A. You dont say about when the ancestor was born, but many states loosen restrictions on records created more than 75 or 100 years ago. So first, double-check the rules where your ancestor was born. If older certificates are unrestricted, you may need to request the record from the state archives. Try these ideas, too:
- Try to find someone who is a qualified family member of the person in the record, and ask if he or she will request it for you (or perhaps the person already has a copy). A relative may be able to help you connect with the person, or you can post to surname message boards.
- See if you can get an uncertified copy of the record. Unlike a certified copy, an uncertified copy cant be used for official purposes such as identification. The uncertified record also may contain a bit less information.
- Look for a birth index in print, online or on microfilm. Itll certainly have less information than the full record, but you can confirm the persons name, place and date of birth, and maybe the parents names. To find printed or microfilmed indexes, check with the state archives and a local library. Also, run a place search of the FamilySearch catalog on the county of birth, then look for a vital records heading. You can go to your nearest Family History Center to rent the microfilm.
- You may need to go to other sources for birth information. The persons church may have recorded his or her baptism. Maybe theres a family Bible entry or the newspaper announced the good news (check newspaper databases such as Ancestry.coms or GenealogyBanks, or visit the local library for microfilmed papers).
- Military records, death certificates, cemetery records and the Social Security Death Index can provide birthplaces and dates. Remember that these records, created long after a persons birth, are more likely to contain errors than a birth certificate.
See the December 2006 Family Tree Magazine for more help finding ancestors birth records. If you have more tips, click Comment to post them.