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Whose name goes on the birth certificate ?

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


John Report 30 Dec 2013 16:53

I would appreciate any help with this query. Please note names are ficticious as relatives are still living so apologies to anyone with the real names.

I have person Ann who was born 1937/38.
Her mothers married name was Liz Smith, maiden name Jones
The fathers name on the birth certificate I have is Fred Bloggs. ( Presume this was a result of affair between Fred and Liz)

When I do a search on Birth Records for Ann I also come across an entry that shows the father to be Smith. ( Her husband)

Both entries have the same Registration District, Volume and Page numbers.

Has this birth been registrated twice or is this because of the way the data is stored ?

Many thanks



Reggie Report 30 Dec 2013 17:21

When a married woman produces a child, the initial assumption by the registrar is that her husband fathered it.........

In this case, where he obviously didn't, there are two GRO entries -reflecting the child's illegitimacy.............but - I'm sure you will find - only ONE cert


John Report 30 Dec 2013 17:30


Many thanks for response.

GRO ? is this General Records Office ? Would the Registrar need the permission of all parties to enter their names ?

It will be a challenge to show both names on the family tree on Genes Reunited !!


InspectorGreenPen Report 30 Dec 2013 17:53

Birth is normally registered once in the Register. The exception is when a change is registered at a later date, when the original entry is subsequently cross referenced to the later entry.

The Index of the Register, which is what the public can search should have all combinations of names.

As far as permission is concerned, yes it would be required today, but the rules in 1937/8 might have been different.


John Report 30 Dec 2013 18:06

Very helpful GreenPen.

If I requested a copy of the birth cert from GRO where the records indicated the name of the father as her husband ( not the biological father), would that show as a registered change ?

The ability to make a change to the birth certificate is something I have never come across before.



Reggie Report 30 Dec 2013 21:44

I thought you said you had the birth cert?


DazedConfused Report 30 Dec 2013 22:02

Mu Uncle's birth is registered twice (both same reference numbers)

1. In mothers name only
2: In fathers name

My gran was married and seperated from her husband, and as a Catholic could not obtain a divorce. So when he was first born she registered him by herself, but later she and her partner (later to be husband after death of 1st husband) re-registered the birth in fathers surname and father shown on certificate.


mgnv Report 30 Dec 2013 22:24

John - re:
"When I do a search on Birth Records for Ann I also come across an entry that shows the father to be Smith. ( Her husband)"

Probably not the case, but one can't tell from the index - the Smith entry is most likely the mother's surname, just like it would be if she were the widow Smith.

Re "Would the Registrar need the permission of all parties to enter their names ?"
The mother's husband can be named without his permission, as it's assumed he is the father of the child. [I have seen one Scottish birth cert that was amended to read "Paternity denied" as he was fighting in the Western Desert (WW2) for the preceding 3 y.] Normally, in the case of an illegitimate birth, the father can only be named with both his and the mother's written permission - although a court can order things to be entered on BMD.certs.

Any BMD.cert is capable of being altered - one needs this to correct errors. In the case of illegitimate births, when both parents are free to marry at the time, but don't marry until later, their marriage now legitimizes the birth. In cases like this, the father's name is often added years after the birth.


John Report 31 Dec 2013 10:27


I have one birth certificate in my possession that tallies with one set of details on the GRO.
What I think I need to do is acquire a copy of the birth certificate that shows the other fathers name.



DazedConfused Report 31 Dec 2013 11:57

You may not be able to order the 'original' as it was superceded by the new one.

Rosalind in Madeira

Rosalind in Madeira Report 31 Dec 2013 12:43

Was it possible that she had been married before and the two names show up?


Porkie_Pie Report 31 Dec 2013 13:55

You are making the asumption that the birth is registered in the husbands name..... Its important to note that at the time of registration the mothers name was also (Smith)..... maiden name Jones,

The second entry is simply because the mother was not married to the father at the time of registration but he accepted responcibility for the child, much the same as you often see when a mother is not married but dad accepts the child as his and gives permission to be add at registration as the father

Their will only be one birth cert regardless of which copy you apply for the only exception is when a birth has an amendment such as a later re-registration in which case the index will/should have a hand written entry next to the original stating eg, (see D42) which indicates that their is a new entry in the december quarter of 1942 and the D42 entry will be the copy you recieve although i believe using the freedom of information act you can now obtain the original 1937/8 copy

For info on BMD certs see



John Report 31 Dec 2013 14:00


Possibility, never thought about that. Will do a search.

For info, the original certificate has " Adopted" written on the right hand edge


martynsue Report 31 Dec 2013 15:15

my dad was registered twice,once under his mums married name,then under his fathers name,she was separated from her husband and living with my grandfather,both entries have the same reg numbers and maiden name just different surnames.
as I do not have his birth cert I am not sure which one I would receive if I bought one.


Porkie_Pie Report 31 Dec 2013 15:32

Can i just confirm that a birth cannot be registered twice, It can be registered only once any other entries are simply re-registered/amendments to the details of the original entry,

When a single birth shows two entries on the index in the same year, quarter volume and page number then that is one registration and not two, the fact that the entries show the different surnames just indicate that the parents were not married to each other at the time of registration and their will only be one cert, I have serveral in my possession including my own children who were born before me and my wife married each other and subsequant certs after we re-registered their births once we married


Added, Until recently a child was not given a surname on a birth cert, the childs surname was (infered) usualy from the father where named but with no father named it was taken from the mothers name at the time of registration


InspectorGreenPen Report 1 Jan 2014 06:46

I think confusion can arise because some people perceive the Register and the Index as being the same thing. They are not.

Roy has explained things very clearly although I have come across an example of a subsequent amendment made some years after the original event where the handwritten entry 'e.g. see D42' was made on the wrong Index page. Because the original wasn't on the page in the first place the name was handwritten at the bottom of the page with no original reference at all!

This occurred because at the time the birth was registered in the next quarter, the point being missed when the index was updated to record the later amendment. The original entry is indexed in the following quarter with no indication that it was ever amended.....!

No wonder we sometimes have trouble finding things.


John Report 1 Jan 2014 14:52

Dear All

Many thanks for your contributions and advice, I now have all the information with regard to why there are two entries and I will leave the matter there and close this thread.

Again, many thanks and a Happy New Year to you all