"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press & Thorndale Champion
- 5 June 2003

Texas Birth, Death, Marriage & Divorce Indexes on Microfiche

Currently, you can purchase copies of the Texas Birth, Death, Marriage and Divorce Indexes on Microfiche from the Texas Dept. of Health. These microfiche are a "must" have for every Texas genealogy society and public library.

During this last session of the legislature, an attempt was made to permanently close these indexes. To the great relief of genealogists, this effort failed. While the indexes are still available to the public, there is no guarantee they will be in the future.

Consequently, before the door is permanently closed, it would prudent for genealogy societies and libraries to purchase copies of these microfiche for future researchers who may not have access to the records. If the indexes were ever closed, no one would be able to buy these microfiche!

The open Birth Index includes the last, first and middle name, if any, of the child, date of birth, county of birth, and sex of child, and may also include father's name and mother's maiden name. All indexes will be sorted in alphabetical order by surname within each year.

The open Death Index includes the last, first and middle name, if any, of the deceased, date of death, county of death, and sex of deceased, and may also include marital status, and the spouse's name. All indexes will be sorted in alphabetical order by surname within each year.

The Marriage Index includes the last, first and middle name, if any, the county of issue, the date of marriage, the spouse's name, and state file number.

The Divorce Index includes the last, first and middle name, if any, the county of issue, the date of divorce, the spouse's name, and the state file number.

For information on how to purchase these items from the Texas Dept. of Health and to verify the prices, contact by telephone (toll-free) 1-888-963-7111, ext.7509.

Be prepared to give the following: name and mailing address of requestor; telephone number of requestor (in case additional information is needed; event requested (birth, death, marriage or divorce); year(s) requested; format requested (microfiche); and Payment by check or Visa/MasterCard.

Information is available on-line at: http://www.tdh.state.tx.us/bvs/registra/index.htm.

Index years available on microfiche and price are:

Changes to Texas Laws that Effect Genealogists

75-year wait to get Texas Birth Certificates

Pursuant to SB861 that was enrolled on May 30th by the Texas Legislature and sent to Gov. Perry for his signature, you will now have to wait 75-years to obtain a copy of a Texas Birth Certificate. Texas Govt. Code Section 552.115 previously allowed for anyone to obtain a copy of a birth certificate 50-years after the date of birth. This change in the law becomes effective on Sept. 1, 2003.

This means that until Aug. 31st anyone will still be able to obtain a copy of a birth certificates issued between 1928 and 1953. Beginning Sept. 1st, you will only be able to obtain copies of birth certificates issued prior to 1928.

There was no change to the waiting period for anyone to obtain copies of Texas Death Certificates. Those will still be available 25-years after the date of death.

Birth and Death Certificates will still be available to next-of-kin or the individual in question (i.e., birth certificate) without any wait.

Increase in fees

Also, beginning Sept. 1st there will be a $1 increase in the fee charged for copies of birth, death, marriage or divorce records.

So, get busy ordering records!

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/lks_friday/COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 10 June 2003 and was last revised on __________

Copyright 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604