Talk:Birth certificate

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How to change a birth certificate[edit]

Does anyone know how to go about changing a legal parent on a birth certificate who is not the biological father? Dawn

You would be better off asking Wikipedia:Reference_desk than in this article's talk page. Be sure to specify the country to which your question applies. --CIreland 12:25, 11 March 2007 (UTC)


That would depend on the state but in Hawaii you can amend your Certificate of live birth and you don’t even need to be born in the US.

• Who is eligible to apply and how to apply for an amendment? ”Amended certificates of birth may be prepared and filed with the Department of Health, as provided by law, for 1) a person born in Hawaii who already has a birth certificate filed with the Department of Health or 2) a person born in a foreign country.”

http://hawaii.gov/health/vital-records/vital-records/index.html

Explanation of revisions 12:03, 13 October 2007[edit]

Removed "Getting official copies of such records is a cumbersome and time-consuming process, although it doesn't usually take a person to physically travel to the birthplace." This is not only opinion but entirely false, because a birth certificate can be ordered in minutes on vitalchek.com.

Removed segment on statutory rape/California laws. These have little to do with birth certificates and should be on the Statutory rape page or perhaps a new page such as Statutory rape laws in California.

Removed segment on Condolezza Rice. This is very irrelevant to the article and should be in the Condolezza Rice article, not here.

Removed many links; we do not need six examples of what a birth certificate should look like, particularly considering that there are already three images in the article itself. In addition, we don't need to post links on how to order birth certificates; this is explained in the article.

72.185.216.247 12:03, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

What's the penalty, then?[edit]

It says 'Births must be registered within 42 days". Okay, what happens if it's not? Can someone actually live without an official birth certificate if they were sucessfully hidden? Kind of a bit lacking on the answer to this, really... Lady BlahDeBlah (talk) 19:31, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

The case where the father is deceased in the UK[edit]

It says that if the parents are not married then both must go to the register office or the father provide some statement, what about the circumstance where the father dies before the child is born, is the name of the father allowed to go on the certificate or must it still be put down as "Father Unknown" I believe such a case happened during the Falklands conflict in 1982

Stickings90 23 January 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Stickings90 (talkcontribs) 15:03, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Image of this alleged birth certificate shouldn't be in article[edit]

It hasn't been determined if the document in the image actually is what the file name claims it to be, i.e., its provenance or accuracy has not been verified. The matter of making the determination is in process. Until it's verified it shouldn't be in the article. Even then, the article deals only with American and British birth certificates so far. Additional text regarding other countries' birth certificates, citing reliable sources, would be needed to warrant inclusion of this image.--72.76.82.110 (talk) 13:41, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Image should be in artice[edit]

Your campaign clearly knows no bounds. You haven't been able to convince editors at ANI [1], the BLP noticeboard, the help desk, nor anywhere else that I have found. Please stop. Reverting. . .R. Baley (talk) 18:03, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Michael L. -Birth certificate discussion, links to archived discussion:
  • discussion at help desk [4]
  • BLP Noticeboard [5]
  • Conflict of Interest noticeboard [6]

Just placed here for the record, given the tendentious nature of this campaign, the links will probably be needed somewhere. Sadly, I don't even know if this list is comprehensive, if anyone knows any other boards where this was discussed, feel free to add another link. R. Baley (talk) 18:37, 28 February 2008 (UTC)


Honey, honey, honey...sit down and catch your breath. Breathe in, breathe out. Again, in, and out...in, and out. Are you OK now? Well, listen anyway. In your haste to put together your own campaign, above, you have made several boo-boo's:
  • under "discussion at ANI" you linked to a post made by editor Rythmnation2004 -- that's not me, hon.
  • under "discussion at help desk" you linked to Shankbone's numerous BLP violations, not the photo specifically, hon.
  • under "BLP Noticeboard" you linked to a post by editor Nil Einne -- that's not me, hon.
  • under "Conflict of Interest noticeboard" you linked to a post with references to Shankbone's prostitution/escorting edits at Michael Lucas (porn star), nothing about this photo, hon.
Honey, I suspect you have too much time on your hands, though looking at your campaign statement above, you don't devote enough time to your own causes. Hugs & Kisses, Love, --72.76.99.139 (talk) 22:25, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
*yawn* R. Baley (talk) 22:34, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Just get up from your nap, hon?--72.76.99.139 (talk) 22:49, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Image should not be in article[edit]

for the following reasons:

