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Birth Certificate (Still Birth)


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Good evening,

I have found a child's death whom I believe is one of my relatives. The problem that I have is that I dont have the GRO Vol or Page number. Also, on the attached image there is no Christian name for the child. but there is a Parents name that matches my family. I want to obtain a Birth Certificate for this child for clarification, so how would I go about getting one? Anyone help please?

Still Birth, MAY.jpg

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There won't be a birth certificate for a stillborn at that date.  IIRC birth certificates were only issued for stillborns some time after 2000.  Since a stillborn child would not have been baptised, they wouldn't have a Christian name, and probably not a secular first name either.  Also be aware that it was not uncommon for a stillborn child to be placed in the coffin of a widow or spinster, not necessarily a family member.

EDIT: should have mentioned, AIUI there won't be a death certificate either.  Since the child never legally lived it can't have legelly died.

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Hi Martin,

Many thanks for the reply. I just thought that because there was a 'page' number for this entry that it was a GRO page number and as such would have had a birth Cert?

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I think you'll find that the page will be the page in the burial record for the cemetery.  Prior to the change in the law ten or so years ago, the test was when the child drew breath.  If it drew breath and died it was not stillborn and therefore had a birth and death.  If it did not draw breath it was stillborn and therefore had never lived so was not registered.  I've just checked this with my wife who is a professional historian and a family history enthusiast used to reading such records.

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Stillbirths Registration

Stillborn children were not registered prior to 1927.

Stillbirth registration was introduced on 1 July 1927 to help protect infant life, provide a valuable source of statistical information and to give parents the opportunity to have their child officially acknowledged. A stillborn child is a child born after the 24th week of pregnancy who did not breathe or show any other signs of life. When a child is stillborn the midwife or doctor will issue a medical certificate of stillbirth which will be used to register the stillbirth.

When stillbirth registration was introduced the age limit was the end of the 28th week of pregnancy, not the 24th (as it is now). This is a relatively recent change following the greatly increased survival rates of premature babies.

Current GRO policy on obtaining stillbirth certificates: "Due to the sensitive nature of stillbirth registrations, the procedure for ordering a certificate of the entry differs from other types of certificates. We will only send out the application form after we have been contacted by phone or in writing by the mother or father (if he is named on the certificate). In cases where the parents are deceased, a brother or sister can apply if they can provide their parents' dates of death."

How to order the certificate

To obtain an application form for a stillbirth certificate, you can either telephone or write to the General Register Office.


Please call +44 (0) 845 603 7788, Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 8.00 pm, Saturday 9.00 am to 4.00 pm.


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Right, I've been researching this a bit since Bonnie's contribution and have found my memory to be very faulty.  Prior to 1927 parishes were meant to record stillbirths, after that there was a civil registration of a still birth.  This would result in the issue of a stillbirth certificate which is different from either a birth or death certificate.  However practice prior to the 1980s was for a stillbirth to be handled by the hospital.  The baby was taken away quickly and either buried or cremated.  In many cases the hospital records of where have been lost, some are only kept 10 years.  There are cases written up of parents who suffered a stillbirth in 1981 having no paperwork at all, presumably the hospital kept the stillbirth certificate.  The Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 allows "any person present" at the birth to register it, and further permits the making of the declaration to "such officer as may be prescribed", which could well be a hospital officer.

I'm now fairly certain that the campaign to have stillbirths registered which I remembered was in fact one to have the documents given to parents and for parents to handle the funeral.

To get back to the original question though, please note the advice from the Windsor & Maidenhead Borough cited by Bonnie: "Current GRO policy on obtaining stillbirth certificates: ..."


Research Guide on stillbirths

Mumsnet (reflects experiences rather than strict facts)

House of Commons briefing paper on the investigation of stillbirths by coroners

Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953

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