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Unique identifiers

In our continuing effort to repair the damage to public education done by birthers, I want to talk about “unique identifiers” and birth certificates as identity documents.

In a recent article Margaret Hemenway (spokesperson for Terry Lakin and daughter of the sanctioned attorney in the Hollister v Soetoro case) on the Accuracy [sic] in Media article entitled: How the Media Lied about Obama’s Birth Records wrote:

Most people consider a birth certificate as a state or hospital document containing a statement by a hospital and physician, or midwife, with a footprint or other unique identifiers.

Part of that is true. Birth certificates, which certify facts of birth, are based on information collected from various sources including someone who witnessed the birth, most often a doctor. However, most information on the birth certificate usually comes form the mother, specifically the child’s name, the parents’ names and address and social-security numbers if present. The attendant adds the date, time and place of birth and the fact that the child was born alive. Most modern certificates omit the hospital name and that of the doctor when they are printed for the public. None have a statement “by a hospital” as hospitals to not talk.

Birth certificates do not “identify”

I work extensively in the field, and I have never seen a state-issued birth certificate with a footprint on it, and I have seen tens of millions of birth certificates in bound volumes or computer records. (Sometime hospital-issued souvenirs have footprints.) It is important to keep in mind that a birth certificate is not an identity document, and even if it were, infant footprints are not useful for identification after the child grows up. While a birth certificate is proof of the facts of birth, it is not proof that a person holding a birth certificate is the person whose name is on it.

The  only unique identifier on a birth certificate (typically) is the birth certificate number, which is present on all modern certificates. President Obama’s birth certificate number is 151-61-10641. The format is “1” + state code + year + sequential number. (Due to clerical errors in various states not all birth certificate numbers are actually unique, but they are supposed to be.)

The social-security numbers (unique identifiers) of the parents are collected as part of the birth registration process but this along with hundreds of other items of information is not printed on a birth certificate form (either long or short).

All publicly available birth certificates are “short forms.”

Modern birth certificates contain something on the order of 500 pieces of information, from the number of drinks of alcohol the m0ther had per week during pregnancy to the child’s Apgar score after 5 minutes. The certificate has whether forceps were used in the delivery and whether the child had Down’s syndrome. That’s the kind of information on a full certificate, a document you will never see unless you work for the state health department. You see, all publicly available birth certificates are “short forms.” The only real distinction is which items of data the particular state puts on the form. Some states print multiple versions of the forms with more information on some than others. Even my birth certificate, which is a photocopy of the hospital registration with the doctor’s signature, is photographically cropped to hide the bottom half of the form where the medical/statistical information appears.

The important thing to remember about this article is that a  birth certificate is not an identity document and it does not identify anyone, uniquely or otherwise.

Update:

This citation is from Minimum Standards for Driver’s Licenses and Identification Cards Acceptable by Federal Agencies for Official Purposes; Proposed Rule 6 CFR Part 37.

DHS recognizes that a birth certificate is not an identity document in the true sense of the term. Instead, a birth certificate is a record that a birth took place at a particular time and place, and nothing (such as a photograph or other biometric) ties a particular person to a particular birth.

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, Section 7211, mandated that minimum standards be set for birth certificates acceptable for federal purposes. The Department of Health and Human Services (of which the National Center for Health Statistics is a part) was tasked with issuing the standard. The statute defined a “birth certificate” as follows:

(a) DEFINITION- In this section, the term `birth certificate’ means a certificate of birth–

(1) for an individual (regardless of where born)–
(A) who is a citizen or national of the United States at birth; and
(B) whose birth is registered in the United States; and
(2) that–
(A) is issued by a Federal, State, or local government agency or authorized custodian of record and produced from birth records maintained by such agency or custodian of record; or
(B) is an authenticated copy, issued by a Federal, State, or local government agency or authorized custodian of record, of an original certificate of birth issued by such agency or custodian of record.

IRTPA specifically mandates three categories of minimum standards for vital registration, including standards on (1) the certification of birth certificates and the use of safety paper, (2) proof and verification of identity as a condition of issuance of a birth certificate, and (3) processing of birth certificate applications to prevent fraud.

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30 Responses to Unique identifiers

  1. avatar
    Ragout April 20, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    You make an important point: Obama has yet to release his Apgar scores.

