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The State of Genealogy
An update on public records in four states.
What's the outlook for family history research in your area — or the place where your ancestors lived? The answer often hinges on actions by state legislatures and agencies, whose decisions have (sometimes unintended) consequences for genealogists. Here's an update on recent measures that will affect ancestor hunters in four states.

In July, the price of obtaining your Ohio ancestors' vital records climbed after Gov. Bob Taft approved a state-budget amendment requiring Ohio counties to charge an extra $5 for certified copies of birth and death records. The fee will help fund the digitization of those records.

This price hike means certified copies now cost at least $12, because counties had been required to charge at least $7. The legislation also prevents the issuance of uncertified copies of vital records — previously available for mere pennies — in order to curb fraudulent use of the documents. In the days leading up to the fee increase, genealogists scrambled to get uncertified copies of their kin's records.

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