It hasn't been determined if the document in the image actually is what the file name claims it to be, i.e., its provenance or accuracy has not been verified. The matter of making the determination is in process. Until it's verified it shouldn't be in the article. Supposedly Lucas is sending in new photos of his documents through OTRS [7], but they have not yet been received. Even then, the article deals only with American and British birth certificates so far. Additional text regarding other countries' birth certificates, citing reliable sources, would be needed to warrant inclusion of this image.

Luck you. --72.76.99.139 (talk) 22:48, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

I happen to agree that the Soviet image should not be in the article. But this has sparked controversy, so I will not remove it myself. Bearian (talk) 19:59, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Moved image[edit]

The image of the Soviet birth certificate has been moved into a small section regarding Russian birth certificates. This was done for the sake of ending this ridiculous edit war. I personally have no knowledge of Russian birth registration or certificates thereof, and encourage someone who knows something about it to add information to that section. Rhythmnation2004 (talk) 17:22, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

The fact that you know nothing about a subject is no reason to move one of the few free images of a birth certificate to a less prominent part of the article. I have moved it back. Black Kite 18:52, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
The image was moved to that section because it simply did not belong at the top. It does not clearly illustrate a birth certificate as it is written in a language that most readers of the English language Wikipedia will not understand. I moved it to a section on Russian birth certificates with the hopes that someone with knowledge in that area will expand on it. Since you seem to be knowledgeable in this area, I encourage you to contribute. Rhythmnation2004 (talk) 17:49, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Content of birth certificate[edit]

Black Kite seems to be under the impression that most birth certificates include some or all of the following information:

  • Birth name
  • Date and time of birth
  • Sex of the child
  • Place and/or location of birth
  • Names of the parents of the child
  • Occupations of parents of the child
  • Birth weight and length
  • Name of informant registering the birth
  • Date of registration of birth
  • A birth registration number or file number

While some certificates do, this is not by any means the "usual" or "typical" content of the birth certificate, particularly those issued in the present time. As the article explains, the "long form" birth certificate usually includes the above information, but "short forms", which are far more common these days, do not. This is a superfluous amount of information for the opening paragraph of the article. Other sections of the article go into further detail on the actual particulars included on the birth certificate, but these can vary from state-to-state and country-to-country. Also, like mentioned above, most birth certificates issued today are "short forms" and do not include all of this information. Rhythmnation2004 (talk) 17:48, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

  • Yes, which is exactly why it says "Some or all". You can't just excise information which does appear on many certificates. Again, I have restored the information. Just because American birth certificates are usually short-form these days does not mean you can remove other information. This is not the American Wikipedia. Black Kite 17:59, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree with BK, "some or all" indicates the information that could be there. R. Baley (talk) 18:12, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

"UK" certificates[edit]

As is usual on Wikipedia, the details given about "UK" birth certification actually apply only to England and Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate arrangements. NRPanikker (talk) 15:35, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Isn't the system used in Scotland and Northern Island almost identical to the system used in England and Wales? The certificates certainly look the same, and are maintained in "registers", which is indeed a British system. Rhythmnation2004 (talk) 00:26, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

"Full Certificates are required for most legal purposes" (With broken link as citation). What is the basis of this? I've used my abbreviated one my entire life for every legal purpose - even to get a driving licence which is probably the next best form of identity to a passport. I'm sure the only reason the average person needs a full version is for a passport application. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.41.186.187 (talk) 02:40, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

Identity document and other uses[edit]

I've removed this:

The birth certificate itself is not proof of a person's identity, but only a record stating that a birth occurred at the time, date, and place stated on the certificate. To prove one's identity, a person may need a photo ID, generally issued to an adult.
You should put it back, perhaps with the qualifier "In the United States". A Birth Certificate is a proof of the facts of birth, not an assertion that the person holding the birth certificate is who they say they are. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kwdavids (talkcontribs) 17:46, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

