How to Collect Birth Certificates for Your Genealogical Family Tree Book

Updated on March 4, 2017

Birth Certificate for My Family Tree Book

Creating a Family Tree Book is easy and fun and will become an heirloom to pass down for generations to come. Including a variety of mediums will keep your book interesting, informative, and make it even more personal.

Birth, death, and marriage certificates are wonderful personal documents you can add to your collection of family tree information. For this article, I’ll focus on birth certificates.

The Process of Collecting Birth Certificates for Your Family Tree Book

To obtain official, legal documents of birth records of your ancestors:

  • Contact the Department of Public Health. Each state holds their own records, so you will be contacting the state in which they were born.
  • Counties have a Vital Records office to obtain certificates from, and some counties actually offer records for their entire state, depending on state laws. If you know where a relative passed, but don’t know where they were born, you can often times find their place of birth listed on their death certificate, or in a death notice listed online.

The process of ordering a birth certificate is fairly simple.

  • You can usually go online and pay with a credit card, provide the pertinent information on your relative, along with your mailing information, and the certificate arrives in the mail usually within a week or two.
  • Be sure you are on the government official website when ordering, and not an independent company site. The cost should only be around $15.00 to $25.00 with a few dollars mailing and handling fee.
  • You can also order by mail with forms provided on a state’s public health website, or order in person if you live close enough to one of their offices.
  • There can be restrictions on ordering, as this is a legal ID. However if the person’s birth occurred over 75 years ago, you may be able to obtain an uncertified genealogical copy. Rules and requirements vary by state.

Birth records will usually show the name of both parents and this is very valuable for going back another generation in your research. The mother’s signature is almost always on the certificate and this is a nice sentimental part of your collection. Depending on the state and the year, you will find a variety of information that could include the hospital where the birth occurred, how old the parents were, where they lived and what they did for a living. It will also include statistical information on the child.

These documents make your book meaningful and are a rich record of your family’s history. The future generations of your family will appreciate your labor and the preservation of your family’s history. Imagine if one of your relatives had created such a book 100 years ago and passed it down to you!

Happy collecting!


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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