I am looking for a different style of database that would allow me to execute an iterative search that instead of searching by name, it allows me to search primarily by birth date by area to get a list of people; specifically for pre-American Civil War in the PA & NY general areas is what I am most interested in.

My train of thought is something similar to the following:

  1. Date of Birth (similar to a US doctor's office) - Just Return # of Hits
  2. Region (Country->State) - Just Return # of Hits
  3. County / Area - Return Counts
  4. Further refine/filter using first name parts, gender, city.

The reason I am wanting this is I am looking for several needles in a field of hay stack that standard methods to date have not worked out so far. What I do have is definitive birth dates from tombstones but the names on the tomb stone I know may not or will not match but the first name likely will; such as through adoption, orphanage, migration, etc. Basically I am looking for some bread crumbs to start with to build on and hope I can get the going forward and going back ends to meet at some point.

While I realize this may sound huge task to manually search through, I know it is quite easily doable especially with the right interface. If I had the raw data I could do it myself.

Ancestry.com lets you search by exact date but its results even if locking down the filter are a lot of noise. FamilySearch lets you kind of narrow this down but only down by year (not by specific days) and I am questioning the completeness of the data based on the small number of results even on broad criteria.

Is there an alternative data source.method (as in a website, something available at a library, or even an API) that I can search specifically by birth date and other criteria above for a list of people born on that date?

Note: This is for information I have not yet collected, not information in my own personal database / GED file.

  • 1
    One caution: you say you have "definitive birth dates from tombstones" but birth dates from tombstones can often be in error. Remember that most stones were made after the person's death, so that they are distant in time from the birth event. I understand that sometimes that is all the data you have to go on, but just remember that the date from a tombstone or MI (memorial inscription) needs to be evaluated like any other evidence.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 20:26
  • Completely understand I have additional supporting evidence for year and month in many cases as well.. but like stated, it is all I have to go on at this point.
    – CRSouser
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 20:28
  • To clarify: do you want hits for ANY record containing the birth date, regardless of record collection? Vital records themselves can be problematic for that time period (see the prior questions here about finding vital records for NYC and NY State). For some new places to explore, see Joe Beine's website Online Birth & Marriage Records Indexes for the USA.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 20:36
  • Could you edit the question to clarify that you are looking for data providers and not ways to search your own data which you have already collected?
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 17:42

2 Answers 2


Instead of looking at the search method you want to use, let's look at the characteristics of the single database or search portal that you are looking for:

  • extensive coverage of New York and Pennsylvania vital statistics for all counties
  • full birth dates with birth location for all entries
  • birthdate range before 1860

It doesn't exist (yet).

Early vital stats are spotty at best, and held, mostly undigitized, at the local level. Partial birthdates and some full birthdates are referenced in other records - marriage, death, military, etc., but they are not necessarily paired with the full birth location and would omit many individuals who never experienced those events. Those records are secondary sources for the birth information, so open to error. Because of personal mobility, such records from other locations would need to be included, too.

As more records are digitized AND indexed, global searches at the big genealogy websites will improve with respect to your stated need. (It may be a long time before you can be sure that all possible individuals have been included).

There are at least 2 interim solutions for you:

  • determine another characteristic that ties together all possible (or most) candidates for a particular sought person - location, life event, etc. - and start the search at database(s) already optimized for that group. (Drilling down in Ancestry's card catalogue or FamilySearch's Historical Record Collections list can approximate your filter list, although their date ranges are limited to decades or larger).
  • look for hints in family structure and then look at databases and collections that may have approximate birthdates but include the family information (censuses, newspapers, wills). Even personal family trees may serve for this purpose, if viewed with healthy scepticism.

Family research tends to progress by balancing data from all the records.


It sounds like you need a program that you can create your own SQL queries with. I've downloaded one as a 30 day trial recently, that may assist your search. If you are at all familiar with SQL queries, you should be able to construct the simple query that gives you the answer you are looking for.

While I've not used the program extensively (I'm still in the process of importing GEDCOM file and ensuring data integrity), Kith and Kin Pro seems to have those capabilities. You can query against the database yourself, in addition to using the built-in reports.

This is not the only software that offers this, just the one that I thought sounded the most developed with the features that I wanted. My search in my tree was for men who had served in WWI. I could not figure out a way to pull that data from Ancestry.

My only thought would be that your birth date formatting would all have to be the same.

  • Hi, welcome to G&FH.SE! Your answer is appropriate for someone who was looking for ways to do queries on his own database, but I think he is looking for data providers. I'll leave a comment and ask him to clarify.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 17:40

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