How to Find Birth Information in the United States

From FamilySearch Wiki
Revision as of 00:38, 22 July 2012 by Jamestanner (talk | contribs) (Scope of this Article: Edited Text)

Jump to: navigation, search

United States  Gotoarrow.png  Vital RecordsGotoarrow.png United States Birth Records Gotoarrow.png How to Find Birth Information in the United States

See also United States, How to Use Birth Records


Information about the birth of an individual may be an important element in that individual's identification and differentiating the individual from others with the same or similar names. For example, it not unusual in Western European naming traditions, when a child or infant died, to name the next born child of the same gender with the name of the deceased child. Absent accurate birth information, the second and sometimes succeeding named children may simply be skipped over as duplicates, rather than subsequent births.

Birth information may also be an important element in identifying and individual's parents or other relatives.

Do not confuse "Birth Information" with the concept of a "Birth Record" usually referred to as a "Birth Certificate." The term "Birth Record" is most commonly used in the context of a birth certificate issued by civil governments as a proof of citizenship or for other legal reasons. Depending on the part of country and the time frame, birth certificates did not generally become a part of the record system until quite recently. Many records may contain birth information, such as home bible records, town records, school registration records, and many others, that are not at all considered to be birth records. Never limit your search for birth information to just records categorized as birth records. Almost all kinds of records have the potential to contain birth information.

Scope of this Article

Please note the links to other Wiki articles about using birth information at top of this page. Finding birth information for periods of time before the formation of the United States is included in this article, as it pertains to that portion of the North American Continent presently occupied by the United States.

This article is intended to give you an overview of the types of U.S. records that may contain birth information but the information in this article is, by no means, exhaustive. You should always look to the "Vital Records" topics in each of the states for further information. Many records containing potential birth information also exist on a county, municipality, city, town, or even a village level. You should search all possible levels of available documents.

What do you need to get started finding birth information?

Earliest Records

Birth Records in the 1600s

Birth Records in the 1700s

Birth Records in the 1800s

Birth Records in the 1900s and Later