties. Within tens days of Appointment of: A Registrar, notice must be sent by the appointing authority or chief executive officer to the Secretary of the State. Notice must also be sent to the Department of Public Health An Assistant Registrar, notice must be sent to the Secretary of the State. Notice must also be sent to the Department of Public Health A Subregistrar, notice must be sent to the Registrar of vital records at the Department of Public Health.

13 State Supervision Of Registrars
The state Department of Public Health has general supervision over the registration of Vital Events in Connecticut. The Department prescribes the uniform methods and forms for obtaining and preserving vital records. Statutory provisions are in CGS §19a-40 and §19a-41.

14 Town Registrars Role Register Vital Events
Filing, Indexing and Storage of Records Distribute copies of Vital Events Perform Modifications Control Access Issue records

15 Registering Vital Event
Review each record before signing your name. Leave no fields incomplete. It is the Registrar’s duty to make certain that the information which is recorded on the record is as accurate and complete as possible before filing.

16 Filing and Indexing File vital records chronologically and alphabetically. Chronologically as the first criterion Alphabetically as the second criterion Generate separate yearly indexes arranged alphabetically (by registrants last name) by each group of vital events. Each index shall record and include the names of all persons whose birth, marriage, death or fetal deaths are filed.

17 Storage of Vital Records
Records must be stored in fireproof safes and vaults Approval required by the Department of Public Health and the State Public Records Administrator. Any offsite storage must be approved. Location of offsite storage must be within the town limits. CGS §7-42

18 Authenticated Copies to DPH
Send an authenticated copy of each Birth, Death, Marriage or Fetal Death record to the Vital Records Section at DPH no later than the 15th of the following month (exception: births recorded in the Electronic Vital Record System (EVRS)) If no certificates were received by the town Registrar in the month, the Department needs to be notified Do not send records before the end of the event month

19 Authenticated Copies to DPH, cont.
Records should be batched by the month of occurrence, in alphabetical order by last name of the registrant Records should be accompanied by the corresponding “Monthly Report” Do not put records from different months in the same batch All records received after the batch has been sent should be sent immediately to DPH, Do not wait until next month’s batch!

20 All Authenticated Copies sent to the DPH…
Births, Deaths and Fetal Deaths - Must be in alphabetical order by last name Marriages – Must be in alphabetical order by groom’s last name or for same sex marriages, by party one's last name

21 Authenticated Copies to the Town of Residence
CGS § 7-44 states that occurrence towns shall send “at once” copies to any resident towns Births – The town of residence of the mother Marriages – The town of residence for both parties Deaths – The town of residence for the decedent Do not send records to an out of state community!

22 Authenticated Copies to the Town of Residence, cont.
The town of residence must file the certificate in the same manner as an original record For EVRS births, the town of residence shall print out their own resident copies (if connected to EVRS)

23 All Authenticated Copies, cont.
Must be legible Must contain the “certification” statement Must be signed, dated and sealed by the Town Clerk Do not fold

24 Corrections and Amendments
Correction - to change or enter new information on a certificate/record within one year of the date of the event, in order to accurately reflect the facts existing at the time of the event Amendment - (1) to change or enter new information on a certificate/record over one year from the date of the event in order to accurately reflect the facts existing at the time of the event (2) To reflect facts that have changed since the event and for which the law allows for change to the certificate/record. (3) to create a replacement certificate/record e.g paternity, adoption, gender change and change to Cause of Death

25 Corrections and Amendments, cont.
Shall be executed in accordance with statutes and regulations set forth by the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health Only the Town of Occurrence or the State Vital Records Office may correct or amend a vital record Unless otherwise provided by statute or court order, the certificate must be an accurate statement of the fact as they existed at the time of the event

26 Corrections and Amendments, cont.
Only the Commissioner may amend a birth certificate to reflect changes concerning Adoption, Paternity, Gestational Agreements, or Gender Change In some instances a confidential file must be created

27 Corrections and Amendments, cont.
Supporting documentation must be submitted, and maintained on file. Regulation 19a-41-9 An item on a vital record may not be modified more than once, except by court order. Regulation 19a-41-12

28 Corrections and Amendments, cont.
For records in a paper format: Line through the original information and insert the new information Original information should not be erased or “whited out” A marginal note shall be made on the certificate containing a brief but descriptive summary of the supporting evidence An attested copy of the corrected or amended certificate must be sent within 10 days to the DPH and the Town of Residence

