Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesGenealogy · 2 months ago

Was having more than one birth certificate really possible back then? ?

Apparently my great grandma had three birth certificates according to information from my living grand mother. Apparently she had two British birth certificates and one from America, each with different names for the parents but the same birth date. 

I remember my grandma showing me them, but now I'm curious. Was this really possible back then? Why would someone even bother doing that? 

7 Answers

  • Anonymous
    3 weeks ago

    Yes, possible. One of my great-grandmothers had two birth certificates: an accurate one in Town A, and then her family applied for another one in Town B with false info, to cover up an embarrassment.

    I imagine there were other reasons to have multiple birth certificates too. Good luck with your quest.

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    I think @Maxi is being obtuse and that your other answers are much better. There are people, like Maxi, who have never experienced any irregularities in their lives. I know what it is to have paper work get done wrong and be difficult to correct during your lifetime and so, if paperwork was done wrong long ago during a deceased person's lifetime, you could get stuck with a confused record. I think that, in this case, there's even more to it. It sounds like criminal activity was involved, possibly only insofar as entering a country illegally, but who knows. There were smugglers and illegal immigrants a hundred years ago also. Sometimes people would have died if they couldn't get into a fresh country. The Jews who tried to get out of Nazi Germany, if no port would let them enter and they returned to Germany, were usually killed. Trainloads of Jews fleeing the Nazis made it to Russia when Stalin was still "dancing" diplomatically with Hitler so he sealed them back up in trains and returned them to Hitler who killed every last one of that particular set. The United States today, having signed International Law about accepting refugees, has refused entry to real Guatamalans fleeing death squads and cages children at the Border. So maybe your grandmother had to escape British controlled Ireland because she was fighting for Irish freedom or something and her life was in danger. Maybe one or possibly none of the birth certificates is genuine but, even if some government tells you it's real, they would not know themselves if it was successfully sneaked into their files that long ago by a clerk who could have been bribed, threatened, or was part of some secret revolutionary group like the Irish Republican Army or the French Resistance or something.

  • 2 months ago

    Sometimes, someone loses one and asks for another copy.

    Also, when a child was adopted, the government would issue a birth certificate falsely indicating that the child was born to the adoptive parents.  However, it would be very unusual to have that one and the original (with the names of the biological parents).

  • 2 months ago

    Complex possibilities.  My earliest ancestor to be born in what became the USA was in 1639.  No birth certificates then.  The last of my ancestors to immigrant to the USA were a pair of great grandparents from County Meath, Ireland in 1867.  No birth certificates in Ireland then.  In fact, none of my grandparents (born California and Indiana) or parents ever had a birth certificate because neither California nor Indiana issued birth certificates when they were born.  Birth certificates were invented by Prussia under Bismarck as a means of tracking and controlling their people, and gradually adapted by American states.  As the only member of my family to have one, I ceremonially and publicly burned the shameful thing decades ago.  Maybe your great granny was involved in some interesting shady deals.

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  • 2 months ago

    Anything is possible, even now.  My son's birth records are so messed up because of a typist who either couldn't read or couldn't type.  My name is incorrect - it is the Masculine spelling,  She apparently didn't like his fathers middle or sunames as they are both misspelled, as is the name of the hospital.  The name of the County where he was born is incorrect and actual birth date is two days off.  The forms that were submitted to the state for the official records were all printed so there would be  no mistakes.  My research has revealed two different census records for the same family in England with two different spellings of the surname. If there is a birth  certificate in the US it could be a delayed record, which was common after 1936, when people had to prove their age to qualify for Social Security.  So that could explain a birth record in both the US and Great Britain.  You would need to obtain a copy of all three records to determine why and even if three records exist.

    Source(s): Genealogical Researcher 50+ years
  • Maxi
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    No, not 'then' or now............ a birth certificate is the offical registration of the event and where it took place, the birth of the child in whichever country, alone with the parents names and their nationality , it is the Governments record of births in their country........ Registration of a citizens birth in another country doesn't produce another birth certificate, it produces a registration on a database of a foreign birth, NOT a birth cert... whatever you claim you saw were not legal offical 'birth certs'....

  • geezer
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    It's still possible NOW to have more than one birth certificate.

    If someone is born in a country which is not the parents ''home country'' (for whatever reason) then the birth can be registered in the country that the child was born in AND the country that the parents are citizens of.

    Also a child can be given a birth certificate (at birth) that says ''father unknown'' .. and then the father comes foward and wants to be named on the birth certificate as the father , so another one is issued ''later''

    .. in fact, if the parents are unmarried thay can both register the birth on their own.

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