How to Find Your Grandfather’s Birth Records Online

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Who is my grandfather?” If so, you are not alone. Every day we receive hundreds of questions from our members regarding their family history searches. Many of these inquiries are just looking to find any references that can give them a glimpse of their grandparents past. At GenealogyBank, our sole focus is to help you get closer to discovering your family history.

Thousands of Americans go through life wondering,”who was my grandfather?” and search for more details about their heritage. If you can relate to this, take the initiative today, and reveal the truths of your family’s past. At Genealogy Bank, we are here to answer life’s simplest questions, including; Who were my ancestors? How can I find my grandad? What are their stories and how did it lead to me? With just minimal information, dive in deep to our historical resources and unfold the truth behind your lineage.

You deserve to know what makes you the person you are today. That’s why we strive to uncover your history and help you connect the dots. You don’t have to go through live longing to know your undiscovered past. The time to find out who is your grandfather is now. Let us help you identify what makes you, you.

To illustrate exactly how we have helped our clients, here is one of our many cases that we’ve been able to solve.

GenealogyBank Member Question:
My grandfather Hugh Cornwell was born in Prairie Grove, AR, 4/6/1883. I have been searching for a birth record for the past 20 years with no luck. Any suggestions?

“Ask the Genealogist” Response:
Arkansas vital records do not begin until 1914.

So, while you can possibly obtain a church baptismal certificate, you won’t be able to find a government birth certificate for your grandfather.

I found your grandfather’s California death certificate, which does give his date of birth along with the family surnames of his father and mother. His death certificate is available online on the FamilySearch website.

There is another record for your grandfather in the 1900 census, which also states that he was born in April 1883. His census record is available on

Here is a third document with genealogical information about your grandfather: his World War II draft registration card, also showing that he was born on April 6, 1883. You can view your grandfather’s military record online at FamilySearch.

So, while you cannot get a formal birth certificate—here are three U.S. government documents, created over the past 112 years, that give his date of birth. That should be the evidence you are looking for.

Let’s see how we can help you make progress in your own family history research.

All the best in your genealogy research.

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52 thoughts on “How to Find Your Grandfather’s Birth Records Online

  1. Could you find out any birth certificates for a Desmond Leonard Doonan born 1924/27/07 please would really be apreciated as I can’t find no birth records of my Grand father in South Africa

  2. Looking for any information on my grandfather. His name is Samuel Lee Cornwell and he lived in Illinois in the late 1960’s. His sons name is John Michael Cornwell born May 28th 1968.

  3. my grandfather name is ishmale louis brown born 1887 i was told he came from oklahoma but not sure. he met my grandmother dorothy gaudet in vaserie la i was told

  4. I’ve been trying to find out information on my grandpa, but my grandma and my dad are already dead. My grandpa’s name is George William Bellamy (I got that from my dad’s birth certificate).

    He was also born in Arkansas in approximately 1909 since he’s listed as 40 years of age when my dad (David E Bellamy) was born so from your response above, there won’t be an archived birth certificate I can get to even if I figure out his birth date. My dad’s birth cert says he was a Trimmer and was in the automobile industry… and that’s all I have. I need a birthday so i can hopefully get some information on who his parents were…

    i know he married my grandma (hazel louise yauchzee– that’s her maiden name) somewhere between 1943 and 1949… (he was her second husband– her first married last name was Kelley) and passed away between 1949-1956 because in 1956 she was re-married to her third and last husband.

    Any help would be amazing!!!!

  5. Lbuired stellawood grave no 67 block aa ooking for i d birth/cert anything Date of death 27/9/1962 buired 29/9/1962 Name Dias Marcelino De Souza age 72 4387 so he was born in 1890 please help My Dad was Vincente J De Souza Dias .died in Cape Town.

  6. I am seeking the date of my grandfather’s death. His name was John L. Gray and died in Missoula, Montana. Can you help?

  7. My grandfather, William Gordon Bugie born November 23 1916, never talked much about his childhood. I recently have been trying to piece together my family tree and I cannot seem to find who his parents are. I have found one census document that simply put father’s surname: Bugie and mother’s surname: Cunningham. I cannot find first names. Could you possibly locate his parents names? This would be so incredibly helpful! Thank you!

  8. Can I obtain a Death Certificate for my Grandfather, and would it have his parents information? His name was Max Laske, he passed in July 1966 in the Bronx. I looked in and Ancestry only able to get SS death index.