29 Corrections and Amendments, cont.
For records in an electronic format: Corrections and amendments shall be made through the methods incorporated in the electronic system Not all towns are connected to EVRS so an attested copy of an EVRS record may need to be sent via mail, if the town of residence does not have access to EVRS

30 Corrections and Amendments Summary
Made within one year of the vital event Are not marked amended Reflect the facts existing at the time of the recording. Correct errors on certificate due to inaccurate or incomplete information provided by informant at time the certificate was prepared. To correct transcribing, typographical, or clerical errors. Amendments Made after one year of the vital event Change or enter new information on a vital event certificate, in order to accurately reflect the facts existing at the time of recording. Create a replacement certificate of birth for matters pertaining to parentage, adoption or gender change. To reflect facts that have changed since the time the certificate was prepared such as a legal name change

31 Corrections and Amendments, cont.
Let’s look at some specific types of birth amendments….

32 Replacement Certificates
Replacement certificates are created at the town of occurrence when a birth certificate has been amended for paternity, gender change or adoption Procedures for filing replacement records. Remove the original birth certificate from the book and replace it with new birth certificate. New certificate is to be inserted in book. Original certificate and accompanying material shall be placed in confidential file. Establish a confidential file based on year and file number and enter this on the back of new certificate. The number shall continue to be sequential from one year to the another. Example , , , ,

33 Replacement Certificates, cont.
On the sealed file, enter the confidential file number, date of creation of the file, new name if applicable and original name in parentheses (example: /10/12. Jane Smith (Jane Doe)) Add a complete entry for the child in the permanent vital statistics ledger. If the child’s name has changed, enter the new name

34 Replacement Certificates, cont.
The new certificate is the legal certificate and shall be used for issuance of certified copies Paternities, Adoptions and Gender Changes – The original record may be issued only on order of a court of competent jurisdiction. (with new law exception allowing public access to original records of adoptions performed prior tp 10/1/1943)

35 Replacement Certificates, cont.
If a copy of the original certificate is issued pursuant to court order, the copy must contain a notation indicating the certificate has been superseded by a new certificate as on file (CGS §7-53).

36 Amending the Registrant’s Name On The Birth Certificate

37 Amending the Registrant’s Name On The Birth Certificate
Court ordered name changes The Commissioner of DPH or the Registrar of the town of occurrence shall amend the birth certificate. (CGS §19a-42(f)) Request for name change must be requested by person named on certificate or such person’s parents, guardian or legal representative. Requester must present certified copy of a court order that grants legal name change. Paper records will be amended by drawing a line through the original name and inserting the new one. Electronic records shall be changed through methods incorporated in the system. The certificate is to be marked “Amended”.

38 Amending the Registrant’s Name On The Birth Certificate
Correcting Names Due to Obvious Error Requester must provide proof of the correct spelling. If within 30 days of the birth, the Parent Notice may be presented. After 30 days, two items of documentary evidence that were produced during the registrant’s early childhood, must be presented.

39 Amending the Registrant’s Name on the Birth Certificate
Examples of obvious typographical errors: Transcribing error due to illegible handwriting, i.e. a script ‘a’ is transcribed as a ‘u’ Transposition of two letters in a common name, i.e. Michael to Micheal Transposed letters or other slight misspelling of a last name.

40 Amending the Registrant’s Name on the Birth Certificate
Examples of Name Changes that are not obvious typographical errors: Removal of an entire first name because the registrant has always been known by her middle name, i.e. ‘Mary Jane” changed to ‘Jane’ A completely different spelling of a name, i.e. ‘Doe’ changed to ‘Dough’, ‘Sean’ changed to ‘Shawn’

41 Corrections and Amendments, cont
Now let’s look at how to amend a death certificate

42 Amending Cause of Death
Two types of amendments to Cause of Death information. 1) Change to a recorded cause of death and 2) A change to a Pending cause of death

43 Access to Vital Records
Direct access to birth, marriage, death and fetal death records is restricted No one other than vital records staff and genealogists may directly access vital records vaults.

