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How to Find United States Births Gotoarrow.png District of Columbia Births

In 1801, District of Columbia was created from the states of Virginia and Maryland. Statewide registration of births began in 1874.

Next Step: When did the birth occur?

Birth Records
Choose a time period:

Learn more about U.S. Birth Records

Births before 1874

  • Before 1874, no births were recorded by the District. You must search substitute records to locate your ancestor’s birth date and place.
  • The District of Columbia did not exist until 1801 with portions coming from the state of Virginia and the state of Maryland. Before 1801, be sure to search substitute records for Virginia and Maryland.
  Records that give birth information:
Death Records
Cemetery Records
Newspapers
Church Records
Census
Military Records
Return to top: Choose another birth year


Births from 1874 thru 1897


If you cannot locate your ancestor in the databases below, try searching for birth information in other records.

For births that exist during the time period, try the following databases.

District of Columbia Births Databases - Includes Index and Digital Images
Try 1st:
Record Collection 2001148 Free; Online birth images, not indexed, browse the collection.
  • Search the indexes for parent names
  • Note the certificate number and birth year
  • Look for the correct record birth year and certificate span
  • Browse for the certificate number
Try 2nd:
1853-1930 - At FamilySearch.org Free; not all counties are complete to 1930: list of database county coverage (right side of the screen) on WV website; collection also contains delayed birth records; click on "view partner website" to see a copy of the image
Can't find your ancestor in the online index? Tips for searching online indexes
No birth record for your ancestor? Other records with birth information
Return to top: Choose another birth year


Births from 1897 thru 1912

STEP ONE: Find Birth Information

Limited births maybe found in the following databases. Try each link. If you do not find your ancestor's birth or if you want order a copy of the certificate, then contact the District of Columbia Department of Health office.

District of Columbia Births Databases - Includes Index and Digital Images
Try 1st:
1853-1930 - At District of Columbia Division of Culture and History Free; most counties go to 1930: list of database county coverage (right side of the screen) on WV website; collection also contains delayed birth records
Try 2nd:
1853-1930 - At FamilySearch.org Free; not all counties are complete to 1930: list of database county coverage (right side of the screen) on WV website; collection also contains delayed birth records; click on "view partner website" to see a copy of the image
Next try:
Ancestry database: Includes Index Only

Choose one of the following:

1853-1969 - use Ancestry Institution at FamilySearch Centers/Libraries Free at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries; Find your local FamilySearch Center

1853-1969 - use your own Ancestry subscription $, To obtain a subscription to Ancestry; Ancestry is often available for free through your local public library
Can't access Ancestry? Go to Step Two: Part B listed below. You may be able to order the birth record for your ancestor from the District of ColumbiaDepartment of Health State Office.
Can't find your ancestor in the online index? Tips for searching online indexes
No birth record for your ancestor? Other records with birth information

STEP TWO: Obtain the Certificate

PART A: You know the exact date of birth

With an exact date (from your records or the index above), you can order a copy of the birth record for a fee from the following locations:

To Order Birth Certificates
From County of Birth From WV Dept. of Health State office
Pros Cons Pros Cons
May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state County websites can be more difficult to use Offers a search of the state index for an additional fee May be more expensive than ordering from the county

See list of restrictions for ordering birth records

If you do not want to order the birth record, you can search other records with birth information.

PART B: You don't know the exact date of birth

If you do not know the exact date or place of birth:
For a fee, the District of Columbia Department of Health office will do a 3 year search.

See list of restrictions for ordering birth records

If you do not want to order the birth record, you can search other records with birth information.

Return to top: Choose another birth year


Births from 1931 thru 1969

Limited births maybe found in the following databases. Try each link. If you do not find your ancestor's birth or if you want order a copy of the certificate, then contact the District of Columbia Vital Registration office.

STEP ONE: Find Birth Information

Ancestry Database: Includes Index Only

Choose one of the following:

1853-1969 - use Ancestry Institution at FamilySearch Centers/Libraries Free at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries; Find your local FamilySearch Center

1853-1969 - use your Ancestry subscription $, To obtain a subscription to Ancestry; Ancestry is often available for free through your local public library
Can't access Ancestry? Go to Step Two: Part B listed below. You may be able to order the birth record for your ancestor from the District of Columbia Department of Health State Office.
Can't find your ancestor in the online index? Tips for searching online indexes
No birth record for your ancestor? Other records with birth information


STEP TWO: Obtain the Certificate

PART A: You know the exact date of birth

With an exact date (from your records or the index above), you can order a copy of the birth record for a fee from the following locations:

To Order Birth Certificates
From County of Birth From WV Dept. of Health State office
Pros Cons Pros Cons
May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state County websites can be more difficult to use Offers a search of the state index for an additional fee May be more expensive than ordering from the county

See list of restrictions for ordering birth records

If you do not want to order the birth record, you can search other records with birth information.

PART B: You don't know the exact date of birth

If you do not know the exact date or place of birth:
For a fee, the District of Columbia Department of Health office will do a 3 year search.

See list of restrictions for ordering birth records

If you do not want to order the birth record, you can search other records with birth information.

Return to top: Choose another birth year


Births after 1969

PART A: You know the exact date of birth

With an exact date (from your records or the index above), you can order a copy of the birth record for a fee from the following locations:

To Order Birth Certificates
From County of Birth From WV Dept. of Health State office
Pros Cons Pros Cons
May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state County websites can be more difficult to use Offers a search of the state index for an additional fee May be more expensive than ordering from the county

See list of restrictions for ordering birth records

If you do not want to order the birth record, you can search other records with birth information.

PART B: You don't know the exact date of birth

If you do not know the exact date or place of birth:
For a fee, the District of ColumbiaDepartment of Health office will do a 3 year search.

See list of restrictions for ordering birth records

If you do not want to order the birth record, you can search other records with birth information.

Return to top: Choose another birth year


Restrictions for Obtaining Birth Records

Restrictions for persons born within the last 100 years:
To obtain a copy of the birth certificate for those born within the last 100 years from the government agency, you must be:

  • The person on the certificate
  • The parents and grandparents of person on the certificate
  • The wife or husband of the person on the certificate
  • The children and grandchildren of the person on the certificate
  • The brothers or sisters of the person on the certificate
  • Anyone who has legal interest in the certificate
NOTE: A copy of the birth record cannot be obtained by anyone except those listed above until 100 years have passed from the date of the birth.

If you do not want to order the birth record, you can search other records with birth information.

Return to top: Choose another birth year


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