County Clerk definition

A county clerk, or clerk of courts, is the person responsible for filing vital records or other important official documents related to a specific county population. Please note that a county clerk is not the same as a birth certificate clerk.

What does a county clerk do?

A county clerk files birth, death and marriage certificates. However, it is also possible that in small counties, the county clerk might be expected to execute other duties.

In some states, the county clerk might oversee local elections. Some responsibilities might vary depending on the size of the county as well as its population. Overall, the main job of a county clerk is to file public records and keep track of them.

Some country clerks are elected while others are appointed. The clerk is one of the oldest known officials in local government. Currently, in the United States, the county clerk is generally responsible for maintaining records of all governing body transactions including resolutions and ordinances.

County Clerk’s duties

Depending on the population, a County Clerk is responsible for some or all of the following:

  • Keeping records of births, deaths, assumed names, marriages, and co-partnerships
  • Issuing and filing marriage licenses, gun permits, and notary bonds
  • Processing passports
  • Filing, keeping and sealing court documents
  • Administering electoral functions, tabulating ballots for elections, training elections workers
  • Maintaining expenditure records and providing budget reports for County departments and preparing the County’s books for auditing
  • Keeping personnel files on all County employees, and is responsible for their payroll, health and life insurance, workman’s compensation, unemployment, and liability insurance

What is a county clerk certification?

Documents such as vital records can bear different levels of certification which grant them validity in the United States or abroad.

  1. The first level of certification would be the signature of the person who has issued the document or translated it
  2. The next level would be notarization which is done by a Notary Public
  3. The following level would be obtaining a County Clerk Certification
  4. The final certification would be obtaining an Apostille, which would grant the document validity in all countries that are participants of the Apostille Convention (Hague Treaty Convention 12)

Citizens who need to have their signature certified on a document that they have notarized can bring or send the original document to the County Clerk’s office to obtain a County Clerk Certification. The certification will be attached directly to the document once the issuance fee is covered by the applicant.

Certified copies of a birth certificate already carry the registrar’s signature and date it was filed with the registrar’s office as well as a raised, embossed, multi-colored seal that grants it legal validity within the territory of the United States. Citizens who need to use their US birth certificate abroad may read further about how to authenticate a birth certificate.