Birth Certificates

The Rules for Baptizing a Catholic Baby

Meeting With Church Leaders

Parents should inform the parish priest of a pregnancy around the four- or five-month mark so baptism preparations can begin, according to the website of the Diocese of Tyler in Texas. You will then go through a meeting with church leaders to discuss your desire to baptize your baby in the Catholic church, your child's future religious upbringing and any other concerns that you or the church might have about baptism.

Selecting Godparents

Though it is not a necessity, many parents select two godparents who will support the baby's Catholic upbringing, according to the Rev. William Saunders, pastor of Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church in Potomac Falls, Virginia. Godparents must undergo baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist in the Catholic church, be a minimum of 16 years old, and be active in the Catholic faith community, according to St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Slidell, Louisiana. If godparents are from a parish other than yours, they might be required to submit a qualification letter from their priest to your priest. Ask your parish about any other guidelines you must meet.

Files for Baptismal Register

Your parish might require documents showing that you have adopted your child or showing that you are your child's birth parent, according to the Diocese of Tyler. Ask parish officials about any documents they might need from you, such as proof of adoption from an adoption agency or your baby's birth certificate for the baptismal register. If you are unmarried or your child's father is not listed on his birth certificate, the father might need to file an acknowledgement of paternity form through your state's Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics before the Catholic church will add his name to the baptismal register.

Timing and Prohibitions on Baptism

Ideally, Catholic parents should have their children baptized within a few weeks after birth, according to the Diocese of Beaumont in Texas. If your child has already been baptized, she cannot be baptized again, according to Vatican Canon Law. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as if your child is seriously ill, baptisms are not typically performed in hospitals. Baptisms might occur during Sunday Mass, though baptisms typically do not occur during the season of Lent.

How do I get my name on my child's birth certificate?

Visit or contact the State Department Of Vital Records for the state where the child was born. To get the address and telephone numbers for the Department Of Vital Records for each state, you can refer to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention website (see References for link).

Ask the Department of Vital Records representative for the form that is required to add a father's name to a child's birth certificate. The exact name of this form will vary by state. For example, in Minnesota the form is referred to as a "Recognition Of Parentage" form. In Georgia, the form is called a "Paternity Acknowledgement" form. In Illinois, it is called a "Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity" form.

Complete the form, but do not sign it.

Take your completed form to a Notary Public to have it notarised. You must sign the form in the presence of the Notary Public. You will also have to show a valid ID (such as a driver's license, state ID, or passport) to the Notary Public to authenticate your identity.

Submit the notarised form to the State Department of Vital Records. If you want to receive an updated copy of the birth certificate showing your name, you will have to pay an additional fee to obtain your copy. This fee will vary by state.

How to Make a Doll Baby Birth Certificate

Open a new word-processing document on your computer, such as Microsoft Word. Change the page orientation by going to the “Format” tab. Select the “Document” option. Click the “Page Layout” button and choose the “Horizontal” option.

Add a border to your document from the "Format" tab, if desired. Scroll through the options until you find a border you like, then click it to apply it to your document.

Change the horizontal alignment to “Centered” and font size to “20.” Press the "Caps Lock" key and type “BIRTH CERTIFICATE” on the top line.

Change the font size to “16.” Enter the vital information that you would find on a regular birth certificate. Type the doll’s full name and hit "Return." Type “Born: ” and fill in a month, day and year and “At ” for the time. Hit "Return." Type in a city and state for the location of birth. On the next line, add a weight “ lbs. and oz.” and length “ inches.” Hit "Return" and enter “Attending Physician:” and add a name. On the last line, type in the doll owner’s name. Omit some of these information lines, if desired.

Click on a clip art image that you like, under the “Insert” tab. This could be a baby or a baby item. Resize it by clicking the image, hold the curser over one of the small square tabs that pop up by the corners of the image and drag it around until you like the image size. Move the image to the top, bottom or corner of your doll's birth certificate by clicking on the image and dragging it to the desired area.

Center all of the words on your page by clicking "Return" above the “BIRTH CERTIFICATE” until the words are where you want them to be, if desired.

Print the document on a letter-sized piece of thick card stock with the “Best” printing setting. If you want to make it extra sturdy, attach the birth certificate to a piece of colored card stock that is slightly larger than the birth certificate, using a glue stick. Mount it in a document picture frame, if desired.

