An individual's birthplace can usually be found on any of the documents listed below. If you have the minimum information required to find one of these documents, select the name of that document. The items in the list are ordered from most to least important. If you do not have the minimum information required, read the paragraph below this list.
To find an individual's birthplace on a vital record, such as a birth, death, divorce, or marriage certificate, you must at least know the individual's full name at the time of the event, the approximate year of the event, and the state or county of the event, depending on when the event took place.
To find an individual's birthplace in church baptism or christening records, you must at least know the individual's name, and either the name of the church where the ceremony was performed or the name of the clergyman that appears on the certificate.
To find an individual's birthplace an obituary, you must at least know the approximate date of death, the full name of the deceased, and the state and city or town where the death took place (or where the obituary was likely to have been published).
To find an individual's birthplace in Bible records that are no longer in the family's possession, you must at least know the individual's full married name or maiden name, as well as the state and county in which the individual lived.
To find an individual's birthplace in a military pension record, you must at least know the veteran's name, the branch of service, such as Army, Navy, or Marine Corps, the state from which the veteran entered the service, and the war in which the veteran served. If the period of service was after 1916, you must also know entry and release dates, military ID number, Social Security number, whether an officer or enlisted, and date of birth.
Beginning in 1850, the census recorded each individual's birthplace. To find an individual's birthplace in census records, you must at least know the individual's name, the state, and the county in which the individual lived when the census was taken. If you are using census records for 1870 or earlier, you can probably use an index that only requires the state and surname.
To find an individual's birthplace in the International Genealogical Index (IGI), you must at least know the individual's name. An approximate birth date or birthplace will help you narrow down your search.
For a description of any of the records listed above, see the topic Genealogy dictionary.
To get help finding the minimum information required to locate any of the records listed above, select one of the following items:
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