NOTE: Using the search boxes above will search a site that requires payment. Please use the resources below if you wish to find free information.
1940 CENSUS:If you came here looking for 1940 Census information, see the 1940 census section of our Online Genealogy Resources page for the most recent news about where to go for free 1940 census records.
This page lists websites containing free online birth and baptismal records, information, and indexes. Some of the webpages are government or library sites, while others are sponsored by religious or genealogy groups. Some sites, such as the Mormon (LDS) Family History resources and a few government sites, allow their visitors to view and download certificates for free. But, in most cases, you will need to order copies of birth certificates from the appropriate county, state, or national government office.
Many genealogy societies as well as governments and other organizations and groups are in the process of digitizing vital records, and their online databases are incomplete. That is because, rather than wait until all records have been indexed, they put the records indexed thus far online. So if you do not find what you want to find at a particular site, do check back periodically to see if the records you are interested in have been added to the database.
Many of these sites also allow you to search for marriages and deaths as well, but this page will only discuss birth indices, birth certificates, and baptismal records.
If the free sites below do not meet your birth or baptism record needs, then you may also wish to surf through the more comprehensive list of both free and paid birth and baptismal record sites on Cyndi's List. If you feel overwhelmed trying to skim long webpages such as the one at Cyndi's List, and do not know how to have your browser search for keywords on a page for you, then read this page about how to easily find a word or phrase on a page with the help of your browser's "find" option.
If you have other truly free, useful sites you want to see added to this page of free birth resources, or find any errors or broken links, then please do contact me. And if you want to learn about what kinds of other truly free genealogy resources there are which you can access from home, see our resources page.
First, if you do not find the birth information you are seeking by using Google or Yahoo or another search engine, do not assume that means that it is not on the Web. Many vital records sites will not allow the search engines to look at what they have on their sites because they do not want this relatively private information to be abused.
So, if you do not succeed with a search engine or with the sites listed below, then try searching, instead, for free online resources and genealogical societies for the area or areas you are interested in, and study their sites carefully. They may have databases that search robots can not access or have not yet discovered, or have lists of other free sites where you can look for records about your ancestors.
On this page, I have tried to find and list sites that will make your search for free birth information easier, but this is not yet a really complete list. So if you find something good that I have not listed below, be sure to email that information to me so I can add it to this page.
The focus on this resource guide is primarily on finding official birth records, transcriptions and indexes, but you need to know a least approximately when and where someone was born before you can know where to search for those records. It is a very frustrating brick wall for many of us. If *only* we knew when and where our ancestors were born!
So, where can you find out when and where an ancestor was born if you have no idea? The specific resources that can guide you will be different for each country, but can include census records, marriage records, passenger lists, naturalization records, military records, obituaries, and death indexes. While only some of these will have a date of birth instead of just the age of your ancestor, they can tell you, as well, the country and possibly state or province in which he or she was born. And, if you are very lucky, you will also find the town or village of their birth.
Sadly, some of the best resources for this kind of information are sites that cost money, but there are still a lot of excellent free websites containing these types of records which we can utilize in our quest, and which may give us the information we need for free. To get started, check out the websites listed in the free and library sections of our genealogy resources page:
And don't forget to ask your oldest relatives and check family tree sites. While people's beliefs and memories may not always be accurate, and family tree data found on the web must also be checked for accuracy, these also are good resources that may provide you with leads or confirmation of information from other sources. Mistakes did often happen in all kinds of records, so it is always wise to validate information by searching for additional types of records to make sure you are not hunting the wrong time or place.
Once you have hints from the above types of records, you can proceed with searching the appropriate time and place for free birth or baptism records, indexes and transcriptions for your ancestor.
Historical newspapers provide another excellent type of resource for finding birth information. In those cases where there are birth announcement indexing or transcription projects which I know about, they are included below in the appropriate geographical area.
Although there is a relative paucity of historical newspapers available online for free from before around 1980, more and more historical newspapers are becoming available online for free as libraries around the world work on preserving our collective history. If you wish to search historic newspapers, see these two excellent sites listing Historical Newspapers Online and Newspaper digitization projects. And also check your local public library to see if there are additional historical newspapers you may have access to from home which are not yet listed.
Many libraries carry the historical New York Times. In some areas, you may also be able to get free access to digital archives for newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as historical British Newspapers. While the chances are slim that any given family will spend money on a birth announcement, these resources are always worth checking if you have free online access to them from home.