44 Access to Vital Records - Indexes
Anyone may access death and marriage indexes Birth indexes are accessible to the parties specified in C.G.S. § 7-51

45 Genealogical Access to Vital Records
Genealogists must be a member of a genealogical society incorporated in Connecticut Current list of approved societies are listed in handbook. Genealogists have direct access to most vital records: Certificates Ledgers Record books Card files Indexes Database printouts

46 Genealogical Access to Vital Records, cont.
Exceptions: Confidential files related to adoption, paternity, gestational agreements, and gender change Those records and documents that contain social security numbers protected by federal law: Births from November 1990 to present Marriage, civil unions and deaths from July 1997 to present. Genealogists are permitted to make notes from records and shall be permitted to purchase certified copies of such records. Current list of approved societies are listed in handbook.

47 Issuance Only certified copies may be issued from the town
Any indication of mother’s marital status must be redacted from birth records Some records contain restricted Social Security Numbers Birth 1900 forward Marriage Exceptions – parties to the marriage, state and federal agencies permitted by law to receive the SSN Death 1997 forward Exceptions – spouse, next of kin, state and federal agencies permitted by law to receive the SSN

48 Issuance, cont. Certified Copies of Vital Records:
Persons 18+ years of age may purchase certified copies of death and marriage records. The social security numbers of the registrants, and the administrative purposes section of the certificate are restricted. Only parties enumerated in C.G.S. § 7-51 may obtain certified copies of birth and fetal death records. (Examples: the person whose birth is recorded if over 18; the registrant’s spouse, parent, guardian or grandparent.)

49 Issuance, cont. Birth Records (CGS §19a-41-2)
Access to records less than 100 years old restricted. Requestor shall submit a valid, government photographic ID which includes date of birth, signature and and expiration date If this is unavailable 2 documents shall be substituted Examples: Military discharge papers, a letter from a government agency verifying identity, copy of a utility bill showing name and current address

50 Issuance, cont. Certified Copies of Birth Certificates
Issued to eligible parties only, 18 years or older “Short form” certificate may be issued to the registrant at 16 years of age. Paper certificates are issued by the registrar at town of occurrence, town of residence or Department of Public Health Electronic birth record may be issued by any registrar with authorized access to the Electronic Birth Registry System.

51 Issuance, cont. Uncertified Copies of Vital Records
In Accord with C.G.S sec 7-51a, Only the Department of Public Health can issue uncertified copies of vital records, and only to approved researchers, state and federal agencies Illegal Issuance of Vital Records No person other than a Registrar of vital records may issue vital records.

52 Births: Filing Certificates
Birth Certificates Completed at a Hospital All birthing hospitals currently utilize the EVRS (electronic birth registry system) to record births occurring at their institution. The registrar in the town where the child is born is responsible for registering the births occurring in their town. For towns connected to the electronic birth registry system, the town will electronically register the birth. For towns not connected to EVRS, where birth occurred outside of the hospital, and child is brought to a hospital subsequent to birth, the hospital will be required to complete and mail an Attestation of a Home Birth Filed at a Hospital to the town of birth. The birth certificate must be transmitted to the Department of Public Health within ten days of birth.

53 Births: Filing Certificates, cont.
Certificates for Births Occurring Outside an Institution Worksheet is completed and submitted at the Town of Occurrence The Registrar attests to the submission and forwards to DPH DPH will enter birth information into EVRS and Send Archival copy back to Town of Occurrence.

54 Belated Birth Certificates
Contact DPH Belated registration of birth shall not be prepared for any deceased person. Any adult or the guardian of the person of any minor for whom no birth certificate is on file, and the date of birth occurred more than one year ago: apply to the registrar of vital statistics of the town in which the birth occurred applicant, along with two other persons having knowledge of the facts must make, under oath, an affidavit.

55 Belated Birth Certificates, cont.
All certificates registered one year or more after birth shall be marked “Delayed” and include the date of the delayed registration.

56 Birth Certificates of Adopted Persons
Adoptions are processed at the DPH only. DPH will prepare a new certificate that will replace the original record. Requires specific and satisfactory documentation supporting adoption. DPH will send a copy of the new certificate to registrars of the towns where the birth record is filed, and the new copy will be issuable The original birth record will be sealed in a confidential file Any person who discloses any information contained in the birth records of adopted persons, may be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more than six months or both.

