How to Correct Spelling on Your Birth Certificate

By Michelle Hogan
Changing a birth certificate can be difficult.

Whenever it comes to vital records, even something that seems as simple as changing the spelling of your name on a birth certificate can be more difficult than anticipated. It is not always a simple matter of informing the vital records office of the discrepancy, although in some states it is. The ease of the transaction will depend on your state's policies.

Get an official copy of your birth certificate. Look at it carefully and make sure there are corrections that need to be made. Sometimes, a middle name like "Michelle" is misspelled to read "Michele" and a person decides that the correction is not necessary.

Decide if correction is necessary and contact the state department of health, county department of health or state department of vital records of the state in which you were born. If the person who needs the birth certificate changed is under 1 year of age, most states will allow such a change relatively easily.

Provide the department with the necessary documents to correct your birth certificate. You may need an affidavit, baptismal record, school record, medical record (one from around the time of birth will be very useful) or a copy of the original worksheet you used to fill out the birth certificate form (the hospital may have this).

Pay any necessary fees related to the reissuing of the certificate. Keep in mind that if the change on the birth record is for anything more than correcting a spelling (like changing a name, for example), you will need to file papers with your county clerk of courts, obtain a court date and get an official name change done by a judge.

Tip

Getting a vital record changed can be a lengthy process. Make sure you keep all relevant paperwork to the change with your other vital papers.

About the Author

Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.