United States Birth Records

From FamilySearch Wiki
Revision as of 20:40, 19 November 2011 by Sandralpond (talk | contribs) (fixed links)

Jump to: navigation, search

United States  Gotoarrow.png  Vital RecordsGotoarrow.png  United States Birth Records

Birth Records

Birth records might seem like the first place to start your search, but experts recommend looking into death and marriage records first. Birth records are usually the most difficult to find. The first records of births and christenings or (baptism dates) were kept in church records. Health departments began keeping birth and death records more recently. In some states, birth records are confidential and may require proof that you are a direct descendant of the person whose record you seek. To write for vital records see Where to Write for Vital Records: Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Divorces [1]

Some birth records are filmed and/or digitized and part of the Family History Library collection. To check the availability of birth records in a particular state, go the vital records wiki pages for that state.  In addition you may browse or search FamilySearch Record Search.  This is a website which posts indexes to and some images from the Family History Library vital records collection. For more information about how to search the Family History Library catalog for birth records, to the vital records wiki pages for that state.

Birth records generally give the child's name, sex, date and place of birth, and the names of the parents. Records of the twentieth century provide additional details, such as the name of the hospital, birthplace of parents, occupation of the parents, marital status of the mother, and the number of other children born to the mother.

If no record was filed at the time of an individual's birth, he may have arranged for a delayed registration of birth by showing proof of his birth as recorded in a Bible, school, census, or church record, or by testimony from a person who witnessed the birth. These registrations generally start in 1937,(Social Security benifits required prove of birth) yet the birth may have occurred many years earlier. The registration is usually in the state where the birth occurred. The Family History Library has acquired copies of many delayed certificates, especially for the Midwestern states.

A corrected record of a birth may be filed if a name was changed or added. Most corrections require affidavits of eyewitnesses or evidence from other official records. The library has microfilm copies of a few of these records.

The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is a database whose records reveal an individuals' full name and residence at time of application, birth and death dates and last known residence. For more information about the SSDI see the U.S. Social Security Records for Genealogists page. A birth record is considered a primary source.

For more information concerning birth records by State see the

Summary of Births in the United States by State page.

Information You may find in Birth Records

  • An address that would lead to the discovery of the family in a census or city directory
  • Ages of parents
  • Child’s birth order
  • Child's gender
  • Church records for the birth
  • Date of birth
  • Family’s home address
  • Full name of child
  • Hospital or name a medical attendant
  • Maiden name for the mother
  • Names of both parents
  • Names of the previous generation
  • Newspaper birth announcement
  • Occupation of parents
  • Parents' approximate years of birth
  • Parents' birthplaces
  • Place of birth
  • Race of child
  • Religious affiliation
  • Which children belong to which mother in the case of multiple marriages

How Information from Birth Records can Help Research

Dates: Birth date, date for a newspaper announcement that could lead to more information about the family. Gives parents ages to help approximate their years of birth.
Places: Birth place, family's address to help in the search for land records, city directories, locate on map and narrow un-indexed censuses.
Names: Maiden name of the mother. Parent's and child's complete names. The name of the hospital and doctor or attendant, leads to further information on you ancestor. Name of the family's religious affiliation for further research in Church records. Employer's name would lead to employee records.

For information on using birth records Click here.

Places to Look for Birth Records


  • Obtain Birth records and Death records for your ancestor and their siblings, by comparing the information it will help establish the correct information.
  • If an informant gave the information on the death record, establish their relationship to the deceased, closer relations usually had more details and association with the deceased.
  • Death records may contain reference to church affiliation, burial location,.......

Records at the Family History Library

The Family History Library has copies of many death records indexes and death records. These records can be found in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under each of the following approaches:




You can find further information about birth records in research pages available for each state.



  1. Leonard, Barry. Where to Write for Vital Records: Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Divorces Published by DIANE Publishing, 2007. ISBN 1422314820, 9781422314821 . 47 pages. Full text is available at Google Books. Worldcat