Use this website to learn about birth certificates in the United Kingdom. This website may help you with a new birth certificate, replacement birth certificate, copy of a birth certificate and advise you on a lost birth certificate. To start we would like to provide you with some background on the history of birth certificates and the true significace of this document.

What is a birth certificate?

A birth certificate is a vital way of recording the birth of a new baby. It also helps countries and local councils keep a close check on the population growth. There are two forms to which the term birth certificate can refer to. The first is known as the original document, the second is a certified copy which represents the original record of birth.

The birth certificate gives the individual an official identity from the moment it is born. Since 1827 the registering of births and also deaths and marriages has been common practice in the United Kingdom. Initially there were no fines for not registering the arrival of a new baby boy or girl, that however, changed before long because keeping an eye on the changes in population numbers, gave a better indication of the spending required in the coming years ahead, in terms of education, transport, and any the availability of manpower, should the need arise. Possibly due to Britain’s acquisition of countries it called its commonwealth, the racial mix of the British population was very varied. Every birth certificate from the United Kingdom, will include details about the birth, such as the name and gender of the child, the name(s) of the parents, even sometimes the race of the baby is required. Crucially details like date of birth and location of birth add up to make up the identity of the person.

When is a birth certificate issued?

A birth certificate as explained above, confirms and registers the birth of a new human being. While in some countries the registering of a birth is still uncommon due to various factors such as war, lack of facilities to do so, or simply if the parent(s) lived too isolated to get access to confirm the birth of a new baby. Initially births were registered with churches, who kept the register of births, a practice which continued into the 19th century. Nowadays, the certificate (if possible) is usually filled out by the hospital administrator, physician’s midwife or the parents of the child. It is a compulsory registration, which originated in the United Kingdom. A birth certificate is issued for a number of reasons. If you have decided the weather in the UK, is not reliable enough when getting married, and you want to go abroad as part of a package holiday, your tour operator will require your birth cert and it also need to be legalized. At some stage in everybody’s life we are likely to find ourselves needing to prove our age, our nationality or open a bank account. We’ll all need healthcare and maybe we’ll take an exam in education or for a job that is when a birth certificate will be required and therefore issued.

How is a birth certificate issued?

Following the birth of a new baby boy or girl, the next procedure is for a member of staff such as the mother’s physician, the midwife or the hospital administrator, to write down and store all the details, such as place and date of birth, the gender, the race, name of the parents. It is up to the parents of the newborn child or children to ensure all the details are properly registered with the correct government agency. These details are then stored and available upon request at any time should the need arise. Initially it was the churches that kept the details of recorded births, this was continued into the 19th century. These days, a recorded birth is kept by government agency. They can issue two different certificates. Either a certified copy or a representation of the original record of birth, which can be used to apply for government benefits such as passports. To ensure its originality, the cert is signed and usually sealed by a registrar or another custodian of birth records, who are commissioned by the UK government.

Who issues them?

The birth certificate has undergone many changes since its introduction. When the registering of births, deaths and marriages began in the United Kingdom, in 1827, the structures in place for keeping records up to date, were less important. Records were far from accurate and any planning in terms of military manpower, would have mostly been guess work. Fines for not registering a baby, did not exist. All this changed however, as registering of births for various reasons; including population check and budget planning became more important. If towns and cities had no idea of population numbers or what money was available to spend, how could they plan the future of their local council? As the United Kingdom moved into the 19th century, the church was relinquished from its duty of maintaining the register of births. Possible reasons for this change, could be the increasingly reduced role the church played in people’s lives at the time. Registration of births with government agencies, eventually became mandatory in 1852, a practice that was established in the United Kingdom. Whatever your plans in life are, chances are you will need to produce a birth certificate at some stage. In the 21st century, your record of birth can be obtained from a government agency. They can issue a certified copy or representations of the original copy if requested which you and me would use for benefits such as passports.

Who is responsible for keeping track of birth documentation?

Keeping track of birth documentation, is an accurate way of having an in depth knowledge of population statistics. Some countries, unlike the United Kingdom, still require the male citizens to do military service. By having an accurate database of how many males live in a certain area, the number of recruits required can be easily found. Depending on the birth rate for a particular period, local councils can also plan ahead and prepare the necessary facilities required to accommodate the new generation in terms of schools, job opportunities and transport facilities, needed for the possible population increase. As the church does not have political influence, it does not make sense to have them in a position where the recording of birth rates, has an impact on the running and planning of a country or local council. Having a government agency to keep track of birth documentation, facilitates the planning and running of a country. An application for a birth certificate usually is for government benefits such as a passport application and it therefore makes even more sense to have a government agency keeping track of birth documentation. Certification is also signed and usually sealed by a custodian of birth records or registrar who is, crucially, commissioned by the government.