How to read birth certificates

The other point about ages that needs to be considered is that in times of illiteracy and poor information some people simply didn't know how old they actually were. In cases like this they often guessed. Before , where the age was in doubt, the register merely states "of full age".

001 Birth certificates

This formula is also used where either bride or groom preferred not to disclose their age. Finally we have death certificates, which can be interesting in any case to learn how our relatives met their maker. Diseases, or at least recorded causes of death, that have enjoyed prominence include 'consumption' or just 'wasting'.


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If the form merely states the cause of death as 'Climacteric' it means either the death was unexpected, such as a heart attack, or quite simply that the doctor didn't know. Once again, you might have to do some work to uncover where your ancestor drew their last breath, as, for example, the hospital they were in could have been in a different district to where they lived and again, some of the details, such as age, may have been a guess.

This is the eternal problem, especially with older records. As well as the strange districts to keep an eye on, entries may be difficult to find due to human error, as details were copied from one index to another, with mistakes inevitably creeping in. Throw into the mix the problems of illiteracy, which meant that a lot of the details could never be checked, and that people's names often changed due to spelling errors, and you can see how certain records remain elusive.


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However, part of the joy of family history is carrying on when you feel you've hit a brick wall, only to suddenly make a discovery. Ordering birth, marriage and death certificates When you've correctly identified the person, you can get hold of the certificate itself.

Re-registering a birth

Make a record of all the details you found in the index including the district, volume and page number, plus the year and quarter. As the original documents are not available to the public, the copy of the certificate is your primary link back to your ancestors.

But be warned, each new copy is freshly made by the General Register Office and while every effort will be taken to ensure the information is correct, an error in the transcription may creep in. If the original data is too difficult to read, a photocopy will be provided instead.

Please also note that certificates for overseas records may not contain as much information as the UK Birth, Marriage and Death certificates.

Simply use this site to search for index numbers for certificates and apply online registered users only. Cookies on Findmypast: We use our own and third-party cookies to improve your experience, for advertising purposes, and to understand how people use our website.

Obtain a Replacement Reading Birth Certificate Copy | UK OFFICIAL RECORDS

That's fine Learn more. Explore our records. Expert advice - Understanding birth, marriage and death certificates saw the debut of the cornerstone of modern genealogy - birth, marriage and death certificates. Certificates of civil registration are a treasure trove of information which will help you fill in the gaps in your family research. For example, on a birth certificate you will find The child"s forenames Sex Date and place of birth The mother"s maiden name essential in opening new avenues of investigation The father"s full name and occupation - if he actually married the mother Don"t knock information such as occupation.

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Tips for Reading Old Records: Dangerous Dates and Word Meanings

Proposed Rules. Birth Records Birth records are not public records and only the following are entitled to receive certified copies: Person named on the record if 18 years of age or older Parent s shown on the record Legal guardian or legal representative of the child. The birth certificate can either be in English or in the official language of the state in which you were born.

The birth certificate issuance date can be any later date. That is how it is done in the U. It is assumed that the U. Sample Birth Certificate — English.

Obtaining a copy of a death certificate:

Sample 2 in English. If a complete birth certificate, as described above, is not available, please refer to the alternatives, by referring to the various links on the left side bar, that pertain to your specific situation. Birth certificates issued by the embassy or the consulate of your country are NOT acceptable. They are just making the certificate based on the details in your passport.

Contrary to what you have heard or what your friends told you, such certificates are NOT accepted. If someone argues that they know someone for whom such a birth certificate was accepted, please do not believe them.

How to read a birth certificate

If you really want to take a big risk of your petition being denied or seriously delayed, please follow their advice. Sample Birth Certificate — Not in English. Sample Birth Certificate — English translation. Translation Details. Not affiliated with any government agency. For visitors, travel, student and other international travel medical insurance.

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