With several unanswered questions I had pertaining to the $3 uncertified Detroit death certificates, I decided to check it out myself.
I headed down to 640 Temple Street yesterday and parked on the street in front of the building. Wayne County also provides a secured free parking lot, left of the building.
When you walk in the building, a city worker will give you the form below and a numbered ticket. You will fill out the form(s) at one of the many tables in the lobby before you proceed to the security desk, in front of the elevators.
At the security desk, you will sign the visitor register and the security officer will give you a visitor sticker. You’ll then proceed to the elevators behind you and head to the sixth floor. When the elevator opens, you’ll turn left and head down to room 626. You shouldn’t miss it on your right because a security officer will be standing next to it most of the time. This room (waiting room 1) is like a large conference room with TVs and large windows. You’ll wait until your number is called and you’ll proceed to the clerk’s office (waiting room 2), right across the hall. After finding a seat (there were maybe 15 chairs) in this small office, you’ll wait for one of the busy clerks to call your number. I’d say it took about 30 minutes from the time I walked into the building to having a clerk call my number.
Since I requested several death certificates between 1955 – 1971, they had to fax my requests to “the archives”, which I was told is Lansing’s Michigan Vital Records Office. The friendly clerk said they should be ready within the hour. Since I had an hour to spare and haven’t cruised Woodward Ave in the daytime since working at the State Theater (now The Fillmore) back in 2001, I cruised around and took in the sights.
I returned 45 minutes later to the clerk’s office (waiting room 2) and asked one of the clerks if my records were ready. After checking, she said “almost” and to take a seat in either waiting room for my name to be called by the security guard. I eagerly waited for my name to be called and within a few minutes I heard the security guard call out “McConville? Keller? Koch?”. Those were the surnames of the records I ordered. They were ready!
I merrily strolled up to the security guard, checked my death certificates on plain white copier paper, said “Thank you! Have a great weekend!” and headed toward the elevator. Receiving three death certificates for $9 out the door instead of $22 or $34 each like I’m used to, there was definitely a skip in my step on my way out of the building.
While “uncertified” is not an option on the form you fill out, it is an option on the paperwork the clerk fills out when you pay.
The clerk I asked said to check the $3 search fee option and write “Uncertified Copy” on your death record search form. If you do not state you want an uncertified copy on the paperwork or when you talk to the clerk, they will issue you a certified copy.
* The death had to be in DETROIT
* You can only receive the $3 uncertified Detroit death certificates at the Temple Street building.
* All requests MUST be submitted and picked up in person on the same day. They will not accept requests by email, fax, or by phone.
* I wasn’t asked to prove my relationship to the deceased but you might be if the death was somewhat recent.
I hope this answers any questions you might have