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Certificates – Birth

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Certificates are usually the legal document clarifying when a milestone occurs in a person’s life. When they are born, they get a certificate, when they are married, they get a certificate and when they die (you guessed it) they get a certificate. These are important pieces of information as they are all you need to prove that a milestone that you may be unsure about occurred.

These three certificates usually come in different formats and are sometimes difficult to interpret through a number of reasons; faded documents, poor handwriting, illiteracy and the list goes on. However, we have managed to analyse and sum up the key information that the certificates should
contain.

Birth Certificates

Birth certificates are the proof of a person’s existence. Usually, a birth certificate should contain the following information:
- Registration District & Sub District
- Register Number
- When & Where born (and time if there has been multiple births)
- Name
- Gender
- Name & Surname of the Father
- Name & Maiden Name (and sometimes previous married surnames) of Mother
- Occupation of the Father
- Description & Residence of informant
- Date Registered
- Details of name/s entered after registration


However, illegitimate children were very common. It was always assumed, that if there was no Father’s name on the certificate, then the child was illegitimate. From 1875 onwards, the reputed Father’s name had to be present at registration to consent his name being added. Illegitimacy may also be proved by a subsequent marriage of one of the parents. But if this situation occurred, you cannot assume that the partner is the parent to that child (unless other clues suggest otherwise)

Using the Birth Certificate for your Genealogy Search

When analyzing the certificate, keep an eye out for the address as this can then allow you to explore that census, or it can confirm other suspicions you may have had about the living location of an ancestor. If you still have any questions, sign up to the forum and see if any of the members can help!

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