  2. avatar
    Kathryn N April 20, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    And how many cocktails did his mother drink while he was in utero? AMURICA DAMANDS THE TROOTH! WHAT R YOO HIDING!

  3. avatar
    Jack April 20, 2010 at 10:10 am #

    That’s a great explanation, Doc, thanks. There are now federally-adopted “Minimim Standards for Birth Certificates” which expressly provide a uniform definition of a “birth certificate” as a certificate of birth registered in the United States and “issued by a Federal, State, or local government agency or authorized custodian of record and produced from birth records maintained by such agency or custodian ….” 5 U.S.C. sec. 301, note (P.L. 108-458, Ttile VII, Sec. 7211(a)(118 Stat. 3825). So, a “Certification of Live Birth” produced from records “maintained” by the State is most certainly a “Birth Certificate,” and such document need NOT have a doctor’s signature or a baby’s footprint, for gosh sakes.

  4. avatar
    Scott Brown April 20, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    I’m not disagreeing, but in light of your article, several thoughts come to mind. Yes, yes, I know – I’m the resident idiot of this blog, so obviously I have no cognitive skills.

    If the BC is not an identifier, why does the process of obtaining a Passport require it? Shouldn’t a Passport require more than just 2 forms of identification, although 1 of those acceptable forms is a BC (which according to your article is not a form of identification?)

    Again – these are not real questions, just basically hypothetical, because I think we have seen from recent polls (I don’t know, maybe you Obots don’t give polls any credence) most of the population does not trust the government. If that is true (and I’m not saying the poll is proof positive – only that it is out there) – and the government (local) issues BC’s, it would stand to reason that we don’t trust them.

    Ever since the Census started, my main question is this: If we have local governments that issue birth and death certificates and we have borders that count those crossing into our country legally – why exactly do we need to spend millions of dollars to count people that we should have the technology to already count? Is the Census basically saying the Feds don’t trust the cities/states? I mean, if the people don’t trust them, why should the Feds?

    OR – by not using the birth/death certificates as a way of counting, and since you feel they are not really identification markers, why do so many ‘legal’ issues hinge on whether you can present one or not? Why would it be considered by the State Department as a form of acceptable identification if the Feds can’t/won’t use them to count people?

    From my idiocy state of mind, I feel we certainly should have a level of technology in our country that is capable of compiling numbers from local/state sources in order to estimate the number of people in this country. At least as good an estimate as the Census will yield.

    Yes, a COLB is a BC and in some cases a COLB will suffice – in other cases, it will not and will require the long-form of the BC. So the COLB is a short-form BC, just as the Long-form is a BC as well.

    If long-forms were no different at all from short-forms, why do the two different forms exist? Why not just move everyone to short-forms and be done with it? The information contained on a long-form is STILL collected at the hospital and a long-form CAN still be issued when needed – and the need is still out there in some cases. And no, my long-form doesn’t contain a footprint, but it certainly has the doctor’s signature that delivered me, along with the name of the hospital that I was delivered in.

    This additional information may not identify me, but it goes a lot farther than the short-form in giving people the information needed to cross-check with other sources as to the accuracy of my purported birth.

  5. avatar
    Rickey April 20, 2010 at 10:43 am #

    I have two copies of my birth certificate. One was issued one week after I was born. The other is one which I obtained in 1988. Both were issued by the New York State Department of Health. Both are called “Certificate of Birth Registration.”

    The first one contains the following information, which is typed:

    My name
    Date of birth
    City of birth
    Names of parents (it says “son of…”)
    Date filed
    Signature of local registrar

    It does not have a certificate number and it does not have a seal, raised or otherwise. It says “This certificate is evidence of age, parentage and place of birth and should be carefully preserved.” It also contains space at the bottom to record the dates of vaccinations and inoculations.

    The 1988 version contains the same information (except for the space for vaccinations). It is typed and includes a “Date Issued” (June 2, 1988) in addition to the original “Date Filed.” There is no “date accepted” on either copy. It also includes a Local Registration Number, 173, which does not appear on the older certificate. I was born in April, so I assume that I was the 173rd child born in that city that year. The 1988 version is signed by the Deputy Registrar of Vital Statistics and has a raised seal.

    On the back is says, “This record is proof that your child’s birth was registered. Please keep it in a safe place, since it may be used as proof of age and citizenship.” It is notable that it says that it is proof of citizenship, even though it does not identify the citizenship of my parents. It also is notable that the New York birth certificate contains less information than Obama’s Hawaii COLB.

