Source Information Virginia, U.S., Birth Registers, 1853-1911 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2022.
Original data: Virginia, Birth Registers, 1853–1911. Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

About Virginia, U.S., Birth Registers, 1853-1911

About the Virginia, U.S., Birth Registers, 1853-1911

General collection information

This collection contains records for babies born between 1853 and 1911 in Virginia. The information in this collection is made available to the general public 100 years after the date of birth.

If your family member lived in the area of Virginia that became the state West Virginia prior to 1863, you probably won't find their records in this collection. Historic records from this region were transferred to the West Virginia State Archives. Try looking for their records in Ancestry's Index of West Virginia births.

Using this collection

Records in this collection may include the following information:

  • Name of child
  • Birthdate
  • Birthplace
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Parents' names
  • Father's occupation
  • Father's residence
  • Notes on any unusual circumstances
  • Please note that during this time period, most babies were born at home. Births were reported by a family member, and dates may be approximate.

    While Virginia counties began recording births in 1853, it wasn't widely enforced until 1912. However, your family member may have had a delayed birth certificate. Delayed birth certificates are official records that are registered at least one year after the birth. Often, delayed birth certificates are created in adulthood. Try searching Ancestry's collection of Virginia delayed birth certificates if you can't find a record.

    If you want an official copy of a birth certificate certificate, they can be purchased here.

    Collection in context

    Virginia colony laws required churches to record births and deaths as early as 1632. However, very few parishes followed these guidelines. In 1853, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law requiring counties to register births on a statewide level. However, this law was repealed in 1896. The statewide registration of births didn't become mandatory until 1912, when the state established the Bureau of Vital Statistics. In 1933, the U.S. government began to require the civil registration of births on a federal level.


    Edwards, Conley L. "Using Vital Statistics in Archives at the Library of Virginia." Research Notes. Last modified October 2020,

    Encyclopedia Virginia. "An Act to Provide for the Immediate Registration of all Births and Deaths." Last modified December 7, 2020,

    Virginia Department of Health. "Genealogy." Last modified January 22, 2021,

    17 Feb 2023: Added 11,666 new records.