Re: Searching for my Grandfather's birth records #general

Sherri Bobish

Allan wrote:
I do not know when Social Security started but in modern days you need to
show your birth certificate to file for Social Security. Now I think babies
actually get there number when they are born.
Allan is correct. When our son was born two decades ago the hospital
immediately filled out the Social Security application for him. The child must
have a Social Security number for tax purposes.

When Social Security was begun in the mid-1930's there were so many people
without birth certificates that the U.S. census was one medium used as proof
of age. The WPA used that reasoning when applying for funds to index the census.

For more detail on the subject:

Also, note that one had bo be born in 1870 or later to participate in Social

As an aside, I recall in the 1960's when my gf was retiring and ready to
receive Social Security that my uncle went to NARA in Manhattan to obtain a
copy of my gf's 1904 ship manifest to prove that he was born in 1895. I've
wondered why that was necessary since my gf was naturalized, had appeared on
every U.S. census since 1910, and had a Social Security card since the

Also, it was common for people born in the U.S. to have no birth certificate.
Most births were home births, and the paperwork simply didn't get filed. It
was around 1900 when many states began getting stricter about the filing of
birth and marriage records.


Sherri Bobish
Princeton, NJ

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