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Adoption Research: Birth Records

Birth Records


Historically, when children are adopted in Minnesota the following happens:

  • The information from the adoption record is used to create a new birth record showing the adopted parents' names and the child's new name. 
  • The original birth record is closed for 100 years from the date of the adoption and designated as confidential.  Information or copies of these original records are only released early under very specific circumstances.  For more information please visit: Accessing Confidential Birth Records
  • The adopted birth certificate replaces the original for official uses.

This means that our Minnesota People Records Search does not include any birth records of adopted children until 100 years has passed from the date of the adoption.   

Similarly, the birth record of a child who was born to unmarried parents is closed for 100 years from the date of birth.  However, an alternate certificate is not issued unless the child is later adopted.         

For general information on birth records at MNHS visit the Birth Records page of our Vital Records guide. 





How do I order a birth certificate?

Visit the Library

You may use the computers located in the Minnesota Historical Society Library's main reading room in St. Paul to search and print non-certified copies for $9.00 per certificate

Researchers can view a birth certificate on a Reading Room computer before--or instead of--printing it. 


Order Online

You may use the Minnesota People Records Search to search for birth certificate copies that you wish to order. Once you are ready to purchase your selected certificate(s), our online store will safely and securely process your transaction. The price for each non-certified record is $9.00, plus sales tax if applicable.  

Once the transaction has been processed, you will receive an e-mail notification explaining how to retrieve your non-certified certificate electronically. This e-mail will provide a link to the certificate(s). Click on the link to view the certificate. This link will be accessible for 2 weeks following the initial e-mail notification.

For patrons who choose to mail in their payment, they will have to wait until we receive their payment and process the order (approximately 3-5 business days). Once the order is filled by our staff, an e-mail notification will be sent to the customer instructing them on how to access their certificates through the Society’s web site. The certificate(s) will be accessible for 2 weeks following the e-mail notification.


Please note: The Minnesota People Records Search contains birth records from 1900 to 1934 that have been opened to the public for research.  However, the original birth certificates for children adopted less than 100 years ago are confidential and cannot be ordered through this system.  To obtain a confidential birth record, contact the Minnesota Department of Health.     

Birth Record Links

MNHS Reference Staff

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Gale Family Library
Minnesota Historical Society Library

Located on the Second Floor of the Minnesota History Center
345 West Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102

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Sunday to Wednesday: Closed

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