A birth certificate, also referred to in the medical and records-keeping industries as a certificate of live birth, is an important document that registers the official birth of a child. This document also establishes citizenship, sometimes based on the parents’ national origin, and sometimes based on the country in which the child is born (and sometimes, a combination of both).
A birth certificate establishes where and what time of day a child was born; their parents’ names, presumably biological; any medical and health information including living siblings and whether or not the child is a twin, triplet, or had any stillborn siblings; infections acquired or treated during pregnancy and birth; birth weight and other medical information at the time of birth; and any congenital abnormalities at birth.
History of Birth Certificates
Although all cultures have, at some time, issued birth certificates, there is some contention about to whom the certificates were issued. In many cases, birth certificates were an accounting of potential military man power, and therefore did not get issued to women or lower class people.
In the Western world, most people registered the birth – or, in more cases, the Christening – of their infants at churches until the United Kingdom began to require government registration of childrens’ births through hospitals, doctors, and midwives in 1853. Now, it is common practice for governments to keep records of live births.
The United Nations, in fact, passed an official document called the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in which two articles state that children have a right to a national origin and a name, which is provided by a birth certificate.
What Do Birth Certificates Do?
Birth certificates are used to prove the individual’s legal identity, parentage, age, sex, and nationality. These are important for issuing social security numbers, registering children for school, applying for social or health services, getting a driver’s license and passport, settling estate questions, collecting a pension, and any other legal documentation that requires proof of age, name, and nationality.
Birth certificate records are also often requested for genealogy records. Individuals trying to trace their family tree, or find potential genetic issues in their family history, can request birth certificates for ancestors, although older, hand-written documentation is not often very reliable.
If you are the individual named on the birth certificate, the parent of the individual, the child or grandchild of the individual, or a legal representative of the individual, you may request a copy of the birth certificate through a local health and social services office, for a small fee.
Why Should I Use a Blank Birth Certificate?
These blank birth certificate templates are not official government records, but instead are much like printable awards. They can be used to commemorate your child’s birth in a scrapbook or online message, or can be given to new parents to celebrate the birth of their child. Download our free, printable blank birth certificate templates to welcome a new little life into the world!