For more information about library access to databases from Newsbank, Proquest and the Gale Group, see the library section of our general online genealogy resources page.
Some transcriptions of historical birth announcements also occur across the web on various genealogy sites, and links to some of these are provided below. But many of these are also available on various rootsweb mailing lists. Try searching for birth announcements at http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/search to see what other transcriptions are in the rootsweb mailing list archives.
GenWeb was started out as a volunteer endeavor to make genealogical data freely available for everyone, and there are GenWeb projects around the world. The GenWeb data archives consist of files uploaded or data input online by people who want to share the transcriptions they have made or are doing.
The number of transcriptions per file, as well as the quality and amount of detail is quite varied. The files found in the archives can be as small as the transcription of one birth or baptismal record. Others may consist of all births reported for a particular surname in a particular time span, while others are major projects covering all of the births recorded during a certain period of time in a particular location.
If you do not find GenWeb transcriptions for a particular country or location listed below, that means I did not find any birth or baptismal record files for that area. If you know of any GenWeb Archive files for areas that are not listed below, which contain birth or baptismal transcriptions, then please do email us about them so they can be added to this page.
The Latter Day Saints websites have many birth record indices for around the world, including some actual certificates for free, and they are continuing to add new data and databases.
One thing that is important to understand, though, is that FamilySearch often has had a number of relatively separate sites running concurrently. Each site needed to be searched independently, but some of the databases could be accessed from more than one of the independent search pages, as they worked on improving access and integrating and upgrading services. However, their Search Labs, Beta and Pilot searches have been removed.
While there is now just one set of currently updated databases, in addition to the main site for searching the current updated databases, there finally is also a new test site called "home," which is available at the second link below, and searches the same databases. If you want to access their different oldest search of a few limited older databases, we have information about that on our Old FamilySearch Links page. See below for our suggestions if you have problems using any of their sites.
If you find any records of interest, be sure to write down which database you get information from, within these FamilySearch sites. Their IGI (International Genealogical Index) consists of both user submitted research that, although it may provide you with valuable hints for further research, has not been validated or confirmed, and is sometimes wrong, as well as containing reliable extracts of various records. Their other databases (e.g., films of parish records, census records, actual certificates and indexes) are reliable resources, but you need to make sure you note which type of IGI data you are using.
If you want to understand the history of the FamilySearch sites better as seen by an outsider, read the very informative recent posts about FamilySearch at the Genealogy Insider Blog, especially the overview in their FamilySearch Bloggers' Day post, and their posts Inside FamilySearch Online Records and Inside FamilySearch's "Renovation Project".
We can definitely obtain some records from them for free or for a lower cost (i.e., $2) than from government offices (where fees range from about $5 to about $27). So, if you would like information about how to use LDS site batch or film numbers to help you do things such as purchase copies of vital records which have been filmed by the Latter Day Saints Church, order films, or narrow your search at https://familysearch.org, read this section of our finding aids page.
If you have trouble getting any of their test sites to work, you definitely should let them know, either by submitting a comment, posting in their user forum, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. While they may respond that Pilot or SearchLabs is a test site and ask you to be patient, they have told me that they do tally the kinds of complaints they get and work on those which cause problems to the most people. So, especially if you run a nonstandard or outdated browser or computer, you must let them know if you want the site to be more accessible to all of us, because it is not fully functional in unsupported browsers. And be sure to mention what kind of browser and computer you have, if you know what they are, as well as giving them the web address or title of the page that you had trouble with.
Many of the free birth and baptism resources available on the Internet are there because private individuals like you and me have either personally transcribed records and placed them online, or have participated in larger transcription or indexing projects. Some projects are sponsored by commercial enterprises such as http://Ancestry.com, while others may be sponsored by the Mormon Church through it's FamilySearch website or by specific geographical area special interest groups associated with JewishGen.org.
If you wish to do your own transcriptions, or publish transcriptions you have already completed, you could create your own free website at Rootsweb, transfer or upload the records to Rootsweb's User Contributed databases or to a GenWeb Project, or contact any other established genealogical group to donate your transcriptions and any images to their online databases.
If you want to assist with community indexing projects, you can contact your local genealogical society to find out what projects they currently sponsor, or discuss working with them to start such a project. Or, you can join an ongoing transcription or indexing project sponsored by larger organizations such as http://Ancestry.com or https://familysearch.org.
To get you started, here are pages about Ancestry's World Archives Project (Windows required for participation), on Indexing Projects at FamilySearch (Mac and Windows), and about a few of the Special Interest Groups at http://www.jewishgen.org/ sponsoring projects.
