* Birth Certificates in the 1880s

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martynguy
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Birth Certificates in the 1880s

Post by martynguy » 17 Jul 2021 14:58

Was it common for a family in the 1880s to obtain and keep their own family birth certificates? Not like they could email the GRO! If so how was it copied, by whom and where? Every reference to certificate copies I can find refers to modern days.
Martyn
Martyn Guy - researching Guy and Hayward families.

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LornaCraig
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Re: Birth Certificates in the 1880s

Post by LornaCraig » 17 Jul 2021 16:35

I don’t think it was common, for the simple reason that back then most people never needed to produce a certificate to prove their age.

There was a ‘short form’ of certificate (in England and Wales, at least) which was really just a slip of paper confirming that the birth had been registered, but it only gave the name, date of birth and date of registration. No information about parents or place of birth. I have an example from 1900 which is headed “Births and Deaths Registration Act 1874”. I think if people wanted a full certificate they would have had to pay extra for it, which would have been a disincentive.

However as time went on various bits of legislation meant that people began to need to prove their age. I have two examples of people who were born in the 1870s but many years later they needed to prove their age for state pension purposes. They each obtained a “Certified Copy of an Entry of Birth” in the early 1940s. The certs say they were “Supplied at the Special Fee of 1/- Applicable in Certain Statutory Cases” and the purpose was recorded as “Contributory Pensions Acts”. They were issued by the Registrar of the District where the births were first registered.

I also have a birth certificate issued in 1908 for someone who had been born in 1895. In this case the purpose was the Factory and Workshops Act, 1901. Again, it was issued by the Registrar of the District in which the birth was originally registered.
Lorna

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Mark1834
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Re: Birth Certificates in the 1880s

Post by Mark1834 » 17 Jul 2021 17:08

I have a similar case to Lorna's. My g-grandfather was born out of wedlock in 1869, never learned to read and write properly, and ran away from home at an early age. When he applied for his birth certificate for pension purposes, it turned out he was a year older than he thought he was!
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martynguy
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Re: Birth Certificates in the 1880s

Post by martynguy » 17 Jul 2021 17:41

Very useful replies - many thanks. My reason for asking is because an ancestor who had emigrated to New Zealand with his family had 'at sea near Buenos Aires' as his birth place on his marriage certificate. I have his birth certificate which says he was born in England. Yes the family had been to South America and back (before New Zealand) so this might have been the story he was told by his father (who later deserted the children anyway so the son was not able to ask him at his wedding!) The likelihood is that he was conceived in the ship back from Argentina but there's no certificate for that!
Martyn Guy - researching Guy and Hayward families.

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