It’s obvious that the people in the Maryland Division of Vital Records aren’t very willing to help me out. But I’m Italian so I become a more effective person when I become agitated (I’m also the product of my mother, double whammy for MD).

With that in mind, I spent some time going over the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) – the set of laws that dictate, among a million other things, how vital records are administered. Using publically available information, I am sending the following letter to John M. Colmers, the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene in Maryland.

Mr. Colmers,

I, John Nicholas Smarto, am writing to request your permission to obtain two (2) certified copies of the birth certificate of my grandfather William Lorenzo ******* (deceased). I have pursued this through the Division of Vital Records but have been denied because my name does not appear on the birth certificate.

I am writing to ask your assistance in exercising the Code of Maryland Regulations 10.03.01.07A: “On request, for birth, death, and marriage records only, the Secretary may disclose data or issue certified copies of vital records, original certificates, or information when satisfied that the applicant has a direct and tangible interest in the content of the record.”

Also, Code of Maryland Regulations 10.03.01.07B.d allows a birth certificate to be administered to a “Authorized representative of the subject.” and 10.03.01.01B.3b.i declares that “a member of the immediate or surviving family” is an authorized representative.

The purpose of obtaining these records is to support my application for Italian Dual Citizenship. The Philadelphia consulate has informed me that I will need certified birth, death and marriage records of all ascendants and their spouses between myself and my Italian ancestors.

It is because of these sections and my application for Italian Dual Citizenship that I would like the Secretary to recognize that I, the applicant, have a direct and tangible interest in the content of the record, and that you would allow me two certified copies of this document.

For your reference, I am declaring the following information is accurate to prove my lineage should you choose to review the records of our family:

My grandfather, William Lorenzo ******* is deceased. He died on June 7, 1996 in Cumberland, Allegheny County, Maryland. The funeral home corresponding to his death certificate is Scarpelli’s Funeral Home, also in Cumberland, Maryland.

He was born on July 25, 1927 in Allegheny County, Maryland to Lorenzo W. ******* and Edna May Metz *******, though he lived in Mineral County, West Virginia.

He married my grandmother Joan Marie ***** (*******) on May 30, 1948 in Mineral County, West Virginia. On November 13, 1960, they gave birth to my mother, Jean Marie ******* (Smarto) in Allegheny County. This can be verified on the birth certificate for Jean Marie *******, also held at the Division of Vital Records.

Jean Marie ******* was married to John Ellis Smarto on June 30, 1984, also in Allegheny County, Maryland and gave birth to me, John Nicholas Smarto on June 26, 1987 in Allegheny County, Maryland. This will also be in your records.

I appreciate your aid and understanding in this situation, and I welcome you or your office to contact me with any questions or additional verification steps.

Thank you very much,

J. Nicholas Smarto

Hopefully this will push my case around enough, as I’m including the original application form, copy of my driver’s license and a check. Not granting this would seem to be technically illegal, so lets see bureaucracy at work.

Total cost of this stage = ($.44 x 4 stamps) + $12 for the certificate =$13.76

Total cost so far= $167.85

(side note: an additional $.44 stamp +$5 for resending request for Bill and Joans marriage cert.) = $5.44

Total cost so far = $173.29