Birth Records

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American birth records were usually begun in the late 1800s or early 1900s.  In many cases, only churches recorded births (with a baby’s christening or baptism date). Later, government agencies started keeping birth records.  Prior to states keeping birth records, they were kept by counties—except for most of the New England states, which kept them at the town level. Birth records are confidential in most states, and are usually available only to the person whose certificate it is and to that person’s descendants. Some offices will require that you submit a standard search application form. If not, send the following:

•  Check or money order for the search fee ($1 to $15)
•  Full name and the sex of the person sought
•  Names of the parents, if known
•  Approximate date and place of the event
•  Your relationship to the person
•  Reason for the request (family history)

TIP: Request a photocopy of the complete original record, otherwise they might send you a simple extract that doesn’t contain all the available information.

More Info at FamilySearch Wiki

Almost always include:
•  name of child
•  gender of child
•  race of child
•  Date of birth
•  Place of birth
•  Names of parents

May also include:
•  Maiden name of the mother
•  Ages of parents at the time of the birth
•  Birthplaces of parents
•  Occupation of the parents
•  Family residence address
•  Child’s order in the family
•  Hospital or name of attending physician or midwife
•  Exact time of birth
•  Maiden name of the mother
•  Physical description of the child

1)  Family History Library — has copies of many birth records (primarily those before 1920) and many statewide indexes.  Check the FHL Catalog for the State, County or Town where the birth took place.

2)  States — go to page 9.8 to see if the state has records for the time frame you’re interested in.  Or go to this website for specific information on where to send (and the cost) for the state where the birth took place:

3)  Counties or Towns — these jurisdictions usually kept records before the states did.  Go to this site for specific information on where to send (and the cost) for the locality where the birth took place:
Also, see pages 9.10-11 for info on how to find county records.

•  If you don’t find a birth record from any of the above, check FamilySearch for a Resource Guide for the locality you’re interested in for other possibilities.



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