January 2015 Vital Records News

January 2015

Vital Records News

County issuance offices and OVR: a unique partnership

The working relationship between the Minnesota Office of Vital Records (OVR) and local issuance offices at the counties constitutes a complementary effort to provide all manner of vital records services.

For example, the counties offer walk-in, same-day service to acquire birth and death certificates. The state office, OVR, doesn't provide walk-in service. Also, if you want information about a Minnesota vital record, 37 county local issuance offices provide access free of charge at public view stations to the MR&C System to look up and view birth and death record summaries.

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Services available at the 106 county locations include:

  • Birth certificates available the same day. Also, counties have birth records for Minnesotans born before 1900; OVR does not.
  • Death certificates available the same day. Counties have records for deaths before 1908; OVR does not.
  • Marriage licenses and divorce decrees are available from the county where the marriage or divorce took place. OVR has neither.
  • Correcting many of the data elements on birth and death records registered within the year; registrars at hospitals and funeral establishments have time-limited access to make corrections and OVR makes corrections as well.
  • Amending death records. OVR can amend all records (see below).

OVR issues birth and death certificates for requests made by email, fax, or mail only. Other services that only OVR provides include:

  • Issuing certified copies of Recognition of Parentage and other paternity forms
  • Issuing certificates of birth resulting in stillbirth
  • Processing amendments to birth records
  • Replacing birth records after an adoption, paternity action or court order
  • Registering putative fathers for the Minnesota Father’s Adoption Registry (MFAR) and searching MFAR before adoptions are ordered.

Please see the OVR website for detailed information on services that OVR provides.

Very Vital Records

Most Minnesotans tend to think of vital records for the certificates that come from them, but vital records and the data they contain are really, well…vital!

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"These data are used for policy decisions and to make recommendations for future improved health outcomes." - Sally Almond, OVR Field Representative

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Consider a death record. Obviously, it tells us the name of the decedent, but there’s so much more.  Socioeconomic information like age, marital status, education, and the cause of death are also included in death records. Researchers use this information to identify trends. For example, studies done over the past 150 years have shown that marriage is in fact good for your health. This is especially true for married men, who tend to live 17 years longer than their unmarried conterparts.  Also, heart disease, with cancer a close second, is the leading cause of death for adults over the age of 45. This information is available due to vital records research.

Birth records are similarly valuable. Information about the pregnancy, maternal risk factors and the delivery is included on the birth record and these data are used here in Minnesota and across the nation. By now, most of us understand that smoking and drinking during pregnancy is hazardous to the health of an unborn baby, but did you know this hypothesis was verified through birth records?

Each state or jurisdiction in the United States contracts with the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), a branch of the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to share de-identified vital records data. NCHS combines data from all states and jurisdictions into reports used by health care providers and the general public. These data are used for policy decisions and to make recommendations for future improved health outcomes. When the CDC publishes a report or that report is in the news media, often vital records data contributed to the information being released.

Laws require that funeral establishments and hospitals file vital records within five days of the birth or death. Because of this timely filing, death records are available to track outbreaks and epidemics.  Through the Minnesota Registration & Certification (MR&C) System, Minnesota records are being filed more quickly and more accurately all the time. This is really an achievement all vital records stakeholders can feel proud of. Faster record filing means certificates are available sooner for Minnesota families and vital records information can be available for study sooner, resulting in timely health recommendations that impact us all.

Thank you for the work you do for the families, customers and patients. You are an important part of the team; birth and death registration matters at your facility, in Minnesota, and across the nation.


New emailing lists
With OVR's expanded newsletter, we’ve naturally expanded our audience. That means we now have created a larger mailing list. In the past, we emailed our “Birth Data News” to about 800 stakeholders. With our new and expanded “Vital Records News,” we reach about 2,100 readers.

OVR compiled the email distribution list based on users of the MR&C System. The newsletter is emailed to birth registrars, funeral establishment staff, and county issuance workers who have user roles in the MR&C System.

We sincerely hope that we’re sending you “news you can use.”

OVR also uses these same lists to communicate system changes, policies, and other announcements. OVR tailors the message for the unique needs of each audience. That way, you'll only get targeted announcements that specifically address your area of expertise.

OVR will periodically refresh the lists based on current users of the MR&C System. For that reason we encourage you to keep your contact information current in MR&C. Also, if you unsubscribe to the newsletter, when the list is refreshed, you may receive new issues.


State Registrar
Molly Mulcahy Crawford

Deputy State Registrar
Heidi Granlund

Issuance Unit Supervisor and Anti-Fraud Coordinator
Brenda Shinaul

Registration & Amendments Supervisor
Krista Bauer

Birth Adoptions & Amendments
Birth Certificates
Death Amendments
Death Certificates
Local Issuance Help
MR&C Help