Things You Will Need

  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Card stock, 8 1/2-inch by 11-inch
  • Colored card stock
  • Glue stick
  • Picture frame (optional)

Preserving Birth Certificates

Archival Sleeves

Lamination was once considered a safe and secure method to preserve documents, but the pressure and heat process damaged many documents, according to the Smithsonian Institution. Store your documents in archival sleeves constructed of polyester, polypropylene or polyethylene plastic sleeves that will not cause acid damage to your birth certificate. Office supply stores carry these sleeves, but you must read the labels to ensure you don’t purchase sleeves made with cellulose acetate by mistake. Acetate degrades to form an acid. Archival suppliers also carry acid-free sleeves and will ensure you have the appropriate sleeve for your needs.

Home Storage

If you keep your original birth certificate at home, store it flat in a room that has controlled and stable temperature and humidity levels, advises the Antique Trader. When handling the document, wash and dry your hands and wipe dust off the certificate with a soft brush. Do not staple, paper clip, tape or fold the document before storing. Store the sleeved document flat in an archival box or filing cabinet to protect it from the light. Putting the birth certificate in with other important documents such as wills, marriage and death certificates and tax returns makes it easy to grab them in the event of a disaster where you must get out of the house quickly.

Permanent Storage

Store at least one certified copy of your birth certificate in a safety deposit box where it is safe from damage and thieves, suggests Norton, a security software company. This ensures you have quick access to a copy if your home is destroyed. Some people will scan and store a copy of the birth certificate on their computer for more immediate use. Ensure that your computer has appropriate safeguards such as strong password protections before you save the copy there, and completely scrub the hard drive before disposing of the computer. Encrypting the document file is also a good safety procedure.

Displaying Birth Certificates

Some baby books provide a place for you to display a birth certificate. If you make use of that feature, use a copy, not your original birth certificate. Also consider that the baby book is not a secure environment and could allow an identity thief access to important information. A better option could include copying the birth date, name and parent information by hand and adding footprints to the page using a standard ink pad.

How to Obtain a Birth Certificate in Detroit

Download and print the Michigan Birth Record Application Form.

Fill in your personal information and the information for the person whose birth certificate you wish to obtain, if it is not your own.

Mark the eligibility requirement which applies to you. If none do, you will not be able to receive this birth certificate.

Calculate the fees required in the box at the bottom left corner of the front page of the form and write a check or money order for this amount.

Sign the form.

Place the check or money order, the form itself, and a copy of a photo ID which identifies you as the person requesting the birth certificate into an envelope.

Place a stamp on the envelope and address it to the following office:

Vital Records Requests PO Box 30721 Lansing MI 48909

Mail this envelope and be prepared to wait approximately six weeks.

Things You Will Need

  • Printer
  • Check or money order
  • Copy of photo ID
  • Envelope
  • Postage stamp

How to Obtain a Certified Copy of a Birth Certificate Immediately

Gather the following information to obtain the birth certificate: complete name of the person you need the birth record for, person’s sex, parents' names as well as mother’s maiden name, year, month and day of birth, state and city or county of birth, hospital name (not mandatory), reason for the certificate request, relationship to person whose certificate is requested and daytime phone number.

Go to the health department or county clerk’s office in the city or county where the birth took place, along with your verification documents to obtain the certified birth certificate copy. Check their hours of business, birth record fee and method of payment online or by phone before you go there. These offices provide the best way to get a certificate immediately or on the same day, unless complications arise.

Go to a state's vital statistics office to obtain a birth certificate when you can’t get to the health department or county clerk’s office. Inquire online for the address, hours and specific fees for the certified birth record. Health department websites also provide resources for mail delivery of a birth certificate. The mailing option does not include immediate access to a birth document, but does offer quick shipping methods.


Some states require a legal photo identification document to obtain a birth certificate.

How to Obtain a Certified Birth Certificate From Washington, D.C.

Fill out the birth certificate request application on the District of Columbia Department of Health’s website (see References). On the application, include your name, address, birth date, Social Security number, the hospital of your birth, and your mother and father’s full name.

Indicate the type of birth certificate you are requesting. On the application, you have two birth certificate options to choose from: the original certificate or the computer certificate short form. The fee for the original certificate is $23, while the computer certificate short form is $18. You can include the fee in the form of a check or money order, made out to D.C. Treasurer.

Place your address on the check or money order. The D.C. Treasurer requires that an address be placed on the check or money order to be accepted for deposit.

Print the completed form and sign it. The District of Columbia Department of Health states that for all mail-in requests a stamped self-addressed business-size envelope must be included with the application. The certified copy of your birth certificate will be mailed to you using the self-addressed envelope.

Enclose a copy of your photo identification, such as your driver’s license or passport card. Mail the completed application and supplemental documents to the Department of Health--Vital Records Division (see References for address). You can find the address on the website or on your application.

