Help with Finding Birth Certificates for 1863 Pennsylvania

+2 votes
Need Help finding a birth certificate for Hogan-5182,  According to his death cert. He was born Dec. 7th, 1863 in Penn.  His parents are listed as Thomas Francis Hogan (Hogan-5702) and Mary _____ (Unknown-574458).  I am hoping to get more info on his early life to be able to trace any possible siblings so that I can move up the chain to get more info on his parents.  His father is listed as being born in Glasgow, Scotland, but on census records for (Hogan-5182) he puts his father's birthplace as Ireland.  His mother Mary (Unknown-574458) is show as being born in County Cork, Ireland.  Long story short I have found out that 1863 falls in a very difficult time frame for finding birth records from Penn. if anyone has experience with this it would be great.
WikiTree profile: Thomas Hogan
in Genealogy Help by Whitfield Brackett G2G Rookie (200 points)

2 Answers

+4 votes

It is unlikely that a birth certificate was created.  According to this FamilySearch Wiki, no births were officially recorded in Pennsylvania in 1863:

by Kerry Larson G2G6 Pilot (166k points)
Right so I would need to know where to go to look for Baptism records or county records

Most births of that era weren't recorded anywhere.  Some were in the city of Philadelphia; see  Other places to look are listed here:  To look for a church record, you generally need to know what church the baptism occurred in to narrow the search down.  You can look for Philadelphia County church records here, expand the section called 'Church history'; you can also look under the section called 'Vital records'.

+6 votes

State birth certificates didn't exist, but Philadelphia did start recording births in 1860; FamilySearch has an index (and I guess the images if you're an LDS member). Unfortunately, Thomas Hogan's birth isn't in the index.

Philadelphia recently added a website with many but not all of the birth register images (but not the physician/midwife returns from which the registers were constructed), here. It's not easy to use, since they basically just digitized the microfilms, and you have to subscribe, but it's better than using the microfilms. I have subscribed, and checked their name index to the December 1863 birth registers (images 383-384 of 606, file name: 'Birth Index - DOCCBirthIndex1860-1865'). I didn't see a Thomas Hogan in their index, either.

Ancestry has digitized many church records, in a database they call 'Pennsylvania and New Jersey, U.S., Church and Town Records, 1669-2013'. Unfortunately, they mixed different sources together--if you look at the source description for individual records it includes a microfilm series from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania *and* the area's Methodist Church archives. sad In any event, the index doesn't include a Thomas Hogan born in 1863.

Another source that might provide information (though not *birth* information) is city directories. Fold3 (now owned by Ancestry) has digitized images of Philadelphia City Directories. (Warning: they sometimes seem to have put images in the wrong year. I noticed that in the 1860/1861 directories, and told them; I don't know whether they've fixed that. They also seem to have conflated directories published in the same year sometimes.) The 1864 directory (allegedly!), p.340 (reportedly published by 'E C and J Biddle and Co and A McElroy and Co') includes one Thomas Hogan: 'Hogan Thomas, laborer, 8 Ferris ct'.

The other source you might find useful (though they won't report births in Philadelphia) is newspapers. Newspapers (now owned by Ancestry) has a good selection of Philadelphia newspapers. I searched quickly for Thomas Hogan in Philadelphia from 1860-1870, and found that a Thomas Hogan was murdered in 1870. The articles don't mention a wife; he was reportedly 40 or 50 years old, served in the Navy during the US Civil War, and post-war collected (and I assume sold!) muskrat skins. So I don't think he was your Thomas Hogan's father Thomas, but if you want more information, let me know.

I sometimes find Philadelphia articles in GenealogyBank  that I don't find in Newspapers, but didn't see anything useful this time (though there were more articles about the murder).

I noticed you don't have the 1870 and 1880 censuses listed on the profile. Finding those might give you more clues, which might make other early records easy to find.

I'm sorry I wasn't able to find anything, but if nothing else I can confirm it won't be easy to get birth information for him.

by Harry Ide G2G6 Mach 1 (19.8k points)
edited by Harry Ide

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