Doing Genealogical Research? What You Should Know About Birth Certificates


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Recently, millions of people all over the world are becoming more involved in doing ancestral research and with the development of the internet and vast genealogical databases’, finding your ancestors is getting easier and more convenient. If you are someone who is just beginning doing research or someone who has been researching ancestors for years, the information presented in this article should be beneficial to you. In the text that follows, I have outlined some basic things regarding birth certificates that you should be aware of.

If you can obtain a birth certificate, then you are well on your way to finding accurate ancestral information. A birth certificate is the first vital document of a person’s life. It is also a very key piece in the research process. The information found on Birth certificates varies by state or region and include such things as: the name of the child, the date and place of birth, the full names of the father and mother. Some localities also include information regarding the father’s occupation, the mother’s maiden name, the birth dates and places of the parents, other children had by the parents, etc.

Due to a law passed around 1910, all vital records, including birth certificates, were required to be kept. Starting February 1, 1914, the Division of Vital Records collected and maintained all birth certificates. There are several records that are available for people born prior to 1914, but these may be harder to come by. Also, it should be noted that birth certificates do not become available to the public until they are at least 100 years old. This may make it even more difficult to obtain a birth certificate for your ancestors. If you do wish to obtain a birth certificate for someone who was born less than 100 years ago you will need to provide the following information:

  • The full name of the person on the birth certificate

  • The date of birth

  • The city or town and county of birth

  • The father’s full name

  • The mother’s full name, to include her maiden name

  • The requester’s relationship to the person named on the certificate

  • The requester’s reason for requesting the certificate

    You will also have to pay for the birth certificate. Prices to obtain a birth record are anywhere from $10 to $30. However, most state and local governments charge around $15.

    Keep in mind that you may not actually need to obtain an official birth certificate to verify your genealogical research. Birth records are maintained by the board of heath, the bureau of vital statistics, or the county clerk’s office. All birth records are required to be kept whether or not the infant lives. This means that you should be able to at least verify any ancestors in which some record was kept. Even if you cannot obtain an official birth certificate, you may be able to get a copy of the birth certificate or a copy of the register or log book where the information regarding birth was kept.

    As you can see, birth certificates can provide you with a substantial amount of concrete information about your ancestors. While all vital records, including birth were not required to be kept before 1910 there are many that are available. If you need more information about obtaining a birth certificate, a copy of a birth certificate or just need to verify that the information you have regarding an ancestor is accurate, contact the local board of health, bureau of vital statistics, of the county clerk’s office of the person you are researching to find out more. Good luck to you in your ancestral research and most importantly, have fun with it!

    Mike Nielsen is a client account specialist with 10xmarketing - More Visitors. More Buyers. More Revenue. Find more information about birth certificates , visit

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