Search birth notices sourced from our unparalleled collection of British newspapers. Discover how your ancestor’s birth was unveiled to the world and unearth fascinating new details to add to your family tree.
Each record consists of a transcript and original image of the newspaper page where the birth notice was published. Birth notices were submitted by the family of the new arrival, and often detailed the names of the parents, and the date and place of birth of the child. The amount of information included will vary from birth notice to birth notice, but you will be able to uncover a combination of the following:
First and last names
Birth year and birth date
Place of birth
County and country of birth
Father’s first and last names
Mother’s first and last names
You can also find the following information about the publication in which the birth notice appeared:
Publication date and year
Publication town or city
These birth notices have been sourced from our collection of newspapers from across England, Wales, and Scotland, and span the 19th and 20th centuries. Birth notices often sat alongside other types of family notices, such as notices of marriages and deaths, and in memoriam notices. Whilst the early press did contain such announcements, it was not until the 19th century that these types of notices became more formalised.
As the amount of newspapers increased in Britain, and literacy rates improved, readers were encouraged to submit notices of family events for a fee. Indeed, the fact that these announcements had to be paid for would often affect the phrasing and the length of the notice. This economic factor also means that not all of the population would have been able to afford the insertion of their important life events into the press.
However, you will find that many newspapers often devoted multiple columns to their notices of births, marriages and deaths. They appeared as a recurring feature in daily and weekly publications, and their popularity endures even today.
Our birth notices may not contain the name of the child who has been born, instead naming the parents, or sometimes, just the father. Phrasing such as ‘to the lady of Hugh Carmichael, a daughter,’ or ‘to the wife of Charles Smith, a son,’ is common. This is especially true of our earlier birth notices. We recommend, therefore, to search by surname and year of birth, or by the father’s first and last names.
Watch out for mistakes. We know that not everything printed in the press is true, and this can even be said of birth notices. Names may be spelled incorrectly at the time of printing. To mitigate this, you can use our name variants search tool, or even our wild card search functionality.
If you are researching a more popular name, try narrowing your search by using the ‘Birth place’ field. Most towns had their own local newspaper by the end of the 19th century, meaning that you can be specific with our location search. Alternatively, families may have chosen to submit their birth notice to a newspaper in one of the larger towns or cities in their home county.