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County boosts fees for birth, death records

– Searching your ancestry through the vital records office of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health just got a little more costly.

The Allen County commissioners approved several fee increases and a few decreases as part of a revised ordinance adopted Friday.

A new $2 fee for each noncertified copy of a birth or death certificate was approved.

But that fee is just for the copy – a search for one of those vital records is $20.

Although most documents are readily available at no charge at the Allen County Public Library, many people visit the Department of Health when doing a genealogical search, said Mindy Waldron, health department administrator.

“I think people come to the Department of Health more out of convenience than anything else,” Waldron said. “They can go to the Allen County library and pay no fee for a genealogical search.”

A genealogical search for birth records has increased from $10 to $20, and a death records search has risen from $12 to $20, in addition to copy fees.

Blanket searches will be $20 for up to five searches, $36 for six to 10 names and $50 for more than 10 names.

Even though the price has increased, in many cases where people are requesting numerous records it will result in a reduction in the cost, said John Silcox, spokesman for the Department of Health.

A certified copy of vital records is $11 for a birth certificate and $13 for a certified death certificate, which is a $1 increase for both, Silcox said.

While constituents may argue that they already pay taxes and should not have to pay for the services, the tax money covers only a portion of the costs, Waldron said.

The search for vital records can sometimes take days or a week, she said. Because their staff is limited and searches take so much time, the fees charged are well below what it costs the department, Waldron said.

“People don’t realize how long it takes to do a search,” she said. “This is really an extremely nominal fee.”

Commissioner Nelson Peters asked whether the department would realize any profits from the increases.

“I really think it’s probably a wash, once we figure in the decreased fees,” Waldron said.

“There’s no way that we ever capture what we have in it,” she said.

Other changes in fees include:

•Corrections to birth certificates, $20 (unchanged)

•Court-ordered change of name document, $12 (was $20)

•Expedited online vital records search, $22 (was $20)

•Paternity affidavit upon marriage, $20 (was $17)

The vital records office is on the third floor of Citizens Square, 200 E. Berry St. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

vsade@jg.net

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