Try to Find a Birth Date
To obtain a birth record for an ancestor, you need a birth date. Here are several ways to find a birth date.
1. Common Ways to Find a Birth Date
The more common ways to obtain a birth date are to ask family members, check a family bible, or review any saved obituaries. The date in a family bible or an obituary should be accurate. If family members are providing a date from memory, that sometimes may not be accurate.
2. Alternate Ways to Find a Birth Date
If you do not have a family story, a family bible, or an obituary, then the next best place to look is in a birth index, cemetery listing, or a death index. Here are ways you can search using these options.
Option 1: Search online birth indexes
Option 2: Search online cemetery listings
Option 3: Search online death indexes
3. One More Way to Find a Birth Date: Census Records
Another way determine a birth date is to use census records. The accuracy of a birth date could vary. Most census records can give only an approximate date since they usually contain the age of the person. When that is the case, the birth year could vary by a year. Nevertheless, such a birth date can be used to find birth records.
Use the Birth Date to Obtain a Birth Record or Certificate
Once you have a birth date, you need to obtain the birth record or certificate. Whether you should contact the county or state depends on the when the state started keeping this information at the state level. If you do not know the exact year your ancestor died, most government agencies will search only a ten-year period for each request. So it would be good to narrow the time period at much as possible before requesting a search.
- Vitalrec.com has dates for when birth records were kept by state or county.
Additional Resources Related to Birth Records
Not Sure, Try Our Free Online Genealogy Search Advisor
If you are not sure that searching for a birth record is the next best option for your research, consider using the advice feature of this site. This will help you pick your next best steps in your research. Go to the Free Online Genealogy Search Advisor.
Birth Records Search Guide Context
Other Genealogy Search Guides
- Using Marriage Records for Researching Your Ancestry
- Using Death Records for Researching Your Ancestry
- Using Ship Manifests for Researching Your Ancestry
- Using Obituaries for Researching Your Ancestry
- Using Census Records for Researching Your Ancestry
- Using Naturalization Records for Researching Your Ancestry
- Using Historical Societies for Researching Your Ancestry
- Using Church Records for Researching Your Ancestry
- Using Family Trees for Researching Your Ancestry
- Record Keeping for Researching Your Ancestry