Birth Certificate Versus Certification of Birth

When requesting vital documents, be clear about what is being offered, what you actually want, and what you end up requesting.

The county clerk and recorder in the Illinois county where I was born have a copy of my birth certificate. It was created by some photographic process from the original certificate on file in the state vital records office in Springfield, Illinois. If I request a certification of birth from the county clerk, I will get a document certifying that they have a copy of my birth certificate. That document will state what the original says–including my name, date of birth, place of birth, and names of my parents.  That certification of birth will not include a “reproduction” of the actual certificate.

Genealogists usually want an actual copy of the actual record–usually done by some sort of photographic reproduction. This cuts down on transcription errors by a records clerk reading an old record (not that MY birth certificate is all that old <grin>).

In my case the original has my mother’s signature on it–a neat addition that’s not on the “certification of birth.”