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Florida Birth Records



Why Florida Birth Records Can Be Hard to Crack


If you are looking for birth records from Florida then we have some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is that the state does a reasonably good job of maintaining a centralized database of birth certificates and makes it relatively straightforward to apply for a copy of your own or your child's birth certificate. The bad news is that access to Florida's birth records are very restricted and, if you're looking for the birth records of someone who is still living, then you are likely to encounter problems. With that in mind, there are ways around this problem, which we will look at below.

Historical records

Florida only made birth certification mandatory in 1899 and this rule was generally only complied with by 1917. That means that if you are looking for a birth record from prior to 1917 (and certainly prior to 1899) then you will have to get creative. Individual counties may have their own records from the 19th century that the state's central database doesn't cover. Furthermore, the Family History Library does an excellent job at filling in the gaps created by Florida's lack of mandatory birth registration prior to 1899 and they are a great resource if you are looking for birth records dating back to the 1860s.

Bureau of Vital Records

The Bureau of Vital Records has complete copies of birth certificates going back to 1917 and incomplete copies going back to 1877. You can obtain a copy of a birth certificate either by visiting the Bureau at its office in Jacksonville or by mailing them an application. Applications can be made either in English or in Spanish. Keep in mind that there is an application fee, which is generally $9, but which can increase if the year of birth is unknown or if you require additional copies.

The 100-year rule

That being said, it's important to keep in mind that the records held by the Bureau of Vital Records are not public. That means that you cannot simply ask for the birth record of somebody you don't know. Access to birth records are kept private for 100 years after the birth unless you provide a death certificate of the person you are looking for to the Bureau. Alternatively, the only person able to access birth records is the registrant (if he or she is over 18) or the registrant's parents or legal guardians. The only other way to access the birth records of a living person is by obtaining a court order. You can also try searching birth announcements in the archives of Florida newspapers if you are simply looking for a record (and not a certified copy) of a person's birth.

While some states make finding a birth certificate easy, Florida, unfortunately, is not one of them. The state has fairly strict privacy laws that make searching for Florida birth records cumbersome, especially if you are looking for the birth record of an individual who is still alive. That being said, as the above article shows, there are still ways to obtain a Florida birth certificate so long as you are diligent and creative in your search.


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