If you are looking for birth records, including certificates, you need to know the timing of each state’s requirements. Each state in the U.S. started requiring birth registrations in different years. Generally, some types of records were created prior to the official state laws, either at the county, city, or town levels. But state records weren’t required until a law was passed. Some states passed laws that mandated that records be kept at the local level, even though there was no mandated state registration. Furthermore, even though registrations and certificates were mandated, general compliance was not achieved by all entities for just a few years or even a few decades in some instances.
Below is a chart that lists for each state when registration was required, when it started at local jurisdictions, and when general compliance with the state law was achieved. Please note that local-level registration and records were not adhered to by all local jurisdictions. If the year is blank, I could not find the information for that entry.
|State||Year Mandated||Year Records Started at Local Jurisdiction||Year of General Compliance|
|District of Columbia||1874||–||–|
|New Hampshire||1866||Early 1600s||1905|
The source of these dates is a combination of each state’s vital records website in conjunction with the FamilySearch Wiki. A great resource with more details can be found at: