Q:

What does a birth certificate look like?

A:

Birth certificates may vary slightly in appearance from state to state, but there is certain information that must be included on all birth certificates for them to be accepted as official documents by the U.S. government. The birth certificate must have a person's date of birth, place of birth, full birth name, the date the certificate was filed, the registrar's signature and the official seal of the issuing agency.

Birth certificates may also contain the name of the doctor who delivered the individual, the parents' names and the mother's maiden name. The person's gender and vital statistics, such as birth weight and height, are also commonly included . It can sometimes include either the person's hand or footprint as well as the mother's fingerprint.

When a birth certificate is filed, a number is usually assigned to it. The number may be an arbitrary number or an actual reflection of the numerical order in which that birth occurred in that jurisdiction. When an individual applies for a birth record, an official copy is issued.

As of 2014, birth records are a matter of public record, and anyone with the name and birth date of an individual may apply for and obtain a copy of that person's birth certificate. A fee is typically charged for this service.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is my birth certificate number?

    A:

    Birth certificate numbers are given to children at birth as a means of identification. Birth certificate numbers are located and labeled on every birth certificate. These numbers are never changed, which is why some children can use the numbers when they search for their birth parents.

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  • Q:

    How do I get a replacement birth certificate?

    A:

    To get a replacement birth certificate, call the county of your birth to verify the state-specific requirements, secure the correct method of payment and go to the county office or write a formal request for the replacement document. This process takes approximately one hour and requires access to a directory, phone and transportation to your local bank and town hall.

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  • Q:

    How do you get a copy of a marriage certificate?

    A:

    Obtain a copy of a marriage certificate by contacting the vital records office of the state in which the license was issued. Copies of marriage certificates issued during specific years may only be available by contacting the county probate court where the license was issued. For example, marriage certificates issued in Georgia before 1952 and after 1996 are only available at county probate courts.

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  • Q:

    How long does it take to get a death certificate?

    A:

    The amount of time it takes to acquire a death certificate varies from state to state; in some cases, it can take as long as two months. Each state has its own guidelines and regulations for releasing death certificates, and a local courthouse is the best source for more information. Usually the funeral home handling the deceased person's funeral and burial will request a death certificate on behalf of the family.

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