Jewish Records Indexing Poland
Census records are one of the best resources available to find out approximate birth dates for people, if you are not able to get more precise information some other way. And, if a person was living in the United States at the time of the 1900 Federal Census, or in Canada for the 1901 Canadian Census, these particular censuses have the month and year of birth. While this is not always accurate, it may be another resource worth consulting.
The U.S. 1900 Federal Census is available online for free both at FamilySearch and as well as online from home to library card holders at Heritage Quest in most of the United States, and also should be available for free if you can go to those public libraries and Family History Centers which carry paid databases for their onsite patrons.
A transcription of the 1901 Canadian census is at http://automatedgenealogy.com/index.html, and you can obtain images of the 1901 and other Canadian Censuses if you want to browse by location at http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/census/index-e.html.
For information about home access to free public census record sites for these and other countries, read the section about free census records on our genealogy resources page, and about home library access to census records, read the section about home access to library databases.
Death records are another possible resources for finding birth information for people, if you are not able to get more precise information some other way. While death record birth information is not always accurate, it may be another resource worth consulting, as death indexes, death certificates, tombstones and obituaries often have a year of birth, and sometimes exact dates and places of birth, and names of parents. Just remember that these dates and names of parents are often simply the best guesses of family members about when their loved ones were born.
Some of the sites we list as birth records resources, do have death information as well. But, for more complete lists of basic death records resources, read our free genealogy resources page.
The Internet Archive contains archival copies of the internet, as well as free digital copies of many books. its "Wayback Machine" is a great resource to use if a webpage you want to view has disappeared from the internet. As long as you have the exact URL of the page you wish to view, you can use the archive to retrieve its archival copies of the specific page.
It also is a potentially great resource for free digitalized books containing birth and baptismal records. For example, click on the following link to view the results of a general search for parish records:
You can refine your search of their holdings by adding another keyword for the country of interest, just the same as you would if you were using Yahoo or Google to find a webpage about parish registers for that country. But in this case, the Internet Archive will be searching its own archive for titles instead of searching today's Internet.
The entries for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales have been moved to our British Isles birth and baptisms page:
The links for European birth databases, including those for Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Prussia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the Ukraine, have been moved to their own page at the following web address:
And the links for Italian birth and baptism databases are now on a page just for Italy at the following web address:
Besides the free databases listed below, be sure to also see the most recent menus including new collections for Australia and New Zealand and the Pacific Islands at FamilySearch. Be sure to also visit CyndisList, which has more links for free (as well as paid) resource sites for birth records and transcriptions for these areas.
The OldenTimes.com has selected birth notices from Australia for 1838-1909. You can view the birth index pages at the link below, or try this FreeFind Site Search for Australian births.
The FamilySearch site has indexed assorted miscellaneous transcriptions of newspaper births and other vital records in their Australian Genealogical Records database for 1776 onwards. Images of these transcripts are also online. You may need to sign in to view images.
Search this government site for births that occurred in Queensland between 1829 and 1914. Results include the years of births, and most entries include full names of both parents. Some are missing the father's name. Index is free, certificates cost. To search, click on "Launch the online historical index search" after reading their introduction.
http://www.justice.qld.gov.au/justice-services/births-deaths-and-marriages/family-history-research/search-our-historical-records SSL required
Australia, Tasmania, Civil Registration, 1803-1933.. Browsable images from the Tasmanian Archives Office in Hobart. Includes baptisms from 1803 to 1933 and birth records from 1838 to 1899. Years of coverage and type of record available depends on location within Tasmania.
Search the Department of the Attorney General's Birth indexes for 1841 to 1932. Entries include the year and place of birth, and entries before 1906 include names of the parents. Index is free, certificates cost. Select "Births" in the dropdown box, and a search screen will appear.
FamilySearch has indexed their Alphabetical Index to over 50,000 Newspaper Cuttings from New South Wales, Australia for 1841-1987. The images are also available to browse, and the collection does include some birth announcements, although it seems to be primarily marriages and deaths. You may need to sign in to view images.
Rootsweb's User Contributed Australia/New Zealand Databases include selected Early Auckland Births.
Index of selected baptisms throughout Samoa 1863-1940. More recent records may not be available due to privacy considerations. Click here for how to purchase copies of indexed records if you need them before they go online.