Things You Will Need

  • Birth certificate request application
  • Application fee
  • Stamped self-addressed business-size envelope
  • Copy of identification card

How to add a father to a birth certificate

Write a letter stating the father's name that should appear on the birth certificate and describe the reason for the change. If there was no father ever listed on the birth certificate you will need to have his written and notarised permission. The mother will need to sign this letter as well. Deliver this letter to the department of vital records in the state of birth. Some states require both the parents to fill out an application requesting the amendment and will attach the notarised letter to the application.

Pay the required amendment fee, which varies from state to state. You may also need to pay a fee in order to receive a revised copy of the birth certificate.

Complete what is known as a recognition of parentage form if the mother and father are not married at the time of the birth. This is an agreement between both parents and the state of birth as to who the child's father is according to law.

Request a court ordered paternity adjudication if the mother or father do not agree on parentage. This can be obtained from the county court office where you live. An adjudication is a legal process by which a judge reviews statements and evidence from both the mother and father and makes a decision. In most cases DNA tests will be ordered to help the judge decide whether the father's name on the child's birth certificate needs to be added or changed.

Add a non-biological father's name to the birth certificate if he has legally adopted the child. You will be required to provide legal documentation of adoption as well as written permission by the biological father if he is living or known. You may also request a court order to have the biological fathers paternity terminated if he is known. This is a serious step and should be considered only in cases where the father cannot be located or is unfit according to the law. You will need to contact your county court office for assistance on this matter, and an attorney's services may be necessary.


Contact your local child support agency for a wide variety of assistance involving parental rights.


A child's birth certificate is a legal document that will be with him for the rest of his life. It is important to consider the long-term effects of the actions you take now.

How to Correct Spelling on Your Birth Certificate

Get an official copy of your birth certificate. Look at it carefully and make sure there are corrections that need to be made. Sometimes, a middle name like "Michelle" is misspelled to read "Michele" and a person decides that the correction is not necessary.

Decide if correction is necessary and contact the state department of health, county department of health or state department of vital records of the state in which you were born. If the person who needs the birth certificate changed is under 1 year of age, most states will allow such a change relatively easily.

Provide the department with the necessary documents to correct your birth certificate. You may need an affidavit, baptismal record, school record, medical record (one from around the time of birth will be very useful) or a copy of the original worksheet you used to fill out the birth certificate form (the hospital may have this).

Pay any necessary fees related to the reissuing of the certificate. Keep in mind that if the change on the birth record is for anything more than correcting a spelling (like changing a name, for example), you will need to file papers with your county clerk of courts, obtain a court date and get an official name change done by a judge.


Getting a vital record changed can be a lengthy process. Make sure you keep all relevant paperwork to the change with your other vital papers.

How to create your own novelty birth certificates

Open the Task Launcher in the Microsoft Works program. Select "Templates" from the icons at the top of the page. Choose "Cards & Crafts" from the categories on the left and then select "Certificates."

Click on any of the templates available to see it larger. Click "Use This Style" to open the template style you like in a new page.

Double-click the title of the document and type "Birth Certificate." Change the colour, style and font by going to "Format" and selecting Font from the menu.

Double-click on "Name" and change it to say the correct name of the baby. Change the font to match the title or choose a more decorative font.

Highlight "Your Text Here" by double-clicking the words. Type the remaining information you want on the novelty birth certificate such as birth weight, length, time and the parents' names.

Print the novelty birth certificate onto heavyweight paper or card stock and place it in a decorative frame.

How to Get an Emergency Copy of Your Birth Certificate

Call the vital records office in your birth state to ask specific questions about how to obtain an emergency birth certificate.

Collect the following information about the person whose record you are requesting: full name; sex; parents' names (including maiden name of mother); month, day, and year of birth; place of birth (city or town, county and state; name of hospital, if known); purpose for which you need the copy; relationship to person whose record you are requesting; daytime telephone number with area code.

Go to the vital records office and fill out the birth certificate information. Pay for each copy of the birth certificate. Some states will give you the birth certificate right away, but other states require a waiting period.

Call the vital records office in your birth state to ask specific questions about how to obtain an emergency birth certificate. Provide any information they may ask, such as the purpose for the emergency birth certificate.

Collect the following information about the person whose record you are requesting: full name; sex; parents' names (including maiden name of mother); month, day, and year of birth; place of birth (city or town, county and state; name of hospital, if known); purpose for which you need the copy; relationship to person whose record you are requesting; daytime telephone number with area code.

Follow the directions the vital records office of your birth state provides. Some states will provide overnight shipping service for an emergency birth certificate request, but some will take longer.


If you need an emergency birth certificate for travelling abroad, contact the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778. They may be able to provide further assistance.