  9. I am trying to find out how and when my grandfather passed away. He was in my mother’s life when she was bon in 1939 and showing until 1940 (maybe 1942), his name is Robert Edward Taylor (b approx. 1910), he married Genevieve Edna Meyer (b. aug 1915) and they lived around Port Jervis Ny and the Matamoras PN area (Middletown, Hancock, Greenville). A purple heart was received, I don’t know if he was wounded or died. My mother had a brother and two sisters, two were from another marriage, the other I believe was from Robert. I never knew anything about my grandfather and not sure my mother who is now deceased did either. Somewhere around 1943 my grandmother remarried a James Hooey. Since divorce wasn’t common back then, it makes me think something bad happened. Any help would be greatly appreciated. His ethnicity is white. Thank you

  10. Hi Kathee,

    On Genealogybank I would suggest starting out with several exact phrase searches using variations of the name. You would do this by putting the full name in the Include Keywords field inside of quotation marks. Examples: “Robert Edward Taylor”, “Robert Taylor”, “Robert E Taylor”, “R E Taylor”, etc…

    You can also do variations of broader searches by putting Taylor in the last name field and Genevieve or Edna or Purple Heart in the keywords.

    As for more information on the Purple Heart – you can search GenealogyBank for variations of keywords “Purple Heart” without anything in the name fields and date range 1940 to 1945. I would also suggest doing some digging through internet searches such as Google. Maybe search variations like “Robert E Taylor receives Purple Heart” or “Robert E Taylor Purple Heart recipient” or “Purple Heart recipients 1940-1945”.

    I hope this helps. Best of luck in your search!

  11. Hi Claudia,

    When I run a search for “Ernest Abrahams” in the GenealogyBank newspaper archives, I get back 7 results spanning from 1880-1929. A search for “Arthur Marvin” with a year range of 1872-1972 returns 324 results. With a little more information you can begin to narrow those results down by including keywords, adjusting the year ranges, trying different locations, etc… If their deaths occurred after 1936 and they had a social security number you may want to start by searching the Social Security Death index for morsels of helpful information as well.

    Remember to always search for variations of your ancestors names. So Arthur can be searched as “A K Marvin”, “Arthur K Marvin”, “Arthur Kater Marvin”, “Arthur Marvin”, or “Art Marvin”.

    I hope this helps. Good luck in your search!

  12. I have been trying to find my grandmothers birth certificate Ann Marie De-RIsi, Maiden name Russo (Italian). My dad was born in Trenton NJ, and my grand father was Frank C. De-Risi.

    1. Hi Carly,

      GenealogyBank houses birth notices/records that were placed in U.S. published newspapers. When searching for birth notices in newspapers remember to search by the parents’ names or by last name and include keywords such as ‘birth’ OR ‘born’ OR ‘baby’, as the child’s name may not have been published.

      GenealogyBank does have both Ann Marie DeRisi (2008) and Frank C. DeRisi’s (1995) obituaries in Indiana. The Geisen Funeral Home in Crown Point, IN handled both of their funerals. I would suggest contacting the funeral home to see what further information can be gathered. Many times funeral homes will have pieces of information concerning individuals and their families in their records that are not published elsewhere.

      U.S. birth certificates are handled at the state and county levels. The official years that states began collecting vital records will vary state to state.

      I believe that both Ann Marie and Frank DeRisi were born in Italy. To obtain their birth records I would suggest searching sites that have Italian birth records. is a good resource to find genealogy sites that house all different kinds of records including Italian birth records.

      I hope this helps and wish you the best of luck in your research.

  13. I am trying to find where in Italy my Great-Grandfather was born. His name was Benedito (Benny for short) Ascani. He may have changed it to Benjamin when he immigrated to America. He was born on December 7, 1900 and died in a quarry explosion on March 26, 1942 in Pennsylvania. He was married to a woman named Catherine, and they had several children. Please help me find where in Italy he was born! I am going there soon and would love to go visit if I can.

    1. greetings. I am trying ot find the street number of my graNDMOTHER WHO LIVES IN gAULEY BRIDGE west Virginia. she raised my dad there. Her name is Kate (Mink) McGraw. I have yet to be able to find a street or road of her home or places she may have lived. If you could help me find that or where to go to finds that it would be greatly appreciated. thanks you so much

      1. Deborah- Newspapers sometimes have addresses listed in articles about the person. Another place to search is land and property records found in the county or city court records. You can also contact the local library and see if they have old city directories. Census records are a great place to find locations that they may have lived in, if you are searching from 1940 and before.

    2. Alison McCarty –
      He was born in Colonnella – a town and comune in Teramo province in the Abruzzo region of eastern Italy.
      I found this recorded in his WWII Draft Registration card.