No doubt in countries with a formal (compulsory or optional) identity document, the birth certificate is not that document. However, in countries with no such document, I don't think the statement means anything: maybe "if someone asks you for ID and you show them a birth cert, they'll just laugh at you"? I think this is too sweeping a generalisation. In the Republic of Ireland, birth certificates are accepted as proof of identity for voting [8] but not as proof of age for buying alcohol [9]

More generally the article needs sections on:

uses 
In Ireland, you need it to apply for a first provisional driving licence, and usually to apply for a passport, enrol in school/college, apply for a state pension, ...?
adoption 
Anonymized copy of cert hiding identity of birth parents
transgender people 
seeking to change the sex on their birth cert
fraud 
using the birth cert of someone who died as a child to create a false identity. A staple of crime movies.
jnestorius(talk) 12:06, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Long form[edit]

The article description of "long form" isn't very good.

The difference between a "long form" and a "short form" is how much information is on it, not whether it is photocopied or not. Electronic Birth Registration Systems (EBRS) still have short forms and long forms. So the comment about long forms becoming obsolete when systems go electronic is nonsense.

Real birth registration forms are divided into two parts, the legal part and the medical part. Look at a the US Standard certificate at [10]. THAT is a long form (2 pages). Items starting with block 20 comprise the medical information. HIPAA privacy laws prevent release of this information. The image of the long form in the article would NEVER be seen by the public today and should probably be replaced with something more realistic. If it were a photocopy, the agency or their computer system would crop it before giving it to anyone. (I have one cropped with scissors.) If an electronic copy, it just wouldn't include the medical part (the image includes the number of terminated pregnancies (abortions).

A further problem is that the terms are used inconsistently. Some times "long form" is popularly used as it is described in the current article.

The whole long/short form section should be severely revised by somebody in the industry. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kwdavids (talkcontribs) 17:41, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

I am someone "in the industry", which is why I contributed so much to that section. I can't speak for every state, but I know that Florida uses the system exactly as described in the article (i.e. short forms come from a computer database; long forms are photocopies of the original), and that information is cited with government sources, therefore it is not "original research". The image of the long form in the article is almost exactly the same as mine, so to say that the long form would "NEVER be seen by the public today" is absurd. In addition, the medical portion on the bottom of the certificate is indeed available if requested. I recently obtained a certified copy of my birth certificate that included all medical information, just as stated in the example. HIPAA laws are hardly an issue when the certificate can only be issued to the persons named therein anyway. You certainly have the right to your own medical information as recorded on your birth certificate, therefore it is available to you upon request. The long form you referenced, the 2003 revision by the NCHS, is completely unlike any birth form used today. That form is not actually a suggested form for actual use, but a suggestion for information and data to be collected on the form. The forms that are actually used in real life are closer to the 1989 revision, which is the one used as the example in the article.
You are correct that some states use "long forms" and "short forms" that both come from a computer database containing limited information. Several states refuse to release certified copies of actual birth records. However, the majority of states use a system like that of Florida. If you wish to offer information on other state systems to contribute to the article, please feel free. But your flag of "original research" is not valid because the information stated in the article is clearly cited.
24.94.98.151 (talk) 02:23, 10 January 2009 (UTC)


There are no WP:RS in the article that I can find which even so much as mention the terms "long form" or "short form." If I'm missing it can someone point it out to me? As far as I can tell those terms arose out of the Obama birther conspiracy theory and thus should not even be used here. Mystylplx (talk) 20:01, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

why[edit]

how do you expect to get a id when you need a birth certificate and you need a id to get a birth certificate. it's hard for me they would'nt except my school records saying that they don't take copy transscripts that's not fair. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.254.68.126 (talk) 15:54, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

74.254.68.126 appears to be in the USA. Parents are normally allowed to obtain children's birth certificates. This is probably the most common scenario; when the child is old enough to drive, the parents obtain a birth certificate, the child brings it to the department of motor vehicles, and obtains a driver's license. Also, the rules for obtaining the birth certificate may be somewhat different depending on if you are going in person or getting it by mail. Finally, certifcates may be on file in more than one place: the state, the county, and/or the town. Those locations might have different access requirements. Knowing the state of birth might allow a more precise answer. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 21:17, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Obama?[edit]

