I was recently looking for my great grand parents birth certificates, I couldn't find them (I am pretty new so perhaps I researched incorrectly) and I couldn't find them. Is there a way to know what lists we have access to and what lists we don't?
Thank you for your question about finding your great grand parents birth certificates. Here are some suggestions:
If you're struggling with your genealogy research, FamilySearch offers several options for getting help.
Many other organizations also offer help. Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK), for example, is a global volunteer organization where you can make requests for help with research tasks.
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You might want to check the state or country vital records or the state historical records. These two areas may have a fee for purchasing the certificate. You can sometimes purchase a copy, rather than the certificate itself.
Wishing you success.
Not all records are available and even if they are, may not be"indexed", where the persons and the record info is built into the searchable database.
As an example, records which cover my grandparents in Slovakia and Europe are not indexed, though earlier generation records (before ~1870's) are. I had to look in the catalog, find the pertinent area and record and visually flip through them page by page by page. This situation varies from place to place. Some records do not exist in Family Search. For example the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago allowed photographing and publication of most records up to 1925 whereas Pittsbugh did not allow any. Some smaller archives were photographed, such as the Diocese of Gary IN near Chicago, but that of Joliet IL. Some are indexed but the images are not available for view. Others have visible digital records but are not indexed. Some are still on microfilm only. Some images are available only through a Family History Library or with a temple account. Varies a LOT!! There is a LOT of info out there but one cannot expect it to cover everything, everywhere.
US records seem more consistently available. But all are subject to spelling errors, whether of the original record or when transcribed into the database. Or americanization of foreign names such as Janov that became Yanow. You can use * to search. For example name "An* "Smi*" will return all matching records such as Anna Smith or Andrew Smiley or Angelina Smetko. You can also put the * in the middle of a name or use several, such as "Ste*vic*" will return Stepanovic, Stephanovich, Stefanavic etc. Family Search does not appear sensitive to diacritical marks like Mačič"
Try Search>Catalog>Place name for the record you are seeking. Then scroll through the list to see if you can find anything that might lead you to the right set of records to see if they are even indexed.
Although you have been given good general advice regarding searching for your great grandparents' births, if you know the country / countries of their births please advise us, so you might receive more specific advice on the best places to search.
Depending on the time and country, they may not have any birth certificates. Those are a fairly modern invention. For many places the only information for the birth of a great-grandparent (unless you are a couple of generations younger than me and your great-grandparent would be my parent) would be a single line in a parish register.
As Paul suggested, if you post when and were they were born, someone will be able to tell you exactly where to look for birth information.