      His parents names (according to his Pennsylvania death certificate) were Orazio and Rosa (Fazzini) Ascani.

      You should watch this video on Italian genealogical research:
      Enjoy your search in Italy.


  14. I am trying to find out what my great grandmothers maiden name was. I know she married John Wesley Swisher in Marion Indiana and her name was Rene. I am not sure if that is spelled right or not. I know they had at least two children Elizabeth Irene Swisher and John Swisher. Irene Swisher was my grandmother and she was married five times I believe. Once to Harold Rhodes. Also married Bud Applegate , a man named Tudor and another named Ralph Teegarden. And another one named Horner.

    1. Richard- Newspapers often have the information you are looking for in marriage announcements and engagement announcements by putting the brides parents name. Women can be more challenging to search depending on the era that you are searching. It helps to search for the husbands names and look for any tax records, and probate records that may have the maiden name of the wife. Church records are also a good source of finding the maiden name of the women. If you know the town or county that she lived contact the local Library or Historical Society. They may have a history of her or her family.

  15. Im looking for my great great grand father and mother they;re son’s name was Charles C Miller. can you help me

  16. Tina- The best way to start a search is with what you already know and can confirm. Start with the closest living relative and ask them questions about the person. Questions to start with: where they lived growing up, if they ever moved, siblings names, traditions, church associated with, grandparents names, and aunts and uncles names. At that point you will want to search census records. Find out the area that they lived in and search any records from that area, ie: Cemeteries, churches, libraries, historical societies.

  17. Debra- has American Irish newspapers, but you didn’t say if he ever lived in the United States. Some good websites to search Irish ancestors that are free are , and If he lived in the United States you can search census records, Naturalization records, court records, and cemetery sites like to name a few. If you know where your grandfather died in the United States contact the local library or find out if they have a Historical Society. They both can be of great help.

  18. Good day, I know my grandparents was born and stayed in Germany and they only moved to South Africa when my father was 19 years old. We are no trying to get documentation to give through to the embassy for Citizenship and need to know how I can get these documents as both grandparents are deceased. Could you please assist?

    1. Janita- is only United States newspapers. We would have to refer you to search for international assistance. Try Googling for the information you need.

  19. I am trying to find my deceased grandfathers,relatives and addresses which are in another state,please direct me in the right direction. Thank You.

  20. Donna- One of the first things you can do is to Google the state you are looking for to get an idea of what information is available and where to find it. Look for vital records and land records. Libraries can be a wealth of information with phone directories, school records and church records. Call and ask if they have a Genealogical Society or Historical Society for the town you are searching. Newspapers are also a goldmine of information! You can call at the toll free number listed on the home page and speak directly to a representative to answer any of your questions about what can be found in newspapers.

  21. Hi I am trying to find my great parents and my grandfather year that he past away. My grandfather was born 1892, his name was ANdrew Yarbrough, and he was married to Annie Bell Yarbrough . I found him on the 1940 US Sensor along with the names of some of his kids. Andrew Yarbrough, live in Rual Georgia and Spalding Georgia. Anything would be a great help thanks in advance.

    1. Phyllis- Some great sources for finding information about deceased ancestors is first obituaries found in newspapers. GenealogyBank has one of the largest collection of obituaries online. Another source is the library in their home town. Searching is helpful if you know the area that the cemetery is in. Church records are also an excellent source of family information.

    1. Rashan- Start searching by gathering what you already know, documents, histories, etc.. Search with the last known event of that person. Obituaries are a great source of gathering this information. Obituaries often have names of other family members, places they lived and dates.

  22. My Grandfather was born John Malone Disney, born 1879 in Missouri, his father was Charles David Disney born 1852, son of John Rufus Disney. He had a brother William Rufus Disney born 1875. My grandfather was left on the steps of the Macedonia Baptist Church, up the hill from Norris lake.

    He was taken in by Thomas Gaylor Jr and his Wife Sarah Isabelle Slover. There is a mystery there. he does not show on any censes, after his birth in Missouri. The woman his father married a Hatmaker refused to raise him and it has been said that she was the one who left him. I am trying to find the identity of his mother. It would appear that he was Melungeon by the color of his skin. Any help would really be appreciated.

    1. Donna- I would start by choosing a DNA test that would show possible relationships. Also, newspapers may have articles about the family. The local library may have a history of the families.

      1. Lyndel:

        I did a DNA test with Ancestry, I have found some indicators that I am related to the George Day and Alexander Heatherly line. I keep running into a wall.