57 Adopted Persons Born Outside the Country
DPH shall prepare a certification of birth registration (short form certificate) or a certificate of foreign birth for any person born outside of the country and adopted in this state. Requires specific and satisfactory documentation supporting adoption. Refer all inquiries to DPH. Issuable only at DPH

58 Adoption Information Availability and Confidentiality of Information Concerning Adoption and Termination of Parental Rights. CGS §45a-746 through §45a-751 Addresses how and where adopted persons may obtain information concerning their genetic parents, heritage, medical information, etc. Addresses certain rights of persons who have had their parental rights terminated.

59 Paternity/Acknowledgement of Paternity
The name of father of a child born out of wedlock may only be entered upon the birth certificate using a procedure in accordance with CGS §46b-172, CGS 7-50 and 19a-42 Voluntary Procedure requires both mother and father sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) form Or paternity may be established in a court

60 Paternity/Acknowledgement of Paternity
Local Registrar’s responsibility Always contact DPH for guidance. If a completed and notarized Acknowledge of Paternity (AOP) is submitted at the same time a home birth is being completed, the town of birth shall enter the information contained on the AOP into the EVRS system and forward the VS-56 form to DPH for filing. AOP’s received after the birth certificate has been filed, shall be processed only at DPH. Refer public to DPH or DSS for assistance. Court orders establishing paternity will be processed by DPH.

61 Marriage Registrar of vital statistics issues marriage (CGS §42b-24 through §46b-33) licenses Both parties must comply with the provisions of the law and must obtain a license before persons may join in marriage. Both parties to a marriage must appear in person before the registrar. They need not appear at the same time. License applied at the Town of Occurrence License must be dated, signed and sworn to by each applicant. For couples marrying - registrar must supply a copy of marriage laws (CGS §46b-24 and 46b-29 through 46b-33)

62 Marriage, cont. Who may join persons in marriage? (CGS §46b-22)
…3) all ordained or licensed members of the clergy, belonging to this state or any other state, as long as they continue in the work of the ministry

63 Marriage, cont. Kindred may not marry
As of Nov 2008 same sex marriages are recognized and can be performed in Connecticut

64 Marriage, cont. Types of Consents Required for Issuance of Marriage License Parental/guardian (proof required) consent required for applicants under 18 year of age. Judge of Probate consent is required for applicants under 16 years of age. Consent must be signed and acknowledged in the presence of person authorized to take acknowledgements. If minor has no parent or guardian, the written consent may be given by the judge of probate of the district where the minor resides.

65 Marriage, cont. Types of Consents Required for Issuance of Marriage License cont. For applicants under the control of a conservator (proof required), written consent is required of the conservator prior to issuance of license.

66 Marriage, cont. Registrar shall ask for Photo identification to verify the identity of the applicants. SSN shall not be recorded on the license. The registrar shall enter the SSN when license is returned for filing License must bear the certification of the registrar when being issued - indicates applicants have complied with all applicable statutes. The marriage must be performed in the town indicated on the license. License expires 65 days after the date of the application. Date of application is the earliest date on which the application is made.

67 Marriage, cont. Whenever possible obtain the name of the officiator on the worksheet at the time of issuance. License must be completed by person performing ceremony and forwarded to the town where the ceremony was performed. License must be returned within first week of the month following the marriage.

68 Death Certificates There are two types Standard Medical Examiner

69 Death Certificates, cont.
Medical Certification Physician or Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in charge of the patient’s care must complete the medical certification of death within 24 hours of the death, except when inquiry is required by the Chief Medical Examiner. In the absence of such Physician or APRN, or with approval by the physician or APRN, the medical certification may be completed and signed by an associate physician, an APRN, a physician assistant, a registered nurse, the chief medical officer of an institution in which the death occurred or by the pathologist who performed an autopsy upon the decedent.

70 Death Certificates, cont.
A registered nurse or physician assistant may only certify death when the death is anticipated and such registered nurse or physician assistant has pronounced death (CGS §20-101a, §20-12d(d)). Cause of death must be defined so that it may be classified under the international list of causes of death. (CGS §7-62b) Funeral Director or embalmer licensed by DPH, in charge of the burial or embalmment, must complete and sign the death certificate. Funeral Director or embalmer in another state must comply with the terms of a reciprocal agreement.

