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* Finding a birth date with church records

You can usually find an individual's birth date or age on church marriage, baptism, and christening records. When you have an age, you can estimate the birth date.

The books listed below can help you locate your ancestors' church records by telling you who currently has the records belonging to your ancestors" church. You can find these books in a public or genealogical library. Depending on the book that you use, you can look up either the name of your ancestors' church or the name of the clergyman and find out who currently has the records belonging to your ancestors' church. Of course, if you live close to your ancestors' church, you should go directly to the church and ask the staff for assistance in locating the records that you need.

The Handbook of American Denominations, by Frank Mead

The Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches and Reformed Churches, edited by the National Council of Churches

List of Historical Records Surveys Publications, by the Works Projects Administration

State Historical Records Surveys, by the Works Projects Administration

Once you locate the records that belong to your ancestors' church, the current custodian of the records should be able to direct you in your search for the marriage, baptism, or christening record that you need. Baptismal records do not always have a birth date on them, but just the date of baptism. Often the delay between the birth date and the baptism was only a few days, but you should find out what was customary for that era and denomination. Then, you will be able to estimate the birth date.

Another good place to look for both American and foreign church records is among the microfilm records at the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their church records are organized first by state, then county, and then town. Unless the town that you are searching for had very few churches, knowing a denomination will make your search easier.

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