2 Replies Latest reply on May 20, 2021 10:10 AM by Joshua Mason

    How to get a birth certificate when you don't know what state you were born in?

    Melissa Turgeon Newbie

      Trying to get a copy of a birth certificate for a disabled adult that I provide services for at my agency.

      Department of developmental services or her family does not have a copy of her birth certificate.

      I was told that she was born at home. Not even able to confirm if her birthdate is accurate according to her family.

      Filled out application requesting from the state that her half-brother thought she was born in Maryland, was told that vital records did not have anything.

      Her family told me that years ago they tried to search many states around the area that she may have been born, but without any luck.

        • Re: How to get a birth certificate when you don't know what state you were born in?
          Alice Lane Pioneer

          Hi Melissa,

          Welcome to History Hub,

          In order to research History Hub would need a name and year of birth if available and any other information, like maiden and married name, possible places that she lived and anything else......???? Half brother's name. Does she have a Social Security Number?

          Alice Lane

          Research Volunteer

          • Re: How to get a birth certificate when you don't know what state you were born in?
            Joshua Mason Adventurer

            Good morning,


            Thank you for posting your question on History Hub!


            Roughly speaking, in what decade was your adult born in?  I say this because if she was born at home with, or without, a midwife (please remember that during the 1930’s roughly 50% of all births across the country were still taking place at home by a midwife, it wasn't until the 1950's that the majority of births in the country were taking place inside of hospitals) that there is a chance that a birth record does not exist as not all midwives recorded their births consistently with their city or State, and not all parents went to get this birth information recorded either.  I used to be a Reference and Research Archivist at the Maryland State Archives for several years and this is something that I have seen before with older individuals who were born at home. 


            I would like to recommend several things here:


            1. Please try using the genealogical websites Ancestry and/or FamilySearch as they are very popular platforms for searching for birth records.  Please keep in mind that Ancestry is a subscription-based database, but it is available for free public use at all National Archives facilities and many public libraries.  FamilySearch is free but you have to create an account with them.  Similar to Ancestry, many libraries across the county offer free usage.  By using either of these two platforms you will be able to search for birth records across several states and increase your chances of finding more information.


            1. Please visit this helpful link on Maryland Birth Records provided by FamilySearch as it does a good job of breaking down the different time periods of birth records in the State and how to best research them.  You can also use FamilySearch to search similar pages for other States where the birth could have happened in.  


            1. In case you have not done so, please contact the Maryland State Archives as they could possibly help you with this by searching through some of their name indices for birth records, as well as some of their records.  Also, please refer to this page by the Maryland State Archives on Tips for Hard to Find Birth Records (it explains a few things and is helpful).


            1. Another avenue of approach, and perhaps your best one, is to try to find your adult in Census Records.  By doing this you will hopefully be able to identify the year of birth, as Census Records during the 20th Century can list the age of the individual recorded, plus it might help to narrow down the State that the birth took place in too.  Ancestry and FamilySearch can be helpful tools for searching Census Records.  


            Without much more to go on I think this would be a good starting point for you. 


            We hope this information is helpful and best of luck with your research!