Customer Reviews: International Vital Records Handbook. 5th Edition
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on January 11, 2001
Interest in genealogical research and family histories continues to be a popular pastime for hundreds of thousands of people across the country. Now in a newly updated fifth edition, Thomas Jay Kemp's "International Vital Records Handbook" continues to be an indispensable resource for both amateur and professional genealogists with respect to acquiring certificates and other informational records on births, marriages, and deaths. This compendium of application forms is also of critical importance for anyone needing to order information with respect to driver's licenses, passports, proof of identity, employment, even social security. Arranged alphabetically by state, the "International Vital Records Handbook" also covers United States Trust Territories from American Samoa to the Virgin Islands of St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John. Of special note is the major international section devoted the countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. An invaluable contribution, "International Vital Records Handbook" is an indispensable addition to personal, professional, academic, and community reference collections.
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on April 6, 2006
I am a Reference Librarian and have often used this resource for library patrons. It has been a good resource. HOWEVER this edition is prior to the events of 9/11. Many States have greatly revised their requirements for obtaining vital records due to increased security measures. Unless you go online and compare current vital record requirements for each locale, you may be wasting your time using the information in this edition. Hopefully the author is preparing a new edition with post-9/11 requirements; but until then, do NOT rely on this edition as a current accurate handbook for today's requirements. You will be wasting your time and money.
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We often find ourselves at odds trying to find the correct form for one thing or another. It can be quite frustrating to fill out a form only to find you need a different one. It may be frustrating if it is a form that can be found locally, but if it is one that will take many emails or phone calls to obtain the proper one it can be very time consuming. In this book of forms you can find forms that deal with "copies of birth, marriage, or death certificates for drivers' licenses, passports, jobs, social security, family history research, or for simple proof of identity."

If you need a form that can be obtained locally, say one to get your driver's license, perhaps you will find investing in this book would be senseless, but if you are a genealogist and need an assortment of forms, this book can be a gold mine. You will find where the vital records are stored, who houses them, where the transcriptions of cemeteries are, how to order the records, telephone numbers, fax numbers, the cost of obtaining certified copies, and more. There are actual copies of forms that you will need. You simply need to copy them, write out a check, send a money order, and simply wait for your document. Of course you will need to keep in mind that many records are only available to relatives and that many forms do ask "your relationship to decedent" or "the person whose record is required."

In addition to a state by state listing of forms, the reader will also be able to find forms or information as to where to obtain them for the U.S. Trust territories and an alphabetical listing of international resources. Canada's are listed by province while most of the other countries have inquiry resources and a brief paragraph outlining what is available. For example, Kazakhstan has an address to send requests, an embassy contact, and states that "Some civil records were destroyed during World War II and may not be available. In the U.S. Kazakhstani documents can be requested through the Embassy of Kazakhstan."

This newly updated book may not have everything you need, but it certainly provides a wealth of information, especially to the genealogy buff. There are two other books I would recommend taking a look at in addition to this one if you are into genealogy. On is the 6th edition "Genealogist's Address Book: State and Local Resources With Special Resources Including Ethnic and Religious Organizations" and the 3rd edition of the "country Courthouse Book: A concise Guide to Country Courthouses and Courthouse Records," both written by Elizabeth Petty Bentley. This is an excellent compilation of material that can prove to be invaluable in your search for information whether it is for simply obtaining your passport or searching for your heritage!
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on October 1, 2011
Although the book is helpful in providing close to the most accurate forms. It does however lack factual information for example concerning adoption records for the state of Mississippi. According to the State of Mississippi, adoption records are sealed. You cannot obtain any records unless you have a court order. If you are seeking adoption records of deceased persons, you will not be able to obtain them even if the records are beyond 1970. I was disappointed to know that I could not request certain records from different states. Some information was misleading or incorrect.
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on April 12, 2010
All these records help me to send for the marriages, births, and deaths, and any other kind of records all over the world, to help me get the information to prove the that the records are authentic and correct. Would recommend for use in obtaining oversea records. Thank you.

Karen Kay Ullom
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on July 21, 2010
The Vital Records Handbook is indispensible for obtaining records from US States and foreign countries. The forms and directions are there and ready to go. I use it frequently to obtain records for genealogical research.
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on August 18, 2015
This is a great resource for genealogists. Many library systems now have a Gale Genealogy Book collection and this is included, but I like books!
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