Anybody else think the issue regarding Obama's short form/long form birth certificate could use some addressing here? I certainly don't want to plant an WIKIPEDIA::UNDUE seed, and have an article about birth certificates decay into vitriolic rants and edit wars about how BHO is or is not a citizen/president/human being. I just wonder if it would be reasonable and appropriate to have a well-cited sentence on whether the "virtually all circumstances" for which an SFBC is acceptable includes proving citizenship for a presidential candidate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.10.227.130 (talk) 15:53, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

I am not aware of any instance where the Congress or any court has ruled on whether an individual was or was not eligible to hold the office of president on the basis of citizenship, nationality, or place of birth. How could we write an article on something that has never been decided? --Jc3s5h (talk) 16:29, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Mentioning the Obama situation would be inappropriate for this article. Please keep politics out of an informational article on birth certificates. If you'd like to make a separate article for the "Obama birth certificate issue", please go ahead. 72.187.16.5 (talk) 00:50, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

US Birth Certificates Issued by Federal Government[edit]

In certain circumstances a birth certificate will be issued at the federal level via the US Department of State. The certificate is known as a Consular Report of Birth (FS-240). http://travel.state.gov/law/info/overseas/overseas_703.html —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.71.217.9 (talk) 02:23, 31 July 2009 (UTC)


Why are there so many periods in different orders? Someone needs to fix it, it looks very bad.

CRBA is NOT a federal birth certificate. It is a CRBA. Totally different. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.155.130.147 (talk) 19:16, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

birth certificates[edit]

im trying to get some info on what is legal i suspect someone in family has entered a childs stepfather on her birth cert as her father he was involved as they both signed it i know hes not her father is this illegal and they split up can he claim the child —Preceding unsigned comment added by 89.241.42.241 (talk) 22:00, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia does not offer legal advice. Please consult an appropriate legal professional. Jc3s5h (talk) 02:03, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

Jus Soli and the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution[edit]

It is incorrect to say that the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution provides jus soli citizenship. The 14th Amendment requires more than birth in the United States. It requires that the person be "subject to the jurisdiction thereof". There are many circumstances under which a person may be born in the United States but not be subject to the jurisdiction thereof. If not, the amendment would be the same without the words "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof". The words are there for a purpose.

The 1866 Congressional debates confirm that the two citizenship clauses -- the one in the 14th Amendment, and the one in the 1866 Civil Rights Act -- were intended to have the same meaning and effect. During those debates, the primary framers of the 14th Amendment citizenship clause, Sen. Jacob Howard and Sen. Lyman Trumbull, made it clear that "jurisdiction", as used in the 14th Amendment, means sole and complete U.S. jurisdiction, i.e., not subject to any foreign power:

Sen. Lyman Trumbull: The provision is, that "all persons born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens." That means "subject to the complete jurisdiction thereof." What do we mean by "complete jurisdiction thereof?" Not owing allegiance to anybody else. That is what it means.

Sen. Jacob Howard: [I] concur entirely with the honorable Senator from Illinois [Trumbull], in holding that the word "jurisdiction," as here employed, ought to be construed so as to imply a full and complete jurisdiction on the part of the United States, coextensive in all respects with the constitutional power of the United States, whether exercised by Congress, by the executive, or by the judicial department; that is to say, the same jurisdiction in extent and quality as applies to every citizen of the United States now. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 205.254.147.8 (talk) 18:46, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Interpretation of U.S. constitutional law by Wikipedia editors is of no value. Interpretation must come from reliable sources. Jc3s5h (talk) 19:40, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
And when reliable sources conflict in the matter, the controversy should be referred to in the article instead of stating one side that you share your opinion with. The statement should be removed and replaced with a reference to the current controversy. Obviously I do not share you opinion Jc3c5h but I'm not replacing it with mine, I'm simply removing it so the controversy can be referenced. Interpretation of U.S. Constitutional law by lawyers has no value either. From a historical perspective, the original intent of the authors of such clauses and amendments should be found to represent the original meaning. Not politicians. Dukemeiser (talk) 20:42, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Must full birth citizenship debate be either entirely suppressed or fully presented at peripheral articles?[edit]

Is it necessary to fully suppress or fully present the debate on U.S. birth citizenship whenever it is mentioned in an article that is only peripherally related?

