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Delayed Birth Certificates

For those who were born before birth certificates were issued, a delayed birth certificate might provide the information you need.

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Type: Article
Resource: GenWeekly
Prepared by: Gena Philibert-Ortega
Word Count: 611 (approx.)
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Have you searched for a birth certificate of a family member only to realize that the state they were born in didn't require statewide registration until after their birth? What did these family members do for verification of birth? As the 20th century marched on, it became necessary to have a birth certificate, even for those people without one. The advent of Social Security and the Railroad Retirement Board are just two instances when age had to be proven with some sort of documentation. U. S. Federal Census records were used in some cases to prove birth, but increasingly, those without birth certificates applied for delayed birth certificates.

My second great-grandmother, Cassie Johnson, applied for a Kansas State Board of Health Delayed Certificate of Birth for her daughter, my great-grandmother in 1944. The instruction on this application reads:

"This application form may be completed by the applicant himself, or by a person on his behalf. All information requested on the first page must be given, or if unknown, that fact shall be so stated. In addition to the information requested on the first page, at least two affidavits on the second page must be completed, and at least two items of documentary evidence must be submitted to the state or local registrar or their agents. In the event that the affidavits on the second page cannot be furnished, the applicant must submit, in lieu of each affidavit, one additional item of documentary evidence."

For this application's first page, Cassie gave information about her daughter's date and place of birth, the parent's names, addresses, birthplaces and occupation, and the name of the attending physician.

The second page of the application is where the proof of birth were noted. According to the instructions on this page:

"This information is to be filled in ONLY by the Local or State Register, or their agent or employees and is NOT to be filled in by the Applicant; certified or photographed copies of original documents are to be forwarded with this application to the State Register at Topeka, after they have been viewed by the Local Register or agent. Original documents are to be retained by the Applicant. Examples of documentary evidence: Census records, family Bible, insurance policy, Army or Navy papers, health examination record, school record, baptismal record, newspaper articles, court records, other written or printed papers more than five years old."

On this page my great-grandmother's graduation record and her baptismal record were used to prove her birth date. In addition, on a third page of the application, Cassie (the mother) and the physician who delivered her daughter signed an affidavit confirming her daughter's birth date.

The Delayed Birth Certificate may provide not only some confirmation about your ancestor's birth and parent's names but may also lead you to other documents that continue to provide clues to their lives. In the case of my great-grandmother, I am left with the name and page of a document listing her graduation and the name of the church where her baptism was performed.

Delayed Birth Certificates may be found through the state or county that issued them; however, there may be privacy restrictions in obtaining a birth certificate. Also check state archives for any vital records they may have. The Family History Library, FamilySearch International, also has microfilmed some delayed birth certificates. From the Library Catalog search page, conduct a search for the state you are interested in and then click on "Vital Records." Delayed Birth Certificates might be found in other places on the Internet. For example, Delayed Birth Certificate (abstracts) for Indiana County, Pennsylvania. For current information about Delayed Birth Certificates and what is needed to file them now, Google the phrase "Delayed Birth Certificate" and the name of the state.

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2008.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.

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