The earliest of birth records will provide:
Name, date of birth, gender, race and place of birth.
As the years progressed, the details became greater.
Around 1900, you will find that a birth record includes:
Name, date of birth, gender, race and place of birth as well as the names, ages, places of birth and occupation(s) of the parents. If a child is stillborn, it will be stated as such and sometimes the record will say how many children are living at the time of this birth. Most often the informant was one of the parents or sometimes a grandparent.
With this document, you will almost always be able to go back one more generation on the family tree.
Many states are beginning to put the birth records for certain time periods online. For privacy reasons, you will not find them online more recent than 75 to 100 years ago. There are also many volunteer persons and projects who transcribe these records and put them into online collections to be used by others. Some collections are fee based, but there are many out there that are free.
Last edited by JanW.; 11-02-2007 at 08:11 AM.