        I have not been able to prove anything, where would I find a list of indentured children? He lived with the Gaylors until he was an adult. Or how would I find any record that the Gaylors raised him?

        Donna Disney Robinson Cox

  23. I am looking for information to lead me in the right direction. I was hoping to find a birth certificate for my Grandfather Apkar Markarian, born December 13, 1887. Place of birth Grampa, Russia. I do not know what his parents names are. I have been told he was the youngest and they sent him to America. All their money was taken by the government. He had brothers who were all older. Can you guide me in the right direction.

    1. Pamela- I would start with the website it is free and they have vital records on the website. You can also go to she has numerous links for records and resources for Russia. If you haven’t Googled “Russian vital records” this may also help. Another excellent source is to searching the name in the newspapers. It may give you information from an obituary or marriage announcement.

  24. Octuber 17, 2017 at 7:10 pm
    My Grandmather was born Marie Germanie Jacquet in 1/3/1854 Normandy Calvados. I am trying to find about her mother and dad.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  25. Suzane- Knowing the location of the family is a big step in finding information about your ancestor. Google Normandy Calvados France and it will give you information about the history of the area. Church records are the main source of information for family records. You can also try searching for records in France. If the family came to the United States you may find newspaper references to the family back in France or parents.

  26. Hi,

    I am trying to find my great grandmother parents names. Her name was Julia Ann Stephenson born 6/21/1890 and died 7/21/1940 married James Bryant Sewell on 2/7/1907 in Cottondale Florida. They are both buried in Piney Grove cemetery in Cottondale, Florida. She was born in Dothan Alabama I was looking for any information have hit a dead end. One of there children Lois Lorene Loyed born 1941-1999 was my grandmother. If you have any information or can direct to were I can find her parents names I would appreciate it.

    Thanks Janet

  27. Trying to find out where my grandfather is from…came to Canada between 1930-1940…heard he was from Russia or Poland…same name as me…please help…lived in Montreal, Quebec, Canada all his life after immigrating to Canada…

    1. Tom- The first thing I would do is search the census records for the name. This may give you some good leads as to family members and location. You can search census records on for free. You can also search Google for the origin of your name. You may also find family histories with that name that can give you more information about the family.

  28. Trying to find where my great grandparents were from; they lived in Monmouth County, New Jersey, in 1991. We heard they were both born here in USA. She was from New York born late 1880’s, Rebecca Springer, she died 1911, and he is John Springer born late 1880’s in Virginia.

  29. Pauline- Newspaper obituaries can be a great source of information on searching ancestors place of birth. Birth places are sometimes mentioned in an obituary. Census records are also a good source of birth places of both the person and the parents of that person. You can find census records on

    1. Margaret –
      Since you are researching Canadian lines – let me point you to …. it has a tremendous amount of Canadian records online – all free.

      Give it a try and let us know how it goes for you.


  30. I am curious to know how the “older generation” was able to apply for a Social Security number/card or a driver’s license if they did not have their birth certificate? Example: my Grandfather was born in Illinois prior to 1916 (when birth was required to be registered). How then did he get his SSN or a driver’s license without a birth certificate? Hmmm…

    1. Hi Lea –
      Governments at all levels have faced that problem for centuries.
      So today – we have long established practices for confirming a person’s identity when it is determined that no ‘birth certificate’ exists.

      One immediate source that GenealogyBank members would recognize is newspaper records.
      It is common for newspaper to announce the birth of children and to publish news articles that might have mentioned them.

      A person would bring documentation – like that found in newspaper to build their case and confirm their birth date/place.

      Here is a link to a PDF document that the Social Security Administration uses to give how-to information to individuals signing up who are in the same situation that you describe:

      This document suggestions alternative sources:
      – U.S. hospital record of your birth (created at the time of birth)
      – Religious record established before age five showing your age or date of birth
      – Passport
      – Final Adoption Decree

      States, including Illinois also have long provided a legal remedy for creating a ‘delayed’ registration of birth – for those people who need one – but found that no document had been created when they were born.

      Here is a link for that proceedure in Illinois:

      I have also found that in addition to newspaper accounts, the documents requested above – that governments routinely accepted Family Bible records; affidavits from multiple family members, neighbors and prominent members of the community certifying to the person’s approximate or exact age.

      While state and local governments might not have formalized the recording of birth certificates – churches, newspapers and other sources have documented our lives since the Pilgrims landed nearly 400 years ago.

  31. My grandfather supposedly changed his last name in 1939 while in the army… I’m trying to research my original last name.

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