2 Replies Latest reply on Sep 1, 2020 11:21 AM by Cara Jensen

    Seeking birth records for American born in Turkey

    Elaine Lane Newbie

      Hello, I am looking to obtain a birth certificate (for informational purposes/genealogy) for my great grandmother who was born to American Missionaries in Sivas,Turkey 1859. Is this a record I can get from the State Department? I found an application to replace a birth cert but no mention of an index or the years available. Thank you for your help!

        • Re: Seeking birth records for American born in Turkey
          Susannah Brooks Navigator

          With the exception of New England states, most states did not keep civil birth records until the late 19th or early 20th C.  You could check US Consular records for Turkey to see if the birth was registered.  Consular records are at NARA in College Park MD.  If her parents were members of a Christian faith that practiced infant baptism, you might want to see if their home church (in the US) or the church in Turkey has baptismal records from that time period.

          1 person found this helpful
          • Re: Seeking birth records for American born in Turkey
            Cara Jensen Tracker

            Dear Ms. Lane,


            Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


            We searched the National Archives Catalog and located 2 series in the Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State (Record Groups 84) that may include information about missionary endeavors of her parents. We also located the series Despatches from Diplomatic Officers, 1789 - 1906 in the General Records of the Department of State (Record Group 59) that includes the file unit M46 - Despatches from U.S. Ministers to Turkey, 1818-1906. This file unit may contain information about her parents. For access to these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at archives2reference@nara.gov.  We were unable to find any U.S. Consular reports of births or specific records of the Sivas Consulate for that timeframe.


            Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.

            As the previous poster suggested, the records you seek may be housed with the parent missionary agency.  We suggest that you contact the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions archives to request a record search.

            We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!