As the initiator of this RfC, I submit it is legitimate to summarize the current U.S. law as presented in reliable sources, with a wikilink to an article that explores the issue more fully. In an article that is only peripherally related to the debate over U.S. birthright citizenship, is not appropriate to describe alternative interpretations of the constitution that are not currently followed by U.S. courts, nor is it appropriate to describe movements to amend the constitution to alter the basis of citizenship. Jc3s5h (talk) 21:51, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

How can the article maintain a neutral point of view if it only expresses one side of a ongoing controversy? Dukemeiser (talk) 00:34, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
In every area of governance someone would like the law to be different than it is. Must every mention of every law describe movements that want the law to be different than it is? Or are you saying that there is a group (which is not a fringe group or tiny minority) that claims present law, as presently interpreted by the courts, is different than what the article says? Jc3s5h (talk) 01:09, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
A debate on citizenship is NOT appropriate for this article. This article is an informative article discussing birth certificates. Birth certificates are just documents certifying a birth. The birth certificate itself does not grant U.S. citizenship, but rather, birth in the United States grants citizenship. Rhythmnation2004 (talk) 18:13, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
No, because nationality at birth is determined by the place of birth and/or parentage, not birth certificates. TFD (talk) 15:33, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
I concur. This article in not about citizenship. I would replace the text with a link to birthright citizenship in the US Dukemeiser (talk) 20:46, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

This discussion seems to have come to an end. Is it appropriate to close the discussion and remove {{Disputed-section}} from the Birth certificates in the United States section? Jc3s5h (talk) 00:13, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

A birth certificate is merely evidence of birth and confers no rights or obligations. While one's place of birth may confer rights or obligations, it is a separate topic. Incidentally RfCs should be phrased in neutral language. Consider replacing "fully suppress or fully present the debate" with "include the debate". TFD (talk) 09:18, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
What little consensus there is seems to agree the paragraph should be removed. Dukemeiser (talk) 20:46, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
I disagree with TFD. If the debate is included, it would overwhelm this article. Since that would be bad writing, the fact that place of birth is a factor in U.S. citizenship would have to be suppressed from this article. But I agree with TFDs point that a birth certificate does not necessarily entitle a person to any rights or obligations. A few years ago there was a case of a Ugandan woman giving birth on Northwest airlines plane. The plane was en route from Amsterdam to Boston, and over Halifax, Canada at the time of birth. The child was offered Canadian citizenship. Massachusetts law appears to indicate that the child would have a Boston birth certificate (but since such certificates are confidential, we can't be sure). So this appears to be a case of a person with a Boston birth certificate who is not eligible for U.S. citizenship.
I disagree with Dukemeiser that the paragraph should be removed, because the the federal government has considerable influence over birth certificate design in the U.S., and the paragraph explains one of the reasons this is so. Of course, gathering statistics on a national basis about the health of newborns is another reason, but the citizenship reason is certainly worthy of mention. Jc3s5h (talk) 02:52, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
The story about the woman who gave birth over Nova Scotia is irrelevant. Assuming that the law considered the girl to have been born in Canada, she would be Canadian from birth regardless of whether or not an application was made for a birth certificate. In fact 20 years ago the government of Quebec did not register births. TFD (talk) 04:16, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree with your interpretation of the story, and the story just backs up your interpretation. Does the fact that a U.S. birth certificate does not absolutely guarantee U.S. citizenship mandate any change to the article? Jc3s5h (talk) 19:15, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Response to RfC No. Do not mention the controversy in this article. This article is about birth certificates. Not specific issues at this point in time in a particular country. The Rhymesmith (talk) 18:53, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

No for reasons spelled out by The Rhymesmith. Ngchen (talk) 01:03, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

No - Agree with the two comments above. This article is about birth certificates. Not about citizenship debates. NickCT (talk) 17:02, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

The lead[edit]

The lead says that a birth certificate is a vital record and then that it is prima facie evidence. In fact record evidence is conclusive, not prima facie. An announcement in a newspaper is prima facie. I will remove this last sentence. TFD (talk) 10:08, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

