I'm relatively new to genealogy, and I've discovered that my paternal grandmother's family had roots in Bridgeport. The City of Bridgeport does not offer non-certified copies of the original vital records documents that I'm looking for (roughly 1890s to 1930s), and the Connecticut State Archives office told me I should either hire a professional genealogist or pay the $20 per vital record fee, which would add up to be quite a lot of money.
I was lucky in finding that the Rhode Island Archives offers non-certified copies of older vital records for a nominal fee. It doesn't seem like Connecticut/Brigeport has such a thing.
If anyone else has run into this problem (whether in Connecticut or elsewhere), what kind of workarounds have you found? I live across the country, and even if I could visit Bridgeport, it seems unlikely that they allow researchers direct access to original documents. The CT Archives told me they only have transcribed forms, like what we can already find on Ancestry.com.
I really appreciate your advice - I'm new to this, but I'm trying to eyeball every census and glean as many details from each document. Thank you!