To a family researcher, a birth record is pure gold. Whether it consists of a formal birth certificate, a baptismal record, or an entry in a family Bible, the birth record is a primary source for genealogical research.
After 1910, births in the United States were all supposed to be recorded on official birth certificates. Naturally, not all births were recorded, because many children were born at home.
Before 1910, the existence of a legal birth record may depend on where the child was born. A few localities had a mandatory birth record process, whereas many did not.
The most common information you may find on the birth record:
- the name of the child
- the date and place of birth
- the full names of both parents
Some localities include other data on the birth certificate, such as:
- the father's profession,
- the place of birth for each parent,
- the age of the mother and father
- the mother's maiden name
After 1910, births in the United States were all supposed to be recorded on official birth certificates. However, because many children were born at home, not all births were registered. Still, when searching for a birth record after 1910, your first step should be to contact the local Office of Vital Statistics.
Before 1910, the existence of a legal birth record may depend on where the child was born. While some localities had a mandatory birth record requirement, many did not. In those cases, finding birth records is likely to be more complicated than just writing to the local Office of Vital Statistics. You may need to search through church baptismal records, family letters and diaries, and other primary sources.
Birth records may help you find a new leaf for your family tree. OneGreatFamily.com can help you find entire branches. OneGreatFamily.com, the original online family tree, offers you the opportunity to link up your research with the research of others who are looking at the same family lines.