    Both copies indicate that there is a more complete record (presumably the “long form” which I assume includes the name of the hospital and doctor) on file at the Department of Health. However, I have never seen that record, nor has anyone ever asked me to produce it. What I have was sufficient for me to get a driver’s license, register to vote, enlist in the U.S. Navy, and obtain a U.S. passport.

    The 1988 version looks like this:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v629/rachelc/20090807140342.jpg

    That’s it. No footprints, no “unique identifiers.”

    Four United States presidents were born in New York State, and not one was ever asked to produce his “long form” birth certificate (or even the short form, for that matter).

  6. avatar
    richcares April 20, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    “Why not just move everyone to short-forms and be done with it”

    That’s what Hawaii did!

  7. avatar
    Lawrence April 20, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    My certification of birth contains:
    My name
    Date of birth
    City of birth
    Names of parents
    Date filed
    Signature of registrar
    Date Filed
    Raised seal of the state of Montana

    No foot prints and no doctor or nurses names or signatures.

    Used to obtain drivers license, passport, Commission in the U. S. Navy, Top Secret Clearance, government benefits.

  8. avatar
    Greg April 20, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    Check out the requirements for an I-9 form, the form an employer must fill out when you get a job. The employer must see two pieces of paper, one an identifier (driver’s license) and one a proof of employment eligibility (social security card or birth certificate).

    To get a passport, you have to present:

    1. Application for passport
    2. Proof of citizenship (birth certificate)
    3. Proof of identity (driver’s license)

    Look, if I give you my birth certificate, and you give it to a state official, how does the state official tell that you’re not me? It’s not a form of identification. It’s proof of citizenship. The driver’s license lets the official tell that you’re you, and the birth certificate matches you.

    Even if your birth certificate had your footprint, that would probably not suffice to identify you. It’s a baby footprint!

    Why do we do a census? First, it’s required in the Constitution. Not an estimate based on births and deaths and border crossings, but a head-by-head count of every person in the country even if they didn’t register their birth or didn’t enter legally. The Census department has suggested improving the quality of their count by estimating the number of people they undercount in the major urban areas. The Republicans came back with the argument I just made above – head-by-head count only.

    The vital statistics departments of each state collect a lot more information than is contained on even the long form. What was your apgar? Surely, that would give us more information to confirm your birth, right? What prenatal care did your mom get? Why not simply release every bit of information the state gets? Or, why not release every bit of information just about Barack Obama? Clearly, he’s the special case that everyone (by everyone, I mean the tiny minority with unreasonable doubts) is concerned about. What was his apgar? Clearly, if his mom didn’t get enough prenatal care, can we really trust that he’s a citizen?

    What do you think you’d do with the information if you knew for certain that Obama was born at Kapi’olani hospital, delivered by Dr. Rodney T. West? Kapi’olani will still refuse to confirm the information as they are required to do by HIPAA. And, Dr. West died in February 2009, at the age of 98.

    Obama was born in 1961, that’s 49 years ago. The doctor that delivered him was 49 when he was delivered. The youngest nurse would have been at least 21, making her at least 70 now.

    How many people do you think were born in Honolulu in 1961? How many at Kapi’olani Hospital, one of perhaps, two hospitals that did the majority of the deliveries at the time. You really think you can find a 70+ year-old nurse that would remember, specifically, the birth of one baby out of the thousands they participated in over the decades?

    That’s why we trust birth certificates. At the time of the birth, someone filled out the form and submitted it to the state. The state found the information submitted to be sufficiently probative at the time that they now feel 100% confident in swearing as if under oath, that Obama was born in Honolulu. They affixed the state seal to the document. At the same time, birth announcements were sent to the two newspapers. And, index data was published, confirming the existence of records created at the time for little Barack.

  9. avatar
    Scientist April 20, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    Regarding the Census, while birth/death certificates + immigration would give an estimate of the total US population (putting aside the issue of illegal immigration), nothing in those numbers would track movements between and within states. Knowing who lives where is essential to apportioning the US House of Representatives and state legislatures and to determining payments to states, where to build hospitals, highways, etc.

    In principal, state and local governments could provide those numbers, but they would have a strong incentive to overestimate. It makes more sense for the feds to do it. Anyway, maybe you forgot that the Census is required by that document the birthers are always quoting 3 words from-you know, the Constitution.

