A certified copy is a second copy of a vital record, issued as an original by the agency recording the document. According to immihelp, a photocopy or notarized copy of a document cannot substitute for a certified copy.
Individuals often have only one copy of important documents such as birth, death or marriage certificates. Instead of sending the only copy and risking it being lost, the other option is to visit the government agency that issued the original and purchase a second certified copy. According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Missouri county health departments issue birth and death certificates. Obtaining a certified copy of one of these documents, requires the individual to visit or mail an application and required fee to the department responsible for documenting the specific event.