Each week, the Missourian highlights a government record that is available to the public. Open records help people keep government in check and help them better understand how government affects their lives.
For a complete list of Show Me the Records, go to columbiamissourian.com/records.
The records: Birth and death certificates for an individual, courtesy of the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department.
Why you'd want them: Birth certificates are required to get many other government documents. You might need one to renew or get a driver's license and you might need one to get a marriage license. Passports require them, and your child's school or day care might need one too.
Death certificates can be used to help settle legal matters after someone dies. Insurance companies and the Social Security Administration might want to see copies of the certificates.
Where you get the records: You can pick up these documents at the health department's offices, located at 1005 W. Worley St. The phone number is 573-874-7355
You can also get forms online by going to the health department's website.
How much it will cost: Birth certificates are $15 for each copy. Death certificates cost $13 for the first copy and $10 for subsequent copies.