    As far as birth certificates being used to identify you, they can’t. Anyone is entitled to get their child’s BC. Assuming you are of the same gender and the child were 50 and you 68, as an example, you might be able to pass as them. That’s why a second i.d. is needed for a passport. Actually, the US is fairly loose with passports; Canada requires a guarantor-someone who actually knows you and has to sign the photo testifying that it is you.

    But what difference would hospital and doctor make? I know what hospital my son was born in and who delivered him. I know that better than he does as a matter of fact. So if I wanted to use his BC, how would that prevent me?

  10. avatar
    Arthur April 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    Scott Brown:

    I have a question that I hope you can answer for me. In your post you wrote,

    “Yes, a COLB is a BC and in some cases a COLB will suffice – in other cases, it will not and will require the long-form of the BC.”

    What I’d like to know is, in what cases will a Certificate of Life Birth issued by state not suffice?

    Thanks your time.

  11. avatar
    JoZeppy April 20, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

    Ever since the Census started, my main question is this: If we have local governments that issue birth and death certificates and we have borders that count those crossing into our country legally – why exactly do we need to spend millions of dollars to count people that we should have the technology to already count? Is the Census basically saying the Feds don’t trust the cities/states? I mean, if the people don’t trust them, why should the Feds?
    OR – by not using the birth/death certificates as a way of counting, and since you feel they are not really identification markers, why do so many legal’ issues hinge on whether you can present one or not? Why would it be considered by the State Department as a form of acceptable identification if the Feds can’t/won’t use them to count people?
    From my idiocy state of mind, I feel we certainly should have a level of technology in our country that is capable of compiling numbers from local/state sources in order to estimate the number of people in this country. At least as good an estimate as the Census will yield.

    Perhaps if you read the Constitution you’d understand? The Constitution requires a count of all persons in the US for determining the apportionment of the seats in the House of Representatives. Birth and death certificates don’t amount to a hill of beans for that count. I was born in NJ, but haven’t lived there since 1978, and have lived in 3 states since then. So how is my birth certificate going to help the federal government determine how many people live in a given state? Additionally, it is not a count of citizens, or even people legally in the US. It is a count of all persons, residing in the US. So again, how are we going to compile those numbers without actually counting?

    As for the birth certificate requirement for DoS. It is proof of citizenship, not proof of identity. Passports require proof of citizenship (birth certificate, naturalization papers, etc.), AND proof of identity (driver’s license, state/gov’t issued ID card, prior passport).

  12. avatar
    Rickey April 20, 2010 at 1:50 pm #

    Scott Brown says:

    If the BC is not an identifier, why does the process of obtaining a Passport require it? Shouldn’t a Passport require more than just 2 forms of identification, although 1 of those acceptable forms is a BC (which according to your article is not a form of identification?)

    As Greg pointed out, the birth certificate is proof of citizenship. The state-issued photo I.D. is proof of identify. Proof of citizenship + proof of identity = eligible to apply for a passport.

    Ever since the Census started, my main question is this: If we have local governments that issue birth and death certificates and we have borders that count those crossing into our country legally – why exactly do we need to spend millions of dollars to count people that we should have the technology to already count? Is the Census basically saying the Feds don’t trust the cities/states? I mean, if the people don’t trust them, why should the Feds?

    Apart from the fact that the census is mandated by the Constitution, state and local governments only know how many people are born and die each year. They don’t know where the people live. Identifying where people live is essential information for redistricting, which also must be done every ten years. Without a census, how would we know how many members of the House of Representatives each state is entitled to? You can’t calculate that based upon birth and death statistics.

    If long-forms were no different at all from short-forms, why do the two different forms exist?

    Because long-form birth certificates contains information which is privileged pursuant to Federal and state privacy laws. I have to prove my age to get a driver’s license, but DMV isn’t entitled to know what hospital I was born in and who the doctor was.

    Read the notes below. I and others have reported that our birth certificates contain no medical information whatsoever, yet they were sufficient to obtain driver’s licenses, passports, enlist the U.S. armed forces, get security clearances, etc.