I'm inclined to agree that a birth certificate is more than just prima facie evidence. So I would agree with a change to the lead. But to better understand what the lead ought to say, could you explain what you mean by "in fact record evidence is conclusive"? It would seem to me that a birth certificate could be false, and strong enough testimony by witnesses could prove that a particular birth certificate is false. And of course, a certified copy of a birth certificate could be a forgery. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:43, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
The term used is "conclusive proof", although even it may be impeached. If a birth certificate is false, or any record, such as a court judgment or a deed, is a fraud or was obtained by fraud, it is challenged in law by nul tiel record (no record exists).[11] In Mills v. Duryee (USSC 1813), for example, the Court explained the difference between "conclusive proof" and "prima facie evidence", in this case deciding that records of any state were conclusive proof in any other state, rather than merely prima facie evidence. If a person's birth had never been registered, they could provide to the Registrar prima facie evidence of birth, such as newspaper announcements and affidavits, and the Registrar would then issue a birth certificate. TFD (talk) 17:03, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
The most recent revision of the CDC's Model Vital Statistics Act (PDF), meant to be a template for vital-records laws in all US jurisdictions, says on page 12: "A certified copy of a vital record or any part thereof, issued in accordance with subsections (a), (b), and (c) shall be considered for all purposes the same as the original and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein, provided that the evidentiary value of a certificate or record filed more than one year after the event, or a record which has been amended, or a certificate of foreign birth, shall be determined by the judicial or administrative body or official before whom the certificate is offered as evidence." I think the issue with the lead is resolved, but I'm just documenting this here in case of future debates about the evidentiary status of birth certificates. Shane Landrum (cliotropic) 03:31, 19 January 2011 (UTC)




Long forms and short forms[edit]

This is an utterly unsourced distinction that arose entirely from the Obama birthers controversy. The real distinction is whether it's a certified photocopy of the hospital certificate or another document with the same information produced by the issuing agency. Before they had copy machines they'd type up a certificate by hand and certify it. When copy machines came out they started making photocopies and certifying those because it was easier. Now that it's the computer age they are doing computer printouts and certifying those. But "long form" and "short form" are terms that came right out of a conspiracy theory. Additionally, the section 'Types of certified copies issued' says a bunch of stuff that isn't in the cited sources. The entire section should really be removed unless someone wants to put some work into fixing it. Mystylplx (talk) 19:52, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

There have been long form and short form certificates of live birth forever. Has nothing to do with Obama. Besides, Obama never showed us a certificate of live birth. Only a certification of live birth. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.155.130.147 (talk) 19:20, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

The more common terms found in the sources are "Computer certification" and "photocopy certification." Mystylplx (talk) 20:05, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

There is a real, important, distinction. States provide birth data in a number of forms, and various forms have different amounts of information. A medical researcher might be able to get medical data but no data that would allow identification of the person. The subject of the certificate might be able to get a "maximum" certificate that would contain personally identifiable information, but not full medical data. The subject of the certificate might also be able to get a wallet-size certificate that contains minimal information, such as name, birth date, and place of birth. The wallet-size certificate will not be satisfactory for some uses. Jc3s5h (talk) 21:51, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
It's not a distinction found in any WP:RS that I can find. It certainly isn't in the sources listed in the section. And medical data usually isn't part of a birth certificate. A birth certificate is simply a document listing details of a persons birth. A certified birth certificate is one that is certified to be accurate by the issuing agency. Other than that they might come in all different shapes, sizes, etc. Not simply "short form" or "long form." Some of them might be several pages. Some, as you stated, can even be wallet size. Some are somewhere in between. It varies from state to state and sometimes it varies by county. In addition to not being supported by the sources the terms "short form" and "long form" are far too simplistic to reflect the reality of the variations available. Mystylplx (talk) 23:09, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Additionally, in the text of the article it is clear they are referring to photocopies vs. computer printouts. Mystylplx (talk) 23:13, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
I agree that section of the article is a mess. Each state makes it's own rules, and in all cases except Pureto Rico, certificates issued under prior rules are still valid, so there are probably thousand of variations. And now that hospitals generally record the information directly into a computer system, the idea of a long certificate necessarily consisting of a photocopy of an original paper certificate signed with a pen is just laughable. Jc3s5h (talk) 02:19, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Interestingtly, I found this from SC where they refer to a computer generated certificate as a "long form" and the wallet size as the "short form." I think if nothing else this shows there's no nationwide agreement on the meaning of these terms. Mystylplx (talk) 04:25, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

