How to Find Birth Records Online

See where and when you were born, and more

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You might look for a birth record if you want to find out what time you were born, or where you were born, or who your biological parents are. Your official birth record might hold all of this information.

Unfortunately, birth records aren't easy to find online. As convenient as it'd be, there isn't a central catalog of birth records that you can sift through to find your own birth record or to read through someone else's.

However, you aren't without options if you've lost your birth certificate or you're interested in viewing someone else's birth record. There are various ways to see what time you were born, where you were born, etc.

Not all birth records contain the same information; this varies both by country and state. For example, the time of birth might only be available on a "long form" birth certificate, or may be excluded entirely on really old records or birth certificates belonging to someone born in a city with a relatively small population.

Use a Birth Record Finder

The most reliable source for birth records are primary sources — i.e., the originating entities that actually processed the documents. Birth certificates and records are materials authenticated by governmental and hospital organizations.

How this works varies by state, so your best bet is to access your state's vital records web page and go from there, or use the VitalChek website to request a copy of your birth certificate. If you're not in the US, you might be able to search for birth records or family history information through official government websites, such as birth registries in Australia or Library and Archives Canada.

North Dakota Division of Vital Records
North Dakota Division of Vital Records.

You can also do a general web search for <state> birth records *.gov, such as california birth records *.gov (here). From there, you'll find the official website for where you can request vital records such as your birth information (e.g., like this page if you were born in California).

Another website that can perform a broad public records search for you is State Records. All you need is a name and location, but accessing the full birth records cost several dollars per month, otherwise all you can see about the person is their current age and relatives.

State Records results for Scott D Cole
State Records Results.

Archives' vital records is another example where you must pay to view the birth records.

Use an Ancestry Service

Your next best option is to use an ancestry website. If someone has included your information in a genealogy report, you might find birth record information such as when and where you were born, who your relatives are, and maybe more.

Some ancestry sites even have search options to look for birth records specifically. Ancestry's Birth, Baptism & Christening page is one example. You could also use FamilySearch's Historical Records tool.

Go Offline

Some state, county, or church records aren't online and likely never will be. For example, a church with baptismal records — which, depending on the time period you're interested in, might be the only birth record available — stretching back 200 or 300 years have little to no incentive to pay to digitize and surface those documents.

Using clues from census records, old newspaper articles, and related family histories can often get you in the right neighborhood.

For example, if you were baptized and you know where, contact the institution and ask if you can search through their records for your information. Or, if you have an idea of where you were born, you can contact that specific hospital and ask for the records department to dig up your information, provided you can give them enough personal information to prove that it's really your information you're after.

If all else fails, some other offline places to look for the time you were born (and other birth-related information) include baby books, birth announcements (these are sometimes found in newspapers, too), and bibles.