  13. avatar
    Black Lion April 20, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    Scott, as before other posters have stated that they have COLB’s and indicated the state that it was issued in. You seem to believe that somehow there can be a COLB that is issued but not suffcient to get a Passport. So as you were asked numerous times, what state was your mythical COLB issued in? Since you have steadfastly refused to answer the question, we can only assume that you don’t have a COLB that “is similar to Obama’s but was not suffcient for you to get a passport”. So now you have changed tact and claim that a “COLB is a BC and in some cases a COLB will suffice – in other cases, it will not and will require the long-form of the BC.” So we ask what cases will it not suffice and what states issued this COLB that doesn’t suffice?

  14. avatar
    BatGuano April 20, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    Yes, a COLB is a BC and in some cases a COLB will suffice – in other cases, it will not and will require the long-form of the BC.

    has “scott brown” said what state she was born in yet ?

  15. avatar
    Bob Ross April 20, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

    Denial

  16. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 20, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    The only real question of interest is whether a Hawai’ian COLB is sufficient for a passport, and we know that it is.

  17. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 20, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    OR they require an expired passport which is both proof of identity and proof of citizenship.

  18. avatar
    SFJeff April 20, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

    Lawrence,

    Unless you can get that BC corroborated by the attending physician according to Birthers you are probably an illegal alien. Better start packing.

  19. avatar
    Judge Mental April 20, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

    I’m not defending Scott brown, just helping answer one of the questions.

    It appears that at present, or at the very least up until quite recently, Texas and California short form birth certficates will not be acceptable for passport applications whether or not they contain all the minimum requirements to be defined as a birth certificate. The long form is needed.

    It appears that short forms from all other states are acceptable for passport applications provided they contain the minimum information which defines them as being valid state issued birth certificates.

  20. avatar
    G April 20, 2010 at 4:56 pm #

    Hey “Scott Brown”:

    1. Still waiting for you to answer what state you were born in…why is this such a difficult question for you to answer, eh?

    2. Most of your posted questions here (re: birth certificates & the Census) have already been answered in detail by the others, so I’ll move to any topics of your post that haven’t yet been addressed, with some brief answers.

    3. Re: Polls & “most people don’t trust government”…guess what, I don’t fully trust government either – so what? That is really nothing but a straw-man’s argument that might make a nice sound bite but signifies nothing when you get right down to it.

    What is “the government” comprised of after all? – People. Same as businesses, churches, etc. All are imperfect and just as subject to greed, laziness, ego, ineptitude, corruption, etc. I’ve got news for you – overall, our government works pretty darn well and many of the people working in government are just simple, hard working folks trying to do their jobs to the best of their ability. Same as everywhere else. Why trust businesses, churches, your neighbors, etc…when in the final analysis, they are just as human and capable of failure and rife with corruption in a general sense as government.

    4. Re: inconsistent records and problems with just simply getting records from one source or one state vs. another:

    Records by different agencies and entities (state, local, federal, etc) often have different standards for what info they collect, share and how they store it. They often use very different procedures, software & database systems to track, store and maintain that info. Sharing & translating data between these various different systems can be very difficult at times and definitely imperfect. I could go into a lot more detail, but that should suffice as a basic explanation.

  21. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 20, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    Scott Brown: If we have local governments that issue birth and death certificates and we have borders that count those crossing into our country legally – why exactly do we need to spend millions of dollars to count people that we should have the technology to already count?

    “Yes, Vasilly. State to state. No papers.” Captain Ramius in the Hunt for Red October.

  22. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 20, 2010 at 8:48 pm #

    Thanks, Jack. I didn’t have time to look up the legislation before I had to past and run. I presume your reference is from the “Intelligence Reform” or “Real ID Act”. I’ll add this to the main article.

  23. avatar
    Dave April 20, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    People above have addressed the legal requirement for having an actual count for the census, but I’d add that it’s also good policy. For the same reason that businesses periodically take inventory, even though they have a database with the same information. It’s because the discrepancies between the two build up over time.

    And I really don’t think of you as an idiot. An idiot is someone incapable of thinking — but you have mastered the art of selectively not thinking.

  24. avatar
    Montana April 20, 2010 at 9:19 pm #

    Terry Lakin will find out that beliefs and facts are two very different things and in the end his courts-martial will be his own public humiliation for believing something he can not prove. I would love to be there during the military trial and find out what facts he has, internet gossip? Let’s face it no one will take the Birthers seriously until they win a case, but until then, they will continue to appear dumb, crazy or racist, or maybe all three. The old GOP Confederacy, that is what these liars want, good luck with that.