There is a 100% distinction between a copy of the original record as opposed to computer-generated "short forms". This distinction exists and the Obama controversy should not result in the complete removal of a very relavent and important section. Please keep politics out of this informational article for birth certificates. 72.187.16.5 (talk) 00:56, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
The previous version which you restored was absolutely false. For example, original birth registration in US hospitals is performed directly with a computer; the computer database is the original. It is impossible to produce a photostatic copy of a group of computer database record, because there is no paper document from which to make the copy. Jc3s5h (talk) 02:47, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
You know this for a fact? Because what you just stated is completely false. A paper copy is always stored. Even in states where birth registration is now electronic, there is still a distinction. I suggest you read: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Planning_eval/Vital_Statistics/Handbook_2009.pdf Rhythmnation2004 (talk) 12:51, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
I have strong evidence. First consider the Florida Vital Records Registration Handbook which you referred to. That's only one state and cannot by itself support a statement about the whole country. Even that handbook states:

Electronic Birth Registration (EBRS) is the mechanism by which births are registered via the Internet. It is designed to allow a hospital birth registrar to electronically enter and register a child’s birth record, and capture and store any required signatures. This registration process eliminates the need for hospitals to forward original hard copy birth records to county health departments. EBRS streamlines the birth registration process, making it virtually paperless, improving customer service, and eliminating courier service for hospitals.

You might think this passage contradicts the foregoing:

Before a record can be considered to be a legal one, each birth record must bear the signature in permanent black ink of the certifier and the initials of the local registrar or his/her designee. In addition, it is provided by state law that at least one of the parents must attest to the accuracy of the data which is done by signing the record after it has been completed.

But since this is a handbook rather than a law, I would not rely upon it to be totally free of contradictions; readers would just resolve contradictions using common sense.
My state, Vermont, also uses an electronic birth registration system; hospitals transmit to the state health department an electronic document with electronic signatures. The record includes a great deal of medical information, similar or identical to that gathered on this CDC recommended worksheet. The state health department then prints out a certificate, with no wet ink signatures, and no medical information, and mails it to the town or city clerk, who files it. I was at the Rutland City Clerk's office and I was shown a recent paper birth certificate; it only listed baby's name, time and place of birth, and parents' names. There was no wet signature. For recent births, the medical information cannot be obtained through the state, town, or city in the form of a birth certificate; it would have to be obtained as medical records directly from the hospital or doctor concerned. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:28, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Citation format[edit]

The first edit to include a citation in this article does not follow any satisfactory format. So what format should the article follow? Jc3s5h (talk) 00:13, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Since no one has expressed any preference, I have edited the article to follow the citation format of the Chicago Manual of Style. Jc3s5h (talk) 02:41, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
Thank you. Noticed and appreciated. Mystylplx (talk) 04:01, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Nonsense[edit]

"The documentation of births is a practice widely held throughout human civilization, especially in China, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Persia. The original purpose of vital statistics was for tax purposes and for the determination of available military manpower. Births were initially registered with churches, who maintained registers of births."

The word initially implies that when the practice of birth documentation started, births were registered with churches. Obviously, that's not possible if the practice really does go back to Ancient Egypt, some centuries before Christ. 2.25.140.81 (talk) 16:12, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Birth certificate and conspiracy theories[edit]

I think that something should be included in respect of the Birth Certificate conspiracy theories (especially the Redemption Movement) that are going around the internet at the moment. I think Wikipedia contributors could do a good job at debunking that. --Marianian(talk) 10:23, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

