The Museum of Family History

HOME          SITE MAP          ABOUT THE MUSEUM          FEEDBACK          OPPORTUNITIES          LINKS

   ERC: Genealogy and Family History: Records

   Vital Records



New York, New York
25 Feb 1902


Displayed above is an example of a typical birth certificate, used in New York City (Manhattan) and its surrounding boroughs. This form was used starting in the late nineteenth century, at least until 1902-4 when the layout of the form changed so all information could be read without having to rotate the document ninety degrees. The information requested on the newer forms remained the same.

Please note that many babies during these times were delivered at the mother's home, most likely by a midwife (such as the example pictured above.) Please note that whether the person who filled out this form, whether it was a midwife or a physician, might have misspelled any part of the name or made other errors. For example, the person who filled out my aunt's birth certificate wrote down "Cohen" for the newborn's surname even though it should have been a totally different surname. One of my grandparents must have been asked who they were, and they said they were "Cohain," and thus "Cohen" was written on a certificate. At least corrections can be made to such certificates.

>What information is given on this 1902 birth certificate?

1. Given Name and Surname (of baby)
2. The name and address of the person who delivered the baby
3. The date the report of the birth is made (here, no date was entered)
4. When the certificate is received by the Bureau of Records (here in the borough of Manhattan), it is stamped with the Bureau's name, the date the certificate was received, and the name of the borough where the birth occurred.
5. A number is attached to each certificate. These are the numbers that researchers use to locate a certificate, whether it be for a birth, marriage or death. In New York City, the number in the birth, marriage or death indices is preceded by a M for Manhattan, an X for the Bronx (considered to be part of Manhattan until 1898, so to search for a Bronx vital record in 1897 or before, check the Manhattan records), R for Richmond County (Staten Island), Q for Queens County, and K for Kings County (better known as Brooklyn.)
In the column with the particulars of the birth:
6. Again, the given name and surname of the newborn
7. Sex of the baby
8. "Color" of the baby, e.g. "White."
9. Date of Birth
10. Place of Birth, Street and No.
11. Father's Name
12. Residence (Father's)
13. Birthplace (Father's--usually just the country)
14. Age (Father's)
15. Occupation (Father's)
16. Mother's Name
17. Mother's Name Before Marriage (both the given and surname)
18. Residence (Mother's)
19. Birthplace (Mother's)
20. Age (Mother's)
21. Number of Previous Children (includes those living, deceased, stillborns, etc.)
22. How Many Now Living, In All
23. Date of Record

On the side of the record form, it is stated that "No Mutilated Certificate Will Be Received."

Other websites or pages that might be of interest:

Where to find New York City birth records:

New York City Municipal Archives
                   Application for a Search and/or Certified Copy of a Birth Record Before 1910
1910-present: Department of Health and Mental Hygiene/Office of Vital Records
                      Application for a Birth Certificates





Copyright 2006 Museum of  Family History

All rights reserved.  Image Use Policy