Types of records search and other questions
Credit card sized copies of birth certificates are no longer available. Not all of the information was provided on them. For this reason, they became invalid documents by federal law in 1989.
- Birth and death certificates issued are certified copies printed on special certified paper with a printed and raised seal.
- You may hear of the terms "Birth certificate" and "Birth record". They are the same so follow the same ordering instructions.
An "apostille" is a form of authentication issued to documents for use in countries that participate in the Hague Convention of 1961. If the country of intended use does not participate in the Hague Convention, documents being sent to that country can obtain a Certificate of Authentication. See instructions on how to get an apostille from the Washington Secretary of State.
For birth certificates prior to 1921 and non-King County death certificates but from other Washington State counties, contact the Washington State Center for Health Statistics at 360-236-4300 or toll-free, 800-525-0127. You may also contact the Washington state county health department serving the area where the birth or death occurred.
In the State of Washington, adoption records are sealed but you may consider hiring a "confidential intermediary" to assist you in searching for your birth parents. Contact the King County Superior Court Adoption Service or by phone at 206-477-1493 for information. They are located in the King County Courthouse, 516 3rd Avenue, Room W-280, Seattle, WA 98104.
If you were born between the years of 1949 to 1967, no times were reported on official birth records in Washington state. You can try checking with the hospital where you were born to see if they have retained original records of your birth which may indicate the time however most private health care facilities typically destroy medical records after 10 years from the last patient's visit as it's costly to continuously archive records that carry a likelihood of not being used again. The time of birth on records restarted in 1968.
Sorry, but there is no master list of names of people who have died in King County. Please follow the instructions on how to purchase a death certificate.
The only way this information can be found is to find the death certificate. Key identifiers are needed to locate the correct certificate as noted in the instructions on how to purchase a death certificate.
Also, we have death records for all persons who died in Seattle city limits (all years) or in King County (1944 forward) only. The death certificate costs $25 and can be ordered from Vital Statistics at the Ninth & Jefferson Building, 908 Jefferson St, 2nd Floor, Seattle, WA 98104 or by ordering a death certificate.
For deaths that occurred in Washington State outside King County, contact the Washington State Center for Health Statistics at 360-236-4300 or toll-free, 800-525-0127.