Although it's tempting to jump straight to birth records, experts recommend looking in death and marriage records first because birth records are generally
the hardest to find. In many cases, only churches recorded births (with a baby's christening or baptism date). Later, health departments started keeping
birth and death records.
Birth records are confidential in most states, and are available only to the person whose certificate it is and to that person's descendants. You may be
asked to prove that you are the next of kin or a direct descendant.
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Ancestors experts Craig Foster and Mary Hill explain the types of information available on a birth certificate.