  25. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 20, 2010 at 10:04 pm #

    Lakin will be martyr, a reasonable man asking reasonable questions thrown into jail and humiliated. Just watch.

  26. avatar
    Vince Treacy April 21, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    Excellent post, Doc. I did notice one thing about Hemenway’s statment. She says that most people consider a birth certificate as “a state or hospital document containing a statement by a hospital and physician, or midwife, with a footprint or other unique identifiers.”

    That part about “a hospital document” is wrong. The definition in 7211 applies only to governmental documents. It makes no provision for hospital documents at all. It applies only to a “Federal, State, or local government agency or authorized custodian of record.”

    So Lakin is setting forth with a totally invalid legal premise.

    I posted elsewhere that Lucas Daniel Smith forged a “hospital” document from Kenya, not a Kenyan government birth certificate. Although 7211 applies only in America, there is no reason for a U.S. Court to accept a Kenyan hospital certificate, even if it were genuine (which Lucas’s is not). They have to go back and use the Kenyan statute you posted to get an official document from the “Registrar.” Not going to happen.

  27. avatar
    Black Lion April 21, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    Of course the media is the usual suspect, at least according to the Post and Fail. They had an issue with birther and racist Tom Tancredo….

    http://www.thepostemail.com/2010/04/20/we-are-the-media/#comments

    “A CBS report from yesterday demonstrates how willfully irresponsible the “mainstream” media has become. The writer of the story states that the White House “slammed former Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado Monday for his recent remarks suggesting President Obama was not born in the United States,” yet she gives no examples of that. The only remark she quoted, from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, was, “I could probably fill the better part of my afternoons responding to the general lunacy of somebody like Tom Tancredo.” If that was all he said, that can hardly be called a “slam.”

    My favorite part of the article is how the author attempts to equate the evidence regarding birth in HI and alleged birth in Kenya…

    “Further, the writer, Stephanie Condon, provides no context or background as to why Tancredo might have made such a comment. Instead of providing a link to a story with the video of Michelle Obama stating that Kenya is her husband’s “home country,” quoting from the transcript, or even questioning how Tancredo arrived at that conclusion, she incorrectly stated that there is “overwhelming evidence he (Obama) was born in the United States — including his 1961 birth announcement, printed in two Hawaii newspapers.”

    Two birth announcements for an unnamed child from 1961 are not exactly “overwhelming evidence” when the Minister of Lands and member of the Kenyan Parliament states that Obama was born in his country, as did the Kenyan ambassador.”

    So in the minds 2 alleged statements from 2 individuals that were not there for the birth of the President are more believable than a 1961 birth announcement that came from the HI DOH itself….Every time you wonder how stupid the birthers really are, they say something that proves their stupidity….

  28. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 21, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

    Vince Treacy: That part about “a hospital document” is wrong. The definition in 7211 applies only to governmental documents. It makes no provision for hospital documents at all. It applies only to a “Federal, State, or local government agency or authorized custodian of record.”

    Yes and no. Most original birth certificates are paper documents or electronic documents signed by someone and sent to the “authorized custodian of record” who is typically a state registrar, who checks over the information for completeness or marks of fraud, and then files and numbers the record if they are OK. A “birth certificate” in the usual sense is something the custodian of record issues BASED on the hospital record with a certification of accuracy in the record keeping and copying process.

    The Hawaiian so called “long form” is a document created (most often) by a hospital to which a local registrar signature and dates were added and to which a serial number is assigned. When issued as a birth certificate, that document was then photocopied onto security paper, stamped with a signature and sealed with a raised seal.

    So birth certificates in the United States are essentially registered hospital documents. That said, a document issued directly by a hospital (what is sometimes call the “souvenir birth certificate”) is useless for legal purposes.

  29. avatar
    Vince Treacy April 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    Thank you for the clarification.

  30. avatar
    Jerry Reed April 22, 2010 at 10:00 pm #

    Hey, Judge Mental,
    How recently is “quite recently?” I know for a fact that the Texas”short form,” or at least the form of it issued in Taylor County, suffices for a passport. I learned that when I inquired about a month ago about a passport my son needs for a trip he’s scheduled to take. The Taylor County document is much like Obama’s COLB, maybe an item or too less informative.

    So can you tell me a very specific point in time when the Texas short form was not acceptable for a passport?

    “JDRI”