Search Tips: Finding Birth Records in Newspapers

When you begin searching on GenealogyBank, it is best to realize that the primary resource GenealogyBank offers is a collection of the back archives of more than 6,100 newspapers published from 1690 to today.

One of the key sources of family history information that genealogists rely on are birth records published in newspapers.

Over the past three centuries the reporting styles of the nation's editors have changed. In reporting births an editor might have referred to the child by full name, partial name or simply as "a daughter" or "a son."

So—when you search for newspaper birth records, be flexible. Don't assume that you should type in everything you know about a person; try to anticipate what information the editor from the time period you're searching might have included, and search accordingly.

Usually the best way to search birth records is to first try using only the surname.

Let's walk through a sample search, using a new search tool that will be offered on GenealogyBank's soon-to-be-released new homepage. Soon, you will be able to click on a "Birth Records" link on our home page. This calls up a powerful new search form that lets you find all the birth records in our newspaper archives while excluding all other article types.

Let's say I want to find the birth announcement of Bertha Huse (born in 1875). If I tried searching for her full name, I would not find her.

But, if I search using only her surname (plus her birth year):

Bingo—there is her birth announcement, in the very first article our search turned up.

Clicking on the snippet calls up the article:

"Born. In Georgetown, July 16, a daughter to Dr. and Mrs. R C Huse." This birth announcement was published in the Salem Register (Salem, Massachusetts), 19 July 1875, page 6.

In my experience—less is more.

If I had searched using her complete name I would not have found her, but by searching on only the surname and year of birth—the birth announcement came right up.

Good luck with your own birth record searches!

And let us know how the new birth records search form works for you when it becomes available.

Once they are ready, you'll be able to access the new search tools and features by clicking on the "Try the New!" link on top of the GenealogyBank homepage.

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