71 Death Certificates, cont.
Completed death certificates must be filed with the town in which the death occurred, if known, or otherwise where the body was found. Upon completion of the death certificate, the funeral director has the option of obtaining the burial permit from the town where death occurred or from the town where the funeral home is located. If the burial permit is obtained from the town where the funeral home is located, the funeral director must first present a completed death certificate. The funeral director must then file the death certificate, either in person or by certified mail, with the town of death. The death certificate and cremation certificate shall be filed in the town where the body was found if the town of death is unknown. CGS §7-62b, §19a-323

72 Death Certificates, cont.
Cause of death must be defined before the registrar may issue a burial permit. Cause of deaths denoted as “pending further studies” on a death certificate issued by the office of Chief Medical Examiner (VS-4ME), may be used to issue a burial permit. The registrar must make every effort to get the correct cause of death, legibly written and correctly spelled. CGS §7-62b.

73 Communicable Disease as Cause of Death
When a person dies of a communicable disease, as defined in the public health code, only a licensed embalmer may sign the funeral director’s portion of the death certificate. Affidavit on reverse side must be signed, attesting that the body has been treated in accordance with the state public health code. DPH requires a two sided attested copy of the certificate. Attested copies must include attestation on the front side of the death certificate.

74 Burial Permits Issuance
Issued upon receipt or review of a properly completed death certificate. Issued by the registrar of the town in which death occurred or the registrar of the town in which the funeral home is located. Note that this does NOT allow a funeral director who is affiliated with funeral homes located in several different towns to obtain the burial-transit permit from any one of those towns, but only from the town where the body is being prepared for burial. Sufficient to permit burial in any town in the state Sexton to return burial permit to town of burial. Cremation is considered the final disposition so no burial permit is required for burial of ashes. No burial permit is required for the burial of body parts. Burial on a residential property needs to verified in the land records as a place of burial or identified as such through the DPH.

75 Cremation Permits and Certificates
For Deaths Occurring in Connecticut Cremation certificate, signed by the Chief Medical Examiner, a Deputy Medical Examiner, or an authorized Assistant Medical Examiner, must be submitted, either at the town of death or the town where the funeral director in charge of the body is located, in order for a cremation permit to be issued. Deceased Persons brought into Connecticut for Cremation If body is accompanied by a permit for final disposition issued by the legal authorities of the state from which the body was brought, such permit shall be sufficient authority to cremate the body. No additional cremation certificate or permit is required.

76 Cremation Permits and Certificates, cont.
Cremation permit must contain the signature of the funeral director, and the custodian of the body, or in a case of a self-authorized cremation, the signature of the decedent. Public Act requires the cremation permit include the intended disposition of the cremated remains. In the case of unclaimed cremated remains the funeral director is now authorized to dispose of unclaimed cremated remains. Funeral director is responsible for notifying the registrar of changes in intended disposition.

77 Cremation Permits and Certificates, cont.
Pre-signing of cremation permits Section 45a-318 allows a person to pre-sign a cremation permit legally authorizing the cremation of his or her remains. Refer to Appendix E of the Town Clerk manual for additional information Subregistrars are authorized to issue burial permits: FOR DEATHS OCCURRING IN THE TOWN WHERE THE SUBREGISTRAR IS APPOINTED DURING THE HOURS WHEN THE REGISTRAR’S OFFICE IS CLOSED. Subregistrar must obtain completed death certificate and forward such certificate to the registrar within seven days. May not issue cremation permits or disinterment permits.

78 Disinterment Permits Must be issued before a disinterment can occur.
Issued by the town of occurrence or the town of burial. Issued to any licensed funeral director or embalmer or to an individual designated on an order from the judge of superior court or judge of probate. If person died of communicable disease, permission for disinterment must be granted by the local director of health before a disinterment permit may be issued.

79 Electronic Death Registration System
On-going pilot in Middletown

80 How to Get Help For further details on these topics:
Refer to the town clerk manual; Refer to applicable statutes and regulations; Call DPH for further clarification and guidance.

81 Call the Registry for Clarifications and Guidance
When in doubt, please call…. Procedures - Dianne Gustafson, Paternity Registry - Agnieszka Salek and Katie Sehi, Adoption - Maria Colon, Forms - Nancy Dickman, Customer Service – Noon-4PM,

82 Thank You David Antolini Jane K. Purtill Health Program Supervisor
Jane K. Purtill Registrar

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