FamilySearch has Church Records from St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John in the Virgin Islands. Browsable images of records from about 1803 onwards, years covered may vary by locale. Includes baptisms from the Frederick Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Reformed Dutch Church, and the Episcopal Church. Database is also not complete, images are getting added as they become available. For more information about this database, see it's FamilySearch Wiki page. The wiki says there is an index but the database is browse only as of September 2011. You may be able to find images of index pages. You may need to sign in to view images.
This is a huge geographic area, including transcontinental countries such as Turkey. Surely there must be more free birth information webpages for countries located here than we have found so far. Please email your suggested additions.
We have found very little for most of Africa, although many databases and websites have births or baptisms from the country of South Africa, detailed in the South Africa section below on this page. However, the LDS does also have one database including records from a number of countries in Africa, as follows:
South Africa: Reformed Church Records, 1856-1988. Despite the title of this database, it contains browsable images including baptisms and christenings from Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Natal, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Years of coverage will vary by locale. You may need to sign in to view images.
GeneaNet is a family tree site that also has a user uploaded index of 507 births in Abbo, Algeria for 1876 - 1904. You will need to click on Indexes for "Abbo" and through several screens to get the data with the following short URL, or use the second longer URL to go directly to the first page of data for births in Abbo.
Baptisms of British In India, transcribed by Valmay Young. Mostly 1811-1887, but includes some records up to 1945.
The Families In British India Society has many birth registrations, birth announcements, and baptismal records for the 1700s and 1800s including transcriptions for Bengal, Bombay, Calcutta, Chandernagore and Madras. For the best results, select "Search everything" and enter either the word "births" or the word "baptisms" on the search page. Choose a database from the resulting hits. Then, on the ensuing screen, you can either click to see the details of an entry or enter a surname in the search box to narrow your results:
The British Library has an online search for transcriptions of birth and baptism records from their India Office Records, including births and baptisms of British and Europeans in India, primarily for about 1600-1949. There may be some duplication of FIBIS (Families In British India Society) data listed above, but searches yield results from other sources as well. Ongoing digitization project, most of the records in the British Library India Office collection are not yet digitized for online access, so be sure to check back occasionally.
Lesoto, Church of the Province of South Africa, Parish Registers. Browse images of Parish Registers from the Anglican Church of South Africa which include baptisms. We found baptisms from Lesoto for 1876-1973, years of coverage will vary widely by locale and parish, and may include other years than we found.
Philippines, Civil Registration (National), 1945-1980. Collection of images to browse, including births. Years covered vary by province. Collection is a work in progress, additional images being added as available. You may need to sign in to view images.
Philippines, Civil Registration (Local), 1898-1980. Includes copies of birth certificates from selected local records offices. As of February 2012, the only birth records in this collection are from Plaridel in Bulacan Province for about 1967 to 1981. More records will be added to collection so check back.
Philippines, Civil Registration (Archives Division), 1902-1945. Includes copies of birth registers (Registros de nacimientos) from towns in 50 provinces. Years covered for births varies by town and province, we found registers for primarily the 1920s through 1932.
Philippines, Civil Registration (Spanish Period), 1706-1911. Includes birth and baptism indexes (indices de bautismos and nacimientos). Years available vary by locale and are primarily from the 1800s for births and baptisms.
Philippines, La Union, Diocese of San Fernando de La Union, 1801-1981. Church records including baptisms. This collection appears to be a work in progress, and the only baptisms we found in April 2013 were from the parishes of St. Monica in Agoo for 1948-1940, Our Lady of Fatima in Caba for 1851-1905, St. Gabriel Archangel in San Juan for 1907-1911 and in the Holy Guardian Angels Parish in Tubao for 1896-1907. You may need to sign in to view images.
FamilySearch has indexed records from Lingayen-Dagupan, Philippines - Catholic Archdiocese Parish Registers, 1615-1982, including baptisms. More recent records may not be available due to privacy considerations. Click here for how to purchase copies of indexed records if you need them before they go online.
If your ancestors came from Russia, finding old country records for them is not likely to be an easy task, as the Russian government formerly ruled a large part of Europe and Asia, much of which is now in either Germany, Poland, Kazakhstan or the Ukraine, as well as in smaller neighboring countries.
Your first task will be to ascertain where they came from in Russia, so you know where to look for records. If you know when it was that they said they were from Russia, that can give you clues as to whether they were truly Russian, or simply from an occupied territory. Besides old letters or family bibles, good places to look are census records, immigration records, passenger lists, social security and military records. To learn more about many free online resources you can access from home to helo you figure this out, see our online database resources page.
