Friday, November 30

Vital Records for Guilford County Back On-Line...with a Catch!

Mr. Jeff Thigpen has informed the BIN that access to Guilford County Vital Records (Abstracts) has been restored...with a little catch! Since the end of July, we have been without access to vital records, an important tool for everyone around the genealogy world. Guilford County, Moore, Iredell, New Hanover & Burke County ROD's are the only offices that has access to vital records online.* Many of us were disappointed when access was removed for the reasons given by Mr. Thigpen. Although the BIN and this author disagreed with the reasoning, we believed Mr. Thigpen would reconsider and institute a system where access would be restored.

Well, Christmas comes early for most us that live within driving distance of the Guilford ROD office. For the rest, it will take an extra step and a stamp! Mr. Thigpen has indeed instituted a login/password authentication process to allow users to access vital record abstracts online. In my eyes and for the massive benefit this service provides, it is well worth the effort. Click on this link: and complete the online registration. You will receive an email from the ROD with further instructions on how to complete the process. You have two options. The first option: After completing the form, you can visit the ROD office and show a valid ID, which include a valid driver's license, state ID card, military ID card, English or English translated consular card, or valid passport. You should be granted access after you complete this step. The second option is for the folks who can’t drive to the ROD office. Photo copy your ID, complete the attached form contained within the email you receive (after you register), have it notarized, mail it in to the ROD office and wait for a reply. The instructions for either step are clearly explained in the first email you receive after you complete the initial registration form. Both steps may seem cumbersome and redundant, but I feel it’s reasonable because the benefits outweigh the pain of driving to his office or losing a stamp! Ha! On a personal note, I met Mr. Thigpen at my graduation from Guilford College in 2002. He was our keynote speaker and a former county commissioner. I knew he was well respected and was in good standing in the county. I know he took both sides of this issue to heart and came up with a workable and reasonable way of allowing online access to vital records. After reviewing the registration process, the BIN fully supports the Guilford County ROD and their procedure for access to vital records.

I applaud Mr. Thigpen for sticking to his word and implementing a system that is acceptable to everyone. It addresses the concerns lodged by the citizens of the county and allows law-abiding, innocent, and foremost, the serious genealogist access to otherwise PUBLIC records. I have been to the Guilford County Register of Deeds office many, many times and I’ve always been served without issue. Access to vital records has always been granted and I know it will always be in the future.

*Source: Bonnie Jones, Contributor to the BIN

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