Welcome to The Hidden Branch’s new series, “What can be found on a…” – the series where we present a record and show you how much information can be obtained from it. This will be a series done by other members of the team as well as me so if you don’t see anything that helps you stay tuned as we will hopefully be publishing it soon enough! (Alternatively drop a comment letting us know what you’d like us to cover) Now that’s been said, let’s jump into it!

Here is an example of an Irish birth record:

Image: John Loftus birth certificate born 1876, district, Swinford – Date accessed: 18/06/2021. Source: irishgenealogy.ie

So, while this may seem absolutely pointless, it does need to be noted what information we can extract from a birth certificate. So, what do the numbers on the cert tell us. (NOTE: Some of the below points will include more info than others…)

  1. Entry number.
  2. Date of birth & location of birth. Now I won’t go into it too deeply as that’s another post altogether but all I’ll say is – try and find a baptism to prove your findings.
  3. Child’s name(s) – if they had middle names they’d be included.
  4. Gender of child.
  5. Father’s name and residence.
  6. Mother’s name and maiden surname.
  7. Occupation (which is one of my favourites, although seeing as this is one of the certificates on my father’s side, it won’t be hugely interested as they were agricultural labourers!)
  8. Signature, qualification and residence of informant. This can be a very good source as it may tell you another family member which in some cases in my family history – it has. In this case it was John’s father, John (of all the names!) who registered it.
  9. When the birth was registered. In this case it was 20 days after he was born on December 21st.
  10. The registrar.
  11. Baptismal name if added after birth registration (there may not be much in this column, I haven’t come across any instances of something being in this column but that could easily change!)

I hope you enjoyed reading and to finish – what’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen on a birth cert. Drop a comment below or tweet me!