GuidedResearch:Why Can't I Find the Record - Maryland Births
Maryland Births - What else you can try
This page will give you additional guidance and resources to find birth information for your ancestor. Use this page after first completing the birth section of the Maryland Guided Research page.
Additional online resources
Additional Databases and Online Resources
- (List of collections)
Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995
How to Request the Record When It's Not Online
Beginning in 1898, Maryland law required counties to record births. General compliance occurred in the 1910s. An earlier law, in 1865, also required the recording of births, but there was low compliance and only limited information recorded.
To learn more about record limitations and restrictions, see the article How to Find Maryland Birth Records.
To find or order birth records after 1865, visit or contact:
- Maryland State Archives
350 Rowe Blvd.
Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone: (410) 260-6400
Guide to Government Records
- Birth records can be viewed onsite or a research request can be made.
To order birth records after 1924, contact:
- Department of Health
Division of Vital Records
Reisterstown Plaza, 6550 Reisterstown Road
Baltimore, MD 21215
Phone: (410) 764-3038
NOTE: Birth records are confidential for 100 years from the date of birth or until the death of the named individual. Only the person on the certificate, parents, or spouse may obtain a birth certificate during this restricted period (see Restrictions for more details).
Additional Records with Birth Information
Substitute records may contain information about more than one event and are used when records for an event are not available. Records that are used to substitute for birth events may not have been created at the time of the birth. The accuracy of the record is contingent upon when the information was recorded. Search for information in multiple substitute records to confirm the accuracy of these records.
|Use these substitute records to locate birth information about your ancestor:|
||Why to search the records|
||Death records may include the birthdate or age of the deceased. With the age, a birthdate can be approximated. Click on the link to the left to return to the "Death" page.|
||Gravestone inscriptions and cemetery records may include a birthdate.|
||Census records from 1850 onward give ages of the recorded individuals, allowing researchers to calculate birth years.|
||Baptism records occasionally provide a birthdate. In addition, a death or burial record may include an age that can approximate a birthdate. To access church records, first determine the denomination.|
||In addition to obituaries, newspapers publish notices of marriages, divorces, deaths, and funerals. In recent years, birth notices have also been published providing the names of the parents and sex of the child.|
||Obituaries often include the birthdate and place of the deceased.|
||Post-Civil War records may include the date and place of birth.|
||Family Bibles may include dates and places of birth for family members, however the accuracy of this information is contingent upon when the information was recorded.|
Tips for finding births
Successfully finding birth records in online databases depends on a few key points. Try the following search suggestions:
- Spelling variations. Your ancestor's name may be misspelled. Search with spelling variations for the first and last name of your ancestor.
- Search parents. Search for the parents, if known, as the child's first name may not be on the birth record.
- Search given name. Search by given name (leave out the last name) with the approximate date of birth.
- Add information. For common names, add more information to narrow the search such as approximate birth date or parent's names if known.
- Date range. Expand the date range of the search by 5 years.
- Search state. Search using the state name only instead of by county.
Why the record may not exist
Known Record Gaps
- 1865-1884 Births recorded at County Circuit Courts but registration was inconsistent.
- 1898-1972 Births recorded at the county level.
Records Published by FamilySearch
Collection coverage tables show the places and time periods of original records published by FamilySearch. For any FamilySearch collections you did not find your ancestor in, check the coverage table for gaps in the online collection. If the time period or location your ancestor lived in is missing from the collection, it may require searches in records found at original repository or finding substitute records for the event.
The following counties had record loss. Click on the county for more information.