This article aims to cover birth certificates throughout the world. So how big is this Redemption Movement, and how many people view birth certificates in this strange way, compared to the number of people who view birth certificates in a more conventional way? The content guideline "Fringe theories" states "A theory that is not broadly supported by scholarship in its field must not be given undue weight in an article about a mainstream idea". My first inclination is to say this topic is too minor to receive attention outside its own article. Jc3s5h (talk) 12:47, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Birth certificates in cases of adoptions-Revamp[edit]

This section uses poor English, state things that are not facts, and even contradicts itself. Furthermore, it has no source cited. How is this possible? When I had an account, hours upon hours of my work was automatically deleted for having no webpage link for a source(thought there is no link to my degree anywhere online so...). A revamp should be in order. Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.183.84.89 (talk) 14:38, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Birth Certificate as Bank Note[edit]

After doing my own due diligence by calling the Vital Records of three States of the United States, the Bank Note Specialist in each of these respective offices told me that Birth Certificates are Bank Notes. They told me that each birth certificate has a red or black number and/or a bar code in the lower corner on the front or back that makes every Birth Certificate a bank note and that by removing this number it would no longer be a bank note.

One man told me that a part of the Birth Certificate specification is that it is printed on bank note paper and has this Bank Note ID in the corner.

Please add the type of paper and the Bank Note ID as part of the specification for a Birth Certificate. To verify this, call up any Vital office and ask to speak to the Bank Note Specialist. This is "common" knowledge within these offices.

It appears that the true purpose of a Birth Certificate is that governments use our physical bodies as financial securities. This places our being-ness into commerce which would also explain why legal systems world-wide apply Commercial Code upon humans even when no commerce is taking place.

68.79.88.155 (talk) 15:49, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

Even the bravest of reliable sources do not appear to prove that governments use our physical bodies as financial securities. It is only valid that banknotes and birth certificates may come from the same printing firm, but the only relationship in this case, as with most identity documents, is to reduce forgery and identity theft: the latter is a serious problem at the moment. --Marianian(talk) 16:18, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, but a birth certificate is not a "bank note," and birth certificates are not printed on "bank note paper." No, governments do not use people's bodies as financial securities. That's gibberish that's been passed around the internet for years. Famspear (talk) 17:31, 29 December 2013 (UTC)


If it is not a bank note then why did the Office of Vital Records for THREE US States say specifically that, and I quote one of them, "Without that Red Number it wouldn't be a Bank Note."? Have you called to verify with these offices that it is not a bank note?

68.79.88.155 (talk) 19:19, 29 December 2013 (UTC)


Here is how you verify that a Birth Certificate IS a bank Note... Call the Office of Vital Records for the STATE OF CALIFORNIA at (916) 445-2684. Ask to speak to the Bank Note Specialist. Ask her "Why can't i get a birth certificate without the Bar Code in the corner." Due diligence is required. It does not take "bravery." It just takes research. The response to this question was this, and i have a recording of her saying this too, "Without a bar code it wouldn't be a Bank Note." Refute that with sources please. I have provided my source. Please provide yours. Wikipedia is not the place for "rationalizations."

68.79.88.155 (talk) 19:24, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

68.79.88.155 (talk) 19:24, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia is partly the place for rationalizations: we have a NPOV policy. --Marianian(talk) 19:39, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

Dear IP 68.79.88.155: No, that is not how you verify that a birth certificate is a bank note. You don't call the Office of Vital records, etc., etc., for the State of California and getting the response you claim that someone will receive does not prove your point. That's not how these things work.

A birth certificate is not a bank note. A bank note is, generally, a document evidencing a debt owed by a bank. A birth certificate is a document evidencing a birth.

I don't need to provide a "source." This is not an article. This is the talk page for an article. You are spouting nonsensical, erroneous gibberish. Famspear (talk) 20:25, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

Oh, and for future reference: Calling the vital records departments of various state governments and speaking to someone supposedly acting as the "Bank Note Specialist" does not constitute proper legal research on the nature of bank notes or birth certificates or anything else. And, more to the point, such phone calls -- and the results obtained from such phone calls -- would not qualify to provide us with proper sourcing under the rules of Wikipedia. One of the basic rules of Wikipedia is: No Original Research. That rule applies with even greater force when, as here, the "research" does not even come close to qualifying as correct research. Famspear (talk) 20:54, 30 December 2013 (UTC)