FamilySearch does have databases with specifically Russian records, and we are listing those in this section, since the current country of Russia is geographically in Asia. If your ancestors lived or may have lived in Russian occupied countries which now have their own governments, rather than looking for records in Russia, you also or instead should look for records in these other countries, as historical archives generally remain in their original locations, regardless of who rules the area.
Samara Province (Samarskaya Pravoslavnaya), Russian Orthodox Church Books, 1869-1917. Includes baptisms. Browse images, no text search yet. Records are handwritten in Russian. You may need to sign in to view images.
Tver Province, Russia - Church Books, 1722-1918. Browsable images of Russian Orthodox church book entries including births and baptisms. Entries are in Russian. For more information about the database, you can visit it's wiki page. You may need to sign in to view images.
Besides searching the databases below, be sure to see the section above which is about another LDS collection that includes additional baptisms from South Africa for the Reformed Church.
Cape Town - selected transcriptions of baptismal records in the Boonzaaier Collection held at the Western Cape Archives for various Cape Colony English Church Denomination Congregations as well as from the Cape Town Lutheran Congregation, for about 1808 to 1854
http://www.gendata.co.za/index.php?option=com_wrapper&view=wrapper&Itemid=66 (uses browser frames)
The Genealogical Society of South Africa is transcribing baptism registers. Currently includes selected Anglican and Dutch Reformed Church (Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk, NGK) baptisms from 1827 to 1912.
Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research has online indexes containing many South African Jewish births for the late 1800's into the 1900's, plus 2001 and 2002.
Extracts of historical South African birth and christening announcements from the "South African Commercial Advertiser" for 1826 to about 1850 appear on Rootsweb's South-Africa-Immigrants-British and South-Africa-Eastern-Cape mailing lists. You can either subscribe to one of these, or perform a search using either the British Immigrants archive search or the Eastern Cape archive search.
South Africa, Cape Province Registers, 1660-1970. Index of Church Registers from the Dutch Reformed Church in Cape Province. Includes baptisms. Recent records may not be available due to privacy considerations. To search Beta, select the country from your choices on the left, and then narrow your selection by clicking on the appropriate choices (one at a time) for state or province, city, type of record and possibly time frame. Click here for how to purchase copies of indexed records if you need them before they go online.
South Africa, Free State Dutch Reformed Church Records, 1848-1956. Searchable index and associated browsable images. Includes Christenings from Bloemfontein, Ladybrand, and Reddersburg with varied coverage of the years 1861-1929, varying by locale. A total of twenty municipalities are listed for browsing, but these are the only three that have images of Christenings online in this collection as of April 2013. If date of birth does not show in the screen for the child, it should be on the image and still may be on the main search page results page (looks like they put birth dates in the index but forgot to add them to the specific person pages).
South Africa, Methodist Parish Registers, 1822-1996. Browse images of church records from Cape of Good Hope, Natal, Orange Free State and Transvaal . Records may be in either English or Afrikaans, and include baptisms. You may need to sign in to view images.
South Africa, Church of the Province of South Africa, Parish Registers, 1850-2004. Browse images of Parish Registers from the Anglican Church of South Africa for Cape of Good Hope, Natal, Orange Free State and Transvaal. Years of coverage for baptisms vary widely by parish. In testing we found baptisms up into the 1950s. More recent years may refer to other locales than we tested, or to other types of records in the collection.
FamilySearch has Colombo District, Sri Lanka Dutch Reformed Church Records, 1677-1990. These are browse only images that have not been indexed yet. Database includes baptisms among other types of records. You may need to sign in to view images. To browse at the www link, select the country from the menu on the left, and then narrow your selection further by clicking on the appropriate choices.
Swaziland, Church of the Province of South Africa, Parish Registers. Browse images of Parish Registers from the Anglican Church of South Africa. As of July 5, 2012, the collection includes baptisms for Mbabane and Usuthu Parish, All Saints, Forbes Reef and St Alban for 1907-1984, and for Mbabane and Usuthu Parish, Epiphany for the years 1955-1974.
Somogy County in Donauschwaben Turkey: transcription of vital records including births and baptisms from German Lutheran Evangelical Church records for 1787 to 1895 in the villages of Dönöske, Gadacs, Szill, Bonnya and Fehercsard.
The links and information about free Central and South America birth and baptismal information have been moved to our Latin America page with links for countries in Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
Revised May 2, 2013
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