The state is making it easier for anyone to search old records as part of genealogical research.
A new Web site unveiled Wednesday contains photocopies of every Arizona birth record from 1887 through 1928. Death records for 1878 through 1953 also can be directly accessed.
More recent records will come eventually. State law spells out that 75 years must pass before birth certificates become available to the general public. The wait period for death records is 50 years.
The site, which has been undergoing final testing, already has proven popular: Gov. Janet Napolitano said that last week alone there were 21,000 hits on the site.
"It’s a new connection to Arizona’s past," she said. The governor said the most immediate beneficiaries of the system will be researchers who may find the traditional system for requesting such records "cumbersome and costly."
Under that system, there is a $3 fee for each record search requested. Napolitano said there also is a two- to three-week delay in getting the specific record.
She said the Web site also will free up state employees to handle other types of requests, such as those from parents who need their children’s birth certificates to enroll them in school.
The searches are relatively easy.
For example, in searching for former Arizona Congressman Morris K. Udall, a researcher would start with the search screen at http:\\genealogy.az.gov.
Putting in just the last name of Udall turns up 64 listings.
Scrolling down to "Udall, Morris King" shows a birth record for him from June 15, 1922. That record actually has a blank for the name, because like many children, he was not named until later. It takes a separate search to find the supplement where he is named.
Udall’s death certificate, filed in 1998, will not be publicly available until 2048.
To access the state’s new Web site on birth and death records, go to http:\\genealogy.az.gov on the Internet.