Professional Genealogy Tip: Use long-form legal birth certificate record for maximum genealogical, historical and family history information, not merely “certification” or short-form abstract copy of live birth legal record. Compare Obama’s short-form certification of live birth with 50 states long-form certificate of live birth. What a big difference in what information is provided on a “real” birth certificate!

Recently I did professional genealogy research on Hawaiian ancestry using several long-form legal birth records called “certificate of live birth” for the years 1949 (a legal copy produced in 1950) and 1971 (a legal copy produced in 1985), as well as the short-form record called “certification of live birth” for 1961 (a legal copy produced in 2008). Anyone familiar with the value of birth records in genealogical research, knows there is considerable difference in available information between what is included on the legal live birth long-form (the commonly called “real” birth certificate) and legal short-form (which is an abstract of the long form). Information accuracy, access, and availability are the life blood of professional genealogy research, and less is not better! In the course of this research I was told that only the short-form birth records are available for purchase and use by today’s researchers. I heard this change took place in 2001 when Hawaii went paperless. Is this really true? What is the Hawaiian legal code authorizing this? Has Hawaiian genealogical research using copies of original long-form birth records been stopped and now limited to the minimal information that is found on the short-form? If so, it is a professional genealogist nightmare and for those who are not professionals, even more of a loss because most do not have the education, training and experience to find alternative sources of information!

I wonder: What happened to the long-form certificates that were collected, stored and microfilmed in the past? I just can’t imagine that the genealogists, family historians, and professional researchers working with Hawaiian ancestry have allowed this to happen. Are there people in Hawaii who are working to reverse this limited records access?

I wonder: What is public access today for Hawaiian birth records? What kind of birth record is available in 2009 in Hawaii for genealogical research? Are there different categories in Hawaii of certification or certificates available for legal birth records such as employment and citizen verification, identity verification, passport use, prima facie evidence in a court of law, school admission, driver’s license application, social security application, and genealogical for the genealogical researcher of Hawaiian birth records? What Hawaiian legal codes cover all of these different categories and uses of Hawaiian legal birth records?

I wonder: Is this the wave of the future for the other 49 states – inhibiting research and discovery by not legally allowing citizens to access public records? I know Utah still offers long-form and short-form birth records access, even though their records have been digitized since 1999. The long-form costs $21 while the short-form costs $18. Makes you wonder what the rest of the states are going to do? Do you know anything about this issue? Please contact me via my website so we can work together for the future accessibility of such important genealogical records as long-form birth records.

Submitted by Mary E. Petty, BA (History), BA (Genealogy)

Ancestors are the People of History. Do you know who yours are? Let the Professionals at HEIRLINES FAMILY HISTORY & GENEALOGY find your ancestry! 1-800-570-4049 PO Box